We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August

Coastal South...
Level Contributor
330 posts
120 reviews
100 helpful votes
plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

We would love to do a short road trip to Mackinac Island.. We've not been to Michigan (except for one night work trips etc), but with family all in Canton, OH, I don't feel like it is a state we can't easily do again so no need to do a huge trip. I'd appreciate thoughts on hotels and plans. What I decided or am thinking about is based on forum posts here.

Drive from Canton, OH to St. Ignace and stay at Best Western Harbour Point Lakefront Hotel

Catch the Shepherd's ferry the next morning (read it is the best buy.. and just honestly want the easiest one to figure out-- their website made it sound easy--and I am a worrier.) It looks relaxing--fire pit, pool, etc. Neither must haves but it looks nice.

Stay on the island three nights... No big plans... tour, carriage ride, see the arch rock, get Sadie's ice cream and fudge, see a place with no cars. ;-) My son is super laidback and can be happy doing almost nothing.... Maybe I should only stay two?

I've looked at a ton of hotels and focused on Mission Point, Haan's B and B, Inn at Mackinac, and Island House Hotel ---prices for the days we want look decent, you can go back to your room during the day (maybe not Mission Point though--which makes it less desirable to me) and they offer at least Continental breakfast (which sounds important due to breakfast crowds)

Hope to grab the ferry the morning after our third night and head back home part way to Murrells Inlet, SC.

Should I be doing only two nights on the island and two at our original hotel? Should I be staying in a different city-- St. Ignace looks like a great location to drive to the parking lot the next day? Thoughts on ideas for hotels on the island? I am picturing Mackinaw City bumper to bumper cars on the roads then, but it is when we can go.

Thanks. I am a little of an overplanner, so I am already focused on details and wanting to book rooms ASAP.

Edited: April 26, 2021, 12:26 am
111 replies to this topic
chicago
Level Contributor
12,170 posts
27 reviews
40 helpful votes
1. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

Mackinaw City offers way more than St. Ignace. My daughter loves The Beach House but any hotel will work for 1 night.

We take Starline because they offer free overnight parking. Just as easy as Shelpers.

Take a morning ferry that goes under the bridge.

We like The Murray downtown. It has a huge sundeck and large hottub. Chippewa also has a deck and hot tub. Definitely more of a party scene there than Murray if that matters. Kids also swim at Chippewa.

My daughter loves foot golf, mini golf, horseback riding, geocaching, biking, hiking and swimming. Plenty to do for 3 nights. We usually stay 7-10 nights.

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
Level Contributor
6,205 posts
275 reviews
307 helpful votes
2. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

The views of the Straits are better going from the Mackinaw City side than they are going from St. Ignace. MC is a smaller, easily walk able community, where St. Ignace is strung along the water front for a long distance. I bet your son would like being in one of the motels near Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse (such as the Riviera). He will have a ball along the shore near the foot of the Bridge.

Had me lost with "Shepherd's ferry," but I finally figured out it was probably a spell checker doing "Shepler's." The cost is about the same on either one. Cheaper when bought online than in person. Shepler's a good corporate citizen and I think they do better customer service.

Mission Point's location isn't handy for a quick run back to the room, but it isn't so far that you couldn't go back during the day if you wish. It just takes another 10-15 minutes. If you are tired of walking, take the shuttle carriage for $6.50 per person one way.

The Island is a great place for someone who can be happy doing almost nothing because there are wonderful places to do nothing, such as Marquette Park, the Adirondack chairs on the Mission Point Great Lawn, deck on the back of the library, etc.

Edited: April 26, 2021, 4:26 am
Fenton, Missouri
Level Contributor
4,559 posts
117 reviews
42 helpful votes
3. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

We stayed at Mission Point last year with our 18 y/o and her best friend (18) and it was great. It wasn't a terrible walk. We stayed at the Straits Lodge so it's a bit closer to town but up a hill. We stay at least 4-5 nights every time we go. I think you'll find way more to do than you think.

We stay in Mackinaw City for the night before and after. We try to stay in a place where we can just walk to town for dinner instead of having to drive. Get to our place and the car stays put til we head to the island.

I prefer Shepler's over Starline as well. Just feel like the service is a bit better and you get to go under the bridge with an earlier morning ferry.

3 nights is really only 2 full days.

Coastal South...
Level Contributor
330 posts
120 reviews
100 helpful votes
4. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

The Murray was full during the days I wanted. That’s why it wasn’t on my list. Thanks. I’ll look at Mackinaw City.

Coastal South...
Level Contributor
330 posts
120 reviews
100 helpful votes
5. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

Thank you! Mission Point was my first choice initially but then it sounded very far away. Ten minute walk doesn’t sound bad, and I saw the breakfast. My son is a large child and can eat, so that would be a great way to fill him up in the morning.

Holland, Michigan
Level Contributor
67 posts
16 reviews
8 helpful votes
6. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

You got some good advice here. Another vote for Shepler’s, and go under Mighty Mac on the way there. We usually stay at Mission Point as well, mostly because it’s quieter, very kid friendly and has suites, but you may prefer to stay closer to town. If you’re able, I’d stay the 3 nights, there’s no other place like Mackinac Island. Best Western in St. Ignace is great, that’s where we prefer to spend the night before heading to the island. St. Ignace is a quiet town, so if you wanted to sightsee and actually do something, Mackinaw City would suit you better.

Your son is going to have the best time regardless of where you stay!

Coastal South...
Level Contributor
330 posts
120 reviews
100 helpful votes
7. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

Thanks for lots of great advice from both of you. I’m now going to look at Mackinaw City. I honestly had no idea but saw some people talking negatively about MC.

Sheplers said free overnight parking, but I’ll check. They did mention going under the bridge on some of the times, and I’ll definitely get tickets in advance.

I could definitely consider adding on a day on the island. I again read where someone was bored so I wondered, but my son spent most of Key West reading books. If he can write and read, he’ll love it. I’m all about drinking coffee and relaxing.

chicago
Level Contributor
12,170 posts
27 reviews
40 helpful votes
8. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

Definitely nothing negative about Mackinaw City.

Shelpers no longer offers free overnight parking. That's why we stopped using them. They prefer to cater to day trippers.

Starline serves the island year round and is just as good imo. Their dock is also closer to Mission Point, The Murray and Chippewa.

Fenton, Missouri
Level Contributor
4,559 posts
117 reviews
42 helpful votes
9. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

I think your son will love Mackinac. Staying on the island after the day trippers are gone is the best! We're heading back next May (we went twice in 2020!) We've been 4 times in 3 years...so yeah, we love it. We spent a lot of time at Biddle Point and watching the kites flying. A few mornings we walked to town and had breakfast at The Chuckwagon. AMAZING breakfast. We'd get it to go and walk to Biddle Point and eat it at one of the picnic tables there.

Mission Point rents bikes too. It's a quick ride from MP to town on a bike...and relatively flat. They have a game room as well. The girls enjoyed the pool and looking for sea glass at the shore around Mission Point. The fort is interesting and they do demonstrations all day long. Up in the middle of the island is the barn where they have buggies, and carriages and a forge where they make knives and the like. He might find that interesting. There's the hall of mirrors and the "haunted" house. You can rent your own carriage and take your horse around a preplanned path. There's just so much to do!

Coastal South...
Level Contributor
330 posts
120 reviews
100 helpful votes
10. Re: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Save

Great info on Starline. Good to know!

Reply to: plans for myself and 11 year old late July/early August
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Mackinac Island
© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Philippines. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.