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Chicago, IL

Renaissance Girl is a Chicago lifestyle blog by Laura Notorangelo for every person who loves to explore and find new travel destinations, restaurants, recipes and events.

The Magic of Mackinac Island


Travel and events from a lifestyle Chicago blogger. Renaissance Girl brings you the best places to visit in Chicago.

The Magic of Mackinac Island

Laura Notorangelo

Mackinac, Mackinaw, however you spell it, it’s a wonderful place to be.  (Also, it's prounounced mak-in-aww.) This island sits on the waters of Lake Huron between Canada and Michigan. But even more charming than its seclusion is its refusal to modernize; cars aren’t allowed on the island! So it’s common to see horses and carriages as the modern form of transportation.

When you arrive to Mackinac City, you'll be directed to the boat launch, where different ferries sit and waits for you. I used the White Star Line ferry system. Take that about 30 minutes across Lake Huron and you'll end up at the charming Mackinac Island. It has a history that precedes itself, from war to Hollywood movies. 

When you dock from the ferry, you'll see a bustling downtown and one distinct trait: no cars. Instead, bikes and horse-and-carraiges transport locals and tourists to boutique hotels, summer cottages for the wealthy and year-round homes for the island staff. Mackinac Island is just an hour south of the Canadian border, so I imagine the island has some pretty cold winters! 

Last but not least is the Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel has been in the same family for 85 years and has been in films like Somewhere in Time. At 660 feet long, Grand Hotel's Front Porch is the world's largest, and is visible as you approach the Island from the Lake Huron. 

When you find yourself on Mackinac Island, make sure you:

  1. Explore the fudge shops of downtown
  2. Hitch a ride with a horse and carraige
  3. Rent bikes and ride them around the island circumference
  4. Visit the butterfly house
  5. Kick back at one of the boutique hotels