A part of the United States of America, Mackinac Island is situated in the straits of Mackinac. It was first inhabited by one of the America’s oldest tribes, Ojibwe, before being replaced by the European invaders in the seventeenth century. It is now a resort island. Here are the few details that will help you know everything about Mackinac Island:
Ferry is the primary method to reach the island. The boats can be heralded from Machinaw City or St. Ignace. The service is provided by three companies: Arnold Transit Company, Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry.
Great Lakes Air is the only airline available to reach the island by air.
Places to visit
The island has three main landmarks, built in the late nineteenth century. Their aura make the visitors feel as if they had stepped back in time. The central village has two streets, Main Street and Market Street, both of them lined with shops.
Fort Mackinac is located above the Main Street. It was originally built by the British to keep out the American rebels, and has the frame buildings built in the nineteenth century. It has the Mackinac Island State Park and excellent vantage points of the village, Machinaw Bridge and shipping channel.
The third landmark is the Grand Hotel, an 1884 summer palace. It has record-length front porch and is attractive to the visitors mainly because of its ability to make them feel the essence of pre-World War I. On-season of the island is between the Lilac Festival (early June) and Labor Day.
Things to do on the island
a. Explore the island
Mackinac Island can be termed as one of the pollution-free regions in the world, and the locals leave no stone upturned to make sure the original air of the place is preserved. Adhering to their policy of keeping the island strictly to the colonist-era, motor vehicles are not allowed on the island. Primary modes of transport are bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, horses and foot. Electric scooters are offered to those with disabilities. This approach has kept the island away from getting polluted. Also, as all landmarks are within the 1-mile radius of each other, traveling is not difficult.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours is the world’s largest horse- and buggy-livery. Visitors usually go for the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour to enjoy the tour as a part of pre-twentieth century aura. Carriages with two- or three-horse teams carry the visitors to Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac and the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum.
Bicycle is another option explored by the visitors on the island. Bicycles can be brought from the mainland or taken on rent on time-basis on the island itself. The charges are usually nominal, starting from $5. Special paths for bicycles are made on the island, and are encouraged by the locals.
Like in colonial era, taxis available on the island are horse-drawn carriages that transport the visitors to their desired location for a fee.
Horses are also an option, and many visitors go for it. Horses can be rented from Cindy’s Riding Stable and Jack’s Livery Stable on hourly basis.
b. Learn the island’s history: Haunts of Mackinac provide Haunted History Tours, which are walking tours for the visitors. These tours provide an interesting insight of the island’s history and its ghost lore and legends.
c. Play Golf: Three 9-hole golf courses exist in the interior of the island. Horse-driven carriages and golf-carts are used to transport the golfers between the courses. One of the country’s oldest golf-courses – Wawashkamo – is located here.
d. Go for Cruise: The Mackinaw Breeze is the only charter sailboat on the island that provides cruises in the Straits of Mackinac.
e. Go fishing:
Fishing had been a major business of the island till recently, and the lakes surrounding the island are known to have many varieties of freshwater fish. There are basically five best spots for fishing on the island.
i. Wilderness State Park (Lake Michigan)
Located 8 miles from Mackinaw City, Wilderness State Park is one of the best Michigan Parks. Lake Perch and Bass are found in plenty here, and the beauty of the shoreline can have the visitors captivated.
ii. Hidden River Golf and Casting Club
Hidden River Golf and Casting Club is located by Maple River, south of Mackinaw City. This club has a golf-course for golfers and casting club for fly-fishing enthusiasts.
iii. French Farm Lake
French Farm Lake is in the south of Mackinaw City. Two public access sites are available but be sure to bring a small boat without a motor. This lake is great for Bass, Pike and Bluegill.
iv. Paradise (Carp) Lake
Paradise Lake is a large inland lake south of Mackinaw City. Bass, Pike, Walleye and panfish are plentiful. There is a Bass fishing tournament in early June. This lake is a main attraction for children.
v. Bois Blanc Island (Lake Huron)
Bois Blanc Island is located in the south of Mackinac Island. Its Northeastern part is suitable for fishing. Salmon, Steelhead, Muskie and Whitefish are the main catches of this region.
As Mackinac is an island and was a center of the Great Lakes fishing trade in the nineteenth century, its cuisine mainly comprise of seafood. Today, commercial fishing has ceased to exist, though Arnold Line Dock and Coal Dock still operate today.
Mackinac Island is also known for fudges, made with the traditional ingredients and involves intense labor. There are five fudge companies on the island: Joann’s, May’s, Murdick’s, the Murray Hotel, and Ryba’s.
Alcohol-consumption is very high on the island, and many restaurants and bars have licenses for its sale.
Other things to be considered
Due to the out-of-time environment, the island may cause discomfort to many visitors today. The absence of motor-vehicles and special favor to bicycles and horses makes the place safest for pedestrians and air cleaner than other parts of the world. This makes the island a haven for the sick and allergic patients to spend their vacation.
For those having little or no experience with the horses, it will be advisable to have detailed knowledge about the beasts before entering the island, as it is these beasts that control most of the island. The island is known for its natural beauty, with huge, beautiful lakes surrounding it and rugged hills visible. It should be on visitor’s itinerary to spend at least a day savoring the natural beauty of the island.