Outdoor Activities on Mackinac Island

Published on August 25th, 2021

With over 70 miles of trails and 80% of the Island being State Park, it’s safe to say Mackinac Island is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. From hiking and biking to water excursions and horseback riding, Mackinac Island is full of adventure and just waiting to be explored.

The best part about being on Mackinac Island is slowing down and enjoying the sights and sounds. But if you’re looking for more, listed below are some ideas for an outdoor-based trip to Mackinac Island. Be sure to visit our Tourism Booth on Main Street and grab yourself a map and Visitor’s Guide and get all the information you need to venture off for a day (or multiple days!) of fun!

Biking on Mackinac IslandMany visitors ride bikes all the way around Mackinac Island on M-185 or pedal to historic landmarks in the state park.

Grab a Mackinac Island map, a cold bottle of water, and snacks for the road as you set out on a journey. Explore interior trails along the bluffs and venture to the highest point of Mackinac Island, Fort Holmes. Or ride the 8.2-mile perimeter road, M-185, on the only car-less highway in the U.S. Be sure to check out significant landmarks and rock formations along the way. You can rent multi-speed bikes, tandems, tag-alongs, and buggies from several Mackinac Island bike shops.

Mackinac Island Water Excursions

Enjoy an adventure on the water with a unique water sport activity. Choose from kayaking with the sunrise, snorkeling to rock caves by Arch Rock, parasailing on the Straits of Mackinac, sailing with a sailboat charter, taking a sunset cruise to the Mackinac Bridge, or riding on a Pirate Ship in Lake Huron.Round Island Lighthouse is one of many sights to see on a Mackinac Island paddling trip with Great Turtle Kayak Tours.

Native American Cultural Trail on Mackinac Island

Run, walk or bike the perimeter road, M-185, and stop along the Native American Cultural History Trail to read about Mackinac Island history. There are six panels along the road that circles the island.

Carriage Tours & Horseback Riding on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours and Gough Livery offer private horse-drawn tours of the island. This charge-by-the-hour tour is narrated by a knowledgeable driver who will share the sites and tell the history of Mackinac Island. Try your hand at Drive-Your-Own Carriages at Jack’s Livery. Here, horses know the route and you hold the reins. Or take a saddle ride with Cindy’s and Jack’s Riding Stables and horseback tours into the state park. Go on a guided tour through wooded trails and enjoy seeing Mackinac Island from your saddle.

Mackinac Island Botanical Nature Trail

Weaving along the Arch Rock Bicycle Trail, the Mackinac Island Botanical Trail features seven turnouts with plantings and interpretive signs about the floral life on Mackinac Island. Benches are also scattered along the trail to allow visitors to sit and reflect on the natural beauty around them.

Geological Formations and Landmarks on Mackinac Island

Bike and hike to the Island’s unique geological rock formations and well-known landmarks. Visit natural features such as Arch Rock, Sugar loaf, Crack-in-the Island, and multiple caves. Or explore historic landmarks like British Landing, Fort Holmes, and Wawashkamo Golf Course.

British Landing Nature Center on Mackinac Island

At the opposite end of Mackinac Island sits British Landing. This is the original place that the British landed and climbed Outdoor activities on Mackinac Island include hiking, biking, birding, boating, horseback riding, geocaching and more.to what is now known as Fort Holmes and overtook Fort Mackinac. It’s about the halfway point around the perimeter of Mackinac Island and features historical markers, food and drinks from Cannonball Oasis, and the British Landing Nature Center. Here you can learn about the plants and animals that call Mackinac Island home.

Birding on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is home to an abundance of birds and a bird migration hotspot. Whether you are new to birding or a seasoned birder, you’ll have a great time looking for feathered friends. You can find more information on our birding blog!

Sports on Mackinac Island

From baseball and golf to stone-skipping and croquet, there’s a wide variety of sports to enjoy on Mackinac Island. Explore the local park and baseball diamond, try your shot at the country’s oldest operating duckpin bowling alley, or putt-putt golf along Lake Huron. If you’re a sports junkie, this blog post is for you!

Geocaching on Mackinac Island

Exercise your mind and your body and geocache on Mackinac Island! With more than 100 geocaches on Mackinac Island, it’s one of the most concentrated areas for caches in Michigan. Explore trails and places you’ve never been to and discover the treasures hidden all around you!


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