Summer jobs on Mackinac Island: Why college students love them

You could work this summer as a golf shop attendant anywhere. Or you could work as a golf shop attendant at Mackinac Island’s historic Wawashkamo Golf Club, a 125-year-old course built on a battleground where British and American soldiers fought during the War of 1812.

You could work this summer as a retail associate. Or you could work as a retail associate in a unique Mackinac Island shop visited by people from all over the world.

You could work this summer as a driver. Or you could work as a driver who pilots a Mackinac Island horse-drawn carriage down the country’s only state highway that’s car-free.

There’s a lot of jobs you could do this summer. But there’s only one place you can have a summer job while living in the USA’s Best Summer Travel Destination  – an island where there are amazing views, where you can meet peers from around the world and where after hours you can play as hard as you work.

What College Students Say About Working on Mackinac Island

Elizabeth worked on Mackinac Island at a fudge shop and as a barista while she was a student at the University of Michigan. Here’s how she described her summer jobs:

“Working on the island is such a unique experience because you get to live where other people vacation. Sure, while you’re on the clock it doesn’t feel like a vacation, but you’re working with all of your friends that you live with, too, which makes it feel a lot less like work.

“Once you’re off work, you’re on an island! It’s so beautiful during the summer time. One of my favorite pastimes was hammocking in the woods of Mackinac Island State Park or along the beach with my friends, and the bar scene on Mackinac Island is super fun if you’re over 21. It’s impossible not to make friends. You’ll find yourself growing into who you are as you fall into friend groups that you didn’t see coming.” (Note that overnight hammocking or camping is not allowed on Mackinac Island.)

A summer job on Mackinac Island is less about what you’re doing than where you’re doing it. Christina could have worked at a Starbucks anywhere while she was a student at the University of Akron, but working at a Starbucks on Mackinac Island was like living in a paradise full of fudge, flowers and adventure. She loved sitting by the water after work and watching the boats with friends, or exploring Mackinac Island State Park.

“Mackinac Island is the best place to live and work because there is a wide variety of jobs and over 100 miles of trails to explore. You can never do enough adventuring while on Mackinac.”

After graduating from college, Hazel went to Mackinac Island with plans to work there until she found a “real job.” But she liked it so much that she stayed through the end of the season and came back the next year, too.

“Even if you’re alone there’s usually people you can strike up a conversation with and it’s always fun to learn about all the different people that find their way to Mackinac Island. No two nights are ever alike.”

Three young women smile for the camera on Mackinac Island's Main Street on a sunny day.

More Kinds of Summer Jobs on Mackinac Island

Although many seasonal jobs on Mackinac Island don’t start until April, May or even June, you shouldn’t wait until then to apply. Winter and early spring is when many Mackinac Island restaurants, hotels, shops and attractions are hiring.

Here’s a partial list of seasonal jobs that you can find on Mackinac Island:

A horse-drawn carriage tours Mackinac Island on a sunny day

How to Get a Seasonal Job on Mackinac Island

Seasonal jobs on Mackinac Island run from April or May through the end of the tourist season the last week of October, with college students filling many of them during the months they’re on summer break from school. In many cases, employers make shared dorm-style housing available and some also offer meal plans.

Every job is different, but they all come with the unique opportunity to experience summer on Mackinac Island. Seasonal jobs are full-time work, but there’s still plenty of time to explore Mackinac Island, and you get to meet tons of people about the same age. Seasonal workers also get discounts at many Mackinac Island attractions.

Search current Mackinac Island job openings here and apply today.

This Mackinac Island infographic outlines four steps to getting a seasonal job working on historic Mackinac Island.

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