Don’t write Mackinac Island off as a tourist trap–the picturesque island is a lovely place to indulge, explore, and find adventure…without all the crowds and (one-too-many) fudge shoppes.
I think travel should be about experiencing different cultures and discovering the local favorites…ya know, getting off the beaten path. We’ve been traveling to Mackinac Island each summer for the past few years, and it’s one of my favorite vacations. For us, the key to truly experiencing Mackinac is to spend the night on the island…even if only for 1 night, it’s a must do! Below I’ve included my favorite places to frequent, what I packed for Mack, and (of course) what I ate.
Hotel Iroquois–Staying on the island overnight is key. Hotel Iroquois is exceptional, in fact, it’s been named top 15 hotels in the midwest. The location of the hotel is right on the water, close to the shops, and just a carriage ride or bike ride to anywhere else on the island. (There are no automobiles on the island!) The decor of the hotel matches the coastal, victorian style of the island. The rooms are adorned in bright floral wallpaper, embroidered linens, and elegant furniture. A continental breakfast is included with your room––sip coffee, watch sailboats, and enjoy homemade strawberry jam slathered on buttery croissants. The hotel is a full-service restaurant, and one of the best on the island. See more about dining below!
Woods Restaurant–Think Alice in Wonderland meets European Hunting Lodge…it’s a bit bizarre, but in a good way. The horse carriage ride there takes about 15 minutes and goes through a winding trail in the woods. It’s a great first night dinner spot–gives you the opportunity to see a lot of the island. Make sure you checkout the old duckpin bowling alley while you are there! I had the whitefish off their menu. Be sure to leave room for the Pecan Ball in Fudge Sauce.
Carriage House–Located in Hotel Iroquois and an excellent place for both lunch and dinner. I’m still dreaming about their Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus salad off their lunch menu. For dinner I ordered the filet mignon and added morel mushrooms. I’m nuts about morels, so this was a highlight of my trip. The waiter sold me on the peanut butter pie for dessert–it was ok, but I was practically in food coma by that point.
The Jockey Club–After a few island activities I was pretty hungry so we wandered over to the Jockey Club for lunch. It’s located just across the way from the Grand Hotel and it’s a perfect place to sit outside, people watch, and have a few drinks. I was famished so I ordered the burger…it was hard to say “no” to the bacon marmalade and gruyere cheese.
The Grand Cupola Bar–This is a must! The Grand is a great place to explore and the Cupola Bar has excellent views of the island–it is so beautiful! Grab a couple cocktails up here before dinner!
Pink Pony–Complete with pink barstools, pink straws, and live music. Enter the Pink Pony and head straight to the back where their outdoor patio is right on the edge of the marina. It’s great fun, but this place can get a little wild at night. If you get hungry after the bar there is a pizza-by-the-slice shop just across the street.
Between all the ridiculous fudge shops there are some pretty darling boutiques. Poppins, Nephew’s of Mackinac, Little Luxuries…just to name a few!
THINGS TO DO
Wandering around the island is my favorite–look for the Grand Greenhouse, trails, and tiny man-made rock towers. There is a lot to do on the island…
Grand Hotel Pool–For $15 you can enjoy the pool. The last time we went it was hot, so chilling by the pool with a drink felt so good.
Biking–A must do! Take the 8 mile bike ride around the island. There are several areas to rent bikes or you can bring your own on the ferry.
Tennis–The Grand Hotel tennis courts are in a stunning location.
Pack for Mack:
Click here to see my last post on what I packed + a great Hutch Deal!
Here are a couple more Michigan spots I like––these deserve their own post, but here are a few details for now!
We stayed here on our way up to the island–it’s just outside of downtown Petoskey (such a fun town––so much to do!). You guys, this hotel is fabulous! My husband and I can’t stop talking about it. Grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner next door at the Barrel Back which is right on the water. The Walloon Inn is a little fancier, but has excellent food too. Rent a boat and tool around the lake or just enjoy sitting on the hotel’s beach. There is A LOT to do in this area! I’ll definitely be writing more about this place in the future.
Still to come…all my local favorites in Saugatuck, Holland, and Grand Haven!
Please message me with any questions or your favorites! Happy traveling! xo