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Returning to Mackinac Island

By September 9, 2019Adventures

During our vacation, I was excited to adventure back to Mackinac and share this special place with my family. The only time I’ve visited was in 2015 and you can read about the day here.

On Friday, we headed further north for the 3 hour drive to the ferry. We decided to depart out of Mackinaw City versus St. Ignace as a shorter route. We also used Shepler’s Ferry this time. Definitely search online for promotions as we scored multiple adult packages for 3 at $67 each– a savings of $16 with advance ticket purchase.

A couple of key differences with the route…you do not drive over the Mackinac Bridge. I think part of the fun of going to the U.P. is going across the bridge. It is also a pretty scenic sight. So looking back on it, we should have departed from St. Ignace instead. You also park for the ferry and take a tram to the dock at Mackinaw City. With our original visit, we were able to park right at the docking station in St. Ignace and board the ship. The ferry, however appeared the same size.

The waters were a bit rough, however we made it safely to the Island. We were all hungry for lunch upon arrival so we enjoyed a meal and refreshments at a local pub in the quaint downtown.

We decided to tour the Grand Hotel after lunch.  We did not visit this hotel on our first journey as we had the dogs with us and my parents also missed it during their trip.

On our walk to the hotel, we caught a nice view of the Mackinac bridge and Lake Huron.

The walk to the hotel was scenic and we enjoyed the island’s famous horse carriages along the trek.

The hotel is quite a sight as you approach.

Since 1887, this hotel has welcomed guests and the original rates were $3-$5 a night. It has been family owned for three generations and is considered a National Historic Landmark.

The proper attire sign is worth a chuckle.

In the 1890s, the Grand Hotel’s Front Porch, longest in the world, becomes a principal meeting place for all of the island. This porch is amazing…I wish we could have captured a picture to really show it off.

Admission for touring the hotel is $10 a person and though I would not do this for every visit, it is definitely worth the experience at least once.

The inside decor transports you back in time.

There are fun boutiques to explore, fine dining experiences and quaint tea rooms.

Lots of windows with glorious views.

After exploring the inside of the hotel, we strolled the gardens which are quite beautiful.

There was a large fountain in the garden as well.

We enjoyed the scenery as we departed.

Soon we headed over to Fort Mackinac. We decided to skip buying tickets this visit as we saw the Fort on our last trip.

Instead we walked along the water and headed towards the Mackinac Historic State Park.

We all wanted to see Arch Rock so we hiked a couple miles to our destination.

This arch is known as the most famous of the rock formations on the island. The arch is over fifty feet wide and 146 feet above Lake Huron.

The arch may be reached by foot, taxi, carriage or bike. It also may be viewed from below on the perimeter tour of the island.

We climbed many stairs to the top to glimpse the view. It was worth the exercise as quite captivating.

Soon it was time to head back to the downtown to explore the local boutiques. I stopped at Murdick’s Fudge to take some of the island home.

We caught the return ferry and started our journey back to the vacation house. The Captain warned us that the passengers on the ferry deck would be soaked due to the rough waters. He was not exaggerating and we were thankful we stayed inside.
Until next time, Mackinac…..


Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.