Visiting Mackinac Island for the first time can have many unknowns. Which ferry do we take? Do we bring our own bikes or rent them? Do we stay on the island or just for the day? Do we pack a lunch or eat out?
Since living on Mackinac since my first summer in 2006 and now living here with kids I have learned a lot over the years. If you are making the trip to Mackinac Island with kids this summer below are a few of my suggestions that I have found work best for our family.
1. Dress in layers. You never know what the weather will be like once you are on the island. It could be sunny and warm in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and by the time you get to the island it is chilly and cloudy. It's not fun with kids not having enough warm clothes with you!
2. If you plan to ride bikes throughout the island and most of your time while on Mackinac, I recommend bringing your own bikes. If you want to ride a bike only for a few hours I recommend renting them. All the bike rentals on the island are great!
3. Do we eat out or pack a picnic? This is totally up to you and your family. Personally, I would grab to-go items at Doud's Market and eat in Marquette Park or ride bikes and pick a picnic table along the way. If you are not wanting the restaurant atmosphere The Doghouse is also a good option for families across from The Windermere Hotel. There is a large grassy area with picnic tables right on the water. The kids love throwing rocks in the water or flying kites. If you do want to eat in a restaurant Pink Pony is the iconic restaurant on the water side and Mary's Bistro is great with a family as it is spacious, options to eat outside or inside and great food!
4. When visiting, make sure you get off of Main Street and see what beautiful Mackinac Island has to offer. There is so much more than just Main Street!
5. If you want the full Mackinac experience staying overnight is highly recommended. Once the last ferry leaves it is peaceful and quiet along Main Street. When you visit just for the day it is difficult to fit it all in. Staying overnight allows you to relax more and fit it all in. If staying overnight just isn't an option, I do recommend staying til the last ferry leaves and there are many campsite options on the mainland close by as well.
I hope these 5 tips help plan your next visit to Mackinac Island! Stop in and say hello!