Coined Michigan’s Crown Jewel, Mackinac Island is a unique experience to get outdoors and travel back in time at a single destination. This 3.8-square-mile island is famous for its lack of cars and location between the Upper and Lower Peninsula. It’s the perfect start to your U.P. vacation — a fun day trip to Mackinac Island! You’ll either get around by foot, bicycle or even a horse. Because this location can be tailored to what a family or individual wants out of it, you have plenty of options to create your own day trip adventure. Here are some suggestions to consider when planning.


How long to spend on Mackinac Island?

You can spend as much time as you’d like on the island before heading home. If you only want to shop for some souvenirs and grab some fudge, you’ll only need about 3-5 hours. If you want to explore more by bike, take a carriage tour or hike in the state park, add a few hours or spend the entire day there. If you get there early and finish your bucket list, simply hop on a ferry back to the mainland. There is one at least every hour — sometimes more often in peak summer season. And your ticket isn’t linked to a specific return boat. Simply hop on when you’re all set, and be aware of the last ferry out if you plan to spend the entire day there. Depending on the time of year, that last ferry can be at 5 p.m. or 9 p.m. Give yourself plenty of time to get your ticket scanned and get in line regardless of when you plan to leave!

Getting to Mackinac Island

You get to Mackinac Island by ferry. There are two options for ferry rides on your journey to the Island. Both Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry and Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry allow you to buy tickets online or in-person at their booths in St. Ignace. Those of you planning to bike later during your U.P. trip can pay extra to bring your bike to the Island. This will save you time and money when trying to get around. If you do take a bike, walk it up the dock when you reach the Island. Wait until you get to Main Street to hop on and take off! Ferry schedules vary depending on the day and time of year, plan accordingly. Many paid Island activities can be packaged with your ferry ticket. Look into the Bridge Tour ferries, which take a slight detour under the Mackinac Bridge for a perfect photo op.

Mackinac Island must-see attractions

The following are some of the most popular reasons people visit Mackinac Island:

Things to do 

How you spend your day is entirely up to you! Explore state park woods, hear about the island’s role in past wars, try delicious fudge, shop and more. Read about some of the most popular attractions in our Mackinac Island blog.

Top things to do on Mackinac Island

Start planning your day trip today! 

Once you’ve had your island fun, take the ferry back to St. Ignace and stay the night there before continuing your U.P. adventure or returning home. Each ferry ticket includes a round trip. Book your stay today. 

When planning your day on the Island, find more information on our Mackinac Island page below including popular destinations to explore, history and more! 

Mackinac Island

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