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  • Writer's pictureShannon Westblade

The Perfect Mackinac Island Itinerary

I have been perfecting this idea for years. My favorite thing to be asked as an innkeeper is what my recommendations are for your Mackinac Island vacation. I love the creative challenge of coming up with the right restaraunt or the right activity or the right room that is crafted particularly to you and your interests. So this itinerary is a challenge and will ultimatately fail you - why? Because every visitor is different and has different desires, abilities, and goals. In short:

There is no perfect itinerary that applies to every visitor to Mackinac Island.

Ok so why are you even here? Well lets say you are an average visitor to the island, with no expectations, no idea what to do. These are my personal favorites, if I were a guest on Mackinac Island, how would I spend my time? Admittedly, this is also crafted for someone who is fully capable of riding a bike and hiking, and didn't bring their kids. I have a TON of ideas for anyone who is looking for a more physically accessible trip to Mackinac Island, and for families who bring their kiddos, but that will have to be another blog post. Rain is also worth considering. I should also refer you to the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau, who also have tons of ideas on those topics.

So here is my own personal take on the perfect Mackinac Island Vacation:


Shannon’s Perfect Three-Day Mackinac Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival and History              


9:00am – Catch the early ferry to the island, arrange for a dock porter to take luggage to the Inn.

9:45am – Get coffee at Lucky Bean, hike to the entrance to Fort Mackinac.

10:15am – Tour Fort Mackinac, watch the canon fire, listen to an interpreted walk.

12 Noon – Lunch at the Tea Room in the Fort.

4pm – Walk to the bed and breakfast you booked: Haan's 1830 Inn, check in, get some tea and a pastry, sit on the porch.  Nap?

Quiet Porch at Haan's to Read, Nap, People Watch
Quiet Porch at Haan's to Read, Nap, People Watch

6pm – Dinner on the patio of the Pink Pony.

8pm – Stroll Mainstreet shops after dinner and sample fudge.

10pm – One more drink and live music?  At Horn’s?



Day 2 – Nature and Chill

9:00am – Breakfast at Haan’s 1830 Inn.

10:00am – Bike the outer road around the island.  Stopping at history markers, or to skip stones, take pictures, hike little trails.

-        Lunch at the Cannonball, hike to the Friendship’s Alter stairs, listen to the birds and the wind in the trees.

1:30/2pm – Coffee/tea/nap/porch sit/read a book at Haan’s.

3:30pm – Bike the interior to Sugar Loaf, or perhaps even the top at Fort Holmes?  Get lost on some trails?

6:30pm – Dinner from Doud’s Market, eat in Marquette Park (borrow a picnic blanket from Haan’s).  Get the pizza and a beer, you earned it!

7:30pm – Porch sit with wine and a box of fudge, people watch, chat with the Innkeepers or other guests, or walk to Mission Point and sit in the Adirondack chairs, watching the water.

10pm – Listen to taps played from the Fort while taking an evening stroll through town.



Day 3 – Architecture and Horses

9:00am – Breakfast at Haan’s.

10am – Bike or hike Mackinac’s historic neighborhoods, gawk at flower gardens and incredible homes (get a map from the Innkeepers).

1pm – Lunch at the Ice House or Kingston Kitchen.

2:30pm – Private Carriage Tour with Gough Carriages.

4pm – Shop Downtown and check out Mackinac Island Art Galleries, or maybe nap.

7pm – Dinner at The Woods, The Carriage House, or the 1852 Grill Room, in formal(ish) attire.

9:30pm – Find your way to Sunset Rock to watch the sunset (particularly if you have dinner at The Woods, if not, sunset on the boardwalk).

After sunset (in formal attire) – Drinks at the Grand Hotel: First the Cupola Bar, and then dancing in the Ballroom.

Horse Taxi home to Haan’s.



Departure Day

9:00am – Breakfast at Haan’s.

10am – Check out, but leave luggage at the Inn while shopping one last time, buying more fudge probably.

Time to leave – Call the Inn or a dock porter to get your luggage to the dock, meet your luggage and the dock porter there to make sure you tip them well.  Bring back a Haan’s 1830 Inn brochure and mark January 2 in calendar to make reservations for next summer.


Not to be forgotten:  The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House, Art classes at Watercolor Cafe

Note: It is of the opinion of this innkeeper that vacation should be at least a little relaxing. I stand by my decision to include nap time in every days' itineraries.

Shannon Westblade is third generation Owner/Innkeeper of Haan's 1830 Inn Bed and Breakfast. Growing up on the island every summer has given her a lot of opinions on the perfect Mackinac Island vacation and she shares her opinions regularly.

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2 commenti

18 mag

Thank You Shannon. We have only 2 nights on the island at your Inn, so we will have to prioritize. I will call to arrange for luggage from the dock to the inn. Great idea. I hadn't considered.

Jeanne Collier

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Tom Medsker
Tom Medsker
12 apr

As a Boomer, I wish I could hit a "print" button and all of this "Perfect Mackinac Island Itinerary" could appear in my printer. I know, no one uses printers anymore. I should know how to easily view this on my phone. I'll start working on it.

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