Mackinac Island = Macki-not What I Imagined
Recently, Beanie & I set out on a journey to the top of the mitten.. well the lower mitten, the U.P. will have to wait for another trip. At the tippy top of Michigan, you can hop a ferry (or take the bridge) to Mackinac Island. (Pronounced Mack-in-aww)
MACKINAC ISLAND FERRY FIRST-TIMERS
Shepler’s Ferry that leaves from Mackinaw City is dog friendly! Bean did a surprisingly good job. The way there we sat on the top and it was pretty rough, and you occasionally get splashed. The way back we sat in the lower enclosed portion. I would suggest the lower level if your dog is easily scared, or jumpy.
There are no cars on Mackinac Island, instead you will find quite a few horse drawn carriages, and tonsssss of rentable bicycles. In hindsight, I should’ve rented a bike with a basket right away. Me & Bean set out on foot, and had to take a lottt of lay on the grass breaks. Also, I didn’t find this out ’til I was home, but the horse carriages can’t be joined mid-route, or hailed like a taxi. You have to call for one. The entire day I thought they all hated me and didn’t want to help us. So here’s the secret horse taxi number: (906) 847-3323
We started our walking tour at Lucky Bean Coffeehouse. Lucky BEAANNN! I mean come ON. ♥ Anyway, I got a cortado with some agave added, and it was pretty spectacular. After that, we decided to take a long walk down the shore by the Mission Point region of the island. It was beautiful, and the weather was perfect, but the beachy areas are really rocky, and the water is COLD. From there, we made our way to St. Anne’s Catholic Church. Me and Bean decided to try our luck and walk right in. This was Bean’s first ever church visit. He was a perfect little angel (i had to) as usual. When we were inside it didn’t feel super old, but after doing a little research it turns out the church has been around since the 1880’s. So that’s pretty cool.
DOG FRIENDLY DINING
After the church, we went to find some dinner. Let me save you hours of research; there are only 3 restaurants on the island that allow dogs. (Boooooo) • Those places are Round Island Bar & Grill, Fort Mackinac Tea Room and the Bistro on the Greens. I searched some online reviews, and several people raved about how beautiful the scenery was at the Bistro, so we gave that one a go. They were a little slow to seat, and wait on us, but right away they put some water down for Bean without me even asking, so that was awesome. • Throughout the day I realized you can’t be in a hurry on this island. The service at the coffeehouse was slow, the service at the restaurant was slow, and at both places I noticed people getting agitated. So please try and remember this is a vacation destination. No cars, no speed, no hurry. Put your phone down, talk to whoever you’re with, and try to enjoy the view.
BACK TO MACKINAW CITY..
We were losing daylight, so we walked around a little more, then hopped the last ferry back to the mainland. Let me save you some MORE research time; not ONE single hotel/inn/bed & breakfast on Mackinac Island allows doggies. (sad face) • I looked up every single one. Most seem quite old, and are filled with antiques, so I guess I get it. Evennnnthough I guarantee my dog is more well-behaved than 90% of children, and I’m sure they’re allowed in these places, but whatever.
UPDATE: An awesome Paws Buzz Go reader left us a comment, and let us know that there are at least 2 places on the island that allow dogs! Susan writes:
"There are indeed Pet Friendly spots to stay on Mackinac Island. Especially Mission Point (Straits Lodge) and it has been for years. We are here on our third trip with our Golden at Mission Point now. I believe Harbor Suites downtown is also. I read that Mustang Lounge also allows dogs at outside tables."
There is a giant list of hotels on the Mackinac Island website, and none of those listed allowed dogs when I did my research. It appears there must be other lodging on the island that isn’t sponsored by Mackinac Island, or maybe chooses not to advertise with Mackinac Island’s official site, so I definitely appreciate this reader comment. And I stand corrected! Thank you, Susan! ♥
Mission Point – Straits Lodge • $75 pet fee per stay
Harbor Suites • $75 pet fee per stay
So we stayed at the Super 8 Bridgeview of Mackinaw City. The entire place looks like a giant log cabin lodge type thing. It’s RIGHT across the street from the beach, and has a crazy view of the Mackinac Bridge. The online reviews of the hotel are nottttt that great, but honestly I didn’t think it was that bad. Yeah it’s rustic, and the furniture is kinda silly, but it was fun and added to the up north feel. I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $109 a night, parking is free, and there’s a $25 pet fee. The room had a tv, little table, and mini-fridge. It was maaaaybe a little musty because it’s RIGHT on the water, but it was no biggie. Several reviews said it wasn’t clean, or had bugs in the corners of the rooms, but I’m guessing this was from going in and out of their room because I didn’t see a thing. I would definitely stay there again.
SO HERE’S THE DEAL…
I thought Mackinac Island was going to be more… unpolished? I thought some places would look older.. Haunted? Weathered? But everything was perfect. Perfect landscaping, perfect shops, perfect paint jobs on perfect houses. It’s like a floating country club. Most people had on almost business casual clothing, and I spent most of the day feeling like I was at a wedding I wasn’t invited to. ·_· It was just a little too Truman Show for my taste. ◊
And if you’re planning a beach day, I suggest not going on Mackinac Island. As I mentioned, the beaches on the island were really rocky, and more of shores than beaches. The beach in Mackinaw City was beautiful and sandy, and you can check out the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.
All in all it was a nice trip. It’s a strange place, and kind of a Michigan travel rite of passage. So board the ferry, put on your top hat and monocle, and prepare to get a little fancy.
COULDN’T INSTAGRAM FAST ENOUGH AWARD ♥