Spring Break may still be fresh in your mind, but if you look ahead you’ll see that summer vacation isn’t far off. Soon, thousands of families will start having fun on Mackinac Island, enjoying a break away from the hustle and bustle of the school year.
Now is the time to make plans for you and your kids to join the fun and get ready for everything Mackinac has to offer. Of course, even if you stayed the whole summer you couldn’t experience everything there is to do. But you can certainly get a taste of the island during a long weekend or weeklong visit.
Check out the ideas in this sample 4-day itinerary and you’ll be sure to find something that suits everyone in your family. Here are a few highlights, and a few things to keep in mind:
- Weather – Summers on Mackinac Island feature beautiful, cool mornings and warm afternoons with comfortable humidity. You’ll find high temps in the 70s from June through August, with a pleasant transition to fall beginning in September when temps average in the mid-60s.
- Getting here – If you didn’t already know, you can’t take the world-famous Mackinac Bridge to Mackinac Island. That’s because the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere – which connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas – doesn’t go the island. In fact, no roads do. Motor vehicles aren’t allowed on Mackinac. You get to take a ferry (or fly a small plane) here instead. Two ferry companies depart from either Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or from St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula, with a regular schedule of crossings starting in late April and continuing through October.
- Getting around the island – The 8.2-mile loop around the perimeter of Mackinac Island is the only state highway in the country that doesn’t allow motor vehicles. But, no worries, it’s easy to make your way around Mackinac by foot or bicycle. You can take your own bicycle to the island for an additional ferry fee or rent one in town once you arrive. Carriage tours and self-guided horseback rides also are popular ways to traverse the island’s more than 70 miles of trails.
- Activities – If you like your vacations full of activity, then Mackinac Island has lots to offer. You can explore the island’s hidden caves and sites by hiking, biking or horseback. There are two golf courses including a 120-year-old links on a field where British and Americans fought in the 1814 Battle of Mackinac. There are several museums and cool historic sites like Fort Mackinac. And, of course, there’s a ton to do on the water like kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, parasailing and more. This is an island after all!
- Leisure – If you’re looking for a vacation full of relaxation, then Mackinac’s 19th-century pace is perfect. You can lounge the day away by the pool, listening to the clip-clop of horse hooves and letting the northern Michigan summer wash over you. You can stroll out to see the iconic Arch Rock, visit the island’s many butterfly houses and tour the island in a horse-drawn carriage or on a sunset cruise. Downtown, you can play with the kids at Marquette Park, browse unique shops and sample great restaurants. Finish the day – every day – with some world-famous Mackinac Island fudge.
- Where to stay – Mackinac has more than 1,500 rooms available in a variety of settings including resorts, hotels, B&Bs, condos, cottages and homes. You won’t find any franchise lodging chains on the island. Each place to stay is a one-of-a-kind property that offers a unique experience of Mackinac. Find your accommodations and book your stay here.