Oh, my!! Ya’ll know I loveeee Mackinac Island. If you are new here….I used to live and work on the island in my younger years with my husband (then boyfriend:) My husband worked as a chef at Mission Point Resort and I worked at the cutest clothing store (where I made zero dollars but was wellll dressed…just take my paycheck:) Nephews of Mackinac! (on the back wall are the cutest selection of shoes at very affordable prices! Pick up a cute boutique dress, as well:) You can thank me later! ha
Both of these places are still on the island and are still favorites of mine!!
How to get to the island:
First things first….the ferry. Which ferry? Does it make a difference and do we cross the Mighty Mac Bridge?
Yes and Yes….ha
I am partial to Sheplers Ferry Dock. You really do pay for what you get. I think it’s a tad bit more, but the one in Mackinaw City is the best one. Go early. Typically ferries are every 1/2 hour on the hour in the busy season. You will want to pay for valet ($25) or else you have to park in a lot a few blocks away and take a shuttle back. Give yourself enough time…I am speaking from experience…missed a few ferries in my day! ha
You can also go across the bridge and use Sheplers there, as well. Not as nice, but still love the company as a whole.
Tip: TIP. Bring cash. I once ran out of Benjamins on my return trip(who carries cash?? well…now I DO!:) and my luggage was lost. I asked if this was common and they asked if I tipped…I said I ALWAYS tip ( I was a server in HS), but confessed I ran out on our last day when I gave my bags to the bellhop. They said: No tip…your luggage takes a trip! NO JOKE. I was with my son at the time and it was quite the experience finding our luggage. Learn from our mistake!
Once on the island…ask the guys at the dock to take your luggage to your hotel. It should be already tagged and then you can leisurely make your way to the hotel.
You will want to get a bike at some point. I highly recommend the bikes at Mission Point Hotel. It is a little trek, but they have the best rates and the best white Detroit Bikes! My favorite! If you rent near 5pm you can keep overnight for a minimal fee. Otherwise…they charge by the 1/2hour typically.
You can also rent at your hotel on most occasions!
Where to Stay:
Top Favorites: (both for couples and families)
Why? They are close to downtown.
They have the charm of the island without being to too run down.
I love their front porch with the white rocking chairs.
At night you can make smores with their cute personal fire pits.
They also have a pool (indoors)
The turret room is my favorite.
Mission Point Resort
They have totally updated Mission Point. Very resort-ish. I do miss some of the nostalgic charm, but your girl also loves nice amenities.
The front lawn is the best with a glass of wine at sunset.
Round Island Grill is perfect for lunch. Sit outside!
Detroit Bikes by the spa.
They have an outdoor pool and many don’t know, but they also have a movie theatre which is great when it rains!
The main lobby has a lodgy feel and has overstuffed leather couches by a roaring fire. Perfect spot in the fall!
Kids under 12 used to eat free, but I am not so sure about that anymore?
Newer. Super cute and less old school charm, but rather new charm.
One block from downtown.
Breakfast is typically included.
Classic Mackinac Hotel
The rooms are a huge throwback and the they have the largest front porch in the world!
The grounds are stunning and the pool has been recently updated. Still keeping the original charm!
If you are just visting instead of staying…you can purchase tickets for the front porch for $10 per person for the day. I highly recommend the rocking chairs, a fruity drink and the truffle fries! My son and I enjoyed a rainy afternoon here on one visit. The BEST!
You do need to bring a jacket and long pants for the guys for dinner! Just an FYI!
Do grab ice cream at the parlor and the restaurants are just as beautiful!
The Gate House just off the grounds is great for lunch and offer GF options. Make sure to get a glass of champagne..you are on island time after all 🙂
Where to EAT?
Lucky Bean…I love supporting local. One block behind starbucks.
Watercolor Cafe for coffee + breakfast ** Go EARLY…they are located by the marina and it’s always busyyy! They also offer Gluten Free options!
Starbucks on the main road if you have to have your fix! ha
I love grabbing a picnic lunch from Dowd’s market on the corner of Main St. They have many charcuterie options along with spirits and specialty drinks.
Chippewa Hotel on the front lawn is also a favorite! It’s charming tables with umbrellas and the perfect waterfront views! They have yummy lemonade!
For a fancy dinner (still island casual) you will love The Woods! Make sure to call ahead and make a reservation. You will need to take a horse and carriage taxi 🙂 Take a peek at their website to see the charming decor and vibe!!
Each season you will also find new restaraunts on main street that are always fun to try! Last year they had an oyster bar and they also have bar and grills, as well if you are just wanting to walk along the streets and pop in!
What to DO?
I think my favorite thing to do on the island is to rent bikes and zip around!
Arch rock is a favorite to park your bikes and hike up to the top!
The Fort is great if you have never been! We don’t typically do this on every trip and to be honest…my family wasn’t super keen on it, but your family might love the history!
Putt Putt Golf at Mission Point is super fun and you can grab lunch there too! We played glow ball at night. My son Charlie and I tied, so we were riding high on the family competition for the rest of our stay! ha
Taking a little break on the front porch at The Grand is must! I mentioned earlier, but we love a fun fruity cocktail (virgin for the kids) and truffle fries to snack on!
So many adorable shops and sightseeing downtown! Just walking around and popping into shops is always fun!
Everyone talks about the Pink Pony! I have only been a few times, but it’s a fun spot(busy) to grab a fun drink and I always pick the outdoor patio if i can! We don’t typically go here, but I really couldn’t not include this spot! Very island-y!
I tell my friends (that is now you:) about the secret spot on the island! The locals know that the cutest spot to sit by the water is behind the library! There are two white Adirondack chairs there with your name on them! Shh…don’t tell the others…let’s keep it our little secret!
You MUST try some fudge! See which fudge shop is your family favorite!
Murdicks, Rybas or Joanns!
Here are my favorites and why!
Joanns is the best tasting (in my opinion)
Murdicks has the absolute best throwback packaging(you have to ask for the box and don’t forget to take a photo:) I love a good brand 🙂
Rybas has the prettiest pink store front! I am all about the pretty, folks!
Do tell which one you love when you explore the options!
Well…I think I could keep sharing, but this will give you a great start to your fun stay on this adorably charming little island (8 miles around total:)
Don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any further questions! I love sharing my love for Mackinac Island!