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History of Mackinac Island


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Set sail to Mackinac Island, a land that has preserved its Victorian image throughout the changing times and experience America’s only all natural theme park during your stay at Mackinac Island. 

The appeal of the romantic Mackinac Island dates back to ancient Indian legends and 19th century writers who recorded the island’s charm. However, it was the Victorian’s who sailed to the island to enjoy the cool, summer climate that really made Mackinac the favored resort it is today.


Mackinac Island Today

Victorian charm is reflected in Mackinac to this day. From its limited transportation of horses, buggies and bicycles to the restricted amount of residents that live on the island, all measures are taken to preserve the nature and tranquility of Mackinac Island. 


What to Expect on Mackinac Island

Embrace the 18th century lifestyle during your time on Mackinac Island. You’ll get to see idyllic sights, visit renowned landmarks and explore the many wonders of the island for yourself.


History of the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours was officially established in 1948 and is known today as the leading horse and buggy livery in the world.  Famously known for petitioning the village of Mackinac to band automobiles claiming, “horseless carriages startled their horses”, the establishment has played a significant role in preserving Mackinac’s nature.


Mackinac Island Carriage Tour

As you step off the ferry’s dock you will be greeted by a buggy driver who will take you on one of the famous Mackinac Island Carriage Tours. See the picturesque sights of the island and visit major tourist draws during your carriage ride through Mackinac.


Surrey Hills Museum

One of the first stops on your carriage tour is Surrey Hills Museum. From the historic carriages to the antique fire department pumper, you can admire the one-of-a-kind artifacts throughout the museum.


Arch Rock

Take a break at Arch Rock. Here you can admire the remarkable natural limestone formation that has stood the test of time.


Fort Mackinac Avenue of Flags

Open from May to October, Fort Mackinac Avenue of Flags is an American Revolutionary Era fort that has been preserved and specially designed for visitors to experience the sights and sounds of the American Revolution.


Don’t Miss the Grand Hotel

The original architecture and relaxing atmosphere of the Grand Hotel is not to be missed. While the Grand Hotel is an optional part of your Mackinac carriage tour, it has played a significant role in the island’s history and is one of the many highlights of Mackinac. Let your driver take you to the entrance of the Grand Hotel and explore the remarkable grounds of the hotel for a fee. You can indulge in a number of delicious lunch options too.


Downtown Mackinac

Your Mackinac carriage tour will come to an end in downtown Mackinac where you’ll be free to enjoy a relaxing lunch and explore the many unique shops and attractions of the island. If you would like any help in planning your afternoon, your tour guide will be there to assist you.


Dining in Mackinac

Relax with a glass of wine in hand at one of Mackinac’s Cafés, or enjoy fine cuisine, Mackinac offers an abundance of dining options with something that will satisfy every palette.


Woods Restaurant

Tucked away in wooded Mackinac, Woods Restaurant’s Bavarian style provides a casual dining atmosphere for its guests. Delight in a varied menu and stay for drinks and a game of bowling after your meal. Woods Restaurant is home to the oldest operating duckpin bowling alley in America.



Started by Chef Keith Schokling, you can indulge in fine Italian dinning at Chianti. From Sicilian meatballs to thin crust flatbreads from Naples, Chianti brings diverse foods of Italy to the people of Mackinac at an affordable price.


Seabiscuit Café

Seabiscuit Café is a themed restaurant based on the true story of Seabiscuit, the champion thoroughbred racehorse. Delight in a varied cuisine and the Café’s full bar that allows you to enjoy good food and company in a relaxing atmosphere.


Mustang Lounge

The Mustang Lounge not only offers good food, but an enjoyable night scene. A favorite spot among locals, make new friends and try out the Mustang Lounge’s famous brews, liquors and wines.


Shopping in Mackinac

Mackinac offers unique shops with one-of-a-kind items you can’t find anywhere else. Discover your style at one of the island’s clothing boutiques, find unique art work made by Mackinac locals and sample the island’s famous fudge at one of Mackinac’s traditional sweet shops.


Art and Literature

Marvel in the Island Bookstore where you can get the latest Mackinac and Michigan releases, or in the local artwork of Marta Olson, Mary Lou Peters and Marlee, found in local galleries.


Clothing Shops

From Nephew’s of Mackinac helping men look their best on their big day to Mackinac Outfitter and Marine Supply offering a selection of clothing, footwear, accessories and more, there are many one-of-a-kind shops that carry clothing and accessories you won’t find anywhere else.


Traditional Sweet Shops

The inviting smell of Mackinac fudge alone is enough to make your mouth water. Whether you choose Murdick’s Fudge Kitchen, Kilwin’s Chocolate and Fudge, Ryba’s Fudge, or one of the other sweet shops on the island, the famous family fudge and chocolate recipes on Mackinac Island have been passed down through generations and enjoyed by locals and visitors for just as long.


Travel Tips

-Electric carts for the handicapped are available to rent on Mackinac Island. Make sure you let your reservations agent know ahead of time if you or someone in your party is handicapped, so that they can make sure to accommodate your group in the most convenient and comfortable setting.

-While you will see the highlights of Mackinac during your Mackinac Island Carriage Tour, your afternoon in Mackinac will allow you the freedom to further explore the sights on the island that interest you most.