Perched in the middle of Lake Huron’s Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island is a popular resort island that exudes a Victorian-era character. It was originally inhabited by the Ojibwe tribe and was settled by Europeans in the mid-17th century, with much of the island’s woodlands and rocky limestone landscapes protected within Mackinac Island State Park.
Things to do in Mackinac Island
Stroll through the car-free streets of Mackinac Island’s village, which is clustered with atmospheric buildings constructed during the War of 1812’s fur-trade boom. You can pick up original artwork at Mackinac’s Little Gallery and organic gifts at Little Luxuries or shop for bargains during the Great Turtle Shopping Week in October.
Watching over the village is Fort Mackinac, a former British military outpost that was established during the American Revolutionary War to control the Straits of Mackinac. Head inside its old stone walls where costumed interpreters bring the 19th-century to life and experience the daily firing of the 1841 cannon. You can tour the former Soldiers Barracks and the Quartermaster’s Storehouse, then explore the oldest building in Michigan, the 1780 Officer’s Stone Quarters.
Jump aboard a horse-drawn carriage to visit the Grand Hotel, a historic summer “palace” where prominent individuals such as Thomas Edison and Mark Twain once stayed. Marvel at what is the world’s longest front porch (stretching 200 metres along the hotel’s facade) before stepping inside the opulent interior.
Getting around Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island Airport lies in the centre of the island and has flights to destinations across Michigan while ferries connect from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. No personal vehicles are allowed on the island, with bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and walking the main ways of getting around.