Best of Mackinac Island with 7 Tips

7 Tips to Make the Best of Mackinac Island

By Michael Dwyer

While Dear Crabby enjoys Mackinac Island his way and he certainly has good suggestions, here are seven tips to make your adventure on America’s best non-tropical island even better.

Mission Point Resort offers wonderful views - photo by Michael Dwyer

Mission Point Resort offers wonderful views

Stay on the island. To appreciate Mackinac Island fully, it’s best to hear and see the workings around the clock. As the ferryboats remove the majority of the tourists in the evening, the island takes on a different charm. The nightlife is relaxed but entertaining. In addition, witness the empty streets in the morning as you go for breakfast. A full list of accommodations is available for almost any budget.

Take the ferry from Mackinaw City. That way, you don’t have to travel over the bridge and pay the toll. Great views of the Mackinac Bridge are available from both sides; and all the ferryboat companies offer quick and regular service from both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. The prices are all very similar. However, Star Line has free parking for overnight guests and has an easy-to-navigate website.

Enjoy a bike ride around the eight-mile perimeter. Take your own bike ($8.00 charge on the ferry) or rent on the island. There are several bike rental companies to choose from and the prices are all about the same. Mackinac Island Bike Shop offers free with any rental a helmet, a bottle of water and a bike basket to keep your stuff in (take the basket, you’ll need it). Ask for a map and go clockwise (west with the water to your left) around the island. Most people go counterclockwise, stay to the right and you’ll have fewer bikes to pass. If you’re an avid cyclist, bike the hilly interior of the island (but be warned, it’s a workout). Pedestrians and horses have the right of way.Take a Carriage Ride on Mackinac Island

Go for a carriage ride. It’s a good way to get your bearings to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the town. Moreover, the horses maneuver the hills quite well (not sure they feel the same way) and saves you the hike (or bike) trip to see some of the attractions up the hills.

Visit one of the two Butterfly Houses, Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory up-Island or the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World downtown. Both offer butterflies in a variety of colors and sizes.

Experience the food, drinks and music later in the evening at The Pink Pony, The Mustang Lounge, The Gate House, Cawthorne’s Village Inn, Horns Gaslight Bar, Huron Street Pub & Grill or the Seabiscuit Café.

Hang out on the bluff at the Mission Point Resort. Photo ops await at this attractive area with lots of green grass, blue water and colorful flowers.

Sure, Mackinac Island has the fudge shops, golf, the Grand Hotel and numerous rock formations, but as I always suggest, dig deeper into the destination and experience the people and the places that make it come alive – day and night. Visit for more ideas.

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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