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Mackinac Island, Michigan itself is the biggest attraction with Victorian architecture; a beautifully preserved historic downtown area and 80 percent of it state park. Mackinac Island’s Main Street is filled with boutiques, art galleries and candy stores - the island is known for their homemade fudge and tourists are affectionately called “fudgies,” because everyone ends up taking home some of this creamy sweet treat. You’ll also want to visit the wonderful Victorian hotels, including the oldest resort hotel on the island, and the largest summer hotel in the world. Even if you aren’t staying overnight, they are worth seeing. Tours are a good way to explore, and since cars are not permitted on the island, sightseeing tours by horse & carriage are available. Be sure to also visit the Carriage Museum at Surrey Hill where you can view the working taxis and specialty carriages of Mackinac Island. “Drive-It-Yourself” carriage tours can also be arranged.

During the Victorian era, Americans loved to ride bicycles and the time-honored tradition continues today on Mackinac Island. Not only are they one of the preferred modes of transportation on the island, but one of the best ways to explore it. You can ride along scenic highway M-185 (the only highway in Michigan where cars are not allowed) or on trails through Mackinac Island’s Boreal Forest, past the East and West End bluff homes, or if you’re up for the challenge, ride up Cadotte Avenues’ Grand Hill. Bikes are easy to rent on Mackinac Island, or you can bring your own. Other outdoor sports to enjoy include golf, tennis, horseback riding, sailing and swimming. Cooling off in the waters of the Straits of Mackinac is great during the dog days of summer, but there are no lifeguards on the island, so caution is advised. The East Side of the island is shallow and the best area for children. Charters are available for fishing excursions and sunset tours. The boardwalk west of the downtown area is also great for viewing the sunsets. Picnic tables are located along the shore road; many local restaurants offer take-out meals for those who wish to dine beside the water.

Historical attractions on Mackinac Island include the Mackinac Island Historic Park, Fort Holmes, Fort Mackinac and the battlefields of the War of 1812. Other interesting sights include Arch Rock, the Mackinac Island Butterfly House, and Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory at Surrey Hill, and the Haunted Theater and Wax Museum. Each season is unique on Mackinac. Springtime fills the air with fragrant lilacs and ushers in a new season after the ice breaks in early April. Autumn is beautiful as the trees change color and October brings hayrides and family fun during Oktoberfest and Halloween. In wintertime, the trails in Mackinac Island State park are kept well-groomed for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, and nothing beats a horse-drawn sleigh ride, snuggling under a heavy blanket as you listen to the clip-clop of the horses and the jingle of sleigh bells.


 

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