Mackinac Island in September

Spring is called pre-season, summer is peak season, and fall can be described as the perfect season on Mackinac Island.

In September, Mackinac Island transforms into a tranquil paradise, where the fading warmth of summer meets the crisp anticipation of autumn. September offers a unique experience as the summer crowds, especially families, begin to dwindle after Labor Day and the island’s charm is accentuated by the changing seasons.

Nearly all Mackinac Island businesses remain open through September and the streets that were once bustling with tourists now take on a more relaxed pace, making it a perfect time for those seeking a quieter and more intimate island experience.

Great ways to unplug and relax on Mackinac Island

An American flag flies out front of a stately Mackinac Island cottage with gorgeous landscaping on a sunny day

WEATHER ON MACKINAC ISLAND IN SEPTEMBER

In September, Mackinac Island weather transitions from summer to early fall, offering a pleasant and comfortable climate. The weather tends to range from daytime highs of 66 degrees to nighttime lows of 50 degrees. Warm days are common and enjoyable but cooler evenings warrant layers of clothing as the sun fades into the horizon of Lake Huron.

Although it begins to feel like Autumn, the leaves don’t generally change on Mackinac Island until early October. However, September is a wonderful opportunity to savor the last remnants of summer while embracing the beginning of the enchanting fall season.

What fall weather is like on Mackinac Island

Three bicyclists wearing helmets pedal down a paved trail through the woods on Mackinac Island.

GETTING TO MACKINAC ISLAND IN SEPTEMBER

Mackinac Island is known for historic charm and stunning landscapes, but perhaps the most notable feature is the ban on motor vehicles. Since you will leave your vehicle behind, there are 3 ways to get to Mackinac Island in September: public ferry, personal boat, or airplane. Once on the Island, residents and visitors alike get around by 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 in September.

Two ferry companies, Mackinac Island Ferry Company and Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, both operate out of two port cities on the mainland: Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The ferry schedule varies depending on the day. September sees a change from the summer ferry schedule, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the departure and return times for prospective dates.

Round-trip tickets are around $35 for adults and $25 for children, with a nominal fee for bicycles, burleys, and wagons. The ferry ride to the island takes around 20 minutes. Parking and ticket information can be found on the respective ferry websites.

Personal Boat to Mackinac Island

Bring your personal boat to Mackinac Island. Docking is available at the Mackinac Island State Park Harbor or 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: 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.

  • 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.

 

  • North Country Aviation is another way to get to Mackinac Island and offers chartered flights from nearby airports and around the country.

 

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

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.

What to do with your car when visiting Mackinac Island

Two unoccupied bicycles stand parked on the side of a Mackinac Island road along the water

WHAT’S OPEN ON MACKINAC ISLAND IN SEPTEMBER

September on Mackinac Island is still peak tourist season so almost all businesses remain open, although they may have slightly reduced hours or season closures. A handful of outdoor dependent restaurants and attractions generally close their doors after Labor Day. However, there are many other great options to choose from while visiting the Island.

Fort Mackinac, Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, fudge shops, and retail stores remain open in September. The end of October is when most businesses close their doors for the season.

  • Historic Sites on Mackinac Island: Fort Mackinac, Fort Holmes, the Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Museum, and Biddle House and Native American Museum remain open through September with limited hours after Labor day.

 

  • Outdoor Activities on Mackinac Island: The weather in September is pleasant, making it a great time for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, golf, and water activities. The island has several trails and natural areas to explore.

 

  • Horse-drawn carriage tours of Mackinac Island: Carriage tours continue through October but begin to have limited hours for both public tours and private tours. Get your carriage tickets early in the afternoon to ensure your spot for this beloved attraction.

 

  • Shopping on Mackinac Island: Mackinac Island shops offer a variety of gifts, clothing, souvenirs, fudge, and more! Shops generally open around 9 a.m. and stay open through the last ferry.

 

  • Restaurants on Mackinac Island: A handful of outdoor-only restaurants begin to close in September while the majority of places to eat stay open through October. Some restaurants may have earlier closing hours, however. There is almost always live music and a late night menu at three or four restaurants and bars on any given night.

 

  • Accommodations on Mackinac Island: Lodging on Mackinac Island begins to close at the end of October. September generally sees more budget friendly rates and less bookings, making it an ideal time to spend the night on Mackinac Island.

People walk downhill on a Mackinac Island street overlooking downtown and the water beyond

ACTIVITIES & EVENTS ON MACKINAC ISLAND IN SEPTEMBER

September features the Mackinac Island 8 Mile, one of four foot races on Mackinac Island each year. This 8-mile race goes around the entirety of Mackinac Island and features stunning views of Lake Huron, the Mackinac Bridge, and Mackinac State Park.

Daily events such as live music, trivia, kayak excursions, and cruises continue throughout September. The daily events schedule on Mackinac Island can be viewed online or in the Tourism Bureau booth window located at 7274 Main St. in downtown Mackinac Island.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MACKINAC ISLAND IN SEPTEMBER

  • The weather begins to shift from summer to fall. Bringing layers of clothing is extra important!
  • Most businesses remain open through October. However, a handful that are outdoor based will close after Labor Day.
  • After Labor Day, the crowds get smaller and the Island takes on a calmer pace from the bustle of summer.
  • Lodging is more likely to be discounted on weekdays or later in the month.

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