Mackinac Island on the Cheap: A Budget Guide
Even with a strict budget you can explore the best of Mackinac Island’s resort charms.
Mackinac Island is both a resort area and an island, dividing the peninsulas into upper and lower sections. In the late 19th century the city emerged as a favorite summer colony and tourist attraction. The whole island has been considered a national Historical Landmark, after undergoing restoration and historical preservation. Surveyed from a boat ride, the tree-blanketed rough limestone shore of Mackinac Island seems to appear from the swirling waters. Anyone’s first look of the island will surely be an unforgettable sight. As you approach Mackinac Island’s harbor, massive Victorian houses thrust into view, dappling the area’s hill sides with hues of pastel and white. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by rows of buggies and horses—a drawback to the region’s past. The island is worth visiting, as you’ll have the chance to cycle along the hilly back roads or experience a ferry ride just to see the town. Underneath all its ridges is an area steeped in history. It was once designated as the United States’ second national park, and two decades later it became part of Michigan. There are plenty of areas for budget-conscious travelers to experience. Tourists can cycle up or hike the whitewashed stone Fort Mackinac to get a feel of the city’s history. Admission may be steep at $8 per person, but its ramparts offer an incredible view of the whole island.
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Mackinac Island is also famous for its variety of cultural events, architectural styles, grand buildings, and preserved parks. To reach Mackinac Island, tourists should contact the Arnold Transit, which offers friendly rates. Bikes are available for rent at $8, while ferry rides may cost as much as $25. Shepler’s ferry offers $23 which allows guests to enter the city in style. Both transits offer high-speed catamaran crossings, and you won’t need to have reservations done beforehand.
Mackinac Island’s least costly hotel is Murray Hotel, which offers a large continental breakfast buffet. There are also plenty of other places to eat, located side by side with unpretentious bed and breakfasts. Places to eat include Horn’s Gaslight Bar, which features nightly live music, and the Pink Pony Bar & Grill, which features great harbor views and a lively atmosphere. Several mid-priced hotels can be found along the shore, among them there’s Huron Avenue’s Best Western Dockside Waterfront. Cheaper lodging options are available at the Clarion Hotel Beachfront. Apart from the legendary Grand Hotel and the places that have been recommended, the island is home to forty other condos, bed and breakfasts, apartments, and historic inns. The Village Inn features excellent dishes in a friendly atmosphere. Experience Michigan’s beautiful and historic Upper Peninsula by trying the local cuisine. Before leaving town, try to buy one pack of fudge, Mackinac’s famed delicacy. Ryba’s, Murray Hotel, Murdick’s, May’s, and Joanna’s all offer traditional confections.