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Getting Onto and Around Mackinac Island

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The beauty of Mackinac Island lies in the lack of motorized vehicles--there are absolutely no cars allowed on the island. So getting around Mackinac Island is a bit different than your average city. Here are some tips on getting into the area, onto the island, and, once you're there, how to get around.

Getting to the Island...

  • If you are driving to the island, you will first need to drive to Mackinaw City, which is located in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. From there, ferry service is available to the island throughout the day.

The Ferries...

  • Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry is the fastest ferry fleet to the island from Mackinaw City. They can get you to the island in 16 minutes--and they're one of the only ferry services to offer free daily and overnight parking. This is where you'll leave modern transportation behind: you will need to leave your car in the mainland parking lot. Other companies that offer ferry service to and from the island are Arnold Transport Co. and Star Line.
  • During the winter months, when the lake is frozen over, air rides are offered to and from Mackinac Island at varying nominal fees.

Getting Around...

  • Getting around Mackinac Island is a little different than getting around the city. On the island, motorized forms of transportation are not allowed, so popular methods of travel are either via walking, bicycling or horse and carriage. Rental facilities are available on the island so you can rent bicycles or even horses. Market Street is one of the more popular streets of the island but isn't as traveled as the main street.

Horse-Drawn Carriages....

  • While there are horse and carriages available "on call," it is a good idea to plan ahead as this is a popular method of travel. There are also narrated carriage tours that will take you around the island and to the Butterfly Conservatory. Try Mackinac Island Carriage Tours.


  • Most people who fly to the area use Pellston Regional Airport. The airport features on-site car rental facilities. You can also get to and from the airport using one of the available shuttle services. Both Mackinac Shuttle and Wolverine Stage provide service to the area from Pellston Regional Airport.
  • Another airport that is used is Mackinac Island Airport. Charter services are available at this small airport.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours - Mackinac Island, MI
I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 days on this island. It was truly a step back in time and everywhere I looked the landscape and water was breathtaking. I would go there again in a heartbeat!
Christine Grove - Harrisburg Pa
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours - Mackinac Island
The carriage was more than we expected and the butterfly conservatory was marvelous. The gentleman who did the second half of the carriage was informative and delightful
Andrew Pappas - Palos Hills, IL
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours - Mackinac Island
One young man was excellent. I can't remember his name, but I know his girlfriend is a tour guide. Some of the others were too script.
Carmen Lemons - Country Club Hills , IL
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