Narrated Tour Takes Approximately 1 Hour and 45 Minutes
Appropriate for All Ages
Both Cameras and Video Cameras are Permitted
Carriage tours of Mackinac Island officially began in 1869 when the first city carriage license was issued, and this carriage tour is one of the oldest carriage tours on the Island. On this one-hour-and-45-minute tour, you will experience a tour like no other! This is by far the most enjoyable and authentic way to view the Island, and a carriage tour is the perfect way to orient yourself on Mackinac Island during your stay. See some of the best sights and attractions on the Island with this carriage tour.
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Tour Stop at Historic Downtown Mackinac Island
Start off your tour at 7278 Main Street in Historic Downtown Mackinac Island, and your two-horse hitch carriage will take you down Main Street and back along Market Street past many shops and attractions, including the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, Mackinac Island City Hall, and John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company Office. The tour will then head north out of the Historic Downtown area.
Tour Stop at The Grand Hotel
The tour then stops at the Grand Hotel, a beautifully designed hotel with lush green lawns and vibrant colored flowers. The outside porch runs along the whole front side of the hotel to give you a chance to sit and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Please note that casual resort wear is appropriate during the day, but no tank tops or cut-offs are permitted. After 6 p.m., evening wear is required in all areas of the hotel: coat and tie for gentlemen, and dresses or pantsuits for ladies.
Includes Admission to Surrey Hills Carriage Museum
Next, the tour makes a stop at the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum, where you will leave the two-horse hitch carriage for a three-horse carriage that fits 35 passengers. Here, you can enjoy access to restrooms, snack shops, and gift shops, as well as enjoy the beautiful antique carriages on display in the building, including a horse-drawn hearse that is still used for Mackinac Island funerals today. You can spend as much time as this stop as you like before boarding the 35-passenger carriage.
Tour Stop at Wings of Mackinac Tropical Butterfly Conservatory
Immediately beside the Surrey Hills Museum is the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory, which you can visit for an additional admission fee. Here, you can discover life's most beautiful insects as you stroll among hundreds of butterflies dancing and chasing each other in the climate-controlled conservatory filled with lush flowers. Inside the conservatory, there are over 200 different species of butterflies. When you purchase the combination ticket, you can enjoy admission to the Butterfly Conservatory.
Drive By Mackinac Island State Park
After boarding the 35-passenger, three-horse hitch carriage, the tour will take you through the interior of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island State Park. Along the way, your driver will point out wild flowers and other islands features. The Mackinac Island State Park was the second U.S. National Park, but it was transferred to the State of Michigan in 1895 and became the first Michigan State Park.
Drive By Mackinac Island Cemetery
As you're traveling through the State Park, you will see many interesting features and attractions, including this Protestant Cemetery. One of the three cemeteries on the island, this cemetery is most often referred to as the Mackinac Island Cemetery. Across the way is the Catholic Cemetery known as the Ste. Anne's Cemetery.
Drive By Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery
The Post Cemetery is the third cemetery on the Island and the final resting place for Fort Mackinac soldiers and their families. The exact founding of the cemetery is unknown, but local tradition is that both American and British soldiers from the War of 1812 are buried there. In addition to the soldiers and their families, six civilians are interred in the Post Cemetery.
Drive By Skull Cave
Carved during the Algonquin post-glacial period, Skull Cave is a small and shallow cave on the central heights of Mackinac Island and is primarily of interest for its historical significance. Used by Native Americans as a site for human remains, the cave was also used as a refuge in 1763 by fur trader Alexander Henry, a survivor of the capture of Fort Michilimackinac during Pontiac's War.
Drive By Fort Holmes
Take in glimpses of Fort Holmes from your carriage. Originally built in 1814 by British forces during the War of 1812, this fort was originally known as Fort George, but when the U.S. forces reacquired the fort in 1815, they renamed it Fort Holmes in honor of Major Andrew Holmes, a casualty in the 1814 Battle of Mackinac Island. Afterward, the fort was abandoned and has since been reconstructed to bring it back to its original condition.
Tour Stop at Arch Rock
The next stop is at Arch Rock for a five- to ten-minute visit of the beautiful natural limestone arch. Located at the top of a bluff, Arch Rock is 145 feet above the Straits of Mackinac and offers spectacular views of the water below. You can take this opportunity to take a restroom break, but you will need to re-board the same carriage when your driver calls for the third time.
Tour Stop at Fort Mackinac
At the next stop, you can experience the sights and sounds of living history preserved in this American Revolutionary era fort. Walk to the Avenue of Flags of entrance to see the fort from the outside, and you can also visit Fort Mackinac for an additional admission fee. Afterward, you may re-board another tour carriage as space is available.
Drive By Governor's Summer Mansion
On your way back, take in sights of the Governor's Summer Mansion, a three-story structure built in 1902 on a bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. This beautiful home was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1997, and it features many beautiful rooms, including eleven bedrooms, nine and a half bathrooms, and a full basement.
Return to Starting Point
You may end your tour at the Governor's Summer Mansion and walk down Fort Hill, but this is very steep. You can also continue back to Surrey Hills Museum and re-board the 20-passenger carriage, which will take you either to the Grand Hotel or Historic Downtown. If you end at the Grand Hotel, you will not be able to re-board another tour carriage to reach Downtown, but it is only a short walk away.
Stops may change due to traffic, weather, maintenance, etc.
Take this carriage tour for the perfect way to view the Island - and it is made even better when you purchase a combination ticket to gain admission to the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory.