When it comes to Michigan’s islands, the legendary Mackinac is the first to leap to the tips of people’s tongues. With a rich history as THE tourist destination of northern Michigan, this hardly comes as a surprise, but why such popularity? What makes Mackinac so epic?
Aside from obvious reasons, the shoreline, the natural beauty found across most of the Mitten State, or the simple, isolated pleasure of being on an island, Mackinac boasts a myriad of qualities to separate it from other tourist destinations. For one, all travel is done by foot, bicycle, or horse and carriage. You won’t find any gas-guzzlers here, and because of it, the people somehow seem more connected, things move at an easier pace. There is also fudge. Lots of fudge.
Mackinac is perhaps best experienced in summer, when the sun is shining and the boats are at full sail. One of the most popular summer events is the Mackinac Island 2012 Lilac Festival, ten full days of events, parades, and community activities amidst the blossoming Lilac trees. First held in 1949, the Lilac Festival has become a rich part of the Mackinac tradition. The 2012 festival will be held June 8-17.
For nautical aficionados, the Chicago Yacht Club’s annual Race to Mackinac is a much anticipated event, and the oldest fresh water yacht race in the world. This year’s 333 mile race starts July 21st, with sailors from around the Midwest (and beyond) vying for glory in the 104th edition of the event. Over the course of the summer, Mackinac Island is home to several other sailing events, including the Port Huron to Mackinac race, the Round the Island Race, and the Horns Bar Labor Day Regatta.
Even outside of these annual happenings, Mackinac Island is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. There is surely no shortage of lovely destinations for a bike ride or hike, beautiful hotels inlcluding the Grand Hotel, Iroquois, and Bay View. Mission Pointe resort is located on the edge of town with waterfront dining and a miniature grass golf course. Mission Point has happy out priced drinks every time a freighter navigates in front of the Mackinac Island Harbor. Mackinac is luxurious relaxation, and an entire community steeped in Victorian history and architecture. No matter the age, everyone can find something fun to do on the island, from golf courses to live music, historical tours to casual strolls through lush wildflowers, Mackinac has something for just about everyone.