Mackinac Island in November

November on Mackinac Island is a month of transition. The change from a bustling, active, and lively tourist destination to a quiet, quaint, Northern Michigan town happens with the flip of a switch at the beginning of the month.

Being a May-to-October destination, Mackinac Island looks a lot different in November compared to the summer months. Most storefronts close their doors for the season to work on renovations. Accommodations begin booking for 2024.  And many restaurants and shops take some well-deserved rest during this time.

You can still visit Mackinac Island in November. But take note that there is only one public restroom located downtown. A few places to stay and a handful restaurants along with Doud’s Market grocery store remain open during the winter months. Almost all shops and attractions such as Fort Mackinac and the horse-drawn carriage tours of Mackinac Island are closed from November through the end of April.

Visiting in November is a time to enjoy a different side of Mackinac Island and experience the peace, serenity, and natural beauty of the Crown Jewel of the Great Lakes.

For more details on visiting Mackinac Island in November, visit the Mackinac Island winter page and keep reading this post.

Snow covers the trees on Mackinac Island near Grand Hotel on a cloudy fall day over the water

WEATHER ON MACKINAC ISLAND IN NOVEMBER

The weather on Mackinac Island in November transitions from the vibrant colors of fall to the onset of snow and winter. November ushers in cooler temperatures and a noticeable decrease in daylight hours. The average high temperature is 42 degrees and the average low is 31.

Rainfall and overcast skies are more common in November, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for occasional wet weather. You might also witness the island’s first snowfall, which adds an enchanting layer of winter wonder to the landscape. Snow rarely “sticks,” however, so sometimes the trails are a mix of mud and slush or even icy, but it’s a great time to hike or bike the 70-plus miles of beautiful trails through Mackinac Island.

Undoubtedly, the evenings and mornings will be cool so pack layers, hats, gloves and, as always, good shoes.

A chart of monthly snowfall totals on Michigan's Mackinac Island

GETTING TO MACKINAC ISLAND IN NOVEMBER

Many people don’t know that Mackinac Island is still accessible after the tourism season is over. There are two ways to get to Mackinac Island in November: on a ferry or in a plane.

Once you arrive, residents and visitors alike get around on Mackinac Island with bicycles, walking, horse-drawn taxis, wheelchairs, and mobility scooters.

Ferries to Mackinac Island

Taking a ferry is the most popular mode of transportation to and from Mackinac Island any time of the year. In the winter season, the ferry operates from the Mackinac Island Ferry Company out of St. Ignace, only.

The winter ferry runs on a limited schedule with the “slow” boat, the Mighty Huron, that takes about 45 minutes one way with no ice. The ferry runs as long as it can before the ice becomes to thick, usually in January or February.

Parking, ticket, and schedule information can be found on the Mackinac Island Ferry Company website.

Flying to Mackinac Island

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

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

 

 

  • You can also fly a private plane to Mackinac Island. Click here for more information about Mackinac Island Airport prices, details, and contacts.

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

Read this blog for more information regarding the closest and largest airports near Mackinac Island.

Ice floats in the water off Mackinac Island as seen from the bluffs high above

WHAT’S OPEN ON MACKINAC ISLAND IN NOVEMBER

Mackinac Island looks a lot different in November than the rest of the tourism season. There are only a handful of places open in November on Mackinac Island including a few places to stay, a few restaurants, the grocery store, hardware store, library, and trails.

Historic Sites: Fort Mackinac and the State Park Historic buildings are closed during the winter season. They will open again in May.

Outdoor Activities: Hiking and biking the 70-plus miles of trails is a popular activity in November. There are no bicycle rentals in the winter season so please bring your own bike if interested.

Horse-drawn carriage tours: Carriage tours do not run in the winter season. Mackinac Island’s horse-drawn taxis are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 906-847-3323.

Stores & Attractions: There are just a handful of stores open during the winter season. Generally, the stores that do open are open during the Christmas Bazaar, New Year’s Eve, or by appointment only. Mackinac Island shops with online shopping options are listed here. Attractions are closed during the winter season and reopen at the end of April or beginning of May.

Restaurants: There are a few downtown restaurants open during the winter season as well the grocery store, Doud’s Market.

Accommodations: There are a few places to stay on Mackinac Island in November. See the accommodations list on our winter page for more information.

A reminder that the only restrooms are at the lodging establishments, Mackinac Island Ferry Company Dock when the ferry is running, and the restaurants.

Please visit the Mackinac Island Winter Page to see more open dates and hours for different businesses in the winter.

Lighthouses in the water off Mackinac Island framed by leaves in fall color

ACTIVITIES & EVENTS ON MACKINAC ISLAND IN NOVEMBER

Mackinac Island in the winter is pretty quiet for visitors. There are local events such as bingo, trivia, and other activities hosted by the recreation department.

For Thanksgiving, there is an annual Turkey Trot that starts in downtown Mackinac Island and goes to Devil’s Kitchen and back. Entry is generally a canned good. This event is sponsored by Mackinac Island Ferry Company and Mustang Lounge.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MACKINAC ISLAND IN NOVEMBER

  • Mackinac Island in November is very different than the tourism season. Prepare for a quiet, cool stay during the off-season. If you’ve never visited Mackinac Island, we recommend making a trip during the main visitor season from May to October.
  • The ferry runs with Mackinac Island Ferry from St. Ignace only and the schedule is limited during the winter season.
  • Many Island businesses close their storefronts in the winter. However, you can shop their online stores here.
  • Snow is always a possibility in November. Expect cooler temperatures regardless and be sure to pack layers.

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