How to Visit Mackinac Island by Ferry

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Mackinac Island, which is nestled between the lower and upper peninsulas in Michigan, has a worldwide reputation for its charm and beauty. It's such an old-world kind of place that no cars are allowed on the island. The 250 citizens and their guests have to get around on foot, by bike or horse-drawn carriages. There are no bridges either, so the only way to get there is by place or ferry. Visitors need to check the websites of the ferry companies for updated schedules and fares.

As of 2011, three ferry companies service the island. The trip takes 15 minutes. The cost was $22 for a round-trip ticket at the dock or $19 in advance online. Tickets cost $11 for children between 5 and 12, or $10 online. There is no charge for children 5 and under. Since no cars are on the island, some people bring their own bikes. The ferries charge $8 to transport a bike.

The Arnold Ferry Line has catamarans that depart from 303 South State Street in St. Ignace, Michigan, and 801 South Huron Avenue. The catamaran has two decks and can hold up to 400 people. It also features pleasure cruises, including a Vesper cruise.

Shepler's Ferry takes 16 minutes to go from its dock at 601 State Street in St. Ignace to its dock at 556 East Central Avenue in Mackinaw City. It also has a shuttle service, and a special "Mighty Mac" cruise in the summer.

The Star Line Ferry claims to have the only "hydro jets" on the Great Lakes. The jets leave a 35-foot spray of water behind the ferries. The St. Ignace dock is at 587 North State Street. The Mackinaw City dock is at 711 South Huron. Star Line also has special cruises in the summer for those who want to spend more time on the ferries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider visiting during the Lilac Festival in June. The island is full of people during this time, but you can see 100-year-old lilac trees in full bloom.

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