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Things To Do on Mackinac Island

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Things to do on Mackinac lsland banner image of kayakers

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Mackinac Island,

One of Michigan’s most photogenic travel destinations

Located between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, the island offers unique natural and historical treasures surrounded by the sparkling blue waters of the Great Lakes. There are tons of things to do on Mackinac Island, but, as seasoned islanders, we have our favorites. Here are the best Mackinac Island activities for your next vacation itinerary!

Visit the Butterfly House Mackinac Island

Watch butterflies hatch from their cocoons at The Original Butterfly House & Insect Museum or the Butterfly Conservatory.

The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House is one of the oldest butterfly exhibits in the US and is home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies from around the world. Located behind St. Anne’s Church, this gorgeous indoor tropical garden opens for the season on May 1st and is a stop you won’t want to miss.

The Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory is also an amazing option with a unique assortment of hundreds of butterflies, educational exhibits, and Knowledgeable curator and staff members. They even have outdoor crafts and activities for kids throughout the season!

Enjoy the Mackinac Island Carriage Tours

The best way to tour Mackinac Island is with a classic guided horse-drawn carriage tour! Step back in time with a guided public or private ride with Mackinac Island Carriage Tours. If you choose to do a private tour, their knowledgeable drivers can customize your tour route to take you to areas undiscovered on the public tour.

If you’d like to ride a horse and adventure around the island, Cindy’s Riding Stable provides riding horses and guides to help you enjoy the beautiful trails in the Mackinac State Historic Park.

Jack’s Livery Stable Tour Mackinac Island will set you up with a drive yourself horse and buggy tour! Enjoy a panoramic view of the Mackinac Bridge and trot through the wooded avenues of the park at a comfortable sightseeing pace.

Learn more about the history behind the carriages on the island at the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum. This antique carriage museum features a working blacksmith shop and souvenirs to remember your tour!

Sample the Best Mackinac Island Fudge

Mackinac is America’s Fudge Capital, so it’s only fitting to sample the creamiest fudge on the island. Catch a fudge-making demonstration and sampling at one of the four Ryba’s Mackinac Island Fudge Shops. We have been perfecting our craft for over four generations and love to show island visitors our time-honored family tradition!

Hike to Arch Rock Mackinac Island

The island is known for its natural beauty, and hiking to Arch Rock is one of the best ways to take it all in. If you want to do several hikes on your trip, there are plenty of other hiking opportunities like Skull Cave, Sunset Rock, and Devil’s Kitchen. You can also check out Fort Holmes at the highest point on Mackinac Island! Here is a Trail Map so you can start picking your favorite trails.

Visit Fort Mackinac & Other Historic Sites

At Fort Mackinac, history comes alive! When you visit Fort Mackinac, you can view historically inspired reenactments and tours by costumed interpreters. There are cannon and rifle firing demonstrations, tours that dive into the Fort’s rich history, the popular Drill Program, and more! We suggest taking advantage of the discount for online ticket pre-purchases from the Mackinac Parks website.

If you’d prefer a day exploring Mackinac Island’s history through art, we recommend checking out Manoogian Art Museum. It is home to hand-beaded Native American garments, 17th and 18th-century maps of the Great Lakes, and one-of-a-kind pieces from the height of Mackinac Island’s Victorian era.

Listen to Mackinac Island Music in the Park

Mackinac Arts Council offers Music in the Park and Art Workshops throughout the summer. This summer concert series takes place on the lawn of Marquette Park across from the beautiful marina. We suggest bringing a picnic and tuning in for some great live folk, rock, country, or blues hits. The best part is these concerts are free!

Explore with Mackinac Island Bike Rentals

Since motor vehicles are banned from the Island, it only makes sense to explore Mackinac on a bike. Head to the Island House Bike Shop and rent one of the cruisers, mountain bikes, tandems, or trikes.

We suggest biking the Arch Rock Bicycle Trail and visiting the Mackinac Island Botanical Trail for an insight into the lives of early Mackinac Island explorers. With over 600 plant species identified on the island, this unique trail showcases the types of plant life you might see along the way and the diverse Mackinac Island wildlife.

Dine at the Best Mackinac Island Restaurants

There is no shortage of delicious cuisine on Mackinac Island. Head to the Pancake House for a classic diner breakfast experience. When lunch rolls around we suggest checking out the Seabiscuit Café for the signature whitefish Rueben. For an exquisite dinner with a stunning harbor view, head to the 1852 Grill Room for a refined dining experience. If an ice-cold beer is calling your name, start or finish your day with a trip to Mary’s Bistro Draught House! Sign up for the 906 Rewards Club to earn rewards on all your dining purchases!

Play a Round of Golf on a Mackinac Island Golf Course 

If getting in a round of golf on your Mackinac Island vacation sounds like the perfect way to spend your day, we suggest teeing off at The Wawashkamo Golf Club. Laid out in 1898, the Wawashkamo Golf Course is a nine-hole links golf course, and the oldest continuously played golf course in Michigan!

Embark on an Adventure with a Mackinac Island Kayaking Tour

Check out one of the professionally guided kayak tours to get a unique view of the island. The Great Turtle Kayak Tours is an excellent option with private tours and kayaking lessons.

Set Sail on a Sunset Cruise

Sip on custom cocktails as you sail into the sunset under the mighty Mackinac Bridge, while listening to performances by local musicians on a Sip n’ Sail Cruise. There are several fantastic, themed cruise options with sunset being the most popular we recommend purchasing your tickets online as soon as possible!

Explore Mackinac Island Fishing Charters

If you’d like to fish on one of the beautiful lakes surrounding the island, we suggest checking out E.U.P. Fishing Charters or North Shore Sport Fishing Charters. Catch your local salmon and trout on the open waters of the Great Lakes.

Visit a Mackinac Island Blacksmith Shop

If you’d like to leave the island with a hand-forged knife and sheath, we suggest stopping by the Forge a Memory Blacksmith Shop. It only takes about 20 minutes to an hour to heat, forge, sand, and buff one of the unique souvenirs on the island!

Get a Hand Drawn Memory with Mackinac Island Caricatures

There’s nothing better than documenting your trip to the island than a hand-drawn caricature of you and your vacation crew. Stop by Mackinac Island Caricatures to get a souvenir and an experience you’ll never forget!

Relax by Swimming in the Island House Hotel Pool

Make a splash in the Island House Hotel indoor pool, one of the few Mackinac Island hotels offering this rainy-day option! Soak in the indoor or outdoor whirlpools or catch some rays on the sundeck.

Now that you’ve learned all about the best things to do on Mackinac Island, you are ready to book your trip! Check out the historic waterfront Island House Hotel for a fantastic place to stay while exploring all the best Mackinac Island activities.