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Mackinac Island, which doesn't even measure to a full four square miles, sits in Lake Huron and serves as a summer retreat for many. Designated a National Historic Landmark by the government, the island offers water activities, breath-taking scenery, unique lodging options, shopping, tours, and has a healthy nightlife. It's accessible by ferry and there are no cars on the island. It is just over 460 miles directly north of Cincinnati. / Image courtesy of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau // Published: 5.30.18

Mackinac Island Is The Summer Retreat Every Cincinnatian Should Consider

Here in Cincinnati, we have rivers, ponds, and pools. But when I'm jonesing for a full-on water weekend, I head to Michigan. While the Mitten is home to tons of lakeside towns, Mackinac Island is the destination du jour.


The island, which doesn't even measure to a full four square miles, sits in Lake Huron and serves as a summer retreat for many. The moment you step off the ferry and onto the island, you're surrounded by a picturesque Victorian village complete with oodles of adorable cottages and quaint shops. The entire island is car-free, meaning the sole means of transportation are carriages, bicycles, or by foot.

Because it's such a revered place, efforts to preserve the history of the island led it to become a National Historic Landmark. That's right, the whole island is officially recognized by the U.S. government as historically significant.


There's no shortage of charming lodging options, and you won't find any hotel chains lingering around the beaches.

Here are a few favorites:

  • Grand Hotel: One of the more stately locales on the island, this hilltop resort offers a classic, family-friendly atmosphere with vibrant interior decor.
  • Mission Point: Located on the island's sunrise side, this resort spans 18 acres of waterfront property and offers the ultimate island retreat.
  • Harbour View Inn: This cozy manor was once home to famous fur trader, Magdelaine LaFramboise, and now houses relaxing room rentals for visitors.
  • Pine Cottage: Tucked along a quiet street, this bed & breakfast offers rustic Victorian ambiance where Ernest Hemingway once lodged.
  • Dreamcatcher Cottage: What could be more sweet than a bright blue seaside cottage? The Dreamcatcher offers just the privacy and space a family needs.


First things first—relax. Take in the refreshing, slower pace of Mackinac life. Once you're ready to explore, here are some things to check out:

  • Island Tours: If you want to get a taste of the history & sights of Mackinac, take a carriage, bicycle, or walking tour of the island.
  • Lake Life: From boat rentals and paddle boards to sailing and lounging lakeside, there's a bounty of water activities to enjoy.
  • Shopping: In tune with its small town feel, Mackinac is packed full of cute gift stores, boutiques, and galleries.
  • Dining: Mackinac's dining scene offers everything from world-renowned chefs to comfort food favorites, all complete with local flair.
  • Nightlife: In addition to it's idyllic setting, Mackinac is also known for its pub crawls.

You know how they say to never go to the grocery store when you're hungry? Well, I think the same thing can be said about writing articles about dreamy vacation locales when you're feeling restless. Join me in daydreaming about my next jaunt out of town by heading up to the gallery to see all that Mackinac has to offer.

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For more information, visit Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.