For most, memories of Michigan’s crown jewel, Mackinac Island, include warm sunny days strolling along Main Street, the clip clop of horses taking visitors from around the world to the various attractions on the island. But Mackinac Island is more than summer, it truly is a year ‘round destination.
The more adventurous who visit during the winter find a completely different Mackinac Island to experience. Unlike spring, summer or fall, the holiday and winter seasons offer the perfect getaway for those who want a slower paced, tranquil place to enjoy the company of friends, family and the great outdoors.
Keeping in mind that Mackinac Island is 83% State Park land, you can only imagine how beautiful the cross country skiing and the snowmobiling are. The well-marked and groomed trails will lead you through dense forest to incredible vistas across the Straights of Mackinac. Cross country skis can be rented on the Island. You will need to provide your own snowmobile and they can come with you on the ferry for an additional fee. You can also drive your snowmobile over from St. Ignace on the ice bridge during seasons when the bridge forms.
From holiday shopping to celebrations, Mackinac Island hosts a variety of events during the winter months. Mackinac Island’s official holiday season kicks off with the town’s Christmas Bazaar, November 30 to December 3, 2012. The celebration features sales of local crafts.
Ring in the New Year on Mackinac when a few additional hotels and restaurants open to allow more guests to celebrate with great parties, outdoor splendor and The Great Turtle Drop. You won’t want to miss the bagpiper’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne as the turtle drops the downtown flagpole with our own quieter rendition of New York City’s celebration.
The fun extends into the winter season with celebrations on Martin Luther King weekend, the Mackinac Island Winter Festival, Great Turtle Chili Cook Off, President’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day festivities. And, what a beautiful and romantic getaway to surprise someone for Valentine’s Day.
Try something new to get to Mackinac Island this winter, fly onto the Island with Great Lakes Air. For approximately the same price, take this breathtaking flight across to Mackinac Island. Note: there is a two-fare minimum on the flight. In addition, the Arnold Line Ferry continues to run until the ice forms on the Straits of Mackinac, from St. Ignace. (Be sure to check the schedule for departure times.)
From B&B to cottages, historic inns and resorts, Mackinac Island offers a variety of accommodations. Book a room at a quiet B&B at the Cottage Inn B&B on Market Street, or the 1850’s Bogan Lane Inn just off Huron Street. Also downtown, check out Harbor Place Studio Suites on Main Street or Pontiac Lodge in the heart of downtown. Looking for a condo, try the Park Place Suites located downtown, or for a secluded wooded resort condo, look to Sunset Condos. Don’t forget to look for New Year’s Eve packages and deals at the Straits Lodge at Mission Point Resort.
Start a new holiday or winter tradition with family and friends and plan to getaway to Mackinac Island. Schedules and a listing of businesses that stay open year round can be found at mackinacisland.org.