Mackinaw Island, more commonly known as Mackinac Island, is located in Northern Lake Huron, between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Feet, bicycles, cross country skis and horse-drawn carriages are the only modes of transportation--motorized vehicles were banned in 1898. It is an uncommon blend of natural beauty and rustic trails, history and worthwhile tourist destinations.
Mackinac Island State Park
Mackinac Island State Park has more than 70 miles of trails for hiking, biking and walking. The park is free and open year-round. No camping is permitted. The trails wind through arboreal forests, geological formations and beautiful beaches. Free maps are available on the island.
Visitors can either bring bikes to the island or rent one for about $5 an hour. There are both paved and unpaved trails ideal for riders at any level, from leisurely shoreline rides to hardcore hill trails for mountain bikers. Sites worth seeing on the trails include skull cave, British landing, arch rock and devil's kitchen.
Mackinac Island's wintry shoreline is beautiful and peaceful. The wind and water create amazing icy formations. Around the island, winter wildlife is abundant--foxes, birds, coyotes and rabbits are commonly seen. Seventy miles of trails are available year-round. Trails are groomed throughout the winter.
Native Americans believed the island resembled a large reptile and called it mish-la-mack-in-naw, or big turtle. A very well preserved fort, Fort Mackinac, was built in the 1700s and is an excellent stop on a hiking excursion. Museums and historical societies on the island have over 1 million artifacts in their collections, two research facilities and numerous historical sites.
Festivals and Events
Mackinac Island hosts many events and festivals. In October, the Great Turtle Half Marathon and 5.7-Mile Run/Walk takes place. During the summer, events like the Lilac Festival and Mackinac Island Music Festival are enjoyed. President's Day weekend is celebrated with a winter hay ride, poker contest and bloody mary pancake breakfast.