Visiting Mackinac Island has always been in the back of my mind ever since I read about the cute little car-free island years ago. My dream finally came true this summer on our way back home from our Canadian road trip, and it was everything that I dreamed it would be.
We arrived on Mackinac Island in the early afternoon after crossing the Canadian border and setting up camp in nearby St. Ignace. We bought a two-day ferry pass from Star Line Ferries and soon enough we were on the island!
Since we only had a few hours before the last ferry back to the mainland we decided to rent bikes and ride around to get our bearings. We visited the famous Arch Rock and road about a quarter of the way around the island shore before turning back and spending some time riding through town. I couldn’t get over just how cute the island was, and I was so excited to come back the next day to explore even more.
Excited to get going with all of the exploration we had left to do, we were up and on our way early (though not before enjoying the morning view from our tent on the beach). It was a little bit colder out today, so we dressed for warmth and sat inside on the ferry ride over.
Since we both wanted to learn a little bit more about the history of this extremely touristy island, our first stop of the day was Fort Mackinac. We admired the view overlooking the harbor from one of the highest points on the island before heading inside.
While there we not only learned about the history of the fort but of the island as well. One of my favorite parts about it all was learning just how many times the fort had changed hands between the British and the Americans, and I especially got a kick out of the bathroom stalls with bathtubs in them.
After so much learning, it was time for lunch. Since the sun had started to come out, we decided to stop by the local market and get a picnic lunch! We ate delicious sandwiches, fruit, and cheese and crackers, all while once more enjoying a view of the harbor.
We decided it was time then to sample one of the many ice cream shops on the island and went for the one that had genuine pieces of fudge in it. It was delicious.
The Grand Hotel
Then it was time to spend our afternoon pretending to be rich. We called a horse & carriage cab to take us up the extremely steep hill to the Grand Hotel – famous for having the world’s longest covered porch and for being ridiculously expensive.
We paid the $10 entrance fee to explore the hotel and surrounding grounds and then went about getting our money’s worth by making sure to spend as much time there as possible.
We chilled out on the porch for a good while and laughed off the waiter asking us if we wanted anything to drink before we went off to explore the seriously beautiful gardens. We couldn’t help but feel like we didn’t belong, though – two young kids who would never dream of actually staying in a place like the Grand Hotel. It was certainly a sight to see, but it’s not the kind of vacation either of us is looking for.
After our foray into the world of the rich and famous, we walked back to town to get dinner at a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the harbor. I had pretty much the most delicious cheese pizza I’ve ever eaten, and the weather was absolutely beautiful.
As our final act on Mackinac Island, we bought five pieces of famous Mackinac Island fudge before jumping back on the ferry and saying farewell to the island we had fallen in love with.