Beach + Island

Car-Free Destinations for Your Big Summer Trip

by Marisa Lascala

Mackinac Island
Michigan

Lake Huron's Victorian Mackinac Island takes conservation seriously—so much so that 80 percent of the island is situated within the protected Mackinac Island State Park, famous for its limestone bluffs. But it's not just the natural surroundings that have been carefully preserved. History is also of the utmost importance, as can be seen at Fort Mackinac, home to the oldest building in Michigan. After exploring, call it a night at the Grand Hotel (a pick on our Gold List) known for its sprawling, 660-foot front porch looking out to the water, and its equally indulgent five-course dinners.

Getting Around: Though the island is extremely walkable—the perimeter path is just 8.2 miles—it's hard to pass up the opportunity to take a ride in a horse-drawn taxi. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours claims to be the oldest continually operating taxi service in the country, in business more than 100 years. If you're really feeling adventurous, you can even rent a carriage and drive your own horse and buggy at Jack's Livery Stable.

Getting There: Two ferries service the island between May and October: the Star Line Mackinac Island's Hydro-Jet Ferry, departing from St. Ignace, and the Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry, departing from St. Ignace and Mackinaw City. There's also an on-island Mackinak Island Airport for private charter flights (906-847-3231).

FYI: Save room for some fudge. Locals have taken to calling the tourists "fudgies" because everyone here stops to buy some.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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