Visiting Mackinac Island: The Best Bed and Breakfasts, Hikes, and Must-See Stops

Looking for a cozy place to stay this summer or all year round? Check out these great bed and breakfasts on Mackinac Island in Michigan.

Rayna Skiver - Author

Jun. 23 2023, Updated 4:54 p.m. ET

Downtown Mackinac Island
Source: iStock

Nestled to the right of the Mackinac Bridge is Michigan’s Mackinac Island. This unique, car-free island is something out of a fairytale — colorful flowers, sparkling waters, castle-like houses, and horse-drawn carriages (seriously).

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Once you arrive, there’s a chance that you’ll never want to leave. We’re here to help you with that! Whether you're looking for an eco-friendly vacation spot or a getaway all year round, check out our guide to the best bed and breakfasts on Mackinac Island, plus, hikes, shops, and more.

The best bed and breakfast options on Mackinac Island:

If you really want to enjoy everything the island has to offer, staying a night or two is a great choice. However, it’s going to require some planning — you should definitely book your accommodations in advance. The island is extremely busy, especially in the summer months.

It’s also important to note that a few locations require a minimum stay of two weeks. Whether you’re staying in a hotel, Airbnb, or bed and breakfast, planning ahead and staying informed will definitely pay off.

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Staying at a bed and breakfast on Mackinac Island can offer visitors a one-of-a-kind experience. Not only do you get the chance to chat with fellow travelers, but you also often get to live in a quirky, victorian-style house for a time.

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Bay View Bed and Breakfast is one of the more affordable options on the island, starting at only $95 a night, according to Mackinac Island’s website. This spot is right on the bay and provides nice views and cozy rooms. After a good night’s sleep, you can enjoy a gourmet breakfast on the veranda.

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You can stay at the charming Cottage Inn of Mackinac for only a few dollars more. This spot is only a block away from the downtown area, perfect for those who want peace and quiet but also want to be close to the main attractions. Before a long day, you can sip your coffee on the large front porch and take in the sights and sounds of the island.

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If the Cottage Inn of Mackinac is booked, the Market Street Inn is a great alternative. Even though this bed and breakfast is on the smaller side, it still provides a lot of perks. Those staying here will appreciate the inn’s central location, garden, library, and full breakfast spread of fresh baked goods.

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For those with a larger budget, Cloghaun Bed and Breakfast and Pine Cottage are lovely options for about $200 a night. However, Cloghaun embraces the cozy, victorian-style decor, while Pine Cottage has a much more modern vibe — the two locations couldn’t be any more different in this regard.

Don’t stress about choosing the perfect bed and breakfast — most of the sights are outside anyway!

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Grab a bike and hop on the only car-free highway in the U.S.

Okay, so you’ve hopped off the ferry and you’re ready to explore — the first thing you’ll want to do is rent a bike. Luckily, this is pretty effortless thanks to the easily-accessible shops located right near the dock.

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Biking is one of the best ways to experience the island. Mackinac's Outer Loop is a paved, 8-mile trail along the island's outskirts. You'll see turquoise waters, wildlife, lively forests, and interesting rock formations (more on that later). Despite the trail's length, it's a relatively easy and smooth ride.

Visitors can stop at various historical sights and hikes during their ride — just park your bike and explore!

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Don’t forget to check out Arch Rock.

Arch Rock is one of the most iconic stops on the island. When biking along the Outer Loop, it’s hard to miss — you’ll see signs, bike parking, and probably lots of other tourists. This 2-mile out-and-back trail will take you to a huge arch rock formation and a fantastic view of the lake.

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For the ultimate Mackinac Island hiking adventure, head to the Tranquil Bluff Trail. Visitors can enjoy 6.1 miles of lake views, forest, wildflowers, and wildlife. The trail is an easy, relaxing route that is often used for birdwatching and sight-seeing.

Whether you want to explore the downtown area or appreciate nature, there are many different trail options for walking, hiking, and biking.

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You can’t miss out on the local shops either.

Like most tourist destinations, there are a bunch of different stores on Mackinac Island. There’s truly something for everyone: Clothing, fun knick-knacks, books, special food items, art galleries, souvenirs, and more. It’s the perfect opportunity to support some local businesses!

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Shopping isn’t the only downtown activity though. You can have loads of fun at the Haunted Theatre, Maze of Mirrors, or Watercolor Cafe. You could even stop by the Original Butterfly House and Insect World — this live exhibit is one of the oldest in the world.

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After shopping, try some iconic Mackinac Island fudge.

Mackinac Island is famous for its fudge — in fact, seasonal visitors are often called “fudgies.” A plethora of fudge shops can be found on Main Street, including some favorites like Joann’s Fudge, Original Murdick’s Fudge, and Ryba’s Fudge Shop.

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Ryba’s fudge inventory is always changing. The store often adds seasonal flavors and even an occasional vegan option for all the plant-based fudgies out there.

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Many stores will offer visitors free samples, making it easier to determine what flavor you like best. As if that’s not convincing enough, you can even watch the fudge-making process at some shops. The process tends to be a whole production — people crowd inside the store and outside the windows just to watch the confectioners work their magic.

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Can’t make it this year? Check out the Mackinac Island webcam!

Whether you need help planning your trip or simply can’t make it this time around, these Mackinac Island webcams can be extremely handy.

Both Horn’s Bar and the Chippewa Hotel offer a view of Main Street. However, Chippewa Hotel’s webcam provides a more extensive view, including many Victorian-era houses along the bluff.

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If you want a more expansive view, check out the Mission Point Resort and the Windermere Hotel webcams. Here, you can see the lake’s beautiful shoreline.

Mackinac Island is a unique place — it can be fun to view the webcams just to get a glimpse of what’s happening.

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