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July 8, 2021

Things to do on Mackinac Island – Where to Eat, Drink, Stay & More!

A women in the front of the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island with large American flags

Looking for the best things to do on Mackinac Island? Today we have you covered with what to do, where to stay, eat and more!

Coined ‘Americas Summer Place’, there’s nothing not to love about Mackinac Island, Michigan. A mix of timeless charm, rich history, and Victorian-style Mackinac Island visitors leave with a lifetime of memories.

And, yes, it’s true. The entire island is car-free, and has been since 1898 — only horses and bicycles are allowed, giving Mackinac Island a peaceful, laid-back vibe.

Surprisingly easy to access from cities such as Detroit and Chicago, it also makes a perfect pit stop for travelers passing through those urban centers, too. A vacation destination for travelers from across the world, this national historic landmark is a must on your vacation bucket list for a day trip; weekend getaway or extended vacation.

While this Midwestern hotspot is only 4 miles square miles, there is no shortage of things to do on Mackinac Island.

Here is everything you need to plan your vacation – where to stay, what to do, where to eat and more!

A large home on Mackinac Island Michigan with three large staircases.
Beautiful arial view of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

HOW TO GET TO MACKINAC ISLAND

Because Mackinac Island is car-free, the only way to get to the island is either by boat or air.

Interstate I-75 will lead you directly to the ferry docks of both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. You can access the island from both cities. The exists for both are clearly marked along the highway and are a few short miles from one another.

You can catch a ferry over to Mackinac Island through one of two ferry companies: Shepler’s Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry. Both companies offer a number of unique ferry experiences including Lighthouse Cruises, Night Sky Cruises, Pirate Ship Cruises, Appledore IV Sails, and more.

Ferry schedules vary by company, but typically speaking, ferry’s leave each port every 30 minutes or so. Check individual websites for their specific schedules. There is no need to book your ride in advance.

In terms of cost, the two ferry companies have similar fares. Here is a quick breakdown of the typical ferry transportation costs:

  • Adult Roundtrip Ferry Ride – $27
  • Child Roundtrip Ferry Ride (ages 5-12) – $16
  • Infant Roundtrip Ferry Ride (ages 5 and under) – no charge
  • Pet Roundtrip Ferry Ride – no charge

If you are traveling to Mackinac Island with bikes, strollers, burlerys, or wagons, please see the transportation costs below:

  • Bike Transportation – $13 roundtrip (please note, electric bikes are not permitted on Mackinac Island)
  • Tandem Bike Transportation – $26 roundtrip
  • Bike Trailer/Wagon/Burley Transportation – $13 roundtrip
  • Stroller Transportation – no charge

In addition to travel to and from the island, both ferry companies offer a number of different parking options.

Shepler’s Ferry offers Mackinaw City guests visiting for the day can save significantly by utilizing Shepler’s Free day parking lot located across from exit #338 off of I-75 N. 

Complimentary shuttle service runs a continuous loop to and from the dock. Day guests will also have the opportunity to park in their Premium on-site lot at the dock for $30.00. If you would like to take advantage of the Premium parking, please go straight to the dock.

Shepler’s Ferry offers two types of overnight parking, both of which are self-park. Standard parking is $10.00 per night and Premium parking for $30.00 per night. Upon arriving at the dock, a member of their team will guide you through their unloading process and guide you where to park.

A typical ferry ride from either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace runs anywhere between 15-20 minutes. The ride can get a bit bumpy and windy. Both companies offer open-air or covered boat ride options. Both companies do a great job of ensuring the ride is as smooth as possible.

If you plan to travel by air, Pellston Airport is serviced by Sky West (Delta). The airport is located approximately fifteen miles from the island. Mackinaw Shuttle Services is located in the main terminal of the airport to provide ground transportation to the ferries headed towards the island.

Chippewa County Airport is located approximately 30 minutes from the ferry docks in St. Ignace. This airport offers the convenience of a smaller airport with state-of-the-art facilities and security.

Additionally, Great Lakes Air is a full-service, affordable passenger and freight charter service that offers a 7 minute flight from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. Fresh Air Aviation also services the Island with private aircraft charters.

Hotel Iroquois on Mackinc Island Michigan
A women in a dress in an adirondack chair on the lawn of Mission Point Resort
Two cups of Hudsonville Ice Cream at Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor at the Grand Hotel

THINGS TO DO ON MACKINAC ISLAND

Mackinac Island is a world-renowned travel destination and for good reason. It’s the perfect place to kick back, relax and take it all in with friends and family. Whether you are traveling to Mackinac Island as a girls’ trip, a romantic getaway, family reunion, or trip with the kids – the list of things to do on Mackinac Island is endless.

Here are just a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this perfect island hideaway:

TAKE A CARRIAGE RIDE ACROSS THE ISLAND

A narrated, horse-drawn carriage tour is the iconic Mackinac Island activity. Just one of the many unique things to do on Mackinac Island. You can go horseback riding on a guided or unguided tour, rent a private carriage for an intimate ride, even drive your own horse and buggy!

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours is the official carriage tour company of Mackinac State Park. They offer narrated tours through downtown to Surrey Hills, Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac, and Grand Hotel.

Carriage tours depart regularly from the office across from the Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry Dock 1. Most tours run approximately 2 hours long.

Sightseeing tours cost approximately $34 for adults and seniors and $14 for children ages 5-12.

If you are looking for guided or unguided trail riding via horseback, Cindy’s Riding Stables is your one-stop shop for this unique experience. Both beginners and novices alike are welcome!

Two white horses during a carriage ride on Mackinac Island

MACKINAC ISLAND BIKE RENTALS

Since no cars are allowed on Mackinac Island, another scenic way to see the island is by bicycle. The roughly eight-mile bike ride around the island is a one-of-a-kind experience.

A ride around the entire island will take you approximately 60 to 90 minutes. Stop along the route for a quick beach picnic, take in the many historical sites, grab some Murdick’s fudge and allow the wind to breeze through your hair.

As mentioned above, you are always welcome to take your own bikes to Mackinac Island on the ferry.

However, there are a number of different Mackinac Island bike rental outfitters that can accommodate all of your needs. If you can travel to the island with your own bikes, I highly recommend doing so. Bike rentals can get costly if you plan to stay for several days or more.

  • Island House Bikes – Island House Bikes offers rentals for adult and children’s bikes, tandems, tagalongs, strollers, trikes, and more! Not just for guests of Island House Hotel, bike rentals are available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. A seven speed beach cruiser costs an average of $12 per hour, $70 for the day or $85 for 24-hours.
  • Mackinac Bike Barn – Offers a large inventory of bikes, tag-a-longs and child bike trailers are offered every year at Mackinac Bike Barn in addition to adult and child size strollers! Mackinac Bike Barn is centrally located downtown near your ferry drop off. Multi speed bike rentals average $12 per hour, half day (5 hours) for $45, full day (9 hours) for $65 or $85 for 24 hours.
  • Mackinac Wheels – Located next to Bay View Bed & Breakfast. Trike & multi speed bike rentals average $11 per hour, half day (5 hours) for $40, full day (9 hours) for $60 or $75 for 24 hours.
  • Mission Point Bike Rentals – Mission Point offers single speed, multi-speed, and tandem bike rentals by the hour or by the day. Rentals are on a first come-first served basis and can be picked up across from Lakeside Spa & Salon. Please call 906.847.3000 for questions or more information on any of the recreational items.
A view of the Grand Hotel from the gardens below
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island during the summer.

SAMPLE AFTERNOON TEA AT THE GRAND HOTEL

A timeless tradition for nearly 100 years, Afternoon Tea at Michigan’s Grand Hotel takes place daily in the hotel’s Parlor.

In the 1840s, Afternoon Tea became popular as an activity to break up the day and provide a snack between lunch and dinner. Today at Grand Hotel, you can take part in this tradition each day between 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM.

Sit down and enjoy tea, sherry, champagne, petite finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and an array of pastries, all accompanied by a live music recital.

Afternoon Tea Prices:

  • $59 per adult
  • $29.50 per child ages 6-17 years old

Non-guests of the Grand Hotel will also be charged an additional $10 admissions fee. As a result, I highly recommend building in some time either before or after the afternoon tea to explore everything else this iconic hotel has to offer.

The additional $10 fee allows you access to the historical grounds, the gardens, the balcony, and more!

Red, white and blue ice cream on waffle cones at the Grand Hotel.
Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor at the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

GRAB ICE CREAM OR A SUNDAE AT SADIE’S ICE CREAM PARLOR

Speaking of The Grand Hotel, no visit to Mackinac Island is complete without a visit to Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Sadie’s offers multiple flavors of Michigan-made Hudsonville Ice Cream, as well as milkshakes, sundaes, banana splits, chocolate hand-dipped cones, mini Grand Pecan balls on a stick, and a special Grand Sundae built to share.

Throughout the month of July 2021, The Grand Hotel is donating 10% of purchases of scoops of Hudsonville’s Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream from Sadie’s to Give Kids the World.

If you’re not familiar with Hudsonville Ice Cream, do yourself a favor and grab a creamy scoop! It’s by far the creamiest, most flavorful ice cream we have ever had.

Looking for a Hudsonville Ice Cream near home? Use their Scoop Locator to find a location near you.

Sadie’s is located outside the hotel’s east entrance near Cadotte Avenue. They are open to all visitors, with no hotel admission fee.

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island Michigan

EXPLORE MACKINAC STATE PARK & ARCH ROCK

Mackinac Island State Park was established in 1895. Today, more than eighty percent of Mackinac Island Michigan is State Park property. Most of this park land remains in its natural condition to be enjoyed by more than 2 million visitors every year.

This historical park offers breathtaking vistas, miles of forest, inspiring nature trails, historic landmarks and spectacular rock formations. It is accessible by foot or bike, rented horse or buggy, sightseeing carriages or horse-drawn taxi.

The park is filled with historic attractions. Fort Mackinac and the Historic Downtown sites are the most prominent, but there are many points of interest and monuments throughout the park.

Weaving along the Arch Rock Bicycle Trail, the Mackinac Island Botanical Trail features seven turnouts with plantings and interpretive signs about the floral life on Mackinac Island. Benches are also scattered along the trail to allow visitors to sit and reflect on the natural beauty around them.

Arch Rock is located on the east side of the island accessible right from the shoreline by taking Arch Rock Road, Lake Shore Road, Arch Rock Bicycle Road or Huron Road.

Arch Rock spans fifty feet across at its widest point. It was formed over thousands of years by wind and water eroding soft rock below, leaving only the hard breccia rock which forms the arch.

MACKINAC ISLAND LILAC FESTIVAL

From June 4-13, 2021 Mackinac Island will celebrate the 73rd Annual Lilac Festival. The festival is the first and largest summer event on the Island, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the country.

Festivities for the 10-day festival include the coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen, Michigan Cornhold Tournament, Lilac Festival Run/Walk, daily walking tours and more. The event is a beloved Mackinac Island attraction featuring a hybrid of in-person and virtual events.

Arial view of Round Island Lighthouse near Mackinac Island
View of Mackinac Island Bridge from the balcony of the Grand Hotel

EXPLORE THE ISLAND BY BOAT

Kayaks, paddleboarding, sailing, parasailing oh my! What better way to experience Mackinac Island than by boat.

Get out on the water and enjoy the beauty of Mackinac Island from lake level in a kayak, sailboat or a sunset cruise under the Mackinac Bridge. Are you more of a thrill-seeker? Enjoy an adventure high above the water and go parasailing.

KAYAKING

Paddling toward the morning sunrise or going out in the late evening to catch the sun sinking behind the Mackinac Bridge. Knowledgeable kayak guides from a number of different outfitters cover history in geology in their casual narration and also point out the boulders below the surface as you pass famed rock sculptures above.

Explore the Straits aboard your choice of single kayak, tandem kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Rental is available through:

  • Great Turtle Kayak Tours – voted #1 on Trip Advisor! Their guides have been paddling the local waterways for over 20 years, and will show you the best of Mackinac from the water, providing you with a safe and rewarding experience every time. Their tours fill up fast so be sure to book in advance. They offer a number of different Mackinac Island routes including sunrise and sunset tours, Arch Rock excursions, Round Island Retreat and more!

PARASAILING

Get above the water with a parasailing adventure through Mackinaw Parasailing. Explore the Straights of Mackinac from this exciting vantage point. They offer a number of different parasailing options including:

  • Single Flyer – $85
  • Double Flyer – $150
  • Triple Flyer – $210

Looking for a more affordable option? Mackinaw Parasailing offers a “Morning Eye Opener” starting at 9:00AM where two flyers can parasail for $55 each.

SIP N’ SAIL CRUISES

If there was one activity I wish we had done on our trip but didn’t get around to it would be the Sip N’ Sail Cruise around the island.

Pure Michigan Boat Cruises offers a number of different charter options including a Sip N’ Sail Sunset Cruise, Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bridge Tour, Michigan Craft Beer Tour, private charters, weddings, corporate events and so much more!

Enjoy 90 minutes of panoramic views aboard the Isle Royale Queen III, an 81′ well-appointed vessel with multiple viewing areas, heated cabins, restroom, a full-service cash bar, and live entertainment.

Take advantage of amazing photo opportunities as you skirt the shoreline of Mackinac Island and view the elegant Victorian and turn of the century homes and enjoy a spectacular sunset as you cruise under the Mighty Mackinac Bridge.

White adirondack charis on the lawn of Mission Point Resort

VISIT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE

The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House is the 1st of its kind in Michigan and the 3rd oldest LIVE butterfly exhibit in the United States.

Their world-renowned facility has 1800 square feet of tropical garden filled with hundreds of live butterflies from four continents. You will witness the emergence of butterflies from the chrysalis case, one of the largest emergence cases in America.

The Butterfly House has 300-500 butterfly chrysalis in their emergence cases at all times. You will also find a large world map that locates butterflies from around the world.

Visit their fairy tale Butterfly Garden where beautiful butterflies of every imaginable size and color fly freely to classical music and the sound of falling water, fluttering and lighting on fragrant blossoms and the enchanting waterfall that centers the garden.

Beautiful Victorian style home on Mackinac Island
Aerial view of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

GOLF MACKINAC ISLAND

There are more than 15,000 golf courses across the United States. Only one course involves a mile-and-a-half, horse-drawn carriage ride between nines. And only one is laid out on a battlefield where American soldiers died in a failed attempt to wrest control of the Great Lakes from the British.

Both of them are available to play on Mackinac Island, which has made available two iconic golf courses that each one of a kind. Mackinac Island is also home to an incredible, natural grass putting course that’s perfect for date nights and family fun.

THE JEWEL GOLF COURSE AT THE GRAND HOTEL

Awarded Editor’s Choice “Best Grand & Boutique Golf Hotels” by Golf Digest, The Jewel is one of the most unique courses in Northern Michigan and the United States. The course offers stunning scenery, lush landscaping, and well-manicured greens.

The Grand nine is located across the street from the hotel, with views of Lake Huron and Round Island. The Woods nine is set in the interior of Mackinac Island, with views of the Mackinac Bridge and the Upper Peninsula.

After completing the Grand nine, you and your clubs will be transported via horse-drawn carriage a mile and a half to the Woods nine. The leisurely 15-minute ride includes parts of the Island unseen by many visitors.

WAWASHKAMO GOLF CLUB

The Wawashkamo Golf Club is a nine-hole links golf course. One of Michigan’s oldest active courses, Wawashkamo celebrated its Centennial in 1998. Named one of America’s Historic Golf Landmarks by Golf Digest in 1996, Wawashkamo is the only nine-hole course among the dozen in the United States to have been so designated.

The golf course retains many of the features of nineteenth-century golf links, including a relatively treeless layout, comparatively short holes, and very long rough. Wawashkamo was laid out on a farmer’s field that had been the site of the 1814 Battle of Mackinac Island. 

THE GREENS OF MACKINAC ISLAND AT MISSION POINT

Located next to Bistro on the Greens and alongside Lake Huron, the Greens of Mackinac is an 18-hole putting course with 18 real bent grass greens. Perfect for friendly competition, play golf during the day or visit us after dark for glow golf. Make sure to grab a drink from Bistro on the Greens, too – you can carry it with you during the round!

Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island Michigan

WALK FORT MACKINAC ISLAND

Founded during the American Revolution, the British captured the Fort in the very first engagement on American soil in the War of 1812. Inside, Fort Mackinac showcases 14 of the original buildings, daily reenactments, educational tours, cannon salutes, music and more!

Fort Mackinac is located on a bluff that overlooks the entrancing Straits of Mackinac. Tours, exhibits and demonstrations take place between May 1st and October 24th.

  • Fort Mackinac Single Day Adult Admission (13 years and over) – $13.50
  • Fort Mackinac Single Day Child Addission (5-12) – $8.00
Pink roses in front of the Inn on Mackinac on Mackinac Island
The Grand Hote on Mackinac Island Michigan

WHERE TO STAY ON MACKINAC ISLAND

Whether you prefer a spacious resort, a quaint bed and breakfast, a charming inn, cottage or a home rental, Mackinac Island has more than 1,600 unique rooms to delight every visitor. There are no chain hotels or lodging on the island making each stay even more unique and special.

In many cases, the ownership of these stays below date back to the 1800s when Mackinac Island began the long tradition of ‘Americas Summer Place’. The timeless charm lives on to this day through exceptional service and world-class hospitality.

Below are just a few of our favorite places to stay across the island.

Aerial view of the Grand Hotel and pool on Mackinac Island Michigan
Three large American flags on the balcony of the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

THE GRAND HOTEL

Named the Best Historic Hotel by USA Today, Travel + Leisure’s Best Hotel in Michigan, and Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 5 Midwest Resorts, The Grand Hotel is a unique stay rich in history.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel during our stay in 2020 and it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, The Grand Hotel is for you. Average nightly costs can range from $350 up to $2400 per night.

The Grand Hotel offers exceptional accommodations, with each guest room uniquely decorated, a newly renovated outdoor pool, secret gardens, activities for everyone in the family and more. Meals are an event and traditions such as Afternoon Tea in the Parlor and nightly dancing remain a noteworthy part of the guest experience.

If you prefer to stay at a more affordable location on the island, non-guests can still experience the Grand Hotel property and grounds by paying a $10 admission fee. Regardless if you choose to stay at The Grand Hotel or elsewhere, paying a visit to the resort is absolutely worth it.

Front view of Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island Michigan

MISSION POINT RESORT

Located on the Mackinac Island’s sunrise side, Mission Point Resort spans 18 acres of waterfront property on Lake Huron, creating a beautiful and cozy setting for guests to savor all of life’s simple pleasures.

Indulge your taste buds at one of five restaurants and eateries available on the resort campus. Kick back and recharge at the island’s only full-service health and wellness retreat, Lakeside Salon & Spa. Or, grab your coffee, your favorite summer read, or a glass of wine and unwind on the iconic great lawn in an Adirondack chair, watching freighters pass by.

If you’re thirsty, grab a cocktail and head to the Greens of Mackinac, Mission Point’s 18-hole putting course, or challenge friends to a game of bocce ball.

The resort boasts 241 newly renovated guest rooms and suites. We had an opportunity to stay at Mission Point Resort this past month and found the customer service and team to be really exceptional. Room costs range from $122 per night to upwards of $1200 for a suite.

Inn on Mackinac on Mackinac Island Michigan
Large pink rose bush on Mackinac Island
Front gate of the Inn on Mackinac on Mackinac Island

THE INN ON MACKINAC

We also had an opportunity to stay at The Inn on Mackinac during our most recent stay and it’s beyond charming. The staff on location truly go out of their way to ensure your stay is a memorable one.

Originally built as a private residence, the Inn on Mackinac was known then as Chateau Beaumont in honor of the US Army surgeon stationed at Fort Mackinac. Inn on Mackinac has retained its quaint, old-fashioned charm while updating its facilities.

Today, completely remodeled and redecorated, this beautiful Victorian Inn opens its doors to guests from all over the world while maintaining its colorful history.

The Inn on Mackinac is located in the Historic Marina District, just outside the heart of downtown Mackinac Island, has a heated spa pool, offers daily home-baked bedtime cookies, and a spacious wrap-around front porch to watch the sunrise. What’s not to love?

Lakeside view of Inn on Stonecliffe

INN AT STONECLIFFE

Our legendary hotel enjoys a storied place among hotels on Mackinac Island. Built in 1904 as a family summer escape by industrialist Michael Cudahy, Stonecliffe has enchanted guests for nearly half a century. If you’re looking for a piece of Mackinac history, you may choose to stay in the Tudor-style Mansion, built in 1904 and updated with beautiful furnishings and plush bedding.

Enjoy a swim in Stonecliffe’ss heated outdoor pool. Stroll the expansive grounds and take in the panoramic views. Challenge the family to a round of croquet or bocce on the lawn, or rent bicycles and explore the trails encircling Mackinac Island.

The mansion’s rooms offer some of the best available on Mackinac Island. If you are looking for something a little more modern, you might opt to stay in the Summer House Suites, located on the hotel property. These air-conditioned suites offer a mini-fridge, microwave and wet bar in each room, as well as a living room in each suite.

In the evening, return to the hotel and enjoy a cold beverage on the Lakeview Portico and a sumptuous dining experience at The Lawn at Stonecliffe.

However you choose to spend your time, your visit to The Inn at Stonecliffe is sure to leave you with incredible memories of your stay.

Front porch of the Hotel Iroquois

HOTEL IROQUOIS

Recently awarded a perfect 100 location points by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine for its breathtaking waterfront setting, Hotel Iroquois has 45 guest rooms and suites, classically sophisticated and comfortable with fine furnishings and vibrant colors.

The hotel’s Proven Winners Signature Gardens are designed with vibrant color and foliage. Add a private sunbathing beach and Downtown Mackinac just a block away for a classic setting. Fine dining and cocktails are enjoyed on their waterfront Carriage House dining room or al fresco on the veranda. Nightly entertainment at the piano bar.

Room rates range on average between $350 to $1500+ per night.

CHIPPEWA HOTEL WATERFRONT

Just wait until you see how cute this Mackinac Island stay is.

Chippewa Hotel is home to the famous Pink Pony with beautiful harbor views. The hotel is centrally located in downtown Mackinac Island featuring two-room suites with balconies, economical main street rooms, Jacuzzi suites, and spa amenities.

Room rates range on average between $120 to $600 per night.

COTTAGE INN

Situated right next to the shops and restaurants downtown, and just two blocks from the ferry docks, Cottage Inn is a cozy low-key stay on the island.

Guest boast about the daily breakfast which includes freshly-baked muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit, plates of homemade fudge and pre-bedtime snacks. The rooms at the Cottage Inn are filled with charm and floral patterns and vibrant colors.

For a romantic getaway, book the one suite located in the turret. Its position affords beautiful views of the harbor through a generous bay window.

Shrimp and rice bowl at the Gate House Mackinac Island

BEST RESTAURANTS & BARS ON MACKINAC ISLAND

Taking a break from the laundry list of things to do on Mackinac Island to grab a snack or a cold beverage? Below are just a few of our favorite places to eat and sip cocktails across the island.

FINE DINING OPTIONS

1852 GRILL ROOM

Offering a refined dining experience in a casually sophisticated setting featuring a flavorful first-class modern menu served in a relaxed romantic setting highlighted by stunning Haldimand Bay and downtown Mackinac Island views.

With a live pianist and beautiful harbor views, the 1852 Grill Room is an elegant waterfront dining experience. Discover exceptional culinary craftsmanship starring chophouse favorites, locally sourced fresh fish, and gourmet desserts.

Average price range: $$$

WOODS RESTAURANTS

The Woods Restaurant is by far one of our favorite restaurants on Mackinac Island.

Woods Restaurant is located a short, scenic horse-drawn carriage or bike ride into the wooded interior of Mackinac Island near the Inn at Stonecliffe. A multi-year winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, this opulent Tudor mansion with Bavarian charm provides a very unique dining experience for all Mackinac Island visitors.

Be sure to make reservations in advance as the Woods sells out their dinners almost every night. If you like to enjoy a good cocktail, be sure to ask for the ‘Yellow Bird’ from Bethany, the Woods bartender.

Before or after dinner, enjoy freshly popped popcorn, test your skill on America’s oldest operating duckpin bowling alley, or have a drink at Bobby’s Bar, which opens at 11:00 AM daily.

The dinner menu includes appetizers, soups, salads, and entrees — many with a Bavarian flair. (You don’t want to miss the Austrian Steak soup!) Delectable desserts and a children’s menu are also available.

Average price range: $$$

CARRIAGE HOUSE

The Carriage House Restaurant is located at the Hotel Iroquois overlooking the Straights of Mackinac. Enjoy excellent service in either the glass-enclosed dining room or the outdoor waterfront veranda.

Their menu features classic American cuisine including local, fresh seafood offerings, fresh salads, soups and a killer dessert menu.

Average price range: $$$

THE GRAND HOTEL MAIN DINING ROOM

Few dining locations are more picturesque than Grand Hotel’s Main Dining Room. It overlooks the world’s longest porch displaying the hotel’s many American flags, as well as the glistening Straits of Mackinac.

Sit down for dinner and you may catch a glimpse of the bellmen taking down the flags for the day – an evening sunset tradition while enjoying music by the Grand Hotel Orchestra.

The Main Dining Room offers a full breakfast, Grand Luncheon Buffet and dinner daily and each menu is expertly created by Grand Hotel Executive Chef Hans Burtscher.

Average price range: $$$$

FOR BRUNCH

CHUCKWAGON

Chuckwagon is officially known as Mackinac Island’s tiniest eatery, the old-school diner dates back to the 1950s. If you’re willing to put up with the cramped seating, you’ll be rewarded with what locals say breakfast in town with eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns cooking on the griddle steps away.

PINK PONY

One of Mackinac Island’s most popular restaurants, bars, and music venues, The Pink Pony, located inside the Chippewa Hotel, serves a wide variety of delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner options.

The Pink Pony breakfast menu offers a ton of tasty options including Build Your Own Omelets, Pony Power Scrambler, Home Style French Toast, Mackinac Country Skillet and much, much more!

Basket of fries and a plate of calamari
Chicken caesar salad

FOR LUNCH & CASUAL DINING

THE JOCKEY CLUB

Overlooking the first tee of The Jewel, The Jockey Club at the Grand Stand is a great dining option for all Mackinac Island visitors. Enjoy covered outdoor seating, as you watch the golfers and horse-drawn carriages pass by, or dine indoors in a quaint and comfortable setting.

A multi-year winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, this casual restaurant offers lunch fare like sandwiches, soups, and salads. Dinner features a variety of entrees including steak, seafood, and fresh local whitefish, plus other Jockey Club specialties.

THE GATE HOUSE

A Mackinac Island favorite, this casual restaurant is the perfect place for friends and family to enjoy breakfast (coming soon!), lunch, or dinner offering a variety of appetizers, entrees, and our famous Trapper Burger.

Featuring local live entertainment weekly and seasonal bar specials, guests can relax with a cocktail on the outdoor patio or cozy up next to the warm fireplace when the weather is chilly.

The Gate House is a multi-year winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and Traverse Magazine Red Hot 10 Best.

THE YANKEE REBEL TAVERN

The Yankee Rebel restaurant is located on Astor Street in the heart of downtown just a short walk from all boat lines, churches and most lodging facilities.

The restaurant has spacious seating with choice booths or large tables for gatherings of family and friends. We also offer fireplace seating for romantic dinners.

The Yankee Rebel is open daily for lunch and dinner offering an eclectic choice of regional favorites of appetizers, soups, entrées and desserts for your dining experience. We welcome families and offer a children’s menu for both lunch and dinner.

They also feature special sushi dinners!

SEABISCUIT CAFE

For families looking for a solid lunch or dinner spot, Seabiscuit Cafe is a solid option.

A pub-like spot on the island with carved mahogany banisters and original brick walls, evidence of the famous racehorse can be found everywhere, from the art on the walls to the menu itself, which is divided into categories like Winner’s Circle (the oven-roasted Saratoga Ribs are a favorite), Starting Gate, and Finish Line (Mackinac dark chocolate fudge cake, anyone?).

Beach cruiser bike with a basket on Mackinac Island

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MACKINAC ISLAND

While parts of Mackinac Island are accessible year-round, the bulk hotels, shops restaurants, tour companies tend to open from May 1 and close at the end of October. With Mackinac Island’s location in the Upper Peninsula, the weather is often at its best during the summer, with highs averaging around 75 degrees and moderate evenings dipping only down to the 50s. All you really need is a light sweater.

We have traveled to Mackinac Island over the last several years over July 4th weekend and the weather has been mixed. It can be overcast in the morning with clouds burning off mid-morning to mid-day.

Several Mackinac Island hotels and restaurants do, however, remain open in the winter, for those who wish to show up in December for cross-country skiing. Believe it or not, it’s a popular option, particularly for locals.

LOOKING FOR OTHER MICHIGAN TRAVEL GUIDES? HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE LOCATIONS:

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