Mackinac Island is located in Northern Michigan in the United States. The island is a unique place with a magical charm. Cars and motor vehicles are banned on the island, which makes things rather interesting. Tell me, what do you LOVE about Mackinac Island?
Love – Bicycles
There really are no cars on the island. We all get around by foot, bike, horse and carriages. If you come, no you can’t bring your car and yes, you have to leave it on the other side.
Might as well make the best of it and rent a tandem to go around the island. I mean, why not?
It’s really fun though, kind of takes you back to the good ol days as a child when your bicycle was your first form of transportation.
Bikes on Mackinac Island
Hate – Crowds
The island has grown immensely in popularity and has become a very hot tourist spot. During peak season or any weekend mid-summer the downtown streets are flooded with people. The biggest issue is people confusing the island with Disneyland and walking down the middle of the street! They aren’t even phased by the two-ton horses coming straight at them.
Plus it can be dangerous when people are so careless and oblivious. This is a living, breathing city – even without cars the street is still for bicycles and carriages.
Barely crowded street during a rainbow
Love – Carriages
Which brings me to our other most common activity – carriage rides! You should ride one. Whether it’s a taxi to dinner or a tour of the island, going by carriage is the most hands-off.
All the carriage horses have names and homes on the island. If you want to see some horses up close, go by the stables. Please don’t be touching and kissing on the horses on the street, they’re not pets. Imagine if hundreds of people were in your face all day and all you were here for was to work. You would be antsy too.
Horse carriage on Mackinac Island
Hate – Poop
Horses poop. Yes, they do! And the Mackinac Island horses aren’t potty trained, so of course they are going to poop in the street. There are employees who’s job is dedicated to cleaning the streets and sweeping up the horse litter as fast as possible. Even with all their hard work and effort, you will still see some poop scatters here and there. It stinks, get used to it.
Love – Sunsets
Man are they amazing! Being that we’re on island, some parts of the island have great visibility. From the Mackinac Bridge in the West where the sun sets, all the way over to Canada on the East; the sun reflects off the water just magically.
Sunset over Grand Hotel’s Tulip Garden
Hate – Hills
Just like most islands, Mackinac Island is a big giant hill in the middle of the lake. So going towards the interior or top of the island will call for climbing some hills. The steepest hills are by Grand Hotel, Fort Mackinac and the East Bluff. There isn’t a short cut – don’t even ask!
At the top of Fort Hill looking towards town
Love – Water
The Great Lakes are incredible. Specifically, Lake Huron where Mackinac Island is located. The fresh water is crystal clear and on any given day you can see straight to the bottom. It’s clean refreshing… but not that warm. With the great depth of the lake and the winter months, the water just doesn’t get enough sunlight to warm up.
Geese in Lake Huron at sunset
Hate – Rain
Rainy days here are the pits! Majority of the island is outdoors. On rainy days it’s inevitable, you’re going to get wet! If you’re riding bike and it doesn’t have fenders, you’ll also get poop/mud splattered all up your back side. Pack a poncho or bring an umbrella if you’re walking.
Love – Beauty
The natural beauty of Mackinac Island is just magnificent. It is such a unique place that at any given moment, you can stop right in your tracks and marvel at all that surrounds you. From the giant trees deep in the woods, to the cliff-side lookouts and the bike ride along the beach. The slower pace of the island really allows you to take it all in!
Hate – Cost
The island can be pretty pricey. There are only two ways to get to the island – boat or plane. A ferry ride costs about $26 per person for a round-trip ticket. Flying across from St. Ignace is $40 one-way. From there, it costs to bring bikes $10 per bike (actually the most economical transportation option), $8+ per hour to rent a bike or $5+ for a one way fare on a taxi. There’s one grocery store – so of course their prices are higher, all the food is brought across by freight boat. Hotel rooms are rarely less than $100 in the off season and $200 plus during peak season. So save up!
A yacht in the Harbour – Wild Honey
I would love to hear your feedback! Leave me a comment. Check it my other Mackinac Island tips!
As soon as you arrive to Mackinac Island, a map will be your best friend. They’re easy to find at the Visitors Center, Tourism Bureau, your hotel front desk/concierge, stores and restaurants. Unless you’ve lived on the island your whole life, you’re going to be lost without a map. I highly recommend getting one before you head out.
To really get the biggest bang for my buck, I like to travel on a budget. I like to save a little where we can and really have a great experience. Here are 22 tips for saving money when visiting Mackinac Island.
1. Weekdays – Hotel rates during the week, Monday-Thursday are usually
Visiting Mackinac Island for the day or for a week, here are 17 items to add to your bucket list and make this the Best Summer Vacation! Things to do on Mackinac Island
Did you know you can visit Mackinac Island in the winter too? It is everything you love about Mackinac Island, plus so much more. Imagine downtown without the crowds, no bicycles, just peaceful and quiet.
Stay the night on Mackinac Island, even on a budget. Affordable Accommodations.
Mackinac Island is as incredible as everyone says, but it can be pricey to visit. Between food, accommodation and transportation, the costs can add up quickly. It doesn’t have to break your bank to visit Mackinac Island.
Here are some tips to stay within a budget and see this amazing island!
Stay Off Island
Unless it is your dying desire to stay 1 night on the island, it’s going to save you a lot of money to stay on “the mainland.” The two cities that connect to Mackinac Island by ferry boat are Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, Michigan. Both cities have hundreds of hotels to choose from and several campground options. Accommodations on the mainland are…