Mackinac Island is one of few car-free cities in America, giving it a unique feel. On your next trip to the island, consider some of these fun activities.

In 1989, officials banned cars on the island, giving it its signature, colonial feel. On your next trip to the island, consider hiking through Mackinac Island State Park or strolling through the bustling downtown where you can enjoy some of that famous fudge. While the island is small, there’s plenty of unique things to do on Mackinac Island that are fun for everyone.

Embrace Nature

Discover different ways of being one with nature while you’re staying; after all, there’s no way to travel by automobile. The island offers various ways for visitors to get in a workout while they go on excursions, and the most popular ideas include:

  • Walking/hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Biking

You can rent bikes and kayaks on the island or bring your own from the mainland. As you take in the island’s beauty, feel free to go along the coast for scenic views, through the center of the island for tranquility, or walk through the bustling downtown to explore the unique shops.

Go on a Horse Drawn Carriage

One unique thing to do on Mackinac Island is using horses for transportation. A leisurely way of site-seeing is by horse-drawn carriage; consider taking a narrated tour to learn more about the island’s history. Some carriage rides allow you to jump off at different sites—Fort Mackinac, the Butterfly Conservatory, and Arch Rock (just to name a few)—to look around.

If you want more adventurous excursions, spend your afternoon horseback riding with or without a guide. The horses have the path memorized, making both excellent options.

Learn History

Visit the historic Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, which displays maps and Native American artifacts. Enjoy looking at art from the late 19th and early 20th century, including the first painting of Mackinac Island, painted by William Dashwood.

Also, consider seeing other historical sites on Mackinac such as:

  • Fort Mackinac
  • Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
  • Mill Creek Discovery Park

If none of those sound promising, check out Colonial Michilimackinac, where you can see restored homes from the 1800s or get an idea of how general stores once looked. Moreover, the Benjamin Blacksmith House shows you how to make steal creations and allows you to attempt the craft as you jump into history.

Visit the Grand Hotel

Many visitors stop at the famous Grand Hotel because of its beauty and history on the island; it still has all the elegance it did in the 1800s with its classic décor. While a stay at the Grand Hotel may not be for everyone, think about stopping in for lunch or high tea. As you sit on the porch, close your eyes and listen to the clip-clop of horse hooves and transport yourself back in time.