If you’re looking for things to do on Mackinac Island then you’ve come to the right place. Dennis and I recently spent our 20th anniversary on Mackinac Island. It’s hard to believe we’ve been together so many years. That’s longer than my parents were married. Wow! We spent our 10th anniversary on the island and now we were anticipating 4 days and 3 nights on the island to celebrate our 20th as well. Sounds like we’ve established a pattern, don’t you think?
Bikes are essential for getting around on the island, so we borrowed some from Dennis’s parents. We also borrowed a bike rack from a dear couple from church. We did have a bit of trouble securely fastening the bikes to our car. We just started heading down the road only to hear a fairly loud banging noise which was pretty annoying. I wasn’t looking forward to hearing that during the entire four hours it would take us to drive to Mackinac City.
We pulled into a parking lot and Dennis was able to tighten the straps on the bike rack a bit more. We tried driving on M-6 a short distance to see if we would be able to drive on the highway at all, but neither of us felt very confident. So, we ended up heading to a local Meijer to buy some more bungee cords. After attaching several more cords to our load, the bikes were nice and secure. So we headed off down the road once again.
The fall color was beautiful on our drive north. It was probably the best color we’ve ever experienced on our anniversary weekend. Most years, it’s cloudy or even rainy on our anniversary. But this year it was sunny. We enjoyed the rare treat!
We made it to Mackinaw City around 4 pm and checked into the Clarion Hotel. It was a bit outdated but clean. The walls weren’t very thick, however. In the early evening, we could hear people in the parking lot and walking by our room. And we had a smoke detector that started chirping as well. But maintenance came up right away and replaced a battery for us, so that was good. And fortunately, overnight was nice and quiet.
We weren’t planning to be in Mackinaw City for very long. This was really more of a staging area so that we would be able to take a ferry over to Mackinac Island first thing in the morning. Our plan was to eat dinner and get to sleep early so that we could catch a ferry to Mackinac Island first thing in the morning.
We ate dinner at Toast A Go Go, which is normally a delicious restaurant. They have an excellent breakfast buffet which we have enjoyed in previous years. But our experience wasn’t quite as pleasant this time. The place was empty, which should have been our first clue. We ordered our meals and we decided to splurge on a basket of onion rings that we could share. They were pretty greasy. I ate one and when I went to grab another, I noticed some barely-battered fish were in the basket as well.
That turned my stomach so our meal was basically over at that point. On a positive note, we did show the fish to our waitress and she didn’t charge us for that item.
We went back to our hotel and got some rest. The rest of the night was uneventful.
Getting to Mackinac Island
The next morning, we got ready and made our way over to the breakfast room at the Clarion Hotel. It was a surprisingly nice complimentary breakfast. Much better than we were expecting. And the breakfast room was large enough to accommodate all of the guests who were partaking. We ate our breakfast and then gathered our things so that we could head over to the ferry docks.
We happened to notice that the Star Line Ferry was running Facebook ads saying if you bought one adult ticket you get one free during the month of October so we were eager to take advantage of that deal. Ferry tickets aren’t cheap. And along with round trip tickets, we were also having to pay extra to bring our bikes over to the island as well. We made it to the docks just before 9:30 am and were able to get on a ferry which departed almost immediately.
I purchased tickets at the office while Dennis unloaded our luggage and parked our car in the secured overnight parking. He was then able to hop on one of their complimentary shuttle buses and make his way back to where I was waiting. The porters asked where we were staying on the island so that they could mark our bags appropriately. We didn’t have to handle them again. They were put on the ferry, loaded onto carts, and taken directly to our hotel. They gave us baggage claim tickets which I slipped into my purse for safe keeping.
We did decide to keep a few bags with us. My purse, of course, as well as a couple of camera bags and our laptop. We didn’t want to take a chance of anything happening to them.
We boarded the ferry and made the trip across the Straits of Mackinac. This narrow band of water is notorious for being windy. The Mackinac Bridge spans the gap between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Mackinac Island is just east of the bridge. The trip to the island didn’t feel very long as we were able to watch the island grow closer and closer. We enjoyed watching the ferry pull into the harbor and do a 180-degree spin so that they would be ready to head back across the straits after we disembarked.
Checking in to Mission Point Resort
This was our first time staying at Mission Point Resort so we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. We knew our bags were being taken to the resort for us. We claimed our bikes, threw our camera bags over our shoulders, and started the trek to the resort. There was a cool breeze blowing at our backs and it was cloudy.
We made it to the resort around 10:30 am. One of the staff members greeted and opened the door for us. We walked into the lobby in the main lodge and were blown away by the beauty of the place. The walls and ceilings were made from large logs and there were several huge, stone fireplaces with couches and chairs scattered about.
We walked to the front desk and were greeted by more friendly staff members. We knew we were hours earlier than the normal check-in time of 4 pm but wondered if we could possibly check in early. We told them we were there celebrating our 20th anniversary and were thrilled when they offered to upgrade our room. We weren’t able to check in right away, however, because our room wasn’t clean yet.
We gave them my cell number so that they could call us when our room was ready. We checked our laptop and camera bags with the bellman so that we wouldn’t have to continue carrying them and wandered around the grounds while we waited for our room to be ready.
We had no idea how long we would be waiting, so we wandered back to town taking pictures and started exploring the island. We made it back to the other side of town and by then, our room was ready. It was about noon. We went back to the resort and checked into our room.
All of our luggage was brought up for us. We tipped the bellman and inspected our room. The view was incredible. We were able to see sunrises and sunsets over Lake Huron with the beautiful grounds of the resort in the foreground. We had a king-sized bed which was very comfortable. The bathroom was small but they had recently renovated it to have a period charm. And the showers were fantastic. Lots of water pressure and the water was nice and hot. There was also a refrigerator located inside a cabinet. The only thing lacking was a microwave, which would have come in handy. But we didn’t miss it too much.
First Day Enjoying the Island
After getting settled in our room, we had lunch at Mighty Mac, which is a diner. Dennis had a 1/4 lb cheeseburger with bacon and I had the veggie burger. They were incredibly delicious and huge! We skipped the french fries which looked amazing but there was no way we could have eaten one more drop of food.
Then, we rode our bikes the 8.2 miles on LakeShore Drive, which goes around the entire perimeter of the island. It was starting to sprinkle lightly but we had on our coats and hoods and we stayed warm.
We rode our bikes to the only grocery store on the island, Doud’s Market, a few times that afternoon to buy some snacks and our supper. Dennis got a chicken cherry salad wrap which was good. I got a veggie hummus wrap which was kind of soggy and had way more olives than I would have preferred.
We also bought some delicious hummus and almond crackers, though. And we figured that the 17.2 miles we had hiked and biked so far that day entitled us to some no-bake cookies as well. Doud’s Market has a great selection of food and drinks that should satisfy almost all taste buds. And purchasing at least some of your food there is a great way to save money as well.
That night it was raining so we hung out in the lodge and sat by a fire. We walked around inside the rambling building and took in the atmosphere. There were several groups of people who were chatting or reading books by the various fireplaces. And the resort also provides games and cards for their guests to play, if they are so inclined. We also were lazy and hung out in our room. As parents of two teenage boys, it was amazing to have a few days without that nagging feeling that we should be busy doing something.
Windy Second Day on Mackinac Island
Our second day on Mackinac Island was very full. It started with us eating the breakfast buffet at the Round Island Bar & Grill, which is inside Mission Point Resort’s main building. It was huge and delicious. A great combination of casual dining with higher-end cuisine.
The buffet had everything you might expect and more. Along one wall they had warm foods such as eggs, bacon, sausage, and some of the most delicious potatoes I’ve ever had. They were fried and mixed with onions, peppers, and delicious spices. Yum! In another area, they had a large selection of pastries. They also had an oatmeal bar with lots of toppings, yogurt, cereal and lots of fresh fruit. It was fantastic! We knew that wouldn’t be our only time to eat there.
It was raining that morning, so after breakfast, we put on our rain gear and walked the mile and a half route back to town. We had brought an entire duffel bag filled with winter and wet weather gear with us. But that didn’t stop us from strolling through a few shops to see what we could find. I was able to find a cute stocking hat and mittens. Dennis also bought a new stocking hat. And we both bought a new journal.
Then we walked back to the resort. At that point, Dennis felt energetic while I was feeling a bit lethargic. So he went for a jog while I relaxed in our room and started documenting our adventures in my new journal.
When we returned, I was feeling refreshed so we decided to ride our bikes back to town to have lunch at Mighty Mac again. We had the same lunch as the day before. I was craving another veggie burger!
When we finished eating, it was lightly raining but we braved the elements and rode west of town to watch the big waves. It was extremely windy and Dennis did his best to take pictures of the waves. It was a struggle to keep the camera steady with the wind blowing so hard. At one point, I tried to take a photo with my camera but I could barely hold my arms up when the wind would gust. After watching the waves for a while, we decided to go back to our room to warm up and catch our breath.
But shortly after that, we noticed that the rain was turning to snow. It was our first snow of the year so we were excited. We put on our winter gear and walked to Arch Rock. We climbed the 207 steps up to the arch and took pictures. Then, we continued walking down Rifle Range Rd to Garrison Rd to British Landing Rd. And finally, we walked back to town along Shoreline Rd, which runs along the outer edge of the island. It was a long walk and our bodies were sore. My left knee was especially bothering me. But we made it. It helped that there were benches located periodically along the trails so I was able to stop and stretch my legs occasionally.
We had to go through town before we made it back to our resort so we stopped at Island Slice Pizzeria to get some dinner to take back with us and eat in our room. While waiting for our pizza, Dennis also walked down a few doors to Doud’s Market to pick up a snack or two while I sat in the pizzeria with my feet up.
When we made it back to the resort we pretty much crashed. We had done a ton of biking and hiking between that day and the day before. I totaled everything up and we walked or biked over 17.2 miles the first day and 14 miles the second. Plus, Dennis had jogged an additional two miles that morning. No wonder my knee was sore!
Hiking and Biking on Mackinac Island
For some reason, I woke up at 4 am on this day. I think it’s because we had been maintaining a much more physical routine than what our bodies were accustomed to and I was falling asleep much earlier at night than normal. Once we were both awake enough to eat, we went down to the Round Island Bar & Grill for their breakfast buffet again. After breakfast, we hung out in our room for a while and looked at the pictures and video that we’ve taken so far. My knees were feeling fine and I think it’s largely from taking Turmeric before I went to bed. Amazing difference! I had hardly been able to hobble anymore by the time we had made it to our room the night before.
Because we were feeling great, we decided to go on another bike ride. We walked our bikes up Huron Rd, which is the steep road next to Mission Point Resort. We took Huron Rd to Arch Rock Rd to Leslie Ave to State Rd to the Cave of the Woods trail. We hiked that trail until we arrived at the cave. Then we hiked another very short trail called Crack in the Island Trail until we made it to the crack. We then hiked back to State Rd and rode our bikes to British Landing Rd to Shoreline Rd.
We made it back to town and finally ended up back at the resort. We decided to have a snack of hummus and crackers since neither of us was hungry enough to eat a full lunch. We were still pleasantly satisfied from eating the breakfast buffet.
That afternoon we decided to go for another bike ride. We walked our bikes back up the steep hill of Huron Rd. Then we biked from Garrison Rd to British Landing Rd to Leslie Ave to Scott’s Rd, which is an awesome bike path that quickly became one of our favorites. We then headed to British Landing Rd which we took to Shoreline Rd. We rode that North until we got back to town.
We parked our bikes and walked around town for a while. We visited the little library which we had heard was worth checking out. The library itself was small but quaint. We didn’t want to disturb patrons who were trying to read, so we exited out the back door and sat on their back deck. There was a beautiful view from the deck so we took pictures of the waves and the harbor.
We then purchased two cups of amazing hot chocolate from Sander’s Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppe and we enjoyed sipping them while meandering through the town.
When we returned to our room, it was dark and rainy. We decided to clean up and head down to the Round Island Bar & Grill for dinner. Dennis had a bacon burger and fries and I had a grilled cheese sandwich and fries. But it was large enough that I could only eat half of my sandwich. I wanted to be able to finish my fries! Because our actual anniversary was the next day, we also ordered dessert to go so that we could finish it back in our room. Dennis got cheesecake and I had cherry pie.
Last Day on Mackinac Island
This was our official 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, most of the day was a travel day. But we made the most of the time we had left. We reluctantly checked out of Mission Point Resort and a porter came to our room to take most of our luggage to the ferry. We checked our camera and laptop bags and my purse with the bell captain so we’d be able to enjoy the last few hours on the island unencumbered.
Then we rode our bikes downtown and ate breakfast at The Pink Pony in the Chippewa Hotel. While eating our omelets, we decided we wanted to squeeze in one more bike ride before we left the island. We walked our bikes up the steep hill on Fort Rd.
Then we rode from Huron Rd to Garrison Rd to British Landing Rd to Leslie Ave to Scott’s Rd to Scott’s Shore Rd to British Landing Rd. Scott’s Rd had become our favorite place to bike and we wanted to take it in one more time before leaving.
After our bike ride, we left our bikes parked at the Visitor’s Center and did some more shopping. Dennis bought a mug and an 8.2 sticker, which is the distance around the island. He wanted it as a reminder to do something extraordinary every day just like we had been doing on our vacation. We also bought some fudge to bring home to our two teenage sons and some hot chocolate for us.
We walked back to Mission Point Resort to retrieve the bags we’d left with the bell captain earlier. Then, we walked back to town, gathered our bikes, and headed to catch the Starline Ferry back to Mackinaw City. It was extremely windy and after we were settled on the boat one of the crewmen warned everyone that it was going to be a rough ride. He also showed us where the life jackets were located. That’s the very first time either of us had ever experienced anything like that in all of our times of going across Lake Huron on the ferry.
Fortunately, we made it across the Mackinac straits without either of us losing our breakfast. Dennis rode the shuttle bus to the overnight parking to get our car while I waited with our bikes and our gear. We handed our luggage tags to the Starline porter and he helped us load our bags into the trunk.
Neither of us wanted our trip to end so we decided to take the long way home driving down US-131 and US-31 going through Petoskey and the other towns that are located on Lake Michigan. It snowed and rained alternately as we drove, but we enjoyed the fall color and the last few hours of our trip. Spending our anniversary on Mackinac Island was a wise decision and one that we will always remember fondly.
See also our 10 Favorite Things To Do on Mackinac Island for even more great ideas you’ll want to consider incorporating into your next vacation.