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Are We There Yet – Car-free Fun on Mackinac Island, Michigan

Summer is family time on Mackinac Island in Michigan, and has been since Ford invented the Model T.  Then the autos were promptly banned from the island. And still are.

That’s right, Mackinac Island, home to the historic Grand Hotel and independently-owned businesses, is car-free. To get there, leave your car at Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and take the 15-minute ferry ride to the island.  Simply check your luggage with Shepler’s Ferry and staff transport it from the boat to the hotel.

Camping is not an option, but hotels, B&Bs and resorts are. Mission Point Resort is a summer magnet for families thanks to a dog-friendly policy, a kids’ activity room, on-site bike rentals, movie nights, several restaurants including a morning breakfast buffet, and a huge front lawn facing the Straits of Mackinac.

The best part: racing around without looking both ways won’t mean near misses with cars. However, watch for horses. The horse-drawn carriage is the second favourite transportation option. The first? Bicycles.

Bikes are everywhere, and you can rent them anywhere. Ride to the island’s favourite family-friendly site: Fort Mackinac inside the State Park. Built in 1780, the fort a living history museum filled with costumed interpreters, daily cannon firings, bayonet demonstrations and regular programming all summer. Fourteen historic structures tell the story of 115 years of military training and battles, medical treatment and family life within the fort. And you can touch stuff in the children’s exhibition.

If traffic-free, clean air, outdoor fun isn’t incentive enough, the island’s signature food is fudge. That’s right, Mackinac fudge. It’s a state staple. www.mackinacisland.org

Sherri Telenko is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern Ontario. Sign up for travel ideas at www.dogtrotting.net or follow her on twitter @SherriTelenko.


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