Have you been there? To the Jewel of the Great Lakes? For centuries, visitors have found this national landmark to be the ideal vacation spot. No chain hotels. No cars. This is the place for world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge, historic Fort Mackinac, diverse dining and unique shopping. Awe-inspiring sunrises and unforgettable sunsets will open your eyes to the simple beauty of this island treasure. Don’t forget the extraordinary nightlife!
History: This is a place to enjoy history! Visit Fort Holmes or Fort Mackinac. Stop in the Art Museum or the Carriage Museum. Explore the Blacksmith Shop or the American Fur Company Store and Dr. Beaumont Museum. Due to an accidental shooting, Dr. Beaumont learned how the human digestive system works and his knowledge is still used today.
Things to see: From rolling landscapes and historic sites, not to mention the quaint downtown dotted with bicycles and horses, there is something to see around every corner of the island. With a circumference of just 8.2 miles, you can walk or bike to everything. There are many trails to wander in the State Park. Or try walking across the back of the Great Turtle. From Arch Rock to the residential bluffs of the island, to The Woods, you’ll see a quiet panoramic view to treat your mind and your senses. Stop along your walk to skip stones at the water’s edge. Take in a natural rock formation or watch the boats slide silently past. Enjoy a gentle time. Wander along the shore taking in a northern Michigan summer night. When you need a break, find a bench to enjoy the Mackinac Bridge lights in the dark.
Did I mention there are no cars or vehicles on the island? With the exception of police, fire and ambulance emergency vehicles, horses are the beloved transportation of choice. And related to these marvelous horses, you can take a horseback ride or travel in a horse drawn taxi! Or rent your own private carriage complete with your own personal tour guide!
Things to do: Can you figure out the common denominator of the following list? Joann’s Fudge. May’s Candy Shop. Murray Hotel Fudge Company. Ryba’s Fudge Shops. Sanders Candy. The Original Murdick’s Fudge. Oh, you guessed it. Fudge! Go fishing on a charter boat! Take a kayak tour or go parasailing. Ride the ferry or take a Sip ‘n’ Sail Cruise. And relax! This is a calm, sweet place to be.
Unless it gets dark, and it does that quite often! Every day, even! With more than a dozen late night hot spots, you can always experience something new. Dance the night away at the Grand Hotel’s Terrace Room, or, head to the Woods to play on the country’s oldest operational duck pin bowling alley, catch live entertainment at Horn’s Gaslight Bar & Grille, or grab a burger and beer at The Mustang Lounge or Seabiscuit Café & Grog. You can choose from 50 different craft beers at The Draught House, or try signature beers like Patrick Sinclair’s Scotch ale at Mission Point Resort’s Round Island Bar & Grill or Big Porch Ale at The Gate House.
Where to stay: With more than 1,600 unique rooms, and your choice of accommodations, you won’t find any franchise hotels on Mackinac Island. Your options go from a quaint Bed and Breakfast, to a condo, hotel, resort, or even to renting a cottage or home. The famous and historic Grand Hotel boasts the world’s longest porch. Stop in for afternoon tea or dancing the night away.
Are you smiling yet? Mackinac Island certainly gives you reason to smile. Whether you crave quaint and simple or wild and crazy, this Crown Jewel seems to have it all.
Photo credits: grandhotel.com, gonext.com,cityofmi.org