Mackinac Island:

Is it Worth It?

This adventure is about lilacs and horses, and people, and bikes, and more people.⁣⁣⁣
We chose Star Line for the ferry and parked in the free parking across the street where a shuttle took us to the ticket office. We only waited a while, and then we were on the ferry.⁣⁣⁣


Our ferry was built in 1988, and named for Pierre-Esprit Radisson who explored Lake Superior and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1600s.

Radisson, who was almost killed after being captured by the Iroquois, eventually founded the Hudson Bay Company with his brother-in-law.


My first impression of Mackinac Island was the people…. lots of people. Everyone eating fudge, carrying water bottles as if they’re walking the Appalachian trail, crying babies, bicycles everywhere. ⁣⁣🚴🏻‍♀️⁣
And horses 🐎, buggies, and what horses naturally leave in their wake 💩where bicycles roll through, and people try to dodge it. ⁣⁣⁣
To me, Mackinac Island just looks like another fancier Fredericksburg, TX with the same fudge shops, T-shirt stands, postcards sales.⁣⁣⁣

Mackinac Island Street View
Photo: Bobbi Jones Jones


We ate lunch at the Seabiscuit Cafe where we waited even though it was after 2pm. Service was excellent, and so was the food. Good ambiance too with the movie Seabiscuit playing on the TV screens. ⁣⁣⁣
After lunch, we walked around the water admiring lilacs growing beside summer Victorian homes. Lots of bikes whizzing by, but a little less chaotic.⁣⁣⁣

Mackinac Island Victorian Home & Lilacs
Photo: Josh Hallett

Ice Cream! It’s Cold in Here. 🍦

We stopped for ice cream at the Good Day Cafe where the employees are as cold as what they serve. If you can get beyond the, “I’m so bored here, and I really despise you, tourist,” attitude, the ice cream is wonderful!⁣⁣⁣
I was soon ready to go back to the RV Park disappointed that the island looked like a big, “You’re a sucker tourist trap.” But my beloved suggested we go on the carriage tour.⁣⁣

Mackinac Island Carriage Tour
Photo: What’s Outside Our Door


Neither us likes the typical carriage rides through places like Central Park or New Orleans, so I balked. But after some prodding, off we went. ⁣⁣⁣
And what a right decision it was!⁣⁣⁣
The island was bursting with lilacs where their scent enters your nose in such a delightful way. We passed the oldest living lilac on the island over 100 years old!⁣⁣⁣

Lilac Bush
Photo:  Holger Schué 

On the carriage tour, you can see how the island really is once you get away from all the people. The woods are beautiful, and I saw my first Lady Slipper!⁣⁣ ⁣

Lilac Bush
Photo:  Betsy Cox


Mackinac Island is crowded, chaotic, and stressful until you immerse yourself deep inside the island.

Since the island allows no motorized vehicles, the best way to see the island is on a carriage ride. Riding a bike is not recommended to view the entire island because of the steep hills unless you are super fit and want your experience to be an exercise routine.

Hopefully, you will get a good carriage tour guide who explains the history, beauty, and importance of this island in an informative story-telling way.

So get away from the chaos and take a Mackinac Island carriage tour. The $30 per person price is well worth it!

What’s Outside Our Door explores the full time RV life creating inspiration, wonderment, and knowledge for a freer, simpler, and happier way to live. They share inside travel itineraries so you can explore like a pro, and avoid the crowds! They also publish the free Full-Time RV Life bi-monthly newsletter of 8 things worth sharing about full-time RV living you might find interesting.


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