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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.

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

Comments are welcomed!

Robert Sacchi on February 19, 2020:

Here's to someday.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 18, 2020:

Hi Robert,

No, I have not traveled there. My grandparents did, and some good friends of ours have gone to Mackinac Island. They gave me permission to use their photos. I would love to experience being there someday.

Robert Sacchi on February 18, 2020:

Glad you got the chance to visit and share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 18, 2020:

Hi Robert,

Visiting Mackinac Island would be like stepping back in time. It is indeed quaint and spectacular at the same time.

Robert Sacchi on February 17, 2020:

Thank you for sharing. This place seems both quaint and spectacular.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2019:

Hi Rajan,

So glad you enjoyed visiting Mackinac Island via the Internet and this post. Yes, there is plenty of water to satisfy that desire of yours as well as other attractions on the island.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 15, 2019:

Nice to visit this hub again. Excellent attractions and things to do. I really love the sea so would certainly enjoy it the most. Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures as well. They certainly are a visual treat.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 04, 2018:

Hi Ethel,

They were indeed lucky to be able to visit this island vacation spot which is so unusual in that no motorized vehicles are allowed. Bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are the prime mode of transportation along with walking, of course.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 04, 2018:

Wow Peggy. Quirky and quaint luxury properties plus stunning views. Your friends are lucky people to have visited.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2015:

Hello cam8510,

Am sure those lights on the Mackinac Island Bridge are spectacular at night with the reflections in the water. Nice that you have gotten to visit the island on so many occasions. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2015:

Hi thumbi7,

It certainly is a dreamland of sorts. Visiting Mackinac Island in some respects is like taking a step back in time. Glad you liked our friends photos which they graciously shared with me and allowed me to use.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2015:

Hi poetryman6969,

I am not that fond of fudge so could easily skip that but I agree with you that the Arch Rock is a beauty on Mackinac Island and a not to be missed site of interest. Hope we both get there someday! :)

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on July 14, 2015:

You've written a very fine hub about Mackinac Island.

My home is in Traverse City, Michigan, about a hundred miles south of Mackinac Island. I've been there many times, and it is a wonderful, magical place. I recommend finding a good bed and breakfast out of season as a fun way to get to know the island. And don't miss the lights of Mackinac Bridge at night.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2015:

Hello claptona,

You probably have very special memories particularly because you worked there some 40 years ago. You would have spent more time there than many of the visitors to Mackinac Island. I know that our friends enjoyed that homemade fudge as well as all of the other sites.

JR Krishna from India on July 14, 2015:

Excellent hub with georgeous photos.

Another dreamland to visit :)

poetryman6969 on July 14, 2015:

Love to see that Arch Rock. We will make a bee line for it if we are ever in the area. I will need to see if I can sneak some of that fudge past the wife.

John D Wilson from Earth on July 14, 2015:

Glad to hear Mackinac Island is still running along.

Worked there 40 years ago.

Can't remember the name of the hotel I worked in. (know it wasn't the Grand Hotel)

Workers cleaning up the poop from the horses, wonderful shoreline and lets not forget about the home made fudge!

Nice hub, brought back some good memories.

Best of luck!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2015:

Hi Au fait,

Mackinac Island does sound heavenly this time of year particularly for those of us who are sweltering in the hot Texas summer heat. We may be a few degrees cooler than you are but with our humidity, am sure we are just as (or even more) miserable with these high temperatures. We simply limit our time outdoors and stay in air conditioning much more this time of year. Hope you are staying cool also!

C E Clark from North Texas on July 14, 2015:

Excellent photos! This is the perfect place to visit in the summer, especially if one lives in the South. We are to be a hundred degrees everyday for the foreseeable future -- give or take a degree. Yesterday it was 98. I be Mackinac Island is so nice and cool!

I pinned a photo of one of those beautiful old houses to my 'White III' board. Going to share this. Maybe someone planning their vacation or like me, just wanting to be where it's much cooler will see it and it will be the answer to their prayers. If I could depend on my car to get up north and back without issue, I'd go up there for the summer.

Hope you are managing to stay cool!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2015:

Greetings renee21,

Hope you get to visit Mackinac Island someday. Sounds as though it would make a great honeymoon spot. Good luck on that part of your plans also. :)

Tori Leumas on July 05, 2015:

Wow! I have always wanted to visit Mackinac Island! These are awesome travel tips! I plan to go whenever I get married, though I don't know when that will happen, because I don't even have a boyfriend. Great hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2014:

Hi Barbara Kay,

Too bad your grandson had an ear ache which undoubtedly impacted your visit to Mackinac Island. Hopefully you will get to spend more quality time there in the future. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

Mackinac Island would be a dream vacation for many people. Thanks for your comment and the additional pin and share.

Barbara Badder from USA on July 22, 2014:

I'd love to go back there. When we made the trip, my Grandson was only 3 and got an ear ache. I for one hadn't spent all the time I wanted when we had to go back on the ferry.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 21, 2014:

Pinned this again to my 'Travel' board with a different photo of Round Island Lighthouse. Several people keep coming around to repin one of your other lighthouse photos from a different article, so maybe they would like this one too. Also sharing with followers. This would be a great place to vacation right about now.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 28, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

I need to check out your color boards. Thanks for the pins and votes.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 28, 2013:

Came back to pin this hub and instead I pinned it twice! Yes, once to my 'pink' board, and once to my 'white' board. For some reason my color boards are very popular, so I thought it might get more exposure there. Absolutely fabulous photos and so many of them! Voted on this hub AGAIN too. Up and BAUI.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2013:

Hi Amanda 108,

So glad that this collection of photos from our friends brought back happy memories for you of visiting Mackinac Island years ago. Thanks for your comment.

Amanda from Michigan, United States on March 17, 2013:

It's been years since I visited Mackinac Island but you've brought back memories! And what a collection of photos! I found myself going, "I remember that spot!" throughout.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 05, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

We never visited Mackinac Island when we lived up north either...but it certainly looks like a destination type of place worth the time and effort to see. Thanks for your comment, the 5 star rating, votes and share. Appreciate it! :)

C E Clark from North Texas on January 05, 2013:

So many gorgeous photos! I love them all. My computer is acting up again so I was unable to watch the videos so I'll have to come back to do that, but the photos were just fantastic, and on so many different things!

Even though I didn't live that far away I never got to visit Mackinac Island, but one of my sisters did, and I remember her talking about it and how surprised I was that motor vehicles weren't allowed.

Superb hub as always. Voted up, BAUI, and will share! Also, another 5 stars!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 22, 2012:

Hi Rajan,

I also hope to see the beauty and serenity of Mackinac Island in person someday. At least we both have ideas of what there is to do and see because of the generosity of my friends sharing their photos and experiences. Thanks for your votes and the share.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 22, 2012:

This is just awesomely beautiful. I wish I get to see such a serene and naturally beautiful place someday. Lovely photos and a great presentation here.

Voted up and awesome and sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 25, 2012:

Hello Glimmer Twin Fan,

So nice to hear from another person who has enjoyed Mackinac Island by riding bicycles around it. That, walking or riding horses or horse drawn carriages are the only modes of transportation which is a nice respite from the busy lives we normally lead. Glad that you liked the photos! Appreciate your comment.

Claudia Mitchell on August 24, 2012:

Just beautiful. Thanks to mary615 for sharing this. We love Mackinac Island. We rented bikes when we were there and had a perfect day riding around the entire island. Not a cloud in the sky and nice and cool. Wish we could have spend more time there. The photos are lovely. Voted up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2012:

Hi barbergirl,

What a thrill for you to be able to experience Mackinac Island when the lilacs were in bloom and you were performing in a band. Hopefully you & your husband will get back there someday together to enjoy it. I also look forward to visiting it someday as our friends have who were so generous with their photos & accounts of vacationing there.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on August 24, 2012:

I got a chance to go to Mackinac Island when I was a freshman in highschool. As a part of the Band we marched in the Lilac Parade. We only spent about 4 days for this trip and that included a stay off the island but it sure brought a rush of memories seeing these photos, as I have some that are very familiar. My husband is a history buff and I have always wanted to take him there. Sadly though - we never got a chance when we lived in Wisconsin. However, I am sure we will be back one day and then we can make a trip out of it! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2012:

Hi Dawnrichard,

Glad that you enjoyed the great photos taken by our friends when they were visiting Mackinac Island on their vacation. I enjoyed seeing them as well and thank them for letting me use them to illustrate this hub. Thanks for your comment.

Dawnrichard on May 09, 2012:

Nice hub....The pics are so cute and nice. Thanks for writing such a nice hub.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 21, 2012:

Hello nybride710,

Your entire family should have a wonderful time during your vacation on Mackinac Island...especially your horse loving children and photographer husband and you, being a history buff. You will probably be smiling most of the time! Enjoy it and perhaps you will wish to write a hub about your own experiences there. If you do, let me know and perhaps we can link our articles. Thanks for your comment.

Lisa Kroulik from North Dakota on April 20, 2012:

Just booked our vacation for August 20-24 on the island. We can't wait. My daughters, who will be 16 and 13 by then, are horse fanatics. Their faces sure lit up when I told them that's how people get around there. I'm a huge history buff and can't wait to see the sites, and last but not least is my husband the photographer.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 02, 2012:

Hi Lisa,

So glad that you liked what I did with information about a Mackinac Island Vacation. It wouldn't have been the same without your photos. Thank you again for letting me use them. Appreciate it!

Lisa H. on January 02, 2012:

You have done a wonderful job capturing the uniqueness of Mackinac Island - thank you Peggy! Reading your hub was like going on our vacation all over again and reliving the happy memories. I would highly recommend visiting this wonderful place to anyone - is is not to be missed! AND, the fudge really is amazing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 30, 2011:

Hi Prasetio,

Not surprising that you would not have known about Mackinac Island from your part of the world in which you live. There are many people in the U.S. who are also not familiar with it. It is a jewel of an island and so different from many others. Glad to be able to introduce it to you. Thanks for your comment and rating.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 30, 2011:

Hi, Peggy. Sorry for late to know this hub. Wow...you have done a great work here. I love this hub and the Mackinac Island as well. I had never heard about this island before. But with this hub you open my eyes about another beautiful island in the world. Thank you very much for share with us. Rated up!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2011:

Hi Hanna,

Mackinac Island is certainly different from many other islands around the world because of the ban on motorized vehicles. Lots of pedestrians, bicycles and horse drawn carriages as you saw in this hub. Thanks for your comment and we can thank my friends for the photos.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 29, 2011:

That must be paradise. Especially for me - only horse-drawn-carriages. Thank you for writing such an explicit report on Mackinac Island. Great photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 28, 2011:

Hi Judi,

So glad that this hub regarding a Mackinac Island vacation brought back good memories for you. Thanks for your comment.

judio on December 28, 2011:

I remember visiting as a child with my folks and was amazed they did not allow automobiles. Visited again about 25 years ago. Great trip down memory lane.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 27, 2011:

Hi Alastar,

Will have to see if our friends want me to do any more of their vacation travels. Haha! I learned so much about Mackinac Island doing the research for this hub and loved seeing all of their photos. Glad that you and others are enjoying it as well. Thanks for your comment.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 26, 2011:

Wow, what a finale for Mackinac series Peggy! That has got to be the finest collection of historic houses I've ever seen. The Arch Rock reminds of the Natural Bridge in Virgina and while I'm at it can only wish for such a variety of colorful butterflies down here. Once again, thanks go out to the Hammels, and to you Peggy for bringing the charm and beauty of Mackinac Island to the HP. Oh, just saw were no cars are allowed so another gold star!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 26, 2011:

Hi Om,

I think that people from the Mid-West part of the country are more likely to have heard of Mackinac Island than perhaps others who live in more distant places. Glad that I could introduce it to you. It certainly makes for a different lifestyle with no motorized vehicles being allowed on the island! Thanks for your comment.

Om Paramapoonya on December 26, 2011:

Thanks for sharing this lovely hub, Peggy. I had never heard of this island. It looks like a little paradise. I would love to live there! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 25, 2011:

Hi Cheryl,

That fudge video was interesting and something that people visiting Mackinac Island can easily see and of course taste if they like sweet treats. Thanks for commenting on this hub about a Mackinac Island vacation. Hope you get there in person someday per your wishes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 25, 2011:

Hi Coolmon2009,

Glad to hear that you enjoyed this hub regarding Mackinac Island including the video about the churches and the butterfly photos that our friends took while on vacation there. Thanks for your comment.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on December 25, 2011:

Great photos and videos. You have given valuable information on beautiful Mackinac Island. The preparation of the fudge is very interesting. Lots of interesting sites to see. I would love to vacation in Mackinac Island in the near future. Great hub and lovely photos and videos.

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on December 25, 2011:

I would love to visit this island. I like the video of the church and the pictures of the butterflies; Nice Article

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on December 25, 2011:

I would love to visit this island. I like the church video and the pictures of the butterflies; Good Article.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 25, 2011:

Hi Darlene,

Those old fashioned white steepled churches do look nice and the little stone church looks charming. Our friends certainly had taken some wonderful photos during the time spent on their Mackinac Island vacation. Thanks for leaving a comment. Merry Christmas!

Darlene on December 25, 2011:

Loved the photos and especially the little churches.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 24, 2011:

Hi Leah,

Visiting Mackinac Island would be a fun outing for your family which certainly has history there. So your inlaws actually met there and your father-in-law made fudge. Small world! Does he still make fudge today using smaller measurements? I'll bet they have some interesting stories to tell of their time spent working on the island! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 24, 2011:

Hi Gene,

Thanks for letting me use your Cedar Waxwing photo that you took while on Mackinac Island. That is quite a photo! Appreciate your comment since you have also been there and know what a vacation on Mackinac Island is like. I almost feel as though I have been there with all of the time spent compiling these three hubs. Beautiful island! Maybe someday we will get there to see it in person.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 24, 2011:

Hi Debbie,

Yes, I would imagine that Mackinac Island is beautiful at Christmas although one would not get to see some of the normal sites such as the interactive displays at Fort Mackinac since the season would have ended in October. I think I would much rather visit during the spring, summer or early fall months of the year when the gardens are full of flowers and the temperatures are milder. Glad that you liked this hub.

Merry Christmas and thanks for your Christmas greetings and your comment.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on December 24, 2011:

Beautiful hub, Peggy! My in-laws met on Mackinac Island (they both worked there, and my father-in-law made fudge)! He still remembers the fudge recipe, though the quantities are really high for home use, lol! My husband and I should take the kids there, since we're only about 8 hours away. That would be a really fun get-away. The water looks so clear and blue!

Gene Jasper on December 24, 2011:

Again, compliments to MS. Hammell on her photos! And to you for compiling this hub. Good job.


Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on December 24, 2011:

These are awesome pictures.. I would love to go there. the videos are superb. No cars.. YEAH!!!!

THANKS for SHARING.. I bet it is pretty around Christmas..

Merry Christmas


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 24, 2011:

Hello NMLady,

Oh how I love lilacs! That would be a wonderful time of year to visit Mackinac Island. Thanks for adding the information you did to this hub. Will make a note of that movie that you suggested. Thanks for the very first comment.

NMLady from New Mexico & Arizona on December 24, 2011:

We absolutely love Mackinac Island. We try to get there when the lilacs are all blooming....there are thousands of them!

Once we stayed at the Grand Hotel. What a wonderful experience that was!

Mostly we stay at St. Ignace in our RV. Driving that bridge even during the good times (for low wind) is quite an experience in an RV!!!

We also love Escanaba....neat little town. Do see Michgander Jeff Daniel's ode to Escanaba movie, Escanaba in da Moonlight.

Sigh....will get to MI sometime next year, hopefully. gotta see the fam and the sights! July 4th fireworks over the lake...ahhh....

Thanks for the nice stroll down memory lane!

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