This morning we rode our bicycles one mile to the Sheplers Ferry Terminal and boarded (along with our bicycles) the ferry to Mackinac Island.  The ride was 30 minutes with a slight detour under the Mackinac Bridge, a 5 mile long suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

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Mackinac bridge

Mackinac Island

Road map of michigan with cities

Mackinac Island sits in Lake Huron in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.  We stayed in St. Ignace and the ferry ride directly there was only about 15 minutes. Motorized vehicles have been prohibited  on the island since 1898 with the exception of snowmobiles, and the only way to get there is by ferry or by small plane. Transportation on the island is by foot, bicycle, horse drawn carriages and horseback.  In the winter brave people actually ride snow mobiles across the Great Lake Huron on a natural ice bridge to get to land on the other side!

As of the 2010 census there were 492 people who lived on the island.The K-12 school on the island has 80 students.The elementary school two grades in each classroom.  The middle/high school contains grades 7-12 and the average class size is about six, with a high of 10 and a low of 2.  All students get to school by either walking or riding their bicycles. In the winter many arrive by snowmobile.

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac was first built by the British in 1780-81.  It was relinquished to the Americans thirteen years after the Revolutionary War.  At the outbreak of the War of 1812 the British seized the island before the Americans realized the war had begun.

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Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Construction began on the Grand Hotel in 1886 and it opened on July 10, 1887. At its opening, nightly rates at the hotel ranged from $3 to $5 a night (equivalent to $85.37–142.28 in 2019).   I looked on the internet today and a one night stay ranges from $598 to over $1,000!

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   Guests arriving by horse and buggy

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Riding bicycles around the island and the sites we saw

It’s 8.2 miles to ride all the way around the island.  Because of high waters this year, part of the perimeter road was closed for repairs.  We spent the day riding as far as we could on the perimeter road and then turning and riding some of the interior roads.  Between our ride to the ferry and back and our rides on the island, we rode 14 miles today.

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Horses pulling the garbage cart

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Biking on Mac

Biking along Lake Huron 

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A jet ferry

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One of two lighthouses we saw on the island (the other is very small in the background

Trip Statistics:

  • We have driven 3,720 miles in total - 2,571 in Big Hat and 1,149 in the car
  • We are stayed Tiki RV Park which is a Passport America Park for $26 a night.  Total Campgrounds $1,204.36 or an average of $37.64 a night.
  • It cost $74.66 to ride the ferry today and take our bicycles to the island.