Looking for an insider tip? You’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our staff-approved top picks for creating magical Mackinac memories.Looking for an insider tip? You’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our staff-approved top picks for crea
Giving Thanks to Our Guests
November – the time of year when the evening comes ever earlier, when autumn’s last leaves fall before the coming of winter, and when our thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays, particularly Thanksgiving.
Here on Mackinac Island, we are blessed with a rich and vibrant heritage, from the indigenous peoples and earliest settlers to the decades of guests and families who summer here – each and every visitor has helped to make our island the incredible destination it remains today. We’re grateful that our island abounds with a spectacular natural beauty that is protected and cherished, and for the ability to share this gift with you.
We love to hear guests’ enthusiastic comments about the magnificent views after they return from a hike to Arch Rock. Many admire the unique architecture of the island, including the downtown shops, the Governor’s Summer Residence, and Saint Anne’s Church. Let’s not forget the lilac festival, horseback riding, movies on the lawn, summer concerts, and our famous fudge. So, this Thanksgiving, we’re going to look back on our many blessings and look forward to a new spring and summer season. To book your Mackinac Island getaway for the upcoming season, kindly give us a call at (844) 246-0650. And Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!
Fall in Love with Mackinac Island
While many already know Mackinac Island as America’s top summer travel destination, in some ways, October is actually the best time of year to visit.
Relive the 1800s at historic Fort Mackinac, enjoy free samples of the island’s famed fudge, and even explore the rugged interior of the island that is now Mackinac Island State Park—all without the crowd!
In fact, there are actually several benefits to visiting in the fall, such as lodging discounts, shopping deals, and best of all, seasonal fun. The island hosts several events such as Macktoberfest, Women’s Wellness Weekend, and the mother of all Mackinac Road Races: the Great turtle Trail Run & Half Marathon.
And, let’s not forget the utter beauty of the Mackinac Island forest ablaze in red, yellow, and orange. Fall colors typically peak on the island beginning in early October, and fortunately, linger all month long. Whether you go for a bike ride around the island’s outer rim, hike up to the interior, or board a plane for a tour 2,000 feet above, the season’s colors give you a chance to see the island like you never have before.
Still not convinced? Picture the cool, crisp air that comes along with fall. While days are still sunny and warm, the nights bring a much-needed breeze that refreshes your body and soul.
So, what are you waiting for? Hope on a ferry and head on over.
Mackinac Island’s Five-Mile Fort2Fort Race Goes Virtual
This year, the third annual Mackinac State Historic Park Fort2Fort Five-Mile Challenge race was set to take place in recognition of the park’s 125th birthday.
While Mackinac Island can no longer hold the event as they traditionally would due to COVID-19, the race will continue! This year, the race will be hosted as a virtual event, so runners and walkers can join in and run five miles whenever or wherever they please.
Whether you’re participating on the island or from your hometown, the “official” race day remains scheduled for October 3rd. On this day, the course at Mackinac Island will be marked for those still running there. However, a map of the racecourse is posted on runmackinac.com, so you can run or walk the trail at any time you choose.
For those joining virtually - from the island or elsewhere - a live stream of the Cannon Firing will take place at 9:30 am. In addition, runners can see an official welcome address from Mackinac State Historic Parks director Phil Porter. All funds raised from this virtual event will go directly toward Mackinac State Historic Parks in support of park operations, local programs, and more.
Did Someone Say Fudge Festival?
For more than a century, Mackinac Island’s fudge has been an institution that’s become worldwide—so much so that the island has earned the nickname “Fudge Capital of the World.”
Most people, both locals and tourists, don’t need an excuse to indulge in a piece or two of the creamy, delightfully rich confection. But, for those who do, Mackinac Island Fudge Festival which takes place from August 28th - 30th, is certainly the time and place.
Fudge, fudgie flavors, and fudge-related events are showcased and celebrated during this weekend-long festival. Fudge shops will offer fudge-making demonstrations, samples and prizes, bartenders will be mixing up fudge-inspired cocktails daily, and beer and wine tastings will be ongoing at many venues on the island.
Allow us to set the scene for the first day of the festival: Friday, August 28th. Begin the day by entering a drawing for a fudge-filled prize, play bingo at one of the many fudge shops for a chance to win a Mackinac Island getaway for two, and end the afternoon at Sanders Candies to spin the wheel of fudge fortune where everyone's a winner.
For a complete listing of the festival’s events, visit here.
Reignite Your Love With A Romantic Getaway
It’s no secret that we’ve all been craving some sort of getaway—a beautiful, intimate, romantic one at that. Conveniently enough, Mackinac Island’s beauty has provided the inspiration, and the setting, for several real-life romance stories throughout its history.
Allow us to set the scene for what could be the key to reigniting, or commencing, romance:
Nature’s beauty often sets the stage for romantic encounters. In fact, many of those who fell in love on the island rhapsodize to this day about watching meteor showers from Fort Holmes, discovering wildflowers on wooded trails, watching the sun come up at Mission Point, and seeing it go down from the aptly-named Sunset Rock.
A stroll, peddle, or carriage ride through the endless pathways of, what feels like, another era can create memories to last a future lifetime. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours amble through these historic streets with stops at the island’s favorite locations. Similarly, Island Bicycle Rental will allow you to explore the island by bike, a time-honored tradition. Whichever option you choose, love is bound to be in the air.
Some of the love stories that were created on this island have led to marriage, and many of these same couples not only tied the knot here, but have returned year after year to celebrate the sanctity of their beautiful union. Hotel Iroquois is proud to provide an elegant and intimate setting for generations of grooms and brides-to-be.
To book your own romantic gathering or getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Mackinac Fun Facts
As Trip Advisor’s Hottest U.S. Summer Destination, Expedia’s Most Tourist-Friendly U.S. City, and one of the world’s most celebrated towns, Mackinac Island is much more than just a summer retreat.
Until you’re able to visit, here are just a few of our favorite facts to help showcase why the island is so very special.
No Vehicles: Referred to by many as “the all natural theme park of America”, Mackinac Island actually banned motor vehicles at the end of the 19th century and the restriction continues today. The only modes of transportation you’ll find on the island are that of horses, bikes, and your own two feet. It’s one of the things people love most about the island, as it provides a much needed sense of peace.
Fudge: With over 14 fudge shops on the island, and more than 10 tons of butter brought to the island every year, it's no wonder that sampling the delicious dessert remains one of Mackinac visitor’s favorite activities. In fact, during peak tourism season, five tons of fudge are made per day! While the crowd favorite is chocolate, President Gerald R. Ford opted for vanilla pecan upon his 1975 visit.
Horses: You can’t go too long without seeing at least once horse while on Mackinac Island. Used to pull wagons for guest taxis and provide island tours as well, there are over 500 horses brought to Mackinac every spring. The horses are then taken off the island for the winter and return when the weather warms.
The Victorians Started It All
As we look forward to another gorgeous summer and fall on Mackinac Island, let’s look back at how the vacation destination you know and love came to be— for most people don’t know that it was the Victorians who made Mackinac one of the nation’s most favored summer spots.
Before cars, Victorians who wished to vacation traveled by large lake excursion boats from Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, and Buffalo to the cooler climes of Mackinac Island during the post-Civil War industrial age. They dined on whitefish, took long strolls along the broad decks, and shopped for souvenirs. In the late 19th century, many wished to stay overnight and boat and railroad companies would build summer hotels. By 1890, wealthy Midwestern industrialists began to visit Mackinac and wished to stay much longer than a night. Thus, they began to build their own summer cottages in the east and west bluffs, which eventually created a social life including tennis, hiking, biking, golf, and many of the other activities we know and love on the beloved island today.
Three Fun Things to do on Mackinac Island
Each season, Mackinac Island offers our visitors and guests a wealth of fun and fabulous events and activities for their entertainment—listed below are three suggested activities for a great time.
See hundreds of beautiful native and tropical butterflies at this fascinating conservatory with an emergence viewing area. Learn more about Monarch butterflies and the grassroots campaigns in place to increase their diminishing population. You can also visit with a scarlet macaw, an ornate box turtle, Cammie the chameleon, and many other animals.
This year, the museum will host a special celebratory exhibit of juried art. “A Day in the Park−Celebrating 125 Years of Mackinac Island State Park” will be shown in the second-floor gallery through October 11.
Imagine yourself describing to all your envious friends how it felt to actually clean, load, prime, and then fire a genuine vintage cannon. This unique experience can be yours, as openings are available on a first-come basis for lucky individuals every morning from June through October.
Restored Biddle House Opens in May
Make your plans now to explore the early Americana experience of the Biddle House; an experience that begins as soon as you step inside and surround yourself with the period furnishings and settings.
You’ll smell savory aromas coming from the cast iron pot bubbling in the open-hearth fireplace in the reconstructed period kitchen. Watch as costumed historic interpreters knit, quilt, card wool, use the spinning wheel, and work at other domestic crafts tasks of the 19th century.
Just one of Mackinac Island’s many historical treasures, the Biddle House was built over 200 years ago as a fur trading space and the Biddle family home. This vintage gem is a National Historic Landmark, and one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. Operating under the auspices of Mackinac Island State Park, Biddle House also features the Mackinac Island Native American Museum, which offers two rooms filled with exhibits. The Biddle House will open for the season on May 5, 2020, so be sure to call us at (844) 246-0650 to arrange for your Mackinac Island experience.
Three Romantic Things to Do on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island’s natural beauty has been an inspiration for a myriad of true-to-life romantic tales, and many visitors who have fallen in love here will attest that the island itself possesses an aura of enchantment.
In fact, Mackinac Island has recently been included in TripAdvisor’s list of the “World’s 15 Most Romantic Island Getaways for Couples.” With this in mind, we have put together a list of three fun and romantic things to do here.
Go Stargazing at Fort Holmes
As the highest point on the island, the view from here on a clear night is breathtaking. Ideal for intimate picnics, late-night stargazing, and snuggling up to your sweetheart.
Ride a Bicycle Built for Two
Rent a tandem bicycle and pack up some supplies. Then, discover the island at your leisure, just the two of you.
Celebrate Somewhere in Time
A favorite activity for fans of the film, and even for those who aren’t, is to take a quick jaunt over to the original gazebo shown in the movie, and to visit the “Is it you?” monument.
To book your own romantic gathering or getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Fun Fitness Getaway
If you’re one of the 59 percent of folks who made a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, we suggest a Mackinac Island getaway.
You’ll find a beautiful island featuring lush verdant forests abloom with wildflowers, stunning geological formations, groomed nature trails, and much more. No cars allowed here—so you can safely jog, hike, and bike the island’s 70 miles of trails while enjoying its stunning natural beauty. Additionally, several places here offer horseback riding; or take an exploratory walk or two to check out the unique and impressive architecture of our historic downtown and other impressive structures located throughout the island.
Combine fun with fitness by packing a picnic and hiking up to Arch Rock, considered a source of mystical power by Native Americans, or climb up to Fort Holmes and check out the view from the highest point on the island. Walking tours are always a fun way to get your exercise while learning more about the island, and several terrific tours are available during the season. For details and to book your getaway, please contact us at (844) 246-0650.
Say “I Do” to a Mackinac Island Wedding
It’s official—the proposal has been accepted, the ring is on her finger, and the two of you are discussing tentative plans for the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, and most importantly, the location.
What’s the next step for the wedding of your dreams? Making plans to host it all right here on our picture-perfect Mackinac Island. Whether you want an intimate ceremony or a grand gathering, you and your beloved will be following a cherished tradition, as generations of couples have tied the knot right here at Hotel Iroquois.
The island is also an ideal honeymoon destination, and your family and friends will be enchanted with the stunning scenery of the island. You can rest assured that we’ll provide an elegant setting for your special day, as we’ve hosted everything from engagement parties to wedding receptions to anniversary dinners—and everything in between. For assistance planning your unique wedding-related needs, we encourage you to call us at (844) 246-0650.
Start A New Tradition
This Thanksgiving, while you enjoy a glorious feast with your loved ones and give thanks for your blessings, why not start a new holiday tradition?
We recommend making plans for a fun and fabulous getaway on magnificent Mackinac Island. There is so much we have to offer, whether you come solo, bring along your plus-one, or include the entire family. Summer magic rules on the island, and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you experience the soft clip-clop of horse’s hoofs, concerts in the park, yacht races, the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory, and our dazzling annual Lilac Festival.
Explore wildflowers and other flora on our many trails by foot, bicycle, or horseback, and don’t miss the stunning views from Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac, or the aptly-named Sunset Rock. History and architecture buffs will appreciate various structures scattered throughout the island, especially our unique downtown. Speaking of downtown, be sure to pay a visit to the fudge shops—we are famous for our fudge, and so proud of it that we celebrate it with a yearly festival! For details, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Fabulous Finale
October on Mackinac Island is a bittersweet month. While it brings the end of yet another season of fun, autumn dazzles us with its brilliant glory, and the final events are always fabulous. For details, see below.
October 18-19: Women’s Wellness and a Wee Bit of Wine Weekend
Hundreds of women will celebrate a weekend of pampering, friendship, and good health. Wellness seminars, art shows, spa days, yoga, wine, and luxurious shopping are all on the agenda. Proceeds support the Mackinac Island Cancer Fund.
October 26: Great Turtle Trail Run & Half Marathon
Thousands of participants will run and walk one of the most scenic trails in the state, traditionally held the last open weekend of the season. From Mission Point Resort to the shoreline, these beloved annual races are always an exciting seasonal highlight.
October 26: Mackinac Island Halloween Trick-or-Treat
Don your costumes and join the march through downtown during this festive Halloween celebration, featuring costume contests, end-of-the-season sales, and live entertainment. Don’t leave the mini-monsters behind—they’ll have a blast as they trick-or-treat their way down Main Street.
For more information about these, or other Mackinac Island events, call us at (844) 246-0650.
“Fall” in Love with Mackinac Island
Here on Mackinac, autumn brings breathtaking views, delightfully mild days, and refreshingly cool evenings.
As the crowds depart the island following the summer season, those who join us for the fall months will find that the pace is less frenzied, but there are still many special events and activities for our guest’s enjoyment and entertainment. Ongoing events include everything from guided walking and horse-drawn carriage tours to almost everywhere on the island – from Fort Mackinac to the harbor to Arch Rock and all points beyond.
Stroll through our historic and architecturally unique downtown and to stop in at such notable island attractions as the Butterfly House and Insect Museum and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Or, set out on any of the island’s numerous trails to enjoy spectacular scenery as you explore by biking, hiking, or horseback riding. The fall months include many special events, such as the Eight-Mile Bridge Run and Walk and the Great Turtle Trail Run and Half-Marathon. To join us for a fall getaway for any Mackinac Island events, call (844) 246-0650.
Fudge, Fabulous Fudge
Rich, sweet, creamy, decadent—no matter how you describe it, it’s a wonderful treat worthy of our annual celebration, and we hope you’ll join thousands of other “fudgies” from August 23-25 for the 2019 Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.
This year’s event will also feature Willy Wonka sightings, a fudge egg hunt, an ice cream social, fudge-infused cocktails, and family games at Windermere Point. The fudgy fun begins on Friday, August 23 with fudge-making demos at Ryba’s, Murdick’s, May’s, Joann’s, and Sanders fudge shops. Be sure to join the Market Street Open House and Art Walk afterward.
On Saturday, August 24, head over to Windermere Point at noon for family games, an ice cream social, and free concerts before a showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Sunday, August 25 features a children’s chocolate fudge egg hunt at Marquette Park at 10:00 a.m., along with the Great Turtle Slow Ride and more! Fudge-related specialty drinks and cocktails will be served daily at various establishments around the island, along with dinner and dessert specials. For more information, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Sail Through Summer
July on Mackinac Island—the days are warm and sunny, the nights are pleasantly cool and full of stars, and the fun is boundless.
Summer also brings a myriad of fabulous maritime events for our guests’ entertainment, and July’s lineup is listed here. First, it's off to the races on July 13 with the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island. This prestigious annual race is the world’s longest freshwater sailing event and attracts top competitors from all over the country. July 17 brings the Chicago Mac Week Round the Island Race, featuring sailboats from the Chi-Mac Race and the Mackinac area.
July 20-22 will see the return of a Mackinac favorite, the Bell’s Beer Bayview to Mackinac Race. This exciting annual race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island is hosted by the Bayview Yacht Club and showcases sailors from all over the world. Lastly, set sail on the Veuve Cruise on July 28. You’ll cruise the Straits of Mackinac while sampling Veuve Clicquot offerings. This Sip n’ Sail cruise also features live music by Owen James, and proceeds go toward support of the island’s arts and culture programs. To book your reservation, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Make Dad’s Day with a Mackinac Getaway
Searching for that perfect gift for the best Dad ever? Surprise him this Father’s Day with a getaway to stunning Mackinac Island.
There’s something for everyone here, no matter their interests and tastes. From our annual June Lilac Festival to the yacht races, the Fudge Festival, and later summer events, Dad will find plenty from which to choose. If he’s a nature lover, he’ll be thrilled with the island’s stunning natural beauty. As a large percentage of the island is part of the Mackinac Island State Park, there is always an abundance of nature to explore, as well as ways to go about it.
He can tour the island by bicycle or horseback, or set off on foot along any of the numerous hiking trails. Also, the unique beauty of Mackinac Island’s architecture viewed from leisurely strolls through downtown, or from the old-fashioned charm of a horse-drawn carriage are sure to please both design enthusiasts and history buffs. Whether Dad is looking for excitement or just a quiet getaway for his special day, he’ll agree that Mackinac Island is the perfect place to find it all. To book a reservation for that special Dad, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Lilac Immersion Experience
Make your reservations and start packing your bags for a ten-day getaway featuring fabulous flowers and floral-themed festivities.
The 71st annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival will be celebrated June 7-16, and thousands of visitors will come to observe the glorification of our favorite flower. Long ago, lilacs earned a place in the island’s hall of fame, planted by wealthier island residents, who soon found that they thrived here as nowhere else in the world. Some of these famous blooms, varying in shades of lavender, blue, white, and pink, are more than 100 years old and can reach heights of 40 feet.
The result is a lilac-immersion experience you will only find here, as you stroll along streets under a veritable canopy of brilliantly-colored and fragrant lilacs. The island offers an amazing array of events in honor of the fest, including outdoor concerts, a Grand Parade, a charming Dog and Pony Show, the Lilac Festival 10K, and a plethora of food, cocktails, and wine, including the island’s favorite foodie fest, “A Taste of Mackinac.” We hope you’ll join us in June for your own “Lilac Immersion Experience.” Call us at (844) 246-0650 for details.
Hit the Trail
Mackinac Island offers a myriad of scenic paths and trails to explore, the majority of which are part of the Mackinac Island State Park.
Guests can select from over 70 miles of trails, the longest of which is the Tranquil Bluff Trail. In addition to the Tranquil Bluff Trail, popular hiking spots on the north side of the island include the Packard, Lydia, Partridge, and Swamp Trails, each varying in length. The Southern and Central parts of the island’s trails include Indian Pipe, Juniper, Cliftview, and Lost Bear.
For one of the most breathtaking views, including stunning optics of Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Straits, follow Lake Shore Drive, which runs along the coast of the island. You can easily traverse most of these trails with almost any form of transportation – pull on your hiking boots, rent a bike, or arrange for a ride on horseback, but be aware that horseback riding is not allowed on Lakeshore Drive. However, hikers and bikers are welcome, and the scenic coast route can still be viewed from a horse and buggy you can rent and drive on your own. Ready to hit the trail? Call us at (844) 246-0650 to make your reservations.
Our Native American Heritage
Most of our guests visit here because they enjoy the Mackinac Island “experience” reminiscent of a more genteel era – an era of horse-drawn carriages, wildflower-strewn woodlands, bandshell concerts, and vintage architecture with unique shops and boutiques.
While this is an accurate picture of our modern-day Island, we also like to encourage visitors to explore a past that goes well beyond the Victorian Age – back to the Island’s early beginnings, when the people of the Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and
Odawatribes made their homes here, and throughout the region.
The story of the region’s Native American Tribes can now be gleaned through six markers set up around the Island’s perimeter on M-185, on which visitors can read of their burial grounds, trade, and history up to the present. Other sites around the Island are excellent examples of its heritage, such as the newly-restored Biddle House. The Island’s oldest building, it was the home of Agatha Biddle, who was an
Odawachief and married a fur trader from Philadelphia. A restoration of Biddle House is scheduled for completion in 2019 and will contain two rooms of exhibits. Call us at (844) 246-0650 to reserve your stay on Mackinac Island, where you can see Biddle House for yourself.
The Most Romantic Places on Mackinac Island
Here on the Island, we’ve heard a multitude of romantic tales told by visitors who fell in love here, said their vows here, or experienced a memorable romantic proposal.
So, in honor of them, and Saint Valentine, here is a shortlist of Mackinac Island sites awarded the title of 'Most Romantic.' First, don’t underestimate the timeless charm of an island sunrise viewed from Mission Point, or a romantic sunset from, where else, but our famous Sunset Rock. Next, Fort Holmes is an idyllic site for intimate picnics or late-night stargazing.
Stunning vistas of wildflowers, birches, and cedars on the Island’s trails provide a perfect setting for everything from a first kiss to popping the question. For fans of the film, “Somewhere in Time,” the “Is it you?” monument is a must, along with the original gazebo constructed for and used in the movie, and which remains in use for weddings to this day. Lastly, we here at Hotel Iroquois are renowned for our elegant and intimate settings for engagements and weddings. To book your own romantic gathering or getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Two Terrific Tours of Mackinac Island
While we appreciate our guests who return each season, we also look forward to those who have never been here before.
It’s always a pleasure to see the looks on their faces and hear their glowing remarks after they have "discovered" the beauty and charm of Mackinac Island. For all of our future guests who want to explore and learn more about Mackinac Island, we suggest booking one of the tours offered here. First, check out Mackinac Revealed, which promises a journey "beyond the beaten path." You’ll see and hear about the best of the Island’s neighborhoods, history, shipwrecks, famous attractions, Native American culture, and more, all led by an authentic Mackinac Islander.
The tour offers walking and bicycle excursions, or carriage horse tours. For those who prefer a more "spirited" perspective regarding the Island’s history, we suggest the Haunts of Mackinac tour. Promising a walking tour that’s an "adventure into the unknown," their knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides offer information about the Island’s history, legends, and ghostly tales.
For more information, or to make reservations for your Mackinac Island getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Perfect Group Getaway
Whether you’re planning a retreat or a gathering of a circle of friends, a family anniversary or a wedding, you’ll find Mackinac Island is the perfect getaway destination.
Here at Hotel Iroquois, we’ve been rated “Best Small Hotel in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler. We’ve got everything you need to make your event a resounding success, and we’ll help ensure that you, your family, and your guests will have wonderful and unforgettable memories about the occasion for years to come.
It’s easy to fall under the Island’s enchantment the moment you step off the ferry – there’s a quiet sort of charm and ambiance that summons up a feeling of having gone back in time, where unspoiled beauty reigns supreme, and the sight and sounds of horse-drawn vehicles have displaced the jarring sounds of car horns and heavy equipment. For the bride-or-groom-to-be, we offer everything you need to make your special day a romantic dream come true, and our Carriage House provides an elegant setting for intimate gatherings. For more information, or to make reservations for your special getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.