Insider Tips & Recommendations for Exploring Mackinac Island's Top Attractions

Insider Tips & Recommendations for Exploring Mackinac Island’s Top Attractions 

Mackinac Island is famous for its rich history and unique landscape. With nearly 1 million people visiting the island each year, it has set a high standard of being, “Michigan’s Crown Jewel.” We’ve provided the ultimate guide to uncovering hidden gems and experiencing the top attractions on Mackinac Island, so you can experience the true magic of this unique treasure, that very few are lucky to call home. 

Immerse yourself in the true history of Mackinac Island with our insider tips on the top attractions on Mackinac Island. 

1. Mackinac Island State Park 

Mackinac Island State Park is one of the oldest State Parks in the United States and covers more than 80 percent of the island’s total square miles. It features the island's most historic and natural sights, offering a plethora of free entertainment and true beauty. 

The island’s most impressive natural feature, which is a must-see during your time on Mackinac Island is the Arch Rock. The Arch Rock is a natural limestone formation that sits on the shore and towers a height of 146 feet and a width of more than 50 feet. Our insider recommendation is to experience the vast beauty of this landmark from the unique perspective of the water. Rent a Kayak or paddleboard and paddle to the shoreline for this picture-perfect moment. 

Another major landmark on the island is Sugar Loaf. Sugar Loaf is the tallest limestone stack on the island towering at 75 feet high. Besides being a stunning sight, it has unique stories about its formation and history. The geological record says that the rock tower likely formed as the high waters of ancient glacial Lake Algonquin receded away forming the current Great Lakes and eroding the surrounding rock of Mackinac Island. Another story told centuries ago by the Native Americans who revered Mackinac Island as a sacred place have a different story to tell. A story you can discover during your time on Mackinac Island. 

2. Fort Mackinac 

Fort Mackinac was the main military post on the island and housed the soldiers and their families during the American Revolutionary War. The fort is now fully restored and provides visitors with an insider look at what life was like while the fort was active. History buff or not, you will find this unique historical landmark truly fascinating. There are a total of 14 buildings, housing a variety of exhibits, each focusing on a different aspect of the fort’s history, function, and operations. 

See the strategic importance of the fort and understand life back in the day for a true insider understanding of Mackinac Island’s history. 

3. Historic Downtown

Mackinac Island has a historic downtown district home to several historic homes and businesses from the fur trade era of the 1820s and 30s. Discover what it was like to live life during this unique time. Each building focuses on a different aspect of life and culture, listed below are just a few. The costumed interpreters who perform demonstrations and answer questions are the way to fully experience the historic downtown of Mackinac Island. 

After experiencing the top attractions of Mackinac Island, there’s no doubt your feet and body are going to be tired. The perfect place to rest and recharge is at the Mackinac House. With its cozy and welcoming atmosphere, this boutique hotel provides the perfect place to escape the island’s hustle and bustle, while still being close enough to quickly jump back in. So, what are you waiting for — book your Mackinac Island stay now!