My mom and I had a lovely time exploring the 3.8 square mile Mackinac Island, Michigan over a long weekend recently. While characteristically touristy for a long stretch, more than 80% of the island is a state park. Over 15,000 visitors a day come to Mackinac Island in the summer, so you know that there must be something appealing. Is it the endless supply of fudge? Or the beauty of the rolling hills? Maybe it’s the kitschy shops every 10 feet or the fact that you can bike eight miles without any cars getting in the way. Whatever it is that brings tourists here, there’s something pretty magical about this island.
It’s a 6-8 hour drive from Chicago, depending on how many stops you take along the way, so we left bright and early on a Friday morning. Since no cars are allowed on the island, the ferry is your only option for getting island-side. There are plenty of options – do you want a speed boat or slow boat? Do you want to pay $20 or $40? We attempted to do this weekend on the cheap, so we went with Arnold Line. Normal ticket prices are $18 roundtrip and it takes about 40 minutes one-way.