Mackinac Island is a magical place to visit any time of year.
I’ve been in the spring, summer, and fall.
If you’re from Michigan or the Midwest, chances are you’ve been there or at least heard of it. It’s not all horse manure and fudge, I assure you. Though, that does seem to be the fragrance of the island.
There is a timelessness that is preserved by the lack of cars (only horse, carriage and bike transportation are allowed on the Island) and laid back lifestyle. This is one of the only places in the world that I visit annually, and it is a tradition I would like to continue. I have never not had a good time here, even in sideways rain and 30 degree weather. (But hey, that’s Michigan for ya.)
When you first get off the ferry from Mackinac City to Mackinac Island, you’ll find yourself on the Main Street of the island. It’s kind of a tourist trap; tons of shops, fudge, bars, food, etc. But take a bike around the island or hike into the center of the island, and you’ll find yourself on a bit of an adventure.
The best trips I have ever had on Mackinac have always been when I immersed myself in nature. There is so much to explore, no matter how many times I find myself traipsing the island, I always find something new to do.
Read on for my top tips for visiting the island in style.
Places to Stay
Stone Cliff is the place you want to stay if you want to get away from it all.
This hotel is a bit on the pricier end. But totally worth it. Think: taking a carriage ride to the middle of the woods, sweeping views of Lake Huron, surrounded by luxury.
I’ve had the opportunity to stay here twice and I have loved it both times.
If you want to be smack dab in the middle of the action, it’s The Chippewa.
Located right on Main Street and conveniently connected to the Pink Pony, it is a great spot for play. The hotel even has an outdoor hot tub right next to the bar so you can grab one of their famous Bloody Marys and drink it while you look out to Lake Huron or gaze up at the stars. Plus, the rooms are super cute and cozy.
Places to Dine
There weren’t a ton of options for vegans on Mackinac Island. They need to get with it. But what can you expect from Northern Michigan?
- Sushi Grand – This upscale sushi restaurant has some amazing vegan rolls.
- Woods (A Grand Hotel Restaurant) – Not only is dining at the restaurant a magical experience because you feel like you’ve just stumbled into Little Red Riding Hood, but the food is fab. The last time I was there the chef made me a special plate full of all the vegan fare on the menu. It was super accommodating.
- Doud’s Market – for vegan takeaway and random grocery store finds, this is your place.
- Island Slice Pizzeria – If you’re looking for fast and vegan (and pizza), this place is your go-to.
- Mary’s Bistro & Draught House – I ordered a tasty black bean and quinoa burger here.
Ways to Explore
- Rent a bike at one of the myriad bike rentals available and follow the road around the island. My husband and I rented a tandem this past weekend and we had a ton of fun.
- Check out Main Street. There are so many cute little stores to wander through. I especially love Caddywampus, The Island Bookstore and Little Luxuries. I purchased a vegan wallet at Little Luxuries that I have been loving.
- Go for a hike! Seriously. It’s pretty hard to get lost, so anywhere you end up, is where you’re meant to be.
- Have a drink THEN wander around. Is drunk hiking a thing? It should be (as long as no cliffs are involved). My husband and I may or may not have engaged in this particular activity our last time on M.I.
- Have a picnic. Depending on the time of year, visit one of Mackinac Island’s many parks. Get takeaway from Doud’s and relax on the lawn. Or bundle up and share a bottle of wine with friends and gaze at the changing leaves. Bring a book. Swing on the swings. Just enjoy your life, man. You’re on vacation.
- Go back in time. Visit one of the many historical sites, such as Fort Mackinac.
- Visit the Butterfly House and connect with our colorful, winged friends.
- Hike to Arch Rock.
- Stroll the porch at The Grand Hotel. Then, maybe have a fancy cocktail afterward (or two).
- Take in the view from Fort Holmes. The lesser known fort on Mackinac just may boast the most gorgeous view of all. It’s worth the hike/bike up the hill.
No matter what you do on Mackinac Island, you’re sure to have a fantastic time.
I hope my suggestions were helpful!
Until next time,