I’ve been to Mackinac Island many times over the years, and I have yet to do and see everything that I would like to, but I thought I would come up with a list of the things that are my favorite so far. These are in no particular order and don’t ask me to pick my favorite one. I like them all. 🙂
1 – Marquette Park during the Lilac Festival or anytime the lilacs are in bloom, really.
There is nothing like the sweet smell of lilacs in the air. When the lilacs are blooming, you can walk down the middle of the road and smell them all around. The Islanders like their lilacs so much they have a festival every year in early June, complete with a lilac queen and a parade, among other events.
2 – Biking Scott’s Road
When we were staying at Mission Point Resort in the fall of 2018, we took many bike rides around and through the island. Biking, in general, is always one of our favorite things to do on Mackinac Island. Our favorite riding trail was Scott’s Road.
It starts on the northeast side of the island and ends on the northwest. From beginning to end is probably less than two miles, but it’s just a gorgeous woodland ride. There is one really steep hill, but the rest are fairly mild. If you go in the fall when the trees have turned their autumn colors you will be in for a treat.
3 – The Cedar tunnel
These are located between Radisson Point and Heriot point on the west side of the island. If you do the loop around the outside of the island, M-185, there is a section of the road that goes through a “tunnel” of cedar trees. When we were there in the fall, it was very cold and windy on the west side of the island, but when we rode our bikes through the “tunnel” it was very calm.
Not only do the trees cut the wind, but it was very peaceful there. It was one of those places that swept my senses away. I could hear the wind blowing through the trees and the waves crashing on the beach. There was a hint of aroma from the cedars. The road was covered in the rich brown leaves of the trees. You can even peek through the trees and see the waves of Lake Huron being blown ashore.
I almost wish I’d had a lawn chair to park right there in the middle of it all. There is a little roadside park with bike racks and benches to rest on. Falling asleep on a lawn chair would be better though. Although carrying it there and back again wouldn’t be any fun.
4 – The view from Fort Road
There are a ton of great views on Mackinac Island, too many to list them all. One of our favorite things to do on Mackinac Island is to hike up Fort Road. Fort road runs up the hill just to the west of the Fort Mackinac. About 3/4ish up the hill is a little platform that overlooks the town. It is a bit of a steep climb, but not all that far.
From east to west, as far as the eye can see, it is just beautiful. You can see over the top of the town, across the bay, Round Island, Bois Blanc Island, too many things to list them all here. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.
5 – Eating at Mighty Mac Hamburgers
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, my favorite place on the island is Mighty Mac Hamburgers. They are located just to the southwest of the Star Line Ferry dock. Their burgers are great. Not sure what’s different about them, but even the buns are delicious. Michelle had a veggie burger and loved it as well. After you get your food, try and find a seat in the very back of the diner. There is a pretty good view of the harbor.
6 – The stairs going up to Arch Rock
Stairs as a favorite place? Really? Well, ok, it’s not the stairs themselves that I like, it’s the view going up (or down) the stairs that make this one of my favorite places. As you make your way up, look at the trees and the foliage growing out of the side of the hill. it is really quite beautiful. It always amazes me how the trees grow out of the side of a hill like that and don’t fall over. If you are coming down the steps, you will have a great view of Lake Huron. Just don’t get so caught up in the view that you trip!
Also, be aware that there are 207 steps in total. It’s a fairly steep climb, although there are a few landings to take a break. Arch Rock itself is also one of our favorite places to visit on Mackinac Island.
7 – The cemeteries
I know this is another one that people wouldn’t generally put on a favorite places list. However, visiting the cemeteries really helps to solidify the history of the island in your mind. This is especially true of the Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery. I think that it’s good to remember and honor those who have sacrificed for our freedom. This is the very same freedom that allows us to travel and enjoy creation.
8 – The lawn in front of Mission Point
Looking for some peace and quiet from the hustle and bustle of downtown? Well, a little over half a mile to the east of Marquette park is Mission Point Resort. There is a large open grassy area between the resort and the water which is a great place to relax. There is also a trail that goes along the water’s edge that is fun to bike or hike.
There are several Adirondack chairs available to sit in and look out at the water. It’s a great place for a picnic, or to soak up some sunshine, write a novel, or just sit and enjoy the quiet end of town. Many people ride right on by without stopping to enjoy the scenery from this lawn. To me, this makes it one of the lesser known things to do on Mackinac Island.
Oh, and it’s a great place to catch a magnificent sunrise!
9 – Windermere Point
If you’re looking for a place to picnic which is a little closer to town, you can head over to Windermere Point. It’s located between the Mackinac Island Public Library and Hotel Iroquois. There are several picnic tables there to choose from. There is also a really cool tree by the water. I’m not sure what kind of tree it is, but the shape of it gives a strong visual of where the prevailing winds usually come from.
Also, if the picnic tables aren’t your style, walk over to the back porch of the library. They have some Adirondack chairs that you can sit in to relax and enjoy the view of the water.
10 – My favorite place for breakfast
There are great places to eat all over town. However, I think my favorite is the Round Island Bar & Grill. Not only do they have a great breakfast buffet, but it comes with a beautiful view. It is located inside Mission Point Resort which is on the east end of the island. The side of the restaurant that faces the water has a rounded wall of windows. We usually sit next to these to enjoy the view. This also makes it a great spot to watch the sunrise.
Honestly, I love the whole island
There are so many cool things to see and do on Mackinac Island that I don’t have room to list out all of my favorite places. Not to mention all of the stuff I haven’t had a chance to do yet. I’m still researching what to do on our next trip there. I don’t know when that will be yet, but it won’t be soon enough.