Mackinac Island has always been one of my favorite places to go in Michigan. I visited last week and am going to be heading there again in July. If you've been following my blog you might remember I blogged about our trip to the island last year and after my most recent visit, I decided I want to share with you my favorite eats, stores, drinks and more! Read on to see the best places on the island including photo opps and pro tips for all you basic blondes like me!
- Little Luxuries: This store just celebrated their ten year anniversary (congrats!) and we all know why. It is probably my favorite store on the island with tons of - you guessed it - little luxuries like (paper) straws for your wine bottle, Michigan pillows, dishtowels, jewelry, candles and more! It is so cute and a basic blonde's dream.
- Nadia's Fashion Shop: This store has brands like Billabong, Quicksilver, Toms and more, but personally, I love shopping their wide selection of sunnies from brands like Costa and Ray-Bans.
- Canvas & Paddle: A true northern Michigan store made for campers. From pine scented candles to handmade mugs, you'll find everything you need for your inner outdoorsy-self. If you're a fan of stickers, definitely stop in here for the best Michigan ones on the island!
- Poppins: One of the most aesthetic gift shops and always fun to explore! Poppins has tons of cards, stationery, baby gifts and more. Every time I walk in here I want to buy a new agenda, dairy, and every person in my contacts a heartfelt card.
- Caddywampus: Full of fun trinkets and made in Michigan goodies, this store has something for everyone!
- Nephew's of Mackinac: One of the few clothing stores on the island that isn't touristy, Nephew's of Mackinac has great bags, shoes and fun boutique finds for your closet!
- Dali's Mackinac Island: If you are into bracelets, rings and more this jewelry store is a must stop for you. They have unique pieces made of stones and sterling silver you are bound to find a new favorite.
- Pink Pony: Since we usually stay at the hotel the Pink Pony is at it is safe to say we eat here at least once if not two or three times. The atmosphere is preppy chic with patio seating overlooking the harbor. As a salad feen, they honestly have pretty good salads and I don't say that about just any place (unless that place is Outback or a rare unicorn - in this case, pony). Another favorite of mine here is their fish tacos.
- Carriage House: Another waterfront restaurant on the island and is more high end than others on this list. If you are looking for somewhere with finer dining this is a delicious restaurant with an amazing view!
- Mary's Bistro Draught House: The Draught House is right next to the Carriage House and has outdoor seating as well so if you are looking to eat somewhere not so fancy with tons on tap, the Draught House is a great spot to enjoy - bonus they have a quinoa burger in spite of their menu full with ribs and BBQ!
- Seabiscuit Cafe: This cozy horse-themed cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner perfect for grabbing a bite to eat on Main Street.
- Huron Street Pub & Grill: Another restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Main Street, Huron Street Pub & Grill has great food and is usually packed with a fun atmosphere to enjoy your meal.
- Millie's On Main: This is another staple restaurant on Main Street and if you are looking for a burger, make sure to stop here! Along with other good food, of course, they tend to be a tad less busy than Seabiscuit and Huron Street which always seemed to be full after 11:00 am.
- The Gate House: I love to sit outside at The Gate House for a meal on a nice day. Their sandwiches are delicious and they have live music in the evenings.
- Chippewa Hotel: The Chippewa is our new favorite hotel to stay at on the island. At the end of Main Street, it overlooks the water and harbor so make sure to get a waterfront room to enjoy your morning coffee on the balcony.
- Mission Point Resort: A little walk out of the main area, Mission Point has a ton of grounds area overlooking a golf course and the water, it is pet-friendly and is a gorgeous hotel to stay in. One of my favorite things are the Adirondack chairs by the golf course overlooking the water. I usually enjoy these at least one morning with my coffee whether I am staying at the hotel or not!
- Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast: This B&B is off of Main Street and a perfect distance away if you don't want to be in the activity. I haven't stayed here in multiple years, but remember really enjoying it when we did!
Snacks & Coffee
- Good Day Cafe: One of my personal favorite spots for a bite to eat. With Moomers ice cream, made in Traverse City, crepes, coffee, and sandwiches, this cafe is perfect for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack! Plus it is super cute.
- JoAnn's Fudge: Even the locals agree this is the best fudge on the island and what is visiting Mackinac Island without some fudge? My favorite flavors to take home are Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Turtle.
- Lucky Bean Coffee House: Off of the main strip, Lucky Bean has some of the best coffee on the island. If you are a coffee addict like me you might start here before hitting Starbucks and Good Day Cafe just to compare them all for yourself.
- Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor (Located at the Grand Hotel): The Ice Cream Parlor just like the grand has a high class, old-timey feel even though the parlor was only opened less than 6 years ago. It reminds me a little too much of something Cruel DeVil would have a stake in, but nonetheless is an Instagram photo opp (plus ice cream duh) for all you basic blondes!
- Tea at the Grand: Afternoon Tea at the Grand Hotel is pricey, but a once in a lifetime fun thing to do if you're more chic than outdoorsy. You can eat finger sandwiches and scones while sipping champagne (or tea) with live music playing in the background at the iconic hotel. Heads up - you do have to pay a $10 admission fee to the hotel if you are not staying there.
- Sip n' Sail Cruise: I have never actually done this cruise, but have really wanted the past few years. The cruise offers drinks - duh - and goes under the Mackinac Bridge while live music plays in the background and the sun is setting. Drinks - check, music - check, sunset - check, boat - check.
- Cupola Bar: At the very top of the Grand Hotel is the Cupola Bar overlooking the lake. It has two levels each with windows surrounding the cocktail area. Both levels have very interesting decor decked out with blue star carpet, blue and white stripped ceilings and a large decorative chandelier. If you are out with the ladies this is a perfect place to enjoy a cocktail!
- Mustang Lounge: If the Cupola Bar doesn't seem your pace then check out the Mustang Lounge that is more of a rustic style. You are bound to run into quite a few locals here. They have live music playing every night and space to dance.
- Pink Pony: I know the Pink Pony was on my eat list, but what can I say it is also a party at night! If you visit them at night they will also have live music playing and is a fun place to have a drink in their bar.
- Horn's Gaslight Bar & Restaurant: Probably the end-all place for the night is Horn's. Horn's usually has some sort of rock band or DJ and the largest dance floor on the island you can bet everyone will be out on - including me who rarely dances.
Other Fun Things To Do
- Butterfly House: A perfect adventure especially if you have kids. The Butterfly House is the 3rd oldest in the United States and it is always fun to go sit while butterflies fly around you maybe even landing in your hand! The other insects here, however, I am not too fond of.
- Biking: Bring your own bikes or rent some on the island. Since you can only walk, bike or ride a horse around, a bike is perfect to cruise around the island on. If you stick to the main road it is a little over an 8-mile bike ride around the island but if you want something more intense, go up into the island and you are sure to get a huge workout along with seeing gorgeous houses and views.
- Horseback Riding: I have gone horseback riding with Cindy's Riding Stable and had such a blast! There was 7 or 8 of us who did this and you have a guide who takes you around the island. You will get a horse fitted to your level granted watch out because the horses know their way back to the staples and their main goal is to get there as quickly as possible. As long as you are comfortable, it is a fun experience and a unique place to do it in.
- Arch Rock: This is a hike to get to from the main road - 207 steps to be exact - but you can also get to it from walking behind the fort up lots of hills. If you are up for the journey, bring some water and if you want to have a picnic some sandwiches.
- Caves: Either by bike or hiking there are a few different places to stop like Skull Cave, Eagle's Point or Crack in the Island. My personal favorite is Devil's Kitchen, but watch out you might want to bring some sage!
- Sailing: There are a few different sailing charters you can choose from to take you out on the water for a couple of hours and it is tons of fun! Sailing the Great Lakes is not something you get to do every day and is a little out of the normal Mackinac Island festivities.
- Carriage Rides: A right of passage when visiting Mackinac Island is to go on a buggy ride. Take a carriage ride around town, up to the Grand Hotel or do the Island Tour to learn all about the history of the island.
- Visit the Fort: Fort Mackinac is a huge attraction for many of the visitors here. The best part about visiting it is that they do reenactments and will fire cannons throughout the day. If you like history, make sure to add this to your list of things to do!
- Ghost Tours: Haunts of Mackinac Island is a walking tour around the main strip mostly and isn't the most impressive, but if you haven't done one or been here before it can be fun. Personally, I prefer to read the book Haunts of Mackinac and go on my own tour.
- Visit the Grand Hotel: You can pay $10 to visit the Grand Hotel and see this iconic hotel, gardens, and stores or eat here. You can also pay to enjoy their pool for the day.
Favorite Photo Opps
- Adirondack Chairs in front of Mission Point
- Arch Rock
- Cairns AKA the man-stacked piles of rocks along the water's edge; there are a ton of these along the road around the island and good groups for photos by the stairs leading up to Arch Rock.
- Cupola Bar
- By the harbor overlooking the boats and lake
- Good Days Cafe
- Grand Hotel Gardens
- Somewhere In Time Gazebo