There’s much to be said for the traditional shoreline ride around Mackinac Island (877-847-0086, mackinac
island.org). Lake Shore Boulevard, the eight-mile main loop, is, after all, Michigan’s only state highway that’s absolutely automobile free. But bikers can also steal away into the forest for quiet trails. Just be prepared for some heart-pumping hills.
For a woodsy escape, ride up the center of the island, past Fort Mackinac, to Garrison Road. Be ready to pop the kickstand and ramble around historic sites; along the way, you’ll come across old stone-walled Protestant and Catholic cemeteries, Skull Cave and the battlefield-turned-golf course, Wawashkamo. Garrison Road dead-ends at Lake Shore Boulevard, where you’re treated to a panorama of the spectacular five-mile Mackinac Bridge that links Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas.
Pedal along toward the island’s southwest lobe to spot some of Mackinac Island’s most famous features. Arch Rock, a stand of fragile brecciated limestone, is instantly recognizable and a popular photo-op. Several winding bike trails and carriage roads, most of them paved, lead back to another famous limestone tower: the pockmarked and craggy Sugar Loaf, a ritual burial site of the island’s early Native American inhabitants, juts up 75 feet into the air at a horseshoe in the pathway.
QUICK BITE: Try Mary’s Bistro for relaxed dining at the west end of Mackinac Island’s historic downtown. Think chicken pot pies, and sirloin with horseradish sauce and grilled bananas. Grab a seat on the back patio to watch the rooster-tailed ferries zip in and out of the harbor. 906-847-9911, mackinacmarysbistro.com.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Established as a national park in 1875 (second only to Yellowstone), Mackinac Island became Michigan’s first state park in 1895. Eighty percent of the island is still parkland.