Mackinac Island in May

Being a May to October destination, Mackinac Island comes to life in May. The flowers start to pop, the guests begin to arrive, and the horses are ready for a summer of work.

Because every place is a little different, many businesses will begin to open their doors at the start of May, with even more opening by the middle and end of May. Click here for a list of Mackinac Island opening dates for the upcoming season!

May on Mackinac Island is known for being a bit more budget friendly as well as having smaller crowds. It’s common to see groups of students clustered together, riding bikes, eating fudge, or splurging on the latest fashion trends while visiting Mackinac Island on school group trips, but most families wait until after Memorial Day, when school is generally out, to begin their vacations to the Island.

May on Mackinac Island can be very cool with temperatures beginning to warm up. Flowers will begin to pop, especially the tens of thousands of tulip bulbs planted the previous fall.

One other thing to note is the mayflies and midges that hatch toward the end of the month. There is no way to predict their timing and quantity. However, they are generally more abundant by the water. In the downtown area and throughout Mackinac Island, you might not notice them at all. These bugs do not bite, they just swarm and can be annoying and will also stick to surfaces. Don’t let this deter visiting toward the end of May, just be aware if you are planning a trip!

A yellow umbrella shades an outdoor dining table at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room high above the Mackinac Island harbor


May average temperatures on Mackinac Island begin to rise into the 60’s. Since it is Northern Michigan, there could be snow or sunshine…maybe in the same day! While you’re most likely to see sunshine, it can get cool especially in the mornings and evenings when the sun goes down. Check the weather before your trip. And bring layers of clothes. You might even want to pack hats and gloves.

A cruise ship floats on the water near one of the outdoor dining patios at Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort


You can get to Mackinac Island 3 ways in May: take a public ferry, bring a personal boat, or fly. Commercial cruise ships start arriving in May, too!

Ferries to Mackinac Island

There are two ferry companies, Mackinac Island Ferry Company – and Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, that operate out of two port cities on the mainland, Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

The ferry schedule changes throughout the month. Depending on the day and time of month,  the first ferry to Mackinac Island is around 7:30 a.m. with ferries every hour or so. Some days the last ferry scheduled off Mackinac Island can be as early as 6 p.m. midweek and as late as 8:30 p.m. on weekends.

Round-trip tickets are around $35 for adults and the ride takes around 20 minutes. Be sure to check the ferry company websites for schedule, parking, and ticket information.


Personal Boat to Mackinac Island

You can bring your personal boat to Mackinac Island. Docking is available at the State Park marina (re-opening July 2023) or at a private dock such as East Dock or the Coal Dock.


Flying to Mackinac Island

There are three options when it comes to flying to Mackinac Island. You can take a 7-minute air taxi, order a charter flight to pick you up from a different airport, or fly your own plane!

  • Fresh Air Aviation operates out of the St. Ignace Airport and flies directly to the Mackinac Island Airport. It is about a 7-minute flight for a $45 one-way adult ticket. Call ahead to schedule a flight with them at 906-285-6727.



If you are flying into the Mackinac Island Airport, it is recommended to arrange a horse-drawn taxi ahead of time by calling 906-847-3323. The Mackinac Island Airport is about 2 miles from the downtown area.

RELATED: Mackinac Island is Michigan’s most popular port of call for cruise ships

A view of downtown Mackinac Island at night with lights aglow, as seen from Anne’s Tablet above Fort Mackinac


Almost everything opens on Mackinac Island in May! The later in May you get, the more businesses are open, especially if they are weather dependent such as parasailing, kayaking, outdoor dining, and outdoor swimming pools at Mackinac Island hotels and resorts.

Many businesses will begin to open early May and by Memorial Day or the end of May, every operating businesses is up and running.

It’s best to check Mackinac Island’s opening dates page to see when businesses are opening for the season.

Two people look over the water off Michigan’s Mackinac Island near bikes they parked on a rocky beach


The biggest event in May is also the first of four foot races on Mackinac Island. The Fort 2 Fort 5-Mile Challenge by Run Mackinac, in partnership with Mackinac State Historic Parks, features a course from one historic Mackinac Island fort to another.

Also in later May, the Detroit Regional Chamber usually hosts their Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. This is a very busy event for three days on Mackinac Island, so be aware when booking rooms.

For more event dates, visit the Mackinac Island website.

Activities such as live music and weekly movies at Mission Point Theatre also begin in May. View daily events on Mackinac Island here or find them listed in the window of our downtown booth!

A horse-drawn carriage passes a roadside garden of tulips near the Great Lawn at Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort


RELATED: How spring on Mackinac Island makes for a unique experience



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