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Mackinac Island Vacation: Photos of Things to See and Do

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Horses & carriages seen on Mackinac Island

Horses & carriages seen on Mackinac Island

Our good friends Lisa and Doug Hammel who vacationed on Mackinac Island this year came back with loads of photos and wonderful memories.

They knew ahead of time that this was one location in which I was interested. I had heard much about this island from my grandparents who had vacationed there as well as others who also had fond memories of this wondrous place.

Upon their return we spent some time talking about their experiences. They were willing to share the wonderful pictures that they had taken while on their recent vacation and let me post them here.

Mackinac Island Scenery

Mackinac Island Scenery

Thus this series of articles has come about because of their talking about things to see and things to do while on that most scenic of islands situated in Lake Huron just off of the coastline of Michigan.

I wrote an article already on historic Fort Mackinac and the place it has in history. The Grand Hotel plus the movies made there and the ambiance of that majestic place with the world's longest porch has already been featured.

This article shows numerous photos of what the scenery looks like. It also has tidbits of other information regarding how people spend time on that unique island which allows no motorized vehicles.

Enjoy the photos and videos!

Horses and carriages on Mackinac Island

Horses and carriages on Mackinac Island

Horses and Carriages

These are the common modes of transporting people around the late 19th century atmosphere of Mackinac Island because of the ban on motorized vehicles. Bicycling and walking are the other most common ways of getting around.

Pedestrians and the horses and carriages have the right of way so those who bicycle have to stay alert and obey these rules.


Most people arrive on Mackinac Island by way of the ferries that run back and forth from the mainland. That is how our friends and other people we know were transported to and from the island.

There is a small airstrip on the island for those with private airplanes but no place to refuel. So they must have enough fuel to not only land but also take off again.

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Arch Rock

This is one of the natural features on Mackinac Island that draws numerous visitors just because of its sheer beauty. Formed of limestone Arch Rock frames views of the multi-hued Lake Huron and its rocky shoreline below.

The rock is fifty feet wide and is 146 feet above the water. Visitors can get close to this natural arch due to steps and railed pathways that have been constructed. Terrific vistas can be seen from that perspective.

Sugar Loaf Rock

This is another interesting natural rock feature on Mackinac Island. Sugar Loaf Rock stands 75 feet tall and is one of the largest limestone stacks in this part of the country.

It along with the Arch Rock are remnants of the Ice Age when glaciers covered this area and then receded when earth temperatures warmed.

Indian lore is connected with both of these places.

Sugar Loaf Rock

Sugar Loaf Rock


The iconic Round Island Lighthouse operated from 1895 to 1948 when it was replaced by a more modern lighthouse by the U.S. Coast Guard.

People traveling to and from Mackinac Island all pass near the uninhabited round island where this old and historic lighthouse is currently undergoing preservation.

The Round Island Lighthouse is a landmark feature often photographed in the Straits of Mackinac. It was another site featured in the movie Somewhere in Time along with the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

Round Island is primarily a forest preserve and consists of 378 acres (153 ha) of land.

Our friends ended up getting several photos of the lighthouse along with others of its more modern replacement called the Round Island Passage Lighthouse (also known as the Mackinac Island Lighthouse) which is only 600 meters apart from the older one.

It sits out further in the channel helping to protect the shipping lanes in the Straits of Mackinac which is the body of water connecting Lake Michigan with Lake Huron. The Round Island Passage Lighthouse has operated since 1948 and became automated in 1973.


Obviously in addition to all of the natural and historic features on Mackinac Island, these colorful butterflies featured below caught our friend's attention and are now frozen in time due to their photographic efforts.


Our friends captured three of the four churches in photos that are located on Mackinac Island.

The oldest church building in all of Michigan and one that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places was built in 1829 and is called the Historic Mission Church. It is pictured below.

It was a Congregational church and while it is now a part of the state park service and no longer operates as a church, with special arrangements marriages can be performed on site.

Mission Church

Mission Church

The other churches are the following:

  • Little Stone Church
  • St. Anne's Catholic Church
  • Trinity Episcopal Church

Victorian Cottages

The styles of these wonderful houses (deemed cottages) by the wealthy people who originally had them built on Mackinac Island in the last century are primarily Victorian in nature.

Our friend Doug is an architect and he loves seeing the different patterns and materials utilized in construction. Lisa has worked in interior design and also appreciates form, function and artistry.

One thing that many of these residences have in common are the proud flying of the American flag.

Many American flags flown on Mackinac Island.

Many American flags flown on Mackinac Island.

Wondrous gardens also surround the majority of these Victorian cottages which add textures, colors and beauty to each place as can be viewed in the photos featured below.


The Grand Hotel has two separate nine hole golf courses in which guests as well as non guests can play.

The Wawashkamo golf club has nine holes but 18 tees which can change the game dynamics depending upon which tee one uses.

There is also a putt-putt golf course that is fun for families with a full eighteen holes.

Golf clubs are available for rental so there is no need to bring them along on a trip to Mackinac Island. Just practice your swing and enjoy the views and hopefully your score if that even matters.


Doug visiting one site of golf

Doug visiting one site of golf



Our friend Lisa loves her sweets and before she even left on this particular vacation to Mackinac Island she was delighted to know that the making of fudge is a specialty on the island. According to reports after she returned she was not disappointed!

Apparently there are six different vendors selling their homemade versions of this sweet treat on the island.

Water Views

It goes without saying that Mackinac Island has an abundance of water views. The shoreline is rocky and can be accessed from many different points while bicycling or walking around the island. Of course the aquatic scenery from being driven around by horse and carriage is also wonderful.

The range and saturation of colors in the water depends upon lighting and the time of day but suffice it to say it is beautiful. Here are a few photos below that show some of the color hues and scenery.

Whether coming for just a day or spending more time, a Mackinac Island vacation offers something for everyone. I'll end this article with a few additional photos.

Hopefully this will have given readers of this article ideas of what there is to do and see while there.

Thanks Doug and Lisa for sharing all of your wonderful photos!

Ahh...pure serenity!

Ahh...pure serenity!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Peggy Woods

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