12 Things To Do At Mackinac Island For Your Beach Getaway

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a perfect holiday destination with scenic beauty, historic sites, and adventurous activities. Whether traveling solo or with friends, Mackinac islands has a lot to explore for every traveler.


Mackinac Island is in Lake Huron of Michigan state, and 80% of the island is Mackinac State Island Park. Hence, it has a thick forest cover and canopies. You can go hiking, horse riding, souvenir shopping, and delve into many adventures at Mackinac Beach Island. Since 1898, cars and motor vehicles have been banned on the island for horses' safety, and the ban continues. So, get ready to roam around in carriage tours or bike around the island.


Mackinac Island: A serene summer getaway


The island bustles with tourists during the summer months because summers at Mackinac Island are beautiful and cozy with optimal temperatures. Plan your visit during the summer months because Mackinac offers you cool mornings, relaxing afternoons, and comfortable nights. The Mackinac Island beach glasses glisten under the sun, and the ferry rides and the cold winds are a perfect combination for a summer vacation.


When to visit Mackinac islands


Mackinac Island is open for tourists from May to October. Generally, the weekends are crowded, but one can visit on weekdays to avoid busy streets. The island also hosts a 10-day lilac festival in June that includes parades, community events, and many more activities for visitors. Usually, winters are the off-season for tourists, but consider visiting for hiking or cross-country skiing. Book your accommodation well in advance to visit during winters because most resorts are closed.


12 Amazing Things to do at Mackinac Island


Mackinac Island is fascinating to admire and unwind. A day is enough to visit the island but consider staying for a weekend for a wholesome experience. With so many things to do on the island, you will need a Mackinac Island to-do list to enjoy your vacation. Here are twelve things to explore at Mackinac Island.


1. Start with a Ferry Ride



The trip to Mackinac Island starts with a ferry ride. Visitors need to board a ferry at St. Ignace or Mackinaw City. The ride is 20 minutes long and offers fantastic views of the island. Since cars and motorbikes or electric vehicles are not allowed on the island, everyone has to board a scenic ferry ride. The ferry rides pass through the Mackinac island bridge. The journey starts with the ferry and will end with a ferry ride.


2. Get on a Carriage tour


A carriage tour is a must to roam around the island. The horse carriages can take you to important locations and tourist spots. They also offer a two-hour narrated visit for the tourist where they can explore all the places on the island. The carriages are also available for a personal tour, where you can drive the carriage yourself and roam around at your pace.

Horse carriages exist in a variety of sizes. Visitors can schedule a carriage tour whenever they like, as the rides are available 24 hours.


3. A visit to the Grand Hotel


A visit to the Grand Hotel is a must if you want to experience the luxury of Mackinac Island. The Hotel is a historical landmark with its Victorian architecture and beautiful activities. It has been open to visitors since 1887 and is a proud member of Historic Hotels of America. There is a $10 entry fee for those not staying at the Hotel. You can enjoy an afternoon tea, a dress-themed dinner, and an orchestra at night. Other activities like golf playing and giant chess games are famous at the Hotel.

Famous personalities, including Mark Twain and Thomas Edison, have been guests at The Grand hotel.


4. Experience history at forts


The Mackinac fort and fort governor's summer residence are beautiful and rich in history. The Mackinac fort has a long history of battles, and the fort is known for its size and architecture. Visitors can see cannons fire at the fort, and if they reserve a ticket for cannons firing 48 hours in advance, they can even fire them. The fort is always bustling with exciting activities such as rifle firing, court-martial enactment, and dance performance with live musicians. 

A visit to the fort governor's house will make you reimagine people's lives at Mackinac island. The fort governor's home is listed on the United States national register of historic places. The house has a beautiful lawn and a mesmerizing arts and crafts structure.


5. Stand at the highest point on Mackinac Island


The stairway to Fort Holmes is the highest point on Mackinac Island, and Fort Holmes is a defense emplacement inside a fort. While it's not as big as Mackinac fort, Fort Holmes is worth visiting to watch 19th-century British-style forts. Fort Holmes is also a memorable wedding destination for young couples. 


6. Selfie at Arch rocks



The Arch rocks at Lake Huron shoreline are fascinating for their beauty and geologic formation, and arch rocks offer a rich view of the whole island. You can click amazing pictures and experience the beauty of Mackinac Island at Arch rocks. Arch rocks are visitors' selfie points for the magnificent aesthetic and natural geology. The Limestone Arch rock in the background can be a picture-perfect of Mackinac island.


7. Have some Fudge


Mackinac Island is known for its traditional fudge making, and the main street is lined up with fudge shops. Watching fudge-making is a popular attraction on the island. Have some delicious fudge and pack for friends back home.


8. Watch butterfly exhibits


The butterfly house at Mackinac Island has butterflies from four continents and exotic insects at Insect world. These beautiful species are spread over a tropical garden and are popular among tourists.


9. Hiking, biking, and horse-riding around the Island


Rent a bike for a day and roam around the island. With a bike, one can visit all the places on the island at their speed. The island has lush green forests and hills, making it suitable for hiking. The hiking experience is not exhausting because of its short distance. Horse-riding is a popular activity around the island. Tourists are not allowed to horse-ride on the main streets due to their inexperience, but a horse ride at Mackinac is worth the adventure.


10. A visit to the museum, park, and the beach


Mackinac island is as rich in history as its nature. The Mackinac military museum and art museum have some beautiful exhibits that tell the story of the island's history. The Biddle House at Mackinac island is one of the historical Native American museums found in the country. The discovery park and flower garden are a must-visit for their scenic beauty and booming flowers. Visitors can experience the lilac festival in June when lilacs are in full bloom.

The beach is not suitable for bathing because of the cold water, but you can always dip your legs and watch the sunset at the beach. The beach is one of the free activities on the island, and tourists even collect beach glasses as Mackinac island souvenirs. 


11. Enjoy Kayak Tours and Camps


The great turtle kayak tours are popular among visitors. Paddling throughout the Mackinac island beaches is an adventurous experience. Pack your essentials and enjoy the kayak tours on the island. The kayak tours offer a complete view of the island through the water. The Mackinac island forests are great for camping. Camps are available for visitors who want to experience the island thoroughly.


12. Explore the Island in Mackinac ways



Mackinac island is a unique destination because, except for motor vehicles, visitors can view and explore the island in many other ways. Explore the island by air, by water, by foot, and on a bike. Almost all the possible ways to view the island are available. 


How many days to stay at Mackinac Island?


A one-day complete trip to the island is enough to explore everything from Mackinac island beaches to historic forts. A two-day weekend trip offers a relaxing vacation to the visitors. Tourists can do almost all the activities and visit every place on the weekend. However, even a one-day trip is enough for a complete visit to the island.


To Conclude:

Mackinac Islands are perfect for a short and cozy vacation. It's like visiting a close-knit village that offers varied experiences and things to explore for its visitors. Around a million people visit the Mackinac island beaches every year, and tourists can do all the fantastic activities at a comfortable price. To plan your perfect vacation, visit leisure.com.

Tour Price

Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.

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