Horses, Bikes & Ferries – Mackinac Island


Most people get to Mackinac Island on one of the ferries that will scoot folks across the Straits quickly and safely. Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry, Shepler’s Ferry and Star Line Ferry are available services. It’s possible to get there by air as well from Pellston Airport, about a 15-minute drive from the island, or from Great Lakes Air in St. Ignace.

Since cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island, once they arrive, visitors will need to seek other means of getting around, but they won’t have to look far. Renting a bicycle is one of the most popular ways to get around the island, which has more than 70 miles of bike paths and paved trails to explore. Visitors can ride at their own pace, stopping to browse shops or eat lunch at one of the island’s many restaurants.

A variety of bike rental companies are ready to provide the right bike for you and your family, from single-speeds, three-speeds, five-speeds and ten-speeds, to mountain bikes, fat-tire bikes, kids bikes, beach cruisers, burley carts, tagalongs and child carriers. There are some amazing mountain biking trails, too, for those seeking a challenging workout. If you’d rather bring your own bike to the island, the ferry lines will transport them for an additional fee. Keep in mind that bikes with training wheels are not allowed. If you choose to bike, look for designated areas to park and be extra cautious of pedestrians and horses.

Many enjoy riding horses on the island or taking horse-drawn carriage tours. Mackinac Island Carriage tours are fun and informative, giving visitors a closer look at interesting sites around the island like Arch Rock and Surrey Hills Museum. The tours are a relaxing way to learn details about the island’s history. Horse-drawn taxis are also readily available to transport visitors where they need to go, and pick-ups are scheduled by their dispatch service.

Introductory horseback riding and basic carriage driving lessons are also offered at Mackinac Island Community Equestrian Center. The Center is located on the historic Early/Dousman farm, which dates back to the late 1700s, and is funded through the non-profit Mackinac Horsemen’s Association. Cindy’s Riding Stable offers guided and unguided trail-riding opportunities for horse lovers, and at Jack’s Livery Stable, visitors can drive their own buggies for a leisurely and scenic trip following some buggy-driving instructions from an experienced horseman.

Walking is also a great way to get some exercise while visiting the interesting shops, museums and the Fort on Mackinac Island. If you plan a trip there this summer, consider arranging tours by foot, bike and horses just for the fun of it. Have a safe trip!


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