Michigan may be known for the urban area of Detroit, but off the northern coast of Michigan lays a small island that offers a truly unique travel opportunity. Mackinac (pronounced Mack-in-aw) island can be the basis of a classic Norman Rockwell painting, offering a small town with some unique quirks.
The northern region of Michigan offers some of the most beautiful scenic routes for a beautiful road-trip, there are also artisanal wells on the side of the road for some of the purest and coldest naturally filtered water. The true gem of northern Michigan is Mackinac Island and it offers a unique experience, straight out of a postcard.
Mackinac Island bans two things from the island: cars and chain hotels. You may think if there are no cars, how do people get around? The main modes of transportation on the island are bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. Seriously, I have visited this magical place and there is no car in sight which makes you feel that you’re back in time.
There are limited roads on the island and offers a scenic route that circles the entire island, for a fun day of hiking or bike riding. The island occupies approximately four square miles in Lake Huron. The island offers historical architecture and undisturbed nature.
The island is a National Historic Landmark for its Native American buildings, Victorian homes, and crafts cottages. Visitors can tour the state park to follow Native American Cultural History Trail or hike to elaborate limestone caves.
One of the biggest draws of the island is fudge, seriously the main street is lined with tons of fudge shops offering a variety of flavors with other delicious confections. Another main attraction the island offers is the historical hotel, The Grand Hotel.
The Grand Hotel offers historical luxury accommodations starting $329/night and has a long legacy of historical figures and celebrities that stay here. The island also offers bed and breakfasts throughout the island for a true taste of the Mackinac culture.
In June Mackinac Island hosts a 10-day Lilac Festival and the entire celebration culminates in the Lilac Festival Grand Parade, which is an annual tradition since 1949. The last time I visited Mackinac I decided to take a scenic bike ride around the island on a rental tricycle and they also have small beaches so you can take a dip in the cool water.
For hiking fans, you can hike up Arch Rock that stands 146 feet above the water and features an arch at the highest point of the island. If you’re not into hiking or biking, you can stick to the main street by the ferry pier for some good eats and shopping.
The main street offers fudge shops, retail stores, and restaurants galore. One of the best places that anyone would love to visit on the island is the Chippewa Hotel.
Not only is this a piece of Mackinac history, but it also offers a Pink Pony restaurant and a massive hot tub. Guests can take a swim in the cool water off the pier and can take a dip in a hot tub that is the size of a small pool.
Another great thing about Mackinac is that during certain parts of the year, you can witness the Northern Lights when the weather is clear.