Take a stroll, or bike ride, on an island where there is no motor transport.
Really. No traffic jams. No honking horns. No quick drives from points A to B.
This is about island time. Mackinac Island to be exact.
To get to this magical place where you walk or ride a bike to dinner, and where you hear the clip clop of horse hooves all day and night, hop on a ferry from either St. Ignace or Mackinac City. Get off the boat and walk back into time.
In addition to fudge tastings, here are 5 Top Things to Do:
1. Mackinac Island Carriage
The carriage sure gives you an overview of the island.
From the history of the downtown to the Grand Hotel to the state park, the carriage tour guide gives a nice overview of the area.
There is a short stop at Arch Rock for pictures, a stop at the fort, and then also a stop at the carriage station, where there is the Grand Hotel Carriage Museum (free and worth a look) and Wings of Mackinac butterfly house.
They can get backed up at the station with tour groups getting on the second leg of the tour, so go around the side if you are not with a tour group and instead a ticket holder. Otherwise you could wait inside for a long time until your next portion of the tour.
Tour guides are friendly and knowledgable, the horses seem well rested, and there are corny jokes a plenty for the kids.
2. Mackinac Island State Park
It’s pretty awesome to be in a state park where there are no cars, but instead the clip-clop of horses trotting and the jingle of harnesses.
People can bike, stroll or horseback ride here in peace. Lilies of the valley, lady’s slippers, forget-me-nots and trillium fill the woods and border the lanes.
Consider renting a carriage or horse for a couple of hours to trot along the paths.
3. Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory
This is a small glass greenhouse that has beautiful butterflies.
Enjoy the visit but keep in mind it is rather small. It is a dwarf compared to some butterfly houses.
Take your time, sit a spell on benches, and watch the butterflies swoop and flutter right around your head.
There are some rare butterflies in the house, in addition to the more common varieties. To help distinguish one butterfly or moth from another, check out the charts on the wall near the door.
This stop could take between 15 minutes to an hour. It’s all up to you.
4. Fire a cannon at Fort Mackinac
The fort is a great activity for young and old alike.
The exhibits and buildings are plenty, and they share a lot of artifacts and first-person accounts of life at the fort hundreds of years ago.
The reenactors are a bonus. They interacted with kids exceedingly well and made it special for all.
There is an elevator on site and the site is handicap accessible. Well done and well worth a visit when on the island.
As a bonus, this is a stop for the horse-drawn trolley tour so you can hop off and on as long as there is space in subsequent carriages.
Do they have golf carts on the island? One of my family members has limited mobility. Thanks.
Hi LL. They do have golf carts, but only for the golf course. They have horse-drawn taxis and carriages you can use, if there is some mobility. They can be found as you get off the ferry boat. Or, I checked around and there are motorized wheelchairs you could rent as well. If the rest of your family is going to walk or ride a bike, a motorized wheelchair could work. If you plan to take the horse carriage around, however, I’d suggest taking a long a fold-up wheelchair for before the carriage tour, between the carriages, and after. Best wishes for a fabulous family trip. Best, Cheryl
The fudge! Don’t forget the fudge! It’s everywhere at Mack Island. Really love the free samples.