Mackinac Island is a small island located a few miles off the mainland of Michigan. You can get there by ferry from St Ignace or Mackinaw City. The ferry ride takes about 15 minutes.
This beautiful island has a rich history and a Victorian image with many historic houses and hotels. When you get there you really feel like you have stepped back in time as cars are not allowed anywhere on the island. Getting around means riding a horse and buggy, riding a bike, or walking.
The island is home to Mackinac State Park, which National Geographic named one of the top 10 in the US There is a beautiful butterfly house that kids would especially enjoy with over 500 of them to see. If you like to play golf, Wawashkamo Golf Club has a course that is played on 9 greens from 18 tees and is open to the public.
For people interested in history, Fort Mackinac was built by British soldiers during the American Revolution. He served as a sentry in the Strait of Mackinac for more than 100 years. Today, the original restored fort is a National Historic Landmark.
One of the best ways to explore the island is to take one of the many carriage tours available. You can even rent your own carriage or discover everything the island has to offer on horseback.
There are many interesting shops that include clothes, gifts, sweets and candies. Various artists live on the island and their paintings are available in various galleries. My favorite store is Lilacs and Lace, which has Victorian porcelain, jewelry, body and bath products, and jewelry cases.
Accommodations include stately hotels, bed and breakfasts, condos, and suites. The island has a permanent population of around 500 inhabitants, but it increases dramatically in the spring and especially in the peak summer season. Reservations anywhere must be made well in advance.
The Grand Hotel was built in 1887 and was featured in the movie Somewhere in Time. It has even been named one of the best hotels in the world. This is an attraction in itself and features luxurious Victorian rooms, beautiful views, and several first-class restaurants.
There is also a large selection of restaurants offering everything from casual to fine dining.
Mackinac Island is truly a gem and a wonderful place to visit. Michigan is beautiful in the fall and the days are still nice and this may be a great time to go there as it is much less crowded than during the summer months.