Mackinac Island: The Jewel of Michigan

Mackinac Island has been a fur trading post, Revolutionary War site, Victorian resort destination and much more. Join us as we explore the history of this small island with a big story.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 1575RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Explore the treasures of Mackinac Island as you delve into the island's glorious history, geology, natural beauty, architecture and modern life. Discover old-world traditions as you learn about the island's early economic and military importance as well as its development as a Victorian resort. Customs and cultures will come alive through lectures and field trips with local residents and area experts. A field trip to Fort Mackinac, a carriage ride around the island and afternoon tea at the historic Grand Hotel will enhance your visit.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking 1–2 miles per day. Paved and unpaved roads, some hilly terrain, stairs.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover the valuable roles horses play on the island during a narrated carriage ride.
  • On a walk with a naturalist, explore the island's beautiful natural spaces up close, then juxtapose your natural encounter with afternoon tea amid the elegance of the historic Grand Hotel.
  • Learn why Mackinac’s Victorian homes are an important part of island history on a field trip with the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks.

General Notes

Transportation by foot, horse-drawn carriage, bike.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Steve Brisson
Steve Brisson is the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks. A Michigan native, he completed his graduate internship at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. Steve previously worked as a curator for the State Historical Society of Wisconsin before joining Mackinac State Historic Parks in 1996. He has written several articles and books on Mackinac Island's history. He works out of the Mackinac State Historic Parks Mackinaw City office in the winter and the Mackinac Island office at Fort Mackinac in the summer.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Tom Miles
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Jo Blunt
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Steve Brisson
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Jeff Dykehouse
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Patricia Martin
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Legend of Mackinac Island
by Kathy-jo Wargin
Beautifully illustrated story incorporating Indian legends of Mackinac Island. Retells the story of the great turtle Makinauk that enlists the aid of other animals to help create the special place known as Mackinac Island, and their discovery of new lands and long-lasting friendship. llustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.
Mackinac Island (Images of America Series)
by Tom North
From historical richness to unparalleled natural beauty, Michigan's Mackinac Island is the crown jewel of the Great Lakes, unique in America. Native American visitors preceded French explorers and missionaries of the 17th century. Forts were established and battles fought between American and British soldiers. Commerce, including fur trading and fishing, later surpassed military importance, in turn yielding to the tourism industry that has dominated the past 150 years. Accessible by water, "ice bridge," or air, Mackinac Island encompasses a state park, harbor, city, and Victorian hotels and homes. A permanent automobile ban helps preserve the island's historic character, leaving land movement to foot, bicycle, and horse-drawn carriage. This book uses historical photographs to depict Mackinac Island heritage and culture. Rare images capture bygone days and lifestyles on this island where 19th century charm surprises and intrigues even today.
Mackinac Island Adventures
by Lynda Hepker and Steven Hepker
An introduction to island culture and adventures on beautiful Mackinac Island. Written by year round residents of the island, this booklet offers information that you should know before traveling to Mackinac Island. Plus, a little history, some fun facts, things to see and do off the beaten path, and a little humor about how residents live on the island through the fours seasons of Michigan.
Mackinac Island: Three Hundred and Fifty Years of History
by Robert E. Benjamin
This guide to the history of Mackinac Island will increase any visitor's enjoyment of this beautiful and historic island. This chronological account of the significant events in the island's history is illustrated by fascinating photos both current and historical.
Fudge: Mackinac's Sweet Souvenir
by Phil Porter
Mackinac Island and fudge. Both symbolize indulgence, fantasy and escape. But there's more to fudge than sugar, butter, chocolate and cream. In this book, historian Phil Porter stirs up the past to find the hard work and sometimes bitter controversy behind this sweet souvenir. In his hunger for truth and historical accuracy, Porter dug deep into the kitchens and cupboards of the fudge culture. No appetite for history, no taste for sweet truth will be satisfied without reading Fudge: Mackinac's Sweet Souvenir.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback