Mackinac Island is a special place for my husband and I. As a child, I fell in love with Mackinac Island when my family visited on vacation. I loved the stores, the horse drawn carriages, and most of all the crisp, blue waters of Lake Huron. My husband also enjoyed visiting Mackinac Island as a small child. He remembers staring at the idyllic village from the airplane window, then racing to locate the tiny houses he saw from the sky. We even chose to stay at one of Mackinac Island’s hotels for our first vacation destinations as a newly married couple. One of our favorite memories was riding a tandem bicycle around the Island. My Prince Charming rescued my pants from the bicycle chain with his car keys. So when planning the family vacation this year, our thoughts naturally travelled up north to the state shaped like a mitten and the beautiful island of Mackinac.
Located between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, Mackinac Island prohibits motorized vehicles (except for service vehicles, emergency vehicles, and snowmobiles in winter). Visitors can travel to the island by small aircraft, private boat, ferry, and snowmobile in winter. We chose to purchase tickets to Shepler’s Ferry to visit the Island. Located minutes from our Mackinac City motel, Shepler’s offers a speedy ride to the resort area.
Once we landed, we rented two tandem bikes and set out on the 8 mile trek around the Island. My boys loved stacking rocks along the shores of Lake Huron when we stopped for breaks. As we pedaled around the Island on the paved bike trail, we noticed the numerous nature trails, scenic overlooks and arch rock.
After one accident and a broken bike chain, we arrived safely to the downtown for an early lunch. We followed lunch with a tour of the downtown shops and samples of the world famous Mackinac Island Fudge. It was hard to choose between the many flavors and stores, but we finally settled on the classic chocolate and dark chocolate fudge from Sanders Candy on Mackinac. We hiked to the Grand Hotel and were disappointed to learn that guests not staying at the hotel needed to pay $10 per person to enter the lobby. The boys were upset to not enter the lobby, but another fudge sample seemed to lift their spirits.
As a National Historic Landmark, Mackinac Island is overflowing with history. From churches to old homes to Historical Landmark signs, Mackinac Island offers guests a chance to learn more about life on the Island and early Michigan history. We were able to tour some of the churches and old homes, however most of the historic buildings as well as Fort Mackinac require a separate admission. After paying for the ferry, bikes, and fudge, our budget and tired legs wouldn’t allow for any more fun. We caught the return ferry to Mackinac City, tired and happy.