Hotel at a Glance: Island House Hotel
This Historic Hotel of America was constructed more than 160 years ago, making it the first on Mackinac Island. With this getaway, you’ll be treated to the island’s best-known specialty: a half pound of Ryba’s Mackinac Island Fudge. Snap off a piece to enjoy while you take in a view of the water from the lush front lawn or one of the rocking chairs on the veranda.
- Guest rooms blend variety and comfort; each is individually decorated with details such as down comforters and air conditioning.
- Dine al fresco: Use the included $40 dining credit for dinner at the hotel’s 1852 Grill Room, which offers outdoor seating.
- Sit down with a cocktail at casual Ice House Bar and Grill, located in a secluded garden. Sandwiches and salads are on the menu as well.
- Pedal power: Explore the island by bike—guests get a 50% discount on rentals at Island House Bike Shop.
- Take a dip in the heated indoor pool, hot tub, or relax in the sauna.
Mackinac Island, Michigan: Quaint Island with Historic Attractions on Lake Huron
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive on Michigan’s Mackinac Island is the absence of cars—they’ve been banned since 1898. It’s part of the isle’s Victorian charm and a major draw for visitors as well as the island’s 500 permanent residents. Nestled in the strait between Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas, Mackinac Island (pronounced “MACK-in-awe”) looks like a postcard from another century, replete with pastel-hued Victorian mansions and horse-drawn carriages. The 4-square-mile island was formerly a fur-trading and fishing outpost before it reinvented itself in the mid-19th century as a summer resort for the well heeled.
It’s incredibly scenic, too. Roughly 80% of the island is considered Mackinac Island State Park—America’s second national park, after Yellowstone (though the park was eventually handed back to the state of Michigan). More than 70 miles of hiking trails thread through stunning boreal forest here, and a popular 8-mile bicycle path called Lake Shore Boulevard circles the island. Along the route, you’ll see one of the island’s most photographed icons, Arch Rock. The limestone formation soars nearly 150 feet into the air and offers sweeping views of Lake Huron.
You can soak in some of the island’s history at Fort Mackinac, the first American military outpost captured by the British in the War of 1812. Grab a seat near the Parade Ground, a large open field in the center of the fort, to see soldiers dressed in period garb march in formation and fire off their rifles.
No trip to Mackinac is complete without sampling some of the island’s famous fudge from one of the 15 candy shops on Main Street. Inside several of the shops, the fudge-making process is a spectator sport. Confectioners use a hand paddle to push and flip the molten chocolate on cool marble slabs until it hardens into a solid loaf of fudge.