Mackinac Island is the one place in Michigan that everyone must visit. It’s a place the entire family can enjoy. I’ve been vacationing with my children on Mackinac Island every summer since they were babies. It’s a tradition for my family since my husband and I were married on the island. Each year for our anniversary we visit with the entire family. The memories are deeply cherished and over the years we’ve gotten quite good at finding fun things to do with kids, especially little ones.
While visiting the island, we look for easy and affordable things to do. Many times we will pack lunches and have a picnic lunch rather than dining at a restaurant. This eliminates the stress of keeping a toddler seated and allows for a leisurely lunch. Below you will find ten of our favorite things to do when visiting the island. If you are headed to the island this summer…enjoy!
Here are ten things to do with kids on Mackinac Island!
1. Visit Fort Mackinac
The fort has so much interesting history. Perfect for those history buffs. During the day, they perform different military acts. The canyon is fired off at different times throughout the day and always a hit. The view of the Straits of Mackinac are also spectacular from the fort! If you are in The Fort, consider having lunch on the terrace.
2. Have Lunch at The Fort on the Terrace
If you decide to visit The Fort, be sure to have lunch on the terrace. The best view on the island! It will blow you away! It is owned and operated by The Grand so you know you are in good hands. One thing to keep in mind is in order to dine at The Fort, you must pay the admission fee for entering The Fort but so worth it!
3. Bike the Island
The island is all about biking since there are no motor vehicles. You can rent bikes by the hour or even by the day. If you are planning to stay over night, consider bringing your own bike. You will enjoy the trails and biking the island.
4. Throw Rocks on the Shoreline
The waters surrounding the island are beautiful. While you will not find sandy beaches for little kids to swim, you will find a ton of cool rocks to throw and you can also watch as the ferries come and go from the island. Plus if it is a hot day, you may need to cool off.
5. Horse Carriage Ride
You can rent horse and carriages and take off on your own or you can simply take a taxi around the island. The island also offers tour guides which are very educational and informative about the island.
6. Enjoy Fudge Making
You have many different fudge shops to choose from. My favorite being JoAnns Fudge. Their salted caramel is mouth watering! Yum! You can watch the fudge being made from the windows on Main Street or head in and ask for a sample. Enjoy!
7. Shop on Main Street
Main Street has a ton of little shops to visit. You can enjoy shopping for Made in Michigan souvenirs or support a local artist by purchasing their art of the island.
8. Visit the Somewhere in Time Gazebo
Visit the gazebo from the movie Somewhere in Time. This is actually the gazebo where I was married! It is tucked away on the East Bluff next to the Fort. Get a map of the island and look for this sweet little gem in the woods.
9. Visit the Grand Hotel
I love the Grand Hotel. It has so much history. Take the family and explore the grounds. They are beautiful. Don’t forget to visit the porch and snap a picture. It was completely refinished this past spring, so it is picture perfect.
10. Ice-cream at The Grand Hotel
Every kid loves ice-cream. Stop by The Grand Hotel and get a scoop of Mackinac Island Fudge ice-cream and enjoy the million dollar view! Don’t forget your camera!
Bonus…Visit the Wings of Mackinac
This is sure to be a favorite for children. As you enter the butterfly house, you will be surrounded by hundreds of beautiful butterflies that will more than likely land on your shoulder or even your head! The smiles you will witness on your child’s face is worth the taxi ride to the garden.
For more information on visiting the island, be sure to check out https://www.mackinacisland.org. You will find information on lodging, ferry rides to the island, and much more!
Teacher by day, mom and wife both day and night, Danielle is the voice behind Suburbia Mom where she writes about her experiences in and around Detroit.