Exploring Mackinac Island

Published: July 21st 2018
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We stayed overnight at Mackinac Island, and the process to get here couldn't be easier. At Shepler's Ferry in Mackinaw City, we were told to pull into a loading section. Some of Shepler's crew came over to the car to get our bags, and we walked over to a tent to buy our ferry tickets and overnight parking pass. We put the pass in the dash and parked in the lot, not far from the ferry. The whole process probably took 15 minutes, and then we caught the ferry just before it left. It took another 15 minutes to get to the island. So, really, from the time we pulled in to the time we stepped off the ferry in Mackinac Island was about a half hour to 45 minutes. Easy, peasy! The only hiccough we had was that Joanna didn't have her fairy wings with her. She felt like she needed her fairy wings for the "fairy boat."

When we arrived, we could have waited for our hotel to pick up our luggage and deliver it to our room, but we were literally staying just 200 feet from the docks at Main Street Inn and Suites, so we decided to walk our luggage over ourselves.

Mackinac Island is unique in that it doesn't allow any cars or golf carts. Everyone walks or rides bikes or horses to get around. The sidewalks are full of pedestrians, and the streets are full of cyclists!

We got to our hotel room, and Oliver was nearly moved to tears. He kept talking about how beautiful it was. We got our things dropped off and sorted, and then we set out to explore! It was about 1pm, and we wanted to find some lunch, but we decided to explore the nearby Marquette Park first. It afforded some stunning views of Lake Huron, and it had access to Fort Mackinac as well (although the kids weren't interested in doing that). We continued our walk and ended up at a pancake house for lunch. It was full, but they were kind enough to seat us in the connecting ice cream shop and served us there. The service was excellent, but the food was just OK.

When we finished our meal, we continued our trek and ended up at the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House. It cost our family of four $30 to enter. The price was steep, but we thought it was worth it. The butterfly house alone was fantastic. You walk through what is essentially a greenhouse filled with tropical plants and hundreds of butterflies. We also got to see butterflies emerging from chrysalises, and we got to see other insects, too. To top it all off, in the gift shop, Joanna found butterfly fairy wings. We let her get some as a souvenir.

When we were done, we set out for our hotel again. We stopped along the way for some Mackinac Island fudge. We needed to recuperate from the heat, so we laid down in our room for a bit. I decided to go for a stroll at one point and took my friend's suggestion to check out the library that was about a block away. It's back patio faces the water, and it had spectacular views! I didn't check out a book since I'd brought my own, but I sat there and read and enjoyed the views anyway.

At dinner time, we walked to Mary's Bistro Draught House. We didn't get a spot out on the patio, but we still got a table at the window with great views. The food was a lot better than the lunch we'd had, and we enjoyed the meal. When we were done, we decided to walk to see the sunset over the water. We'd wanted to watch from Sunset Rock, but someone told us it was on private property. We heard the upper floor of the Grand Hotel had good views, so that's where we set out for. About halfway there, Oliver got a stomach ache and needed to turn around. Andrew and Jo continued on. They didn't find views of the sunset there, so they set out on foot to find a place to view it. Along the way, they met another family who was also racing across the island in search of a place to see the sunset. They never did make it. Apparently, all the places they tried were blocked off by private residences. There was no place for the public to get through the see the sunset! Oh well. They had fun on their adventure.

In the morning, we said goodbye to Mackinac Island. We caught an early ferry back to Mackinaw City, where we had some breakfast before driving over the famous bridge to the Upper Peninsula and setting out on our next destination: Tahquamenon Falls!

Additional photos below
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The Streets of Mackinac IslandThe Streets of Mackinac Island
The Streets of Mackinac Island

There are no cars on this island.

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