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6 Must Dos and Must Eats on Mackinac Island

One of my favorite places to go is Mackinac Island, MI. If you haven’t been, it should be the top of the list for a visit to the Great Lakes State. Here are some Must Dos and Must Eats on Mackinac Island.


  1. FORT MACKINAC: A beautiful white limestone fort originally built by the British to control the Straights of Mackinac that connect Lake Michigan with Lake Huron. The place of an American surrender in 1812 and an American defeat trying to take back the fort in 1814. Garrisoned for most of the 1800s this fort is filled with history. Today, the fort is kept like when it was garrisoned by American soldiers in the mid 1800s. Reenactors explain to kids what was like to live at the fort and they shoot the cannon off periodically during the day. Great for kids and adults alike.
  1. ARCH ROCK: A very unique limestone arch rock bridge formed in glacial periods. It is a great photo opportunity over looking Lake Huron.
  1. GRAND HOTEL: Built in 1887 this wonderful old hotel boasts one of the longest front porches in the world. If you have the opportunity, staying here is a once and a lifetime experience. Between the excellent 5 course meals, afternoon tea, a cigar room, a jazz band with dancing, along with a dress code attire after 5 PM, this hotel feels like you have stepped back in time. It has also been the setting of two films: Somewhere in Time (1980) and This Time for Keeps (1947). I would suggest watching one before you go or both.
  1. PLAY A ROUND OF GOLF: The small island has two golf courses. Wawashkamo Golf Club is the oldest golf course in Michigan(1898). The Jewel at the Grand Hotel is the other. The two 9 hole courses are split up with a 15 minute carriage ride.
  1. OLD BRITISH FORT HOLMES: An earthen redoubt/outpost built by the British to defend against the Americans from retaking the island in the War of 1812. It is located at the highest point of the island. A good hike to the top of the island offers an excellent view.
  1. BIKE/RUN/WALK/CARRIAGE RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND: By far one of my favorites is a jog/run around the island. Most people ride bikes or take horse drawn carriages around the 8.01 mile island. Following the M-185, the only highway in the United States that doesn’t allow automobiles on it, this relatively flat paved road has a host of scenic stopping points for pictures and panoramic photos. A great way to enjoy the summer outdoors with the family.


  1. The CHUCKWAGON: Has an EXCELLENT BURGER. The small diner sized restaurant won’t disappoint. The owner and grill master cooks the delicious food right in front of patrons. Make sure to get there early because there is almost always a line for the limited seating establishment. $
  1. THE WOODS: For some GREAT AMBIANCE AND GREAT GERMAN FOOD, take a carriage ride to THE WOODS, a beautiful Bavarian style manor. Have a cocktail and hand bowl in one of the oldest bowling lanes in the country. The food is a wonderful Bavarian cuisine and I loved the schnitzel. $$
  1. GRAND HOTEL DINING ROOM: FIVE COURSES and AN EXPERIENCE TO MATCH. If you do nothing else on a trip to Mackinac, ensure that you dine in the GRAND HOTEL DINING ROOM. It is an experience in itself. Set in a gorgeous open dining room, it feels like you have stepped back in time with luxury. The wait staff is very professional and the food is very good. $$$
  1. RYBA’S FUDGE SHOP FOR ICE CREAM OR FUDGE: There are a host of fudge shops on the island. Apparently, the locals from the island call the tourists “fudgies” because they just come over from the mainland for the fudge. I guess that makes me a fudgie. Ryba’s, May’s, JoAnn’s, Murdock’s, and the list goes on. Everyone has their favorite. My favorite is Ryba’s, but my recommendation would be to try them all and figure it out for yourself. Note: This is not the most paleo option. $
  1. PINK PONY: If you are looking for a good lunch place with a nice view of the harbor, try here. $
  1. CUPOLA BAR at the GRAND HOTEL: Best place for a before dinner cocktail, and has one of the best views on the island. You can see both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan as well as multiple lighthouses and the Mackinac Bridge, which for a period of time was the longest bridge in the world. It connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. $$

Want some more information. Check out these websites.




Want go to a festival? You have to do the Lilac Festival. Check out these links.




Feeling healthy? Want to do a race? The island has plenty. Check out this website.