Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Yes
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Mackinac Island is a popular Michigan tourist destination; many people probably don’t realize that there is a state park on Mackinac Island. In fact, about 80% of the island is state park land (approximately 1,800 acres). Mackinac Island State Park is Michigan’s first state park, and it was established in 1895. Mackinac Island State Park can be visited free of charge and is open year round.

One unique feature of the island is that motorized vehicles are not allowed. One can explore the island by foot, bicycle, horseback or horse drawn carriage. The most common way to get to Mackinac Island is by privately run ferry boats. Ferries are available at St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula and Mackinaw City in Lower Michigan. The ferries dock very near Main Street (the island’s business district), which has many shops (including many that sell fudge), restaurants, and lodging options. Be sure to stop at the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor Center, which is also located on Main Street just north of the dock, before exploring the island.

The park has over 70 miles of roads and trails. Many can be used by horses, bikes, and hikers, while some are for hikers only. A very popular route is to bike, walk, or run around the island on Highway M-185. This loop is 8.2 miles and is flat for the most part. It provides views of many sites including Arch Rock, Lake Huron, and Mackinac Bridge. There are many places that rent bikes near the dock.

The island is also home to Fort Mackinac (admission required). Fort Mackinac was constructed by British soldiers during the American Revolution and was an American military outpost for about a century. The fort has live demonstrations (including cannon and rifle firings) and numerous educational exhibits. There are many other sites of historic significance on the island including Marquette Park and the Father Marquette Statue, Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence, Scout Barracks, Anne’s Tablet, Cass Monument, Skull Cave, and Fort Holmes.

Mackinac Island has many limestone formations, the most famous of which is Arch Rock, which has a fifty-foot span. It is easy to view from the shore and the bluff. Other interesting formations include Sugar Loaf, Robinson’s Folly, Skull Cave, Devil’s Kitchen, Crack-in-the-Island and Cave of the Woods.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Unique natural and historic sites.

Cons

Touristy and can be busy.

Features

ADA accessible
Historically significant
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Rental facilities
Geologically significant
Guided tours
Near lake or river
Cave
Marina
Wildlife
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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