Fall Color on Mackinac Island — and Spring and Summer, too

Each fall, when the days shorten and the air cools, Mackinac Island is ablaze in vibrant colors. Yellows, oranges and reds paint the bluffs and line the streets. The scene is absolutely gorgeous. Yet, fall color on Mackinac Island offers just a glimpse of the beautiful colors you can see all year long.

Not only are the maple trees on Mackinac Island gorgeous in the fall. So is the maple fudge in the spring. And the maple glazed salmon in the summer.

Have you seen the splendor of a Mackinac Island sunset? Or tasted Mackinac Island’s uniquely delicious beers and cocktails?

The Many Colors of Mackinac Island

There are all kinds of incredible colors throughout the year on Mackinac Island. Here’s how to make your next visit to Mackinac Island as colorful as possible.

A loaf of brown peanut butter fudge topped with chips and cut into slices of world-famous Mackinac Island fudge

World-Famous Mackinac Island Fudge

Before there was world-famous Mackinac Island fudge, there was maple sugar candy harvested from the syrup of the island’s maple trees. Victorian-era vacationers got hooked on that treat and tasty sweets became part of the Mackinac Island tourist experience. Fudge-making soon followed, and today there are a dozen fudge shops on the island that together make 10,000 pounds of fudge per day!

Of course, Mackinac Island fudge comes in chocolate brown. But you can find it in a wide variety of other colors, too: vanilla fudge is white, cherry fudge has a hint of red, butter pecan features a creamy shade, there’s an orangey hue in pumpkin fudge and cranberry fudge is pink. That’s just a small sampling of the many colors of fudge to taste on Mackinac Island!

How to get free fudge on Mackinac Island

A plate of tortilla chips topped with beef, tomatoes, onions and lettuce on Mackinac Island

Delicious Mackinac Island Meals

You can’t dine on fudge all day. Well, actually, you could, but then you wouldn’t be leaving room for dinner at any of Mackinac Island’s one-of-a-kind restaurants. The island’s restaurants all have tasty and colorful plates on the menus, too.

There’s appetizers such as duck pot stickers on red cabbage slaw with an orange gastrique at the Carriage House at Hotel Iroquois, for example. And entrees such as the Whitefish Beurre Blanc at the Pink Pony. Come explore all the glorious colors of food on Mackinac Island.

Michigan-themed food to try on Mackinac Island

View of Sunset over the water from Mackinac Island's Sunset Rock near the Inn at Stonecliffe

Mackinac Island Sunsets

It’s amazing how many different shades of how many different colors emerge during a Mackinac Island sunset – pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, purples and blues. No two sunsets are quite the same.

After enjoying a colorful meal at the Cudahy Chophouse, for example, you can stroll through the Grotto – a popular Mackinac Island wedding spot with reflecting pond and fountain – and on to the majestic Sunset Rock. But anywhere on the island with a view to the west presents a striking photo op.

Another popular place to watch sunsets is in the Cupola Bar atop Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel, sipping on a favorite beverage while admiring the strokes of Mother Nature’s paintbrush. And you can soak in the colors of the setting sun on board a Mackinac Island Sip ‘n Sail Cruise on the Isle Royale Queen III, too. From the deck of the ship you can listen to live music as you sail under the mighty Mackinac Bridge and watch the sun slip beneath the waters on the horizon.

A hand holding a tulip glass of dark, foamy beer in a Mackinac Island bar

Mackinac Island Drinks

Who’s up for a pub crawl? One good thing about drinking on Mackinac Island is that the place is car-free, so no worries there. Another good thing is that there’s a density of restaurants and bars not found many other places – and they’re all within walking distance of each other.

No wonder there are more liquor sales per capita on Mackinac Island than in any other county in Michigan!

At Mary’s Bistro Draught House, for example, there are 50 beers on tap – each with their own unique color. How about a Bellaire Brown from Short’s Brewing, a Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing, a Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales or a Cannonball Gold from Arcadia Ales? You can even get a Pabst Blue Ribbon 😊

Where to get a drink on Mackinac Island

Fall color surrounds Ste. Anne's Church on Mackinac Island

Fall Color Tour on Mackinac Island

Of course, fall color is always a favorite on Mackinac Island. Leaves in northern Michigan typically start changing around the last week of September and reach peak color during the first couple weeks of October.

Because Mackinac Island is car free, a fall color tour on Mackinac Island makes for a unique experience. Have you ever seen fall colors by horse and buggy? From the water in a kayak? From the air in a plane? You can also enjoy fall colors by bike, pedaling all the way around Mackinac Island with dazzling blue water on one side and leaves ablaze on the other. Or, hike right through the forested middle of the island on some of the 70-plus miles of trails.

6 awesome ways to take a fall color tour on Mackinac Island

Infographic showing Favorite Fall Views on Mackinac Island including Point Lookout, Tranquil Bluff Trail and others


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