Mackinac Island Activities
Mackinac Island Activities
Since the later part of the 20th century Mackinac Island has strived to establish its credentials as a tourist destination successfully. Now all the activities on the island are designed to attract more tourists and keep them pleasantly busy in activities that best relax the body and the mind. The result is that from May through December there are plenty of activities for visitors to indulge in. From eating fudge to Para-sailing on the Huron, there are a number of activities to pursue in Mackinac Island.
The first thing that you can enjoy even before reaching the island is the ferry trip from St. Ignace or any nearby port. Once on the island the thing that strikes you is that horse drawn carriages are still in vogue here. So you will be eager to take a trip around the island visiting the points of interest in a horse drawn carriage. Surrey Hills Carriage Museum is the starting point of a carriage ride. You get an opportunity to see some antique carriages, too. Jack’s Livery Stable and The Mackinac Island Carriage Tours are the companies that rent you carriages to drive on your own, after gauzing your skills at handling horses and driving carriages. Explore the island in a carriage driven by an expert or be your own master and drive around. Of course, if you are driving on your own the operators give you a route map to follow.
If you are going on a horseback ride make sure that the horse you have chosen is a well bred one and wear safety gear to protect you in case of a fall.
There is an 8-kilometers long road encircling the island at its perimeter. Exploring the island along this road is possible by taking bikes for rent at $4 per hour to $30 for the whole day. Single speed, tandem, mountain bikes, kid’s bikes and burly carts – all types of bikes are available for rent. Make sure that you know how to ride the bike you are renting; this would avoid any fall or crashes. Participate in the Zoo-de-Mackinac race conducted every year and participated by around 2,000 bicycle enthusiasts.
There are 70 miles of natural and paved trails on the island that allows walking, trekking, hiking, running, as well as snowshoeing and country skiing during the winter. If you are trekking again make sure to follow all the safety guidelines to avoid falls from steep cliffs and bluffs.
Every year Gault Race Management conducts running and walking races in 8k, 10k and half marathon categories for both amateurs as well as professionals.
Mackinac Island State Park covers 80% of the island and treasures all the natural as well as man-made sights that are worth seeing on the island. The most important site to be visited is the Fort Mackinac. There you may watch the soldiers dressed in 19th century uniforms fighting mock wars, firing canon balls and the military concert playing the band music of the 1800s. Round the trip to the fort with a lunch, dinner or snacks at the Tea Room restaurant that provides a beautiful view of the village 130 feet below.
A visit to downtown Mackinac is a definite item on the itinerary to see the historical buildings that include Dr. Beaumont Museum, Indian Dormitory, Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, Mission Church, Biddle House and McGulpin House.
If studying architecture interests you then there is a host of architectural styles to keep you busy. The Birch Bark Chapel in Marquette Park is an example of Mackinac Indian style of building. The McGulpin House represents French Rustic style of building. Fort Mackinac was built in Islamic Military Architecture model. The British had learned from the Islam countries during their invasions about the use of stone and brick in fortification instead of wood. Indian Dormitory has a typical Colonial style. Mission church adopts the Federalist style. Victorian, colonial revival and Tudor style architecture are also present on the island.
Mackinac Island is not short on entertainment. Magic shows to movies, you can find it all on the island. Comedian Stu Stuart will make you roll with laughter with his shows at the Lilac Tree and Lake View Hotel. There is a movie theatre that runs shows every day during the tourist season. The Grand Hotel has nightly entertainment for guest and non-guests alike. Proper dress code has to be adhered to dance in the Grand Hotel ballroom. The Mackinac Island Fudge Festival has a two-day Music Festival in addition to the regular music performed by accomplished musicians everyday.
Last but not least, the Lilac Festival is one of the main attractions of the island and is filled with fun activities. Celebrations of the Goddess Epona, the protector of horses and animals with feast and activities is a part of the Lilac festival. Crowning of the Lilac queen, gourmet food, wine tasting, musical concerts and finally a parade of horses and buggies to round up the festival are the main attractions of the Lilac festival and participating in these events is the main activity of the visitors who are present on the island during that time.
Horse riding lessons, water sports, cruising the lake in boats…as we mentioned earlier there are endless options of activities on Mackinac Island.