Mackinac Island

July 10, 2016

The view from the mainland over to Mackinac Island

While walking thru Mackinaw Mill Campground which is situated on Lake Heron across from Mackinaw Island, we knew we wanted to take our bikes and check out the island. They do have bike rentals there, since we had ours we decided to take them as the boats have an area for them.  Mackinac Island is a resort area, covering 3.8 square miles, in the state of Michigan. SPA_2075

The only way over to the island is by Star Line Hydro-Jet Ferry service which produces a unique Water-Jet rooster tail. There are certain times in the day that the ferry goes under the bridge, we made plans to get on one.


The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower peninsula of Michigan.


The bridge opened in 1957, the 26,372-foot bridge, known as “Big Mac” and “Mighty Mac” is the world’s 17th-longest main span and the longest suspension bridge. It connects the city of St. Ignace on the north end with the village of Mackinaw City on the south. It is a toll bridge, $2.00 per axel, not bad for our truck but when we added The Rover, a grand total of $19.00.

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The road in town goes around the island, the first thing that we did was hop on our bikes and ride. We like to get the feel of where we are before we choose what to do. The ride is a little over 3 miles and was such an easy ride, we did stop a lot just so I could take pictures!




Even LaciLou was having a great time riding in the basket of my bike


The main street in town, has many shops, there are many fudge factories up and down the street, there is also a second street with a few shops and lots more fudge. The shops are mostly selling sweatshirts, teeshirts, coffee mugs and fudge. We didn’t go into any except one fudge store, yes, we bought some, orange chocolate, german chocolate and walnut chocolate. It was very sweet and a little gritty!! We were a little disappointed as we were hoping it would be awesome..

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Mackinac Island became one of the nation’s favored summer resort destinations during the Victorian era. Vacationers arrived in large lake excursion boats from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit seeking the cooler weather on Mackinac Island. They danced to Strauss’ waltzes, listened to Sousa’s stirring marches, dined on whitefish and strolled along the broad decks. To accommodate overnight guests, boat and railroad companies financed the building of Grand Hotel.

waiting in line for riders
touring the city by buggy
delivering flowers to the hotel

One of the most noticeable differences on Mackinac Island, which is accessible only by boat or plane, is the absence of automobiles. Visitors and residents travel by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage, and during the summer, there are more than 500 horses. I will say one thing, you need a gas mask as it sure does stink, with that many horses linning the streets, you can just use your imagination. There are only 600 year-round residents with more than one million people that visit Mackinac Island each year.


Guy and I, with LaciLou up at Fort Mackinac. We had lunch up on the hill at the Fort on the deck looking out at this marvelous view of the city of Mackinac. We walked around the fort but for some reason I didn’t take pictures.

Fort Mackinac from the boat
view from the fort

In 1715, French soldiers constructed Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, which the soldiers burned when they decided to move the fort to the Island in 1781. It was here fur traders and Indians rendezvoused, French and British officers organized war parties and explorers began their journeys into the vast western unknown.

the street side of the Grand Hotel

At 660 feet, Grand Hotel’s Front Porch is the world’s largest, and is visible as you approach the island from the Straits of Mackinac. It cost $10.00 each to enter the grounds of the hotel and to go on the Front Porch. We were stopped just as we tried to take a picture, asking if we were wanting to go on the porch. We opted out!  More than 130,000 overnight guests stay at Grand Hotel each season. The 5,000,000th guest in Grand Hotel checked in on June 26, 2006.

the back porch of the Grand Hotel

It takes 500,000 gallons of water to fill Grand Hotel’s swimming pool, which was named for actress Esther Williams who starred in the 1947 movie This Time for Keeps, shot at Grand Hotel. The 1980 film Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer, was filmed on location at Grand Hotel. The movie now has a huge following, with a fan club that meets at Grand Hotel each October.

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The flowers and grounds of the hotel were spectacular from what we could see. One ton of bulbs are planted in the fall, including 25,000 tulips and 15,000 daffodils. More than 125,000 bedding plants (annuals) are used to create the many gardens on Grand Hotel grounds. The Grand’s famous Front Porch flowers include 2,500 geraniums-the hotel’s trademark flower-in 260 planting boxes with seven tons of potting soil. More than 5,200 geraniums can be seen in all its flower beds combined.

Below are some of the beautiful houses that are in the small town. Most have been converted into a bed and breakfast.

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This is “The Little Stone Church”

I just had to add pictures of the wonderful garden and house on the back street. Everywhere you went in this little town flowers were blooming and the grass was so green and lush.


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We are so glad to have experienced this quaint island, the houses, horses, scenery and the atmosphere were wonderful.

Thanks for coming on my tour of Mackinac Island, I hope you enjoyed it.

The Nomads are headed to the UP of Michigan next, so come along with us and check out this marvelous part of our country.


6 thoughts on “Mackinac Island

  1. This was an exceptionally good post; thanks so much for sharing. OK this may be dumb, but what is your name, Mrs.? Because you write in first person, you always say “Guy and I” and Guy never writes, so I can’t find your name anywhere — even on your profile! Anyway, I love your blog; would love to cross paths with the two of you. I mean three! of you.

    1. Lol! I never thought about writing this in the first person!! My name is Sue or as my grand babies call me: Nonna. Thanks for reading, I love writing about this wonderful country as we find new adventures. If we still had our home we would not be taking the time to see it.
      Where are you located or are you a full timer as well? We will be spending most of the winter in the west, we have set plans up thru Sept, then we will wing it.

      1. We WILL be first-time RVers and full-timers—any day now! We’re waiting on a pre-trip inspection and some hopefully minor repairs on our ’02 Fleetwood Bounder Diesel. We currently live in MO and are planning (with no reservations yet!) to be Winter Texans on the Gulf Coast. We want to see the USA on a relaxed schedule during optimum seasons for sunny and 75. Haha

  2. We loved our day there. We also took our bikes. Like you, I thought the stinky horses kind of ruined it. If it wasn’t that smell, the smell of Pinesol along the main road was nauseating. Gorgeous place though. I was amazed at the crystal clear water and the color. The flowers were fabulous!

    1. Hi Debbie, We loved the crystal clear water as well, if it hadn’t been so cold I would loved to jump in!! Laci got her feet wet but got right out! To cold for her. We stayed on the back roads with the bikes as it is so crazy busy and stinky. Great place!

  3. Whoops, I should’ve told you in advance that the Grand charges for entry. That’s due to the inordinate amount of gawkers interfering with paying guests. It wasn’t always the policy BUT if you are having lunch at the hotel, you’re not required to pay the $10 per person fee. And yes, it can be pungent on the island particularly on a hot day but that’s just part of the atmosphere. 😷

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