When to tip on Mackinac Island and how much

Here’s a tip: Of all the things that stand out on Mackinac Island, exceptional customer service is right there at the top of the list.

It’s natural for visitors to show gratitude to the workers who make their experience truly one of a kind. Yet, because Mackinac Island is so unique, you might come across situations during your visit where you’re unsure of the etiquette.

After all, it’s not every day that someone loads your luggage onto a ferry boat or drives you around in a horse-drawn carriage!

Infographic showing suggesting when to tip workers while visiting Mackinac Island and how much

Tipping on Mackinac Island: When, where and how much?

To give you a sense of when and where to tip for Mackinac Island’s high-quality service, here’s a general guide.

A Mackinac Island dock porter prepares to leave the ferry dock on a bicycle loaded down with several suitcases

Tips for luggage handling on Mackinac Island

Most Mackinac Island visitors arrive on a ferry boat that departs from the mainland in either St. Ignace or Mackinaw City, and the visitors who spend the night on Mackinac Island typically have luggage. It’s customary to tip workers at the dock a couple bucks per bag for tagging and loading your luggage onto the boat. Likewise, a couple bucks per bag on your return trip from Mackinac Island shows appreciation for taking good care of your luggage and loading it into your vehicle.

Depending on where you book your stay on Mackinac Island, a dock porter may pick up your luggage at the dock and transport it – by bicycle! – to your room. Dock porters on Mackinac Island add to the character of the place, so please support these hard workers by tipping $3 to $5 per bag each way – once for delivery to your room at the start of your visit and once for delivery back to the dock for your return trip to the mainland.

A hotel employee on Mackinac Island kneels to remove folded towels from a housekeeping cart in the hallway

Tips for housekeeping on Mackinac Island

If housekeeping staff has tidied your room during your stay on Mackinac Island, a tip of $5 to $10 per day is appreciated. A tip also may be given for any additional special requests that hotel staff handle satisfactorily during your stay.

A bartender places his hands on the counter while chatting with two guests inside a Mackinac Island restaurant

Tips for restaurant staff on Mackinac Island

Just as you would tip wait staff and bartenders at a sit-down restaurant off the island, you should tip 18% of your bill on Mackinac Island – and 20% or more for excellent service. For take-out food options including ice cream, Mackinac Island fudge and coffee, consider tipping servers and baristas a buck or two for friendly service.

A Mackinac Island horse-drawn carriage passes below Fort Mackinac with the trees in the background showing fall color

Tips for horse-drawn carriage drivers on Mackinac Island

Whether you’re taking a horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island or just catching a horse-drawn taxi for a ride down the street, tipping a few bucks per person is a fine way to express thanks for high-quality transportation service. The same holds for a bike shop worker who customizes your Mackinac Island bike rental, for example, or for a Mackinac Island kayak tour guide who shows you the finer points of paddling through the harbor.

You may have heard that tips are not accepted at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel. That’s no longer the case. While tipping is not expected in Grand Hotel’s on-site restaurants and lounges, guests are encouraged to reward resort staff for high-quality service. At Grand Hotel’s off-site restaurants including Woods Restaurant, The Jockey Club, Fort Mackinac Tea Room, The Gate House and the swimming pool bar, tipping is customary.


Share on Social
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top