Winter on Mackinac Island: 4 reasons to visit

Mackinac Island is one of America’s favorite summer travel destinations. But did you know it’s also one of the country’s best Christmas towns?

Although peak tourist season ended in October, there are plenty of great reasons to visit Mackinac in the offseason:

  • You can get into the holiday spirit with the island’s annual tree lighting and Christmas bazaar. The old-fashioned festivities are among the reasons HGTV named Mackinac Island one of the Top 10 Christmas Towns in America. This year’s tree lighting is Friday, Nov. 30, right on Main Street with Christmas carols and plenty of holiday cheer.Star Line, now known as Mackinac Island Ferry Company is adding a 6 p.m. boat on Nov. 30 so you can enjoy the tree lighting. The bazaar runs Saturday, Dec. 1, through Monday, Dec. 3, and raises money for the island’s churches and medical center.


  • You can ring in the New Year with parties on Mackinac at downtown bars and restaurants. Since New Year’s Eve falls on a Monday this year and New Year’s Day is on a Tuesday, you can make the celebration into a 4-day weekend of winter fun and start 2019 like you’ve never started any year before.


  • Michigan’s not known as the Winter Wonderland for nothing. Just like we embrace the splendor of summer and the stunning beauty of fall on Mackinac, we make the most of the cold and snow. You can join us February 2-3, 2019 for a Mackinac Island Winter Festival full of sledding, snow golf, broom hockey, a bonfire cookout and more! Or come up any winter weekend and enjoy the island’s scenic cross-country ski trails.


  • You can go green on Mackinac during the annual Patrick’s Day Weekend from March 15-17, 2019, with snow volleyball, a street hockey tournament and a dinner to raise money for Ste. Anne’s Church. You could maybe even win a little cash for yourself in a raffle drawing with a $5,000 first prize!

Ferry service to Mackinac concluded its peak-season schedule of daily trips at the end of October, but you can still catch a boat here out of St. Ignace onStar Line, now known as Mackinac Island Ferry Company most every day of the week.

A few restaurants are still open on Mackinac and a handful of lodging facilities will keep taking reservations through December, while some places remain open all winter. But rooms are limited and fill quickly, so it’s best to call now for reservations.

Here’s a look at the places you can stay on Mackinac this winter and when they’re open

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