Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places to visit in Northern Michigan. This picturesque island is truly a gem of the Midwest, offering a unique experience that allows you to step back in time.
Mackinac Island is an extremely popular destination to visit in the summer but there are some advantages to visiting the island in the fall.
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Where is Mackinac Island Located?
Mackinac Island is located in Northern Michigan between the Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan in Lake Huron near the Straits of Mackinac.
How Do You Get To Mackinac Island?
Your journey to Mackinac Island starts begins by a private boat or you can take a 15-minute ferry ride from Shepler’s departing from Mackinac City or St. Ignace.
Keep in mind that there are no vehicles allowed on the 8-mile island, which means that your transportation is either walking, riding a horse-drawn carriage, or biking.
You can even bring your own bike on the ferry or rent one on the island.
1. There are Fewer Crowds at Mackinac Island in the Fall
During the summer months, Mackinac Island is known as one of the best summer travel destinations in Michigan.
The locals have nicknamed the tourists who visit the island as “fudgies.”
You’ll find lots of fudge shops and tourists on the island because they love to sample all of the fudge.
If you prefer to explore places with fewer tourists concentrated in one area, consider visiting Mackinac Island in the fall in late September/ early October, after the kids have already returned to school.
The contrast between the number of people on the island during peak season in the summer and later in the season during fall foliage is remarkable.
You can have a great time on the island while enjoying cooler temperatures.
If you visit at the end of October you can participate in Mackinac Island’s Halloween Weekend with trick-or-treating and Halloween costume parties for adults.
Popular Attractions on Mackinac Island in the Fall
- Fort Mackinac – 7127 Huron Rd, Mackinac Island, MI – The fort that was founded during the American Revolution and is steeped in history
- Grand Hotel – 286 Grand Ave, Mackinac Island, MI – A historic hotel known for the world’s longest porch, and famous for being a filming location for the Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour film “Somewhere in Time.”
- The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World – 6750 McGulpin St, Mackinac Island, MI- The 3rd oldest live butterfly exhibit in the United States
- Arch Rock – 6131 Arch Rock Rd, Mackinac Island, MI – A natural bridge that’s 140 feet above the water on Lake Huron
- Mackinac Island Carriage Tours – 7396 Market St, Mackinac Island, MI – Offers public sightseeing Horse-drawn carriage tours or a private carriage tour
- Fort Holmes – 2234 Fort Holmes Rd, Mackinac Island, MI – Fort that was originally built as Fort George in 1812 by the British and later renamed Fort Holmes by the Americans.
- Marquette Park – 7200 Huron St, Mackinac Island, MI – A landscaped park within Mackinac Island State Park located near Fort Mackinac, east of downtown Mackinac Island
2. Take Advantage of Lower Prices For Lodging on Mackinac Island in the Fall
You’ll pay a premium anytime you visit a popular destination during peak season. In the fall you can take advantage of special deals on lodging.
For better rates, options, and availability to choose from, consider booking your stay on Mackinac Island during the fall.
You can save on your stay at Mackinac Island by comparing and booking on the interactive map above.
Mission Point Resort – is a great dog-friendly option if you like being a little farther from downtown.
Hotel Iroquois – is a beautiful waterfront hotel on Main Street.
3. Enjoy Great Weather and Beautiful Colors on Mackinac Island in the Fall
I LOVE the weather in the summer but I’ve found the weather during visits to the island to be really enjoyable in the fall.
The weather remains really beautiful for you to witness the vibrant fall colors on the island during a fall trip.
During this time of year, you can still enjoy the crisp Great Lakes air while biking and hiking around the island during the day with views of gorgeous blue water along the way. On crisp evenings, you can snuggle up by a fire.
Over 80% of Mackinac Island is Mackinac Island State Park property which gives tourists lots of opportunities to connect with nature and history of the area.
Mackinac Island State Park Island is Michigan’s first state park and was established in 1895. The park has over 70.5 miles of trails and roads, paved and unpaved to explore.
For scenic bike rides or walks, take Lake Shore Boulevard, an 8.2-mile paved road that wraps around Mackinac Island.
When are the leaves at peak color on Mackinac Island?
If you’re planning a fall color tour during the fall season, the color change for the leaves starts toward the end of September and peaks during the first few weeks in October.
4. End of Season Sales on Mackinac Island in the Fall
The special end-of-season pricing is another advantage of visiting the island later in the season.
Stores are getting rid of their inventory as their tourist season winds down and you can find fantastic deals on apparel and special offers on souvenirs and other merchandise.
The island doesn’t close during the winter but there are only a few restaurants and businesses that stay open year-round for the 500 residents.
Of course, no visit to Mackinac Island is complete without stopping for some of the world-famous Mackinac Island fudge.
Fun fact: 10,000 pounds of fudge are made on Mackinac Island each day!
There are multiple fudge shops on the island in the downtown area on Main Street! Be on the lookout for pumpkin fudge and other creative varieties.
Mackinac Island in the fall is a wonderful getaway whether you’re into fail foilage, history, or just want to experience the island with fewer crowds.