Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island

August 25, 2012 6:00 AM

Credit: Thomas Wolsos

port huron sail 7 13 12 getty john f martin Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island

Sailboats Mirage, (L), and Blondie race side-by-side at the start of the 250 mile Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race. (Photo by John F. Martin/Getty Images)

There are few places in the United States that offer the ambiance of times gone by like Mackinac Island. Sitting six miles into Lake Huron from the coast of Mackinaw City, this magical place takes you back to a time before automobiles and into a world of horse-drawn carriages, beautiful sunsets and the feeling of being on an island paradise, which to be honest, you are. There are a lot of the standard places to go and things to do on the island, but these will give you a whole new view of the island.

sheplers ferry Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island

Sheplers Ferry Map (Credit website)

Getting There
Getting to Mackinac Island is as simple as heading north on I-75 for roughly 280-miles until you hit top of the lower peninsula. Take exit 338 and you are in Mackinaw City. Once in Mackinaw City, you simply hop on one of the ferry services, Sheplers or Arnold Line, both of which charge $22 for adults and $11 for children when tickets are purchased online or $24 and $12 if purchased at the docks, for a round-trip ticket. Within minutes, you will be standing on Main Street on Mackinac Island, and your adventure may begin.
carriagegroupphoto Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island

Photo Credit; ThinkStock

What To Do

Jack’s Livery Stable
P.O. Box 331
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
(906) 847-3391

Price: $64 an hour for two a passenger drive-yourself buggy/$76 an hour for a four-person rig/$90 an hour for a six person rig/$40 an hour saddle horse rental

Ask anyone and they will tell you there are three ways to get around the island: by bike, by foot or by taking a carriage ride. What many people do not know is, when it comes to carriage rides, you can be the driver or if you like, forget the carriage and just ride a horse. With more than 80 percent of the island accessible to horses and horse-drawn carriages, tour the island in style with the furry four-wheeler of your choosing. When renting a carriage, fill out a short questionnaire, and depending upon your experience, you are provided with a horse with the temperament to meet your needs. The same goes for those who would rather be on horseback for a few hours. Rentals are available with carriages for two and four passengers. One you are ready to go, the professionals at Jack’s will offer up suggestions for the best routes, provide you with a map of the island and answer any other questions you may have.

Green Planet Extreme Adventures
(517) 242-4752

Price: $45 adults/ $35 youths 7 to 13 years old/add $5 for the snorkeling tour

For many, the sights and sounds of the waters surrounding Mackinac Island are enough to keep them mesmerized for hours, but if you want a different view, try taking a kayak tour around the island, from which you may look back at the land and learn about the environment and the Native American history of the island. Green Planet offers guided kayak tours lasting two hours, and unlike conventional kayaks, these tandem glass-bottomed inflatables are perfect for beginners and experts alike. If touring around the island on top of the water is not enough, Green Planet also offers a combination paddling and snorkeling tour. All guides are highly trained, first-aid certified by the Red Cross, and work closely with the Mackinac Island Harbor Master to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe excursion.

RelatedGetaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Traverse City

yankee Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island



Yankee Rebel Tavern
1493 Astor St.
P.O. Box 1880
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
(906) 847-6249

The Yankee Rebel Tavern is named in honor of the Mackinac Island patriot, Ambrose R. Davenport, who was an enlisted man in the young American military stationed on Mackinac Island. When the island was captured by the British during the war of 1812, Davenport refused to swear allegiance to the crown telling is captors, “I was born in America and am determined at all hazards, to live and die an American citizen.” The tavern remembers his bravery in its name and as in the tradition of taverns from the past offers guests the finest in American cuisine. From green salads and burgers at lunch to slow-roasted ribs, marinated steaks, fresh salmon or vegetarian fare for dinner, there is something for everyone. There is a large children’s menu for the “Little Soldiers” and beverages for all. Enjoy a complete wine list and an immense selection of beers from around the world as well. There is also a complete carry out menu available.

location img2 Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island

(Photo: The Hotel Iroquis on Mackinac Island has an enviable location.

Hotel Iroquois on the Beach
Carriage House Dining Room

PO Box 456
7485 Main St
Mackinac Island, Michigan 49757
(906) 847-3321

Considered to be one of the best restaurants on the island, the Carriage House dining room offers top-flight dining with a view of the water front from the glass-enclosed dining room or from an outdoor veranda. Under the direction of Chef Jim Lahti, guests may experience a lunch or dinner that will challenge their palates. From salads such as shrimp and asparagus with mixed greens and artichoke hearts to freshly caught Mackinaw whitefish on cheese dill bread, lunch never tasted so good. Dinners run the gambit from pan-seared diver scallops with lemongrass, ginger, vermouth and frizzled leeks to New York strip steak with wild mushrooms. You will be hard pressed to find a better meal on the island or anywhere else.

RelatedThe Best Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles of Detroit

sign s1 Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island



Metivier Inn
P.O. Box 285
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
(866) 847-6234

Price: from $220

This historic bed and breakfast is located only a short distance from the ferry docks and offers accommodations that are not often associated with a B&B. Each room is decorated in English or French countryside designs with air-conditioning and private baths. For special occasions reserve turret rooms or a Jacuzzi room with a private patio. The grounds of this historic home are filled with blooming plants in the extensive gardens, where guests may walk and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Amenities include a full hot breakfast buffet, afternoon tea and coffee along with home-baked sweets.

homepagebanner2 Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Mackinac Island


Harbour View Inn
PO Box 1207
Mackinac Island, Michigan 49757
(906) 847-0101

Price: from $179

The Harbour View Inn offers guests accommodations with views of the waters surrounding Mackinac Island that will create memories for years to come. From standard rooms in the Chateau LaFramboise, which offer queen and king sized beds, to a suite in the Guest House, your stay at the inn will be one of comfort and relaxation. Surrounded by gardens alive with beautiful blooms and a gazebo in which to sit and relax, the beauty of this inn is hard to imagine. Special packages are offered that provide ferry service to the island and meal vouchers at island restaurants.

Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE