In the 20 minutes it takes to ride the ferry to Mackinac Island (from either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace), you’ll be transported back to a time when travel was by horse, foot or one of those new-fangled bicycles. Here’s the short list of things to do on Mackinac Island.
1. TOUR THE GOVERNOR’S SUMMER HOME
Michigan’s gov and other state dignitaries get to use this Victorian mansion in the summer. The public is invited to tour it, free, on Wednesdays throughout the summer.
2. SNAP A SELFIE AT ARCH ROCK (CAREFULLY)
This rare formation stretches nearly 150 feet above the water. According to Native American tradition, Arch Rock is where the Great Creator blew the breath of life into the newly formed earth.
3. PLUG YOUR EARS
Watch (and maybe get a chance to help) fire the cannon at Fort Mackinac. Kaboom!
4. BIKE AROUND THE WHOLE ISLAND
Pedaling Mackinac’s 8-mile perimeter is a wonderful way to explore the landmarks and drink up fabulous views of the sparkling Straits. If you’re feeling adventurous, bike inland through the lush forest.
5. TAKE A CARRIAGE RIDE
A horse-drawn buggy tour is a quintessential Mackinac experience and a fitting way to view the island’s beautiful Victorian homes. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, the oldest and largest continuously operating horse-and-buggy livery in the world, offers narrated tours of landmarks and historical points of interest.
6. EAT A LOT OF FUDGE
Confectioners here have been whipping up this sweet treat since the late 1800s when they found that the island breezes made their fudge set perfectly. Most of today’s vendors still use the time-honored, labor-intensive technique of “paddling” the warm, liquid fudge on marble slabs until it cools. Follow your nose to any or all of the downtown fudge shops.