Mackinac Island Ferries
One of the first things you learn about Mackinac Island is that the Village Council outlawed automobiles back in 1898 when the noisy, oil burning models first showed up. You may shudder to think about leaving your own transportation behind, but you will scarcely miss it while you're here. Bicycles, horse and carriages and, of course, your own two feet are all you'll need to get around.
You may also think that driving a horse and carriage might be hard to get used to, but don't worry - the horses know the routine. The island is barely three miles long and has one main road that loops around, so there aren't great distances to cover or difficult directions to follow.
Instead, you'll notice how fresh and clean the air is and how you take in all the details in the forested scenery as you slowly glide on by. You can schedule a walking tour and see all the historical sites. You'll pretty much have to slow down your pace and relax.
To get across the Straits of Mackinac you'll leave your car in a parking lot in St. Ignace or in Mackinaw City. You'll then hop on a modern, high-speed ferry and will arrive on Mackinac Island in 16 minutes - that is, if you take Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry.
With the fastest ferry fleet in the business, the Shepler family has ferried visitors to the island since 1945. With valet parking and a free shuttle to parking lots, hotels and campgrounds, you'll have no trouble getting to the docks. Daily parking is free and overnight parking is guaranteed.
Once on the ferry, you can choose between the cushioned seats and wide aisles of the main deck lounge, or breathe in the fresh air on the open, top deck seating area. Within minutes, you'll see the island rising like a turtle out of the waters of Lake Huron.
The ferry operates from May through October. During peak times the ferries leave every fifteen minutes. In general, the ferries depart from the mainland starting at 7:30 in the morning and continue to leave every hour or half hour until 6:30 at night. Departures from Mackinac Island start at 8:00 in the morning. The schedule is extended later in the evening during the summer.
During the winter months, when the water is frozen over, air rides are offered to and from Mackinac Island.
To get to the Shepler's Mackinaw City Dock, when traveling north on I-75 take exit 337 or 338 and follow the signs. When traveling south across the Mackinac Bridge, take exit 339 off I-75. Turn left at the stop sign. Continue to Central Avenue. Turn left and into the Gateway.
To get to the Shepler's St. Ignace City Dock, when traveling north on I-75 across the Mackinac Bridge, take exit 344-A and follow US-2 east through the downtown district to the north end of town. If you're heading south on I-75, take exit 348 and go 3 miles.