Mackinac Island is a timeless little island in Michigan between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It is set in the straights between the main part of the state and the Upper Peninsula. The island was America's second national park (after Yellowstone National Park) for 20 years and has been the state of Michigan's first state park. The island has had a ban on automobiles since the earliest days and still has the only highway in the nation where cars are banned.

It is a summer colony and a place where people from far and wide flock to enjoy the peacefulness, ambiance, and slow pace of the island. For a very different old-timey vibe, consider staying at the living Wild West (almost ghost town) town of Virginia City just outside of Reno in Nevada.


What Makes Mackinac Island Magnetic

"For centuries, visitors have found this national landmark to be the ideal vacation spot. No cars. No chain hotels. Just world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge, historic Fort Mackinac, unique shopping and diverse dining."

Today all of Mackinac Island is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The island is not only quaint and charming, but it also tells a long history of the United States in the Great Lakes and the colonial competition with the British in the region. Some of the notable attractions on the island include:

  • Fort Mackinac: First Built by The British In 1780 and Then Used By The US Until 1895 (It Has Been Restored To Its Late 19th Century State)
  • Biddle House: One of The Oldest Buildings On The Island Built Around 1780
  • McGulpin House: Interpreted As A Frontier Working-Class Home It was Built Before 1780
  • Agency House: A Historic Building Now A Fur Trade Museum
  • Mission House: Built in 1825 Was A Presbyterian Missionary Boarding School for Native American and Métis children.
  • Mission Church: The Oldest Surviving Church In Michigan (built 1829 and Restored To Its Old Appearance)
  • Grand Hotel: A Timeless Victorian Style Hotel That Opened In 1887 And Everyone Should Consider Staying

These are just a few of the historic landmarks on the island. While on the island, consider heading further north into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Peninsula is an outdoor paradise and one of the best places in the country for snowmobiling in the winter because of its large lake-effect snow.

Related: Destination Michigan: Why Its Lake Shores Are The Perfect Waterfront Escape

Things To Do On Mackinac Island

There are plenty of things to do on the island. After watching the breathing taking sunset, its time for its renowned restaurants and its vibrant nightlife.

There are many more attractions around the island, and to see them one will need to get to them by foot, by bicycle, or by horse.

  • See: The Island's Rich History and Stunning Geography
  • Tours: There Are Walking Tours, Boat Tours, Air Tours, and All Things Horse

During the day, discovering the island means delving into its rich history as a frontier settlement, its role in the fur trade, the competition between the British and Americans in North America, and its status as being a favored holiday resort during the 1800s.

Activities include riding horses, making fudge, spa and massage treatments, all things cycling, air and water tours, golf, and walking tours. One can plan one's trip to the island on their official website.

Related: Granot Loma: Meet The Upper Peninsula's World's Largest Log Cabin

The Grand Hotel

Travel back in time and stay at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel. Here one will experience history at its finest. See horse-drawn carriages, have afternoon tea in the parlor, dress up for the dinner, dance nightly to the sounds of the Grand Hotel Orchestra, and go out for croquet and bocce in the Tea Garden.

  • Longest: The World Longest Porch
  • Est. 1887
  • Atmosphere: Old-World Charm

At the Grand Hotel, one can soak it all in, set oneself down on the world's longest porch, and gaze off into the Straits of Mackinac. The Grand Hotel is a place that harkens back to a long bygone era still preserved on the island. Here one will see old-world hospitality and charm.

The hotel has been running since 1887 and works to keep its traditions and heritage alive. The building itself is a National Historic Landmark and is a gateway into the traditions and vibe of the past (with a few new traditions of their own).

To really enjoy the vibe that is the Island of Mackinac, choose an equally iconic and rustic hotel or other accommodation option.