Where to run and hide (from the kids) on Mackinac Island

Need a break? Mackinac Island is a great place to get away for a bit, no matter what kind of getaway you enjoy. It’s one of the country’s most tourist-friendly cities, one of the best little beach towns and it’s USA Today’s Best Summer Travel Destination.

Mackinac Island also happens to be one of the World’s 15 Most Romantic Island Getaways For Couples! It’s ranked right alongside St. Lucia, Santorini, Bali and Seychelles!

Maybe it’s time for you two to experience a blissful getaway to Mackinac Island. To help you figure out what to do while you’re on the island, check out this sample 3-day itinerary for couples. (And if you really want to take the kids along, check out the Mackinac Island itinerary for families here.)

Two people ride bicycles down a Mackinac Island street on a sunny summer day

Day 1 for Couples on Mackinac Island

Board a Mackinac Island ferry boat and make your way over from the mainland. Or, charter a flight to Mackinac Island and travel by air. The flight from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island Airport takes just 7 minutes!

From wherever you’re starting, you can use this Mackinac Island travel planner to figure out your best way of getting to the island.

Once you arrive, let Mackinac Island dock porters whisk your bags away to whichever charming place you’re staying and then…you’re free!

Mackinac Island offers four square-miles for you to explore. But where to start?

If you’re looking for adventure, you can rent bikes on Mackinac Island from any number of vendors and head off wherever the Great Lakes breeze takes you. More than 80% of Mackinac Island is a state park and it’s full of photogenic landmarks including the iconic Arch Rock and the towering Sugar Loaf. The road around the outer rim of Mackinac Island is 8.2 miles if you go all the way around, and it’s mostly flat with breathtaking views. Here’s a map to help you find your way.

Do you want to immerse yourself in the slower pace of life on Mackinac Island? Then order up a horse-drawn carriage tour and explore the island at clip-clop speed. You can get the lay of the land and appreciate the charming architecture of downtown Mackinac Island and the gorgeous, old summer cottages around the island.

Are you a fudgie? Islanders call every visitor a fudgie because of an insatiable appetite for world-famous Mackinac Island fudge. You can stroll through the unique shops downtown, including 13 different fudge shops where you can watch fudge-making demonstrations and taste free samples. Which flavor will be your favorite? If you’re a foodie, too, then you’ll appreciate culinary offerings that go far beyond fudge. From casual waterfront bistros to elegant fine dining experiences, Mackinac Island has a diverse menu of restaurants – each with its own unique island flair.

Couple Watching Sunset in Kayaks – Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Day 2 for Couples on Mackinac Island

Wake up with the sun and get into Mackinac Island’s waters for a sunrise kayak paddle, giving you a different perspective on Michigan’s most famous island as it awakens to a new day. Or, if the flight to the island was too brief, book an airplane tour of the Straits of Mackinac and see the island and the magnificent Mackinac Bridge from above.

For a morning that’s more down to earth, visit one of Mackinac Island’s delightful butterfly houses where scores of beautiful insects flutter all around you. Or take a walk to the “Somewhere in Time” Gazebo featured in the 1979 cult classic starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.

You can laze away the afternoon in one of Mackinac Island’s relaxing spas, string a hammock between two trees in Mackinac Island State Park along the shore (a reminder, overnight hammocking is not allowed on Mackinac Island), or mosey through one of Mackinac Island’s extraordinary cultural attractions such as the Governor’s Summer Residence, the Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum or, of course, historic Fort Mackinac with daily reenactments of life from the 1880s.

Later, get a taste of Mackinac Island nightlife with a pub crawl from one end of town to the other or enjoy the zany side of downtown at the Haunted Theatre and Maze of Mirrors. For a more intimate evening, hike up to Fort Holmes for a picnic and stargazing from the highest point on the island.

Couple Sitting in Adirondack Chairs – Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Day 3 for Couples on Mackinac Island

If you still have the energy, there are more than 70 miles of trails through the middle of Mackinac Island for biking, hiking, horseback riding or running. But it’s perfectly okay to spend the day sitting in an Adirondack chair and sipping a favorite beverage. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and exercise your freedom to relax in peace. You’ve earned it.

If you’re up for it, stop by the Grand Hotel for afternoon tea and check out the world’s longest porch, or stroll over to Mission Point Resort for a beverage and a fun, little round on the golf putting course that’s right along the water on the natural grass Greens of Mackinac. Downtown you could sample a fudge flavor you didn’t get to try yet, browse the distinctive Mackinac Island shops or check out one or two more of the dozens of restaurants that each offer their own extraordinary experience.

Want more ideas? Discover all there is to Eat, See and Do on Mackinac Island and find a place to stay, too.

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