Can you get off Mackinac Island in the winter?
The Mackinac Island State Park facility has a lighted 3,500-foot paved runway and parallel taxiway for propeller planes and small jets. Open all year, it is the only link with the mainland from early January until mid-April when the ferries start operating again.
You can get to Mackinac Island in the winter by ferry or by airplane. Mackinac Island Ferry Company operates the winter ferry out of St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. It's the “slow boat,” the Mighty Huron, and generally takes 45 minutes without ice and can take longer if there is ice on the water.
Plus, thousands of seasonal employees flock to Mackinac Island to work at the northern Michigan travel destination from spring through fall. But did you know there also are a few hundred people who live on Mackinac Island year-round?
As the home of Mackinac Island State Park, Mackinac Island never really closes. You can come and explore year-round.
HOW TO GET TO MACKINAC ISLAND IN THE WINTER. Mackinac Island Ferry Company offers a ferry that runs as long as there isn't ice in the harbor. The ferry leaves from St. Ignace in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and is about $40 for an adult round-trip ticket.
2023-2024 MACKINAC ISLAND WINTER SEASON
But, the hearty few that visit find a completely different Mackinac Island to experience, which is unlike the spring, summer or fall travel season. This is a time to enjoy the quiet beauty of the island – hike, ski, snowshoe, take beautiful pictures and read a good book.
Approximately 500-600 people reside on Mackinac Island on a year-round basis.
Because Mackinac Island is car free, snowmobiles are a primary way of getting around in the winter. But even snowmobiles aren't allowed to travel in some areas. That makes the east half of Mackinac Island a paradise for cross-country skiers, with many miles of groomed tracks in Mackinac Island State Park.
Do any celebrities live on Mackinac Island? Yes, celebrities have houses on Mackinac Island. A few are actor Vince Vaughn, Director Ron Howard, and Michigan's own Bob Seger.
You might already know that Mackinac Island is the USA's Best Summer Travel Destination. That Mackinac Island is steeped in fascinating history, renowned for world famous Mackinac Island fudge and home to stunning natural features that led Congress to establish Mackinac Island as America's second national park.
Can you go to Mackinac Island for Christmas?
And you can get to Mackinac Island in December either by boat with the Mackinac Island Ferry Company or by plane with Fresh Air Aviation. While the offseason is an opportunity for Mackinac Island residents to take a break and relax – and celebrate the holidays – you are certainly welcome to join the fun!
For a relaxed visit that gives you time to really get to know Mackinac Island, you may want to consider spending an entire weekend, or even an entire week.
Memorial Day is the beginning of peak tourism season on Mackinac Island. From the end of May through the beginning of September, there's a buzz and excitement as visitors from around the world flock to enjoy the distinctive traits of Mackinac Island.
Mackinac Island is always open! The peak season for visitors runs from late April through the end of October, when ferry companies offer daily service with several trips back and forth. But you can visit Mackinac Island any time of year.
Falling ice closures usually happen in January, February, March, or April, though there have been a few in November and December over the years. They usually follow mixed precipitation or freezing rain events that coat the bridge, or when accumulated snow melts during the day, and freezes as ice at night.
The “Ice Bridge” is a natural pathway to Mackinac Island that forms each winter, as long as the conditions are right. If the wind is calm and the temperatures dip below zero for enough nights in a row, a solid plane of ice forms on the waters of Lake Michigan.
Mackinac Island offers hotels, resorts, B&Bs, condos, cottages and homes with more than 1,600 rooms on over 40 distinctive properties.
One way Mackinac Island comes together during the winter is in the hauling of groceries across the ice bridge. Locals know to expect a slight delay during the winter in the timing of deliveries and if the weather is especially bad, they know groceries may not arrive (which is a rare occurrence).
Your car – Ask someone what they know about Mackinac Island, and you'll likely hear that there's lots of fudge, bicycles, and horses, but no cars. Since 1901, cars have been banned in Mackinac Island State Park. There are numerous accounts of early automobiles causing problems with horses and carriages.
You'll find a variety of Walking Tours that are great ways to experience Mackinac Island. And whenever you get tired, just call Mackinac Island Taxi at 906-847-3323 for a horse-drawn carriage ride to your next destination. Wheelchairs also are available for rent from many Mackinac Island bike vendors.
Can you walk to everything on Mackinac Island?
Each and every extraordinary attraction on Mackinac Island is within walking distance.
The Grand Hotel is not open year round. Lake Huron freezes during the winter, making ferry travel impossible for tourists to visit. The Grand Hotel closes down end of October and reopens in early May.
While all of Mackinac Island, the landform, is located within the corporate limits of the City of Mackinac Island, today 82 percent of the island's landmass is owned by the State of Michigan and managed by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission (MISPC).
One compromise might be to stay one day and night on the island and one day and night in Mackinaw City. A full day and night on the island would give you adequate time to enjoy many of the island sites. You could look for more fun things to do that the kids would enjoy in Macknaw City.
Mackinac Island is a charming place steeped in history. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles take the place of cars because motor vehicles have been banned for more than 100 years. It was the ideal setting for another movie starring Reeve, the time-traveling cult classic, “Somewhere in Time.”