What’s so special about Mackinac Island?

Alright, so you’ve never been to Mackinac Island. Maybe you don’t even know where Mackinac Island is. But all you keep hearing is that Mackinac Island is the place to be. It is…

Those are just some of the many awards and accolades for Mackinac Island!

A graphic showing a list of Mackinac Island awards and accolades

But why is Mackinac Island such a celebrated place? You’ll have to come here yourself to really understand. Until then, here’s a glimpse of just 5 things that make Mackinac Island so special:

A couple relaxes in Adirondack chairs on the Mackinac Island beach in front of Mission Point Resort

Clip-Clop Pace of Life on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island has been car-free for more than a century. That translates into a slower pace. The island isn’t the kind of place where your vacation is held hostage by the clock. Instead, it has the feeling of being timeless. There’s no hurry here. You can just relax.

Great Ways to Unplug and Relax on Mackinac Island

A woman pedals a bicycle down Mackinac Island's Main Street in front of a horse-drawn carriage

Bicycles on Mackinac Island

With no cars to get around, Mackinac Island residents and visitors alike pedal bicycles to get from place to place. In fact, there are more bicycles per capita on Mackinac Island than anywhere else in the world! Many people enjoy a leisurely 8.2-mile ride around the outer rim of Mackinac Island on M-185, the only state highway in the country that prohibits motor vehicles. Here’s how much it costs to rent bikes on Mackinac Island. You can also bring your own bike on the ferry boat to Mackinac Island.

Bringing your own bike vs. renting a bike on Mackinac Island

A horse-drawn taxi clops down a Mackinac Island street with cottages in the background

Horses on Mackinac Island

In addition to bicycles, horse-drawn carriages are another popular way of getting around on Mackinac Island. Instead of the roar of 120-horsepower car engines, the island air is filled with the gentle clip-clop of actual horses. Here’s how much it costs to ride horses on Mackinac Island. And here’s the lowdown on the popular horse-drawn carriage tours of Mackinac Island.

10 things to know about horses on Mackinac Island

Cannon Firing from Fort Mackinac – Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Mackinac Island History

Not only does Mackinac Island sound like a place out of the past, it is home to historic Fort Mackinac and several other Michigan State Historic Parks attractions. The British built Fort Mackinac on the island’s bluffs high above the Straits of Mackinac. It was a pivotal point of control in the Great Lakes fur trade of the 18th and early 19th centuries and the site of the Battle of Mackinac during the War of 1812. Check out these fascinating things to do on Mackinac Island for history buffs.

A look at Mackinac Island history through the centuries

A young couple samples fudge in a Mackinac Island fudge shop

Mackinac Island Fudge

World-famous Mackinac Island fudge has quite a history of its own. And that history is alive and well, because literally tons of fudge still gets made on the island each day! You can watch fudgemaking demonstrations at many of the island’s 13 fudge shops and taste free samples of Mackinac Island fudge, the tasty treat that has attracted so many “fudgies” to northern Michigan through the generations.

Order world-famous Mackinac Island fudge online

Those are just a handful of things that make up the quintessential Mackinac Island experience. We haven’t even mentioned ferry boat rides to Mackinac Island, the extraordinary Mackinac Island restaurants and places to stay (no chain hotels on Mackinac Island!), the beautiful Mackinac Island State Park that makes up more than 80% of the island or the iconic Mackinac Island rock formations and landmarks that each have their own unique story.

That’s all just the beginning of what makes Mackinac Island amazing. Experience the island for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.


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