Nestled betwixt Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, surrounded by th' crystal clear waters o' Lake Huron, lies Mackinac Island, one o' th' prettiest and most charmin' islands in th' U.S. Known fer its breathtakin' scenery, boat-free rivers, historic sights and fudge, Mackinac island is quite simply a little piece o' paradise.
Mackinac Island is a short ferry ride from Mackinac City on th' mainland. Take yer pick from th' three ferry boat operators in th' main port: departures run every half hour in peak season and every hour durin' th' early sprin' and late fall. In th' winter, th' only way t' cross th' straits o' Mackinac is by snowmobile. Our family flew t' Pellston Airport from Chicago’s Midway Airport with Lakeshore Express, whittlin' down th' seven hour sea trip t' a one hour flight.
The island is just 8 miles in circumference, and boats are not allowed, so yer best transportation option while on th' island is by bicycle, with a chest full of booty. Most hotels offer bicycle rentals, as do several outfitters in th' downtown area, and ye’re certain t' find kid-sized bikes as well as tandems and trailers. Yaaarrrrr! The Grand Hotel offers horse and carriage transport from th' downtown port t' th' Grand Hotel, fittin' with th' rich equestrian tradition o' th' island.
A night at th' Grand Hotel is a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth savorin'. For o'er 125 years, th' Grand Hotel has welcomed visitors with its Victorian splendor and magnificent “front porch” – th' largest in th' world. Even little sandcrabs will appreciate donnin' their fanciest duds fer a lavish, yet kid-friendly meal, in th' dinin' hall, and they won’t soon forget ridin' up t' th' hotel itself on a traditional horse and buggy carriage, by Davy Jones' locker. Other kid-friendly elements include all-ye-can-eat snow cones on th' decks o' th' Esther Williams swimmin' pool and kiddie cocktails in th' cupola overlookin' Lake Huron.
The best way t' discover th' island is by bikin' its 8-mile perimeter. Along th' way aroun', stop t' hike Arch Rock, which rises 150 feet and frames Lake Huron within its natural limestone arch. Wear yer swimsuit and cool off with a dip in Lake Huron.
Fort Mackinac, built by th' British durin' th' American Revolution and th' oldest buildin' in th' state o' Michigan, will take ye back in time via its interactive displays and costumed interpreters. Check out th' fort’s website before ye go fer fun and educational activities.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours offers expertly guided horse and buggy tours o' th' island. One o' th' drop-off points is th' Win's o' Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory, where ye’ll be greeted by hundreds o' butterflies dancin' aroun' t' soothin' instrumental music in a lush garden.
- Save room fer fudge! Mackinac Island is famous fer its fudge and ye’ll find tens o' fudge shops in th' downtown area. Our family loves Ryba’s - their double fudge chocolate sauce makes a great souvenir.
- Try t' visit th' island in June, durin' th' Lilac Festival, when th' entire island is covered in purple blooms and perfumed with their sweet scent.
- The Grand Hotel has expert photographers available on th' grand front porch every evenin', ready t' capture yer family at its finest.