Can’t Miss Activities on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island State Park Sign

Mackinac Island. 


When life starts moving too fast head to place where fast doesn’t exist, visit Mackinac Island.

From being young at heart and traveling down memory lane (if you are confused go read our posts on Disney part 1 and part 2), now let’s travel back in time to when cars were a dream of the future.
Located in Lake Huron this little gem stands above the rest.
This was one of the first trips that we (two life travelers) embarked on so Mackinac Island holds a dear place in our hearts. Below are some of the cheapest and best places, spaces, and activities you can do on the island. I hope you love it as much as we do! 


Haunts of Mackinac

View of Mackinac from the Window

If you are someone who is a fan of the paranormal and scary stories these walking tours are definitely for you! Learn more about the eerie history of the island including both ghost sightings and a famous Mackinac Island murder. This tour will not disappoint. It is a nice walking tour and is done at night which gives you a way to see the island in a different light (get it?). The tour even allows you to hunt for your own ghosts!
The Haunts of Mackinac was definitely one of the best tours we have been on with really experience tour guides who knew a lot about the island and its history and were passionate about what they do. So while we did love the tour, it made it not so fun to try to sleep that night! Make sure to check them out on your trip to the island and like them on Facebook!

Murray’s fudge shop

Mackinac Island is famous for fudge, and a lot of it. If you tried a sample of fudge in every fudge shop on Mackinac you would eat between 1 and 2 pounds of fudge! Now since we are focused on cheap traveling we made sure to try all the free samples we could before deciding on the best fudge shop on Mackinac island and let me tell you this is it.
Murray’s is located in the center of town and it is the best.  Creamy and delicious flavors are Murray’s forte.  I personally loved the coconut fudge, and the lovely atmosphere.
Most of the fudge shops offer fudge at around the same prices for there is no issue about breaking the bank for the best. The thing that sets Murray’s apart from the rest is their more unique flavors: caramel apple pie, s’mores, and blueberry cheesecake to name a few.

Cloughan B&B

Cloghaun Sign

If you are planning a trip to the island a lot of it can become pricey if you aren’t careful. One of the biggest expenses in any trip is housing. Hotels on the Island can be as much as $560 for the cheapest room. But, there are ways to do it on the cheap. This little B & B was located right on the main square and was one of the cheapest B & B on the island. Also because it was a bed and breakfast they provided breakfast plus tea time, including fudge and cookies, in the afternoon.
When you are traveling on a budget remember to utilize all the free stuff you can! Some of our favorite moments on this trip were drinking tea and eat cookies, during tea time, reading on the front porch swing.

      • Pro Tip: Always check with B & Bs and hotels to see if they offer off-season discounts. We got our room for 30% off the normal price by going a week before peak season.
Mackinac Island HighwayLaying in the middle of the highway

Add a fun fact to your list by bikingor walking around the only highway in the United States that does not allow cars. This breathtaking ride is about 8 miles (thanks Diana!) will take you around entire circumference of the island. We brought our own bikes to save some money, but you can also rent bikes there. However 3 miles is not too bad of a walk and a cheap way to explore the island. So while working off the fudge, you can see a lot of really scenic views along the way.


Chess at the Grand Hotel

So if you want to visit the Guinness record holder for the world’s largest porch this is the place for you. The grand hotel is a place of old timey glamour, however with that comes a hefty price tag. As to travelers who are trying to watch their funds we wanted to visit without paying a lot of money to stay there. In the evening if you are dressed up you may go explore the hotel and grounds for free, even if you are not staying there.
There is even a big jazz band that plays every night and is free to all. Even though we have a love of swing, there was a huge chess set outside that was too cool to skip.
So if you want to feel transported back in time and explore  a luxurious hotel stay at the Grand Hotel! If you want to do all that for free, dress up and go visit at night!

Horseback RidingNatural Rock Feature on Mackinac

Since the island does not allow cars there are only a few ways of getting around the island. 1. Walking. 2. Biking. 3. By horses. Horses are the most common form of transportation on the island and as being two travelers who try to do as the locals do, we decided, “when in Rome”.
There are a lot of places to go horseback riding or take a carriage ride around the town. Horse taxis are also common if you want to transport from one side of the island to another. If you are new to riding like me there are a lot of horses for beginners on the island who know exactly what to do. 

Chuckwagon Restaurant

This is why it is always important to talk to the locals. This burger place was not only the cheapest place on the island but one of the best burger we have ever had! A kind shop owner that we were talking to recommended Chuckwagon and we were not disappointed! Most of the tourist overlooked this small diner, but the locals flock to it!
We had a jalapeno cheeseburger that was what you dream of in a diner. Definitely if you are someone who loves to eat where the locals do this is the place for you. Like them on Facebook to keep with one of the best burger joints around!

Butterfly GardensButterfly Garden Sign

Last but certainly not least is all of the butterfly gardens. Mackinac is famous for the beauty of its butterfly gardens and it did not disappoint. We visited three different butterfly gardens that were filled with a beautiful array of butterflies of every color, and size. The butterfly gardens are a great activity that the whole family can really enjoy.

If exploring, getting lost in time, or playing giant chess on the world’s largest porch sound like fun; we really recommend this wonderful rustic paradise. If you have traveled there what do you think the best parts of Mackinac Island are? Please comment or post below because we would love to hear from you!!

4 thoughts on “Can’t Miss Activities on Mackinac Island

  • Where is the 3rd Butterfly Garden? The Original Butterfly House behind St. Anne’s Catholic Church, The Butterfly Conservatory up on Surrey Hill, and ???. Thanks for bringing a new attraction to my attention. *U* Kathleen

    • Hey Kathleen! Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog! We are sorry for the confusion! There are only two “official” Butterfly gardens however, when we toured the ground of the grand hotel, both the tea garden and the wildflower hill, we found that they are a favorite spot for tons of butterflies. We like to travel cheap so finding a free, outdoor, natural butterfly garden was something we felt we needed to include! Sorry again, for the confusion about “official versus non-official” butterfly gardens but that was one of our favorites so we wanted to make sure to include it!
      What is your favorite thing to do in Mackinac?
      -Life Travelers

  • The ride around the circumference of Island is 8.2 miles. Done it many times and they have mile markers at each mile

    • Thank you so much for catching that mistake and keeping us honest! 🙂

      What is your favorite thing on the island?

      -Life Travelers

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