When to Go
The best time to visit Mackinac Island is from April – October when ferry services offer daily trips back and forth to the island. Most people visit Mackinac during the summer because that is when the weather is the warmest. In April and May the temperatures average between 50 and 60 degrees F and can dip into the 30s in the evenings. In June, things warm up with temperatures during the day in the 70s and in the 50s at night. In July and August, the days are warm with temperatures ranging from the mid 70 to the high 80s during the day with evening temperatures in the high 50s. In September and October, temperatures begin to dip with days averaging 70 F and evenings dipping into the low 50s. December is said to be the coldest month of the year with average daytime temperatures in the 30 F.
If you want to visit a place with beautifully preserved Victorian architecture, where cars have been banned since 1898, and, where 80% of the surrounding landscape has been preserved as a National Historic Landmark, then head to, Michigan’s Mackinac Island.
Shopping & More
Once a bustling fur trading center, today’s shoppers on Main Street can explore many l stores selling a wide variety of items from touristy trinkets to locally made artwork, jewelry and craft items. As you shop there are five historic buildings including the Dr. Beaumont Museum/1820 Fur Store, Biddle House, Blacksmith Shop, McGulpin House and the Mission Church. There is plenty of food offerings from tiny coffee shops to fine dining.
A must see for history lovers is Fort Mackinac that dates to 1780. Perched high on one of the islands limestone bluffs it is the oldest building in Michigan. Exhibits explain everything from military training to medical treatments as well as giving visitors a look at family life within this military outpost. A new exhibit takes visitors back to the War of 1812 and the fear of the British capturing the fort. If you are visiting in the summer, take a free tour of the Governor’s Summer Residence that was built in the grand Victorian style in 1902. There are great views of the Straits so don’t forget your camera.
A visit to the Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World is perfect for hands on learning experience of these beautiful creatures.
If you are interested in Native American legends and geological wonders, visit Arch Rock. The Ojibwe tradition teaches that this limestone landmark perched 150 above the water is where the Great Creator blew the breath of life into the newly formed earth. This is one of the most photographed spots on the island.
Romance of Yesteryear
Take a carriage ride to the Grand Hotel for an experience seeped in tradition. This property has been well known for its elegant beauty since the 1840s. Book a lunch or order afternoon tea replete with tea, champagne, finger sandwiches, and scones to indulge in a taste of gilded age luxury.
The tradition of making fudge is alive and well here and a popular souvenir. Five tons of fudge are made here everyday! There are 13 fudge shops on Mackinac and sampling fudge here is a sweet experience!