Working on Mackinac Island: 4 job tips

Got plans this summer? You could spend it on the No. 1 Best Island in the Continental U.S. and meet people from all over the world while making money at the same time.

Hundreds of college students and others age 18 and up come to Mackinac Island each summer for seasonal jobs as coffee shop baristas, clothing store associates, museum clerks or bike shop staff – kinds of work you might do anywhere. Many others come to America’s hottest summer destination for seasonal jobs that are a bit more extraordinary – horse barn help, airport aide, fudge maker and historical interpreter at Fort Mackinac.

Either way, working on Mackinac Island is a unique experience that brings an opportunity to spend your summer in one of the world’s most beautiful and relaxing places.

Everyone has fun on Mackinac Island after hours. (More on that below.) But it takes certain traits to be successful on the job.

Here are 4 things you must do to thrive in a seasonal job on Mackinac Island

Historical Actor in Costume – Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Be willing to work hard on Mackinac Island

It’s not easy to become one of the Most Tourist-Friendly Cities in the country, but that’s what Mackinac Island is thanks to countless seasonal employees who give it their all day in and day out.

Be able to work flexible hours on Mackinac Island

Travelers don’t just vacation from 9 to 5. They enjoy Mackinac Island from sunup to sundown, and then some. Being able to work a variety of shifts is necessary, and it’ll give you a well-rounded experience of Mackinac Island, too. With your free time coming at different times, each day opens your eyes to something that you’ve never seen or done before.

Why college students love working on Mackinac Island

Bartender Serving Customers – Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Be capable of working well under stress on Mackinac Island

Even though Mackinac Island has a laid-back and relaxed vibe for visitors, it’s a fast-paced environment for workers. Strong customer service skills are a must whether you work as a dockporter on Mackinac Island, a bartender or a livery driver. And you need to be able to work well with guests even when the job gets a little crazy.

Q&A with a Fort Mackinac interpretive soldier

Be ready to apply now for a job on Mackinac Island

Prime tourist season on Mackinac Island starts ramping up in late April, and many seasonal workers arrive for jobs starting in mid-May. But don’t wait until then to apply. Most seasonal jobs are filled long before May. Explore Mackinac Island job openings here and get your application in now.

While there are unique challenges to working on Mackinac Island, there also are unique perks to the job. For one, no matter what job you get you’ll have an easy, walkable commute. There are no traffic jams because Mackinac Island is car-free! Plus, many Mackinac Island businesses make shared dorm-style housing available to employees, so you’ll meet tons of other people your same age. And you get discounts at many Mackinac Island attractions when you’re off work.

7 reasons to work a seasonal job on Mackinac Island

Speaking of having fun after hours, you get to live where other people can only go on vacation. If your style is to string a hammock between two trees and hear the surf rolling up to the shore, Mackinac Island is full of breathtaking hammocking spots to do just that. (Note that overnight hammocking is not allowed on Mackinac Island.) If you’re all about Mackinac Island nightlife, there’s a lively bar scene on summer nights with new visitors arriving every week. And if you’re up for adventure, then Mackinac Island offers ample opportunity to explore by hiking, biking, paddling or horseback riding. Over 80% of Mackinac Island is state park with more than 70 miles of trails.

How to get a seasonal job on Mackinac Island

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

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