Important Mackinac Island FAQ: Top 20 Questions and Answers to Know Before You Go!

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

Where is Mackinac Island?

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

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.

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

The trail around the Island is wonderful with it's breathtaking scenery and 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 or to rest.

How many miles around is Mackinac Island?

8.2 miles around the perimeter of Mackinac Island

How much does it cost to go across to Mackinac Island?

In 2022, Shepler's Ferry is $30 for adults and $19 for children 5-12 years old. 

In 2022, Starline is $27 for adults, $16 for children.

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.

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 and rent a horse. Read our Mackinac Island Transportation page for more info.

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 lunches so we can eat on the beach. 

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!  

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.

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.

Who owns Mackinac Island?

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

How Many Days Do You Need In 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. 

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.

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

Ryba's Bike Rentals offers electric wheelchairs for rent by the hour or for the day.  They have 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.

Can you go swimming on Mackinac Island?

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

Are dogs allowed on the island?

Absolutely! Well behaved dogs are everywhere! Just make sure to bring poo bags and 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.

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. 

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.

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.

Are there lockers on the island?

Yes!  As you are leaving Shepler's docs, there are blue lockers.  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. 

Mackinac Island lockersMackinac Island lockers at Shepler's Ferry Dock

The token machine for the lockers is located right next to the women's bathroom, across from the bright blue lockers at Shepler's Ferry docks.

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

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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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