Important Mackinac Island FAQ and Guide: Top 27 Questions and Answers to Know Before You Go! | Best Things to Do!

Important Mackinac Island FAQ: Top 27 Questions and Answers to Know Before You Go! By Sherry Trautman |

As lifelong Michiganders, Chris I go to Mackinac Island at least twice a year...for the past 15 years.  We've explored every inch of this island (twice) and love every minute we are biking, hiking, dining, shopping and exploring.  Keep reading and hopefully we answer all your inquires!

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Top 20 Mackinac Island Questions You Are Just BURNING to Know!

1. Where is Mackinac Island Located?

Mackinac Island is an island located at the northern tip of Michigan.  It is only accessible by boat or snowmobiles in winter.

Where is Mackinac Island at? Map of MichiganWhere is Mackinac Island at? Map of Michigan

2. Can You Live on Mackinac Island?

Absolutely!  There are personal homes throughout the island, many with private waterfront.  Keep in mind the island is only accessible by boat which will make obtaining items much more expensive if you live there.

3. What's so Special About Mackinac Island?

Do you have a couple hours?  Well, Chris and I personally love Mackinac Island as it feels like an exotic island vacation getaway even though we live only 2.5 hours away.  It's such a quaint island with lovely horses, an abundance of nature, scenic views every way you look, and happy visitors biking along the shorelines while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Mighty Mac and the Straits of Mackinac.

Of course, Mackinac Island (located in Northern Michigan) offers Mackinac Island Fudge slices and Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream which is a must-taste while visiting this unique island.

But what I like the most is hopping on my bike, pedaling away from the crowds of people and just coasting along the scenic shoreline. Chris and I always pack a lunch or buy one from Doud's on Main Street so we can eat midway while listening to the Lake Michigan waves crash along the shoreline. 

4. How Long Does it Take to Get to Mackinac Island by Ferry?

Shepler's Ferry takes between 16 to 26 minutes depending on the trip you take. Some morning ferry rides includes a trip under the Mackinac Bridge which takes a little more time.

Starline Ferry can take about 40 minutes.

5. Can You Get to Mackinac Island by Car?

Nope! You have to park at the ferry terminal or parking area and take a ferry boat to the island.

6. How Long Does It Take to Ride a Bike Around Mackinac Island?

The trail around the Island is wonderful with it's breathtaking scenery, views of the Mackinac Bridge, St. Ignace, the Straits of Mackinac and tons of points of interest along the way. The trail is about 8.2 miles and takes anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on how often you choose to stop to view points of interest, take photos or to rest.

7. How Many Miles Around is Mackinac Island?

8.2 miles around the perimeter of Mackinac Island

8. How Much Does it Cost to Go Across to Mackinac Island? 

How much does it cost to take the ferry to Mackinac Island?

In 2023, Shepler's Ferry was $34. You save $2 off the regular adult ticket price of $36 by purchasing online in advance of your Mackinac Island visit!  Kids were $23. Save $1 off the regular child ticket price of $24 by purchasing online in advance.

9. How do Taxis Work on Mackinac Island?

You must call the Taxi Dispatch to schedule for a pick up. Read our Mackinac Island Transportation page for more info.

10. How do You Get Around on Mackinac Island?

There are several ways to get around Mackinac Island:

  • You can use a taxi service
  • Rent bikes on the island or bring your own
  • Go on a carriage ride 
  • Rent a horse
  • By Foot

 Read our Mackinac Island Transportation page for more info.

11. What if I Have Horse Allergies?

If you have asthma or horse allergies, be aware of the strong horse presence on the island. Bring an inhaler if you use one.

I have severe asthma reactions to horses so I found it was best to avoid the downtown area altogether. We hop on our bikes and enjoy the perimeter and center of the island. I bring or buy lunches so we can eat on the beach. 

12. How is Mackinac Island Pronounced?

Just so you have your lingo right:  Mackinac is the French spelling of an Indian word and is pronounced mack-in-awe.  Often misspelled as Mackinaw Island, this magical place is a destination you won't want to overlook!  

13. Is Mackinac Island Expensive?

As with anything, it depends on where you stay and what you do.  For example, if you want to stay on the island, you can sometimes use Groupon for Mission Point hotel.

To control costs, pack your lunches in a backpack (or buy them at Doud's Market on Main Street) and put them in a blue storage locker at Shepler's ferry dock.  It's affordable to take the ferry and if you bring your own bike and pack a lunch, the day is very cost effective.

14. Can You Get Groceries, Snacks on Mackinac Island?

Chris and I ALWAYS make Doud's Market (located on Main Street) our first stop upon arriving at Mackinac Island. They have EVERYTHING you need. Drinks, food, snacks, even healthy stuff! Chris and I buy quinoa salad, cheese sticks, apples, bananas, pizza slices, pasta salad, subs and a sweet treat. They have plasticware for salads and whatnot. We love Doud's! 

15. Are There Lockers on Mackinac Island

Yes, there are lockers at Shepler's ferry dock.  

You need to purchase tokens with $1 and $5 bills so be sure to bring small bills with you to the island.

It costs $1 every time you open the locker. After locking your items in the locker, take the orange key. 

16. Do Cell Phones Work on Mackinac Island? Is There Service on Mackinac Island?

Yes, there is service and cell phones work very well on Mackinac Island.

17. Who Owns Mackinac Island?

82% of the island is owned by the State of Michigan and managed by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission.

18. How Many Days Do You Need On Mackinac Island?

If you have never been to the Island before and just want a taste of what it's like, we recommend spending one night to give you time to explore Main Street, visit the fort, and ride your bike around the perimeter of the island. 

If you want to see it all: You will need a full day to explore the perimeter and downtown area. If you want to bike the interior of the island, go kayaking, visit the museums, fort and anything else, you will need three days. 

19. Can You Walk Around with Alcohol on Mackinac Island?

Nope. You can not have open containers of alcohol beverages in or on any land in any location within the City of Mackinac Island.

20. Do I Need to Buy Ferry Tickets to Mackinac Island in Advance?

Here's thing. You can save a couple bucks online if Shepler's or Starline offers a deal.  If you buy your Mackinac Island ferry tickets online, they are good for any date during that calendar season.

Since I like to be organized and not hurry, I usually buy my ferry tickets, bike tickets to take over on the ferry, and fort passes online to save time when we arrive. I then have a QR code that is scanned while in line to board the ferry so I can skip the ticket line.  Less stress for sure.

21. How Much is a Night at the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island?

Depending on the time of year, day of the week, type of room you choose and amenities, the range is approximately $300-$950.  If you stay in April to the first week of May you can get a room around the $300 range. Check their website for details.

22. Can an elderly person use a scooter to get around or are there golf carts??? How handicapped accessible is the town???

Ryba's Bike Rentals offers electric wheelchairs for rent by the hour or for the day.  They have around three units in stock and they can be reserved. 

Mackinac Island Bike Shop offers motorized carts for the mobility disabled. They have electric scooters that are easy to operate. They work great for exploring Mackinac Island’s paved trails and main roads. Equipment can be rented by the hour, half-day or full-day as needed.

Golf carts can not be used for regular transportation around the island.  The island perimeter of the island and Main Street is flat and paved so an electric wheelchair can be easily used.  Hotels on Main Street are accessible but I would contact the hotel prior to booking to confirm any questions.

23. Can You go Swimming on Mackinac Island?

Yes, absolutely! The water is gorgeous! We recommend water shoes as the shoreline is covered in stones.

24. Are Dogs Allowed on Mackinac Island?

Are dogs allowed on the island?

Absolutely! Well behaved dogs are everywhere! Just make sure to bring poo bags, clean up after them and remember there are a ton of horses everywhere.

Some lodging facilities are pet friendly and many restaurants have pet seating areas while others will let you bring your pooch to the table on their verandas or patios. Only service dogs are permitted inside any restaurant. For more information, please call the Island's office at 906-847-3783.

25. Are There Any Campgrounds on the Island?

No, camping is not allowed on Mackinac Island, but you can stay at Mackinac Island State Park in Mackinaw City, Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping or the Straits State Park in St. Ignace. 

26. What Is The Dress Code At The Grand Hotel?

During the day, casual resort clothing is appropriate. Prior to 6:30 p.m. the prefer no midriff baring tops, sweatpants or cut-off shorts for ladies. For gentleman no sleeveless shirts, sweatpants, or cut-off shorts.

Every evening at the Grand Hotel is a special occasion. After 6:30 p.m. dresses, skirts, blouses, dress sweaters and dress slacks for ladies are preferred, while gentleman are required to wear a suit coat, necktie and dress pants, no denim or shorts. This applies for all areas inside the hotel with the exception of the Cupola Bar. Children 12 years and older are expected to follow the same dress code as adults.

27. Can You Bring Your Own Bicycles to Mackinac Island?

Yes, and we recommend doing so.  There is a small fee, approximately $13 per bike, to bring it over on the ferry but it is cheaper than renting on the island. Be sure to bring a bike lock.  You can buy tickets online ahead of time for your bikes to take on the ferry.

28. Is There A Cost To Drive Over The Mackinac Bridge?

Is There A Cost To Drive Over The Mackinac Bridge?

Yes, it is $4 per car, each direction, which makes it $8 round trip.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Do I need to buy Mackinac Island tickets in advance? 
Just wondered if I can pick a day and time to go to Mackinac Island

Are there lockers on Mackinac Island? 
Just wondered if there was a safe place for bags?

When is the best time of the year to visit? 
When is the best time of the year to visit Mackinac Island in regard to prices, how busy the island is and temperatures?

Taking your own bike to the island. Not rated yet
If we take our own bikes to the island, are there places to stay that will also have a place to store our bikes safely. Answer Hi! Most hotels …

Bike rentals Not rated yet
How much does it cost to rent a bike for a day? How much is a carriage ride? Answer Hi Mandy! Mackinac Island Bike Shop and Mackinac Island …

Walking Not rated yet
Are there walking trails around the island? Hi! Yes! My favorite walking trail is at Arch Rock, called the Tranquil Bluff Trail. Once you climb …

Reserve a motorized wheelchair or electric scooter Not rated yet
Hello--is there a phone number to reserve a motorized wheelchair or electric scooter? Hi Angie! Electric scooters and manual wheelchairs are available …

Locker Rental Not rated yet
Can I use a Credit card to rent a locker on the island? Hi Terry, I paid for the lockers with $1 bills. They charge $1 each time you open the locker. …

Can you bring e-bikes to ride on the island? Not rated yet
Can you bring e-bikes to ride on the island? Answer Hi Diane, I researched this question and here is what I found per Mackinac Island regulations: …

Return to mainland  Not rated yet
How can you find out when ferry’s depart island to get back to mainland? Answer Hello! Here is a complete schedule for Shepler's Ferry (both …

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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