The Perfect Mackinac Island Family Getaway

Mackinac Island

Plan the Perfect Family Getaway to Mackinac Island 

Mackinac Island is the perfect island escape in a most unlikely place. Who knew that an island adventure could be had just a short drive from Detroit. Head north on I-75 until you reach the Mackinac Bridge, park the car and catch a ferry over to the island and let your adventure begin.

The island is one of the few remaining car-free islands in the country making it a quaint throwback to another time and place. Famous for fudge and the filming of the cult classic, Somewhere in Time, Mackinac Island does not disappoint for family fun and will have you creating incredible memories that will last a lifetime. 

Mackinac Island


Indulge in a Fudge Crawl

There are approximately 15 fudge shops on Mackinac Island and they all offer free samples of fudge. Watch the fudge makers twist and flip hot fudge on a marble slab while nibbling on their delightful creations. This is great to do when you arrive so the kids can burn off their sugar high. Note your favorite and be sure to buy some before leaving the island. Fudge is, after all, the best selling souvenir on the island. 

Mackinac Island

Visit Fort Mackinac

Don’t let the kids give ya the “awww, do we have to?” face. Go to the fort for a look at life during the early days of the island. Hands-on activities and costumed docents make the fort a fun activity for the entire family. Arrive early, or call in advance, to make arrangements to fire the 9 a.m. canon and have lunch at the tearoom that offers incredible views of downtown. Note: The fort sits at the top of a hill, be sure to stretch those legs muscles before making the trek up to the entrance. 

Take a Carriage Ride

This is a great way to see many of the islands popular sites as well as hear entertaining stories and while enjoying a horse-drawn carriage ride. You can pick up a carriage ride on Main Street as soon as you get off the ferry. Have your camera ready as you’ll pass Skull Cave, the Grand Hotel and many other photographic spots. The ride usually makes a stop at Arch Rock, a highlight of the tour. 

Mackinac Island

Go for a Bike Ride

Want to explore the island on your own time? Bring a bike or rent one on the island and spend the day pedaling around this roughly 4 square mile island.  Pack a picnic and stop along the shore to enjoy lunch away from the crowds.

Play at Admiral Dave’s Arcade 

Rainy day? No worries, head over to Mission Point Resort and introduce the kids to classic arcade games until the rain stops. A change machine is available in the arcade.

Watch Wings Take Flight at the Original Butterfly House

The Original Butterfly House is a 1800 sq ft tropical garden is filled with hundreds of live butterflies from four continents. Watch them hatch from a chrysalis and take their first flight.

Mackinac Island

Visit the Grand Hotel Stables

See where the Grand Hotel’s horses live in a bit of luxury. The Grand Hotel Stables has a massive chandelier in the center of the barn plus antique carriages on display and, of course, beautiful horses. Definitely worth a stop on your tour of the island. 

Fly a Kite 

Bring your kite and let it fly high. The great lawn at Mission Point is a great kite flying location as is Marquette Park in front of Fort Mackinac.  Kites can be purchased at the Great Turtle Toy Store downtown.

Mackinac Island

Visit the Library

This library may have the best waterfront view on the entire island. A small deck on the back of the library invites you to sit and enjoy a book while watching freighters and ferries pass by. Be sure to check the used book sale section at the library to buy a book to take home or enjoy while you are there. 

Mackinac Island

Play Outside 

75% of the island is parkland so get out and explore it. Hike, bike, paddle, or horseback. Whichever mode of transportation you like just be sure to spend time exploring.

Mackinac Island

Where To Stay On Mackinac Island

There are many hotels and inns on the island, but if this is a one time trip for the family we feel you’d be remiss if you didn’t stay at the Grand Hotel or Mission Point Resort. 

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel is perched on a hill overlooking the straits of Mackinac. It’s 660′ long porch is perfect for sipping a coffee or a cocktail. This historic hotel is beautifully decorated with each guest room having a different look. Additionally, you’ll enjoy a dinner service unlike any other on the island. There is an outdoor pool as well as a nice lawn for burning off energy. Book a package that includes meals and sit back and enjoy your stay.

Mission Point Resort Mackinac Island

Mission Point Resort 

Located at the opposite end of the island and packed with family-friendly entertainment. Kids center, arcade, room to run, putt-putt golf, glow golf, and a pool to name a few. Mission Point also has a very nice spa that will have you relaxed and recharged. Kids will love visiting with Nick, the hotel’s dog, and exploring this property. Watch freighters passing from the green space while kicked back in a comfy Adirondack chair and enjoy!

Insider tips on visiting Mackinac Island can be found by clicking here

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Mackinac Island




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Detroit Mommies Expert Contributor
Deb lives in Michigan with her husband and a very spoiled Maltipoo. She is an avid road-tripper who always searches out the quirky, weird and haunted when she travels. At home, she is a wanna-be Joanna Gaines designer and shares tips and tricks for updating and surviving life in a small house. In her spare time, she creates and shares simple, yet delicious meals and cocktail recipes and keeps us with her own blog/business Just Short of Crazy (dot) com.