30 Best Things on Mackinac Island (Fudge, Hotel, More!)

More than 12,000 people voted in MyNorth’s 2020 Red Hot Best competition, and if you were one of them, you saw we’ve changed it up. After more than a decade of sharing the winners in each category for Northern Michigan as a whole, we decided to dig into 11 different regions and discover the best in each unique area. So, without further ado, here are voters’ picks for best businesses, people and places on Mackinac Island.

Want to see the winners from other regions, too? Click here for Above the Bridge, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Gaylord & Grayling, Leelanau, Ludington, Manistee & Benzie, Marquette, Petoskey & Harbor and Traverse City.

Activity for the Whole Family

1. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours
See the best of the island in the most authentic way possible—by horse-drawn carriage. Bonus: The guides are true experts on all things Mackinac.

2. Fort Mackinac

3. Original Butterfly House and Insect World

Attraction

1. Fort Mackinac
You’ve probably heard the booming cannon, but did you know you can fire the cannon? Now that’s an unforgettable experience.

2. Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory

3. Grand Hotel Horse Stable/Carriage Museum

Bar to Hear Live Music

1. Pink Pony
Grab a front-row seat at the bar and enjoy the show. The stage at this iconic island bar is rocking all summer long.

2. Horn’s Gaslight Bar

3. Cupola Bar, Grand Hotel

Bike Rental Shop

1. Mackinac Wheels
Say hey to sweet Chloe, the shop dog, before you take off on a tandem.

2. Island House Bike Rentals

3. Mackinac Island Bike Shop

Bloody Mary (Place)

1. Pink Pony
The spicy Bloody Mary mix is homemade—and top secret. Tito’s Handmade Vodka and a skewer of spicy garnishes top it off.

2. Geranium Bar, Grand Hotel

3. Mary’s Bistro Draught

Breakfast Spot

1. Pink Pony
Breakfast really is the best meal of the day when you’re sitting by the water and sipping sustainably sourced coffee while you decide if you want your French toast to be made with cinnamon or banana bread.

2. Pancake House & Grille

3. The Chuckwagon

Carriage Tour and/or Riding Stable

1. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours // Private Tours
Your (very!) knowledgeable driver will customize the tour just for you—and take you to special spots that aren’t included on the public tour.

2. Jack’s Livery Stable

3. Cindy’s Riding Stable

Downtown Clothing Store

1. Nephew’s of Mackinac
Fabulous shoe selection, accessories you can’t resist, contemporary clothes for men and women—if you walk into this store, be mentally prepared that you’ll want everything.

2. Mackinac Outfitter

3. Mackinac Birkenstock

Event on the Island

1. Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
Did you know the first record of Mackinac’s lilacs dates back to the 1800s? And the island’s lilacs are the largest in the country? That’s worth celebrating.

2. Mackinac Island Fudge Festival

3. Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac

Fudge Flavor

1. Chocolate Cherry, Murdick’s Fudge
This classic combo is simply irresistible and made even better with Michigan-grown cherries.

2. Michigan Maple Walnut, Murdick’s Fudge

3. Double Dark Salted Caramel, JoAnn’s Fudge

Fudge Shop

1. Murdick’s Fudge Shop
The Murdick family was the first to open a candy shop on the island in 1887. Today, the company still uses those original, and now famous, fudge recipes and old-fashioned fudge making techniques.

2. JoAnn’s Fudge

3. Ryba’s Fudge Shop

Gallery to Buy and Browse Local Art

1. Mackinac’s Little Gallery
Tucked away on Market Street, find works by regional artists and vignettes of classic Mackinac Island scenes, such as Round Island Lighthouse, the Mighty Mac, dock porters and fudge makers.

2. Island Breeze of Mackinac

3. Maeve’s Arts

Garden

1. Grand Hotel gardens
Guests can see more than 150 varieties of flowers during a single visit, including century-old lilacs. Visit grandhotel.com for a virtual tour of the Grand’s secret garden in bloom.

2. Hotel Iroquois gardens

3. Mission Point Resort gardens

Gift Shop for Souvenirs

1. Pink Pony Store
You know you love that little pink pony logo—it’s even more fun on a bowtie or hairbow.

2. The Island Bookstore

3. Little Luxuries

Happy Hour

1. Cupola Bar, Grand Hotel
At the very tippy-top of the hotel, the Cupola Bar has panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge—so really, every hour is happy hour.

2. Mustang Lounge

3. Seabiscuit Cafe

Hotel, Inn or Resort

1. Chippewa Hotel
After 117 years in businesses, this hotel has got lodging figured out—lake views, an outdoor hot tub, sun deck and home of The Pink Pony.

2. Grand Hotel

3. Mission Point Resort

Ice Cream Shop

1. Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor
Located at The Grand, but open to the public, this classic ice cream parlor carries 24 flavors of Hudsonville Ice Cream, made right here in the mitten state. Plus, you can get mini Grand Pecan balls on a stick!

2. Good Day Café

3. Ryba’s Fudge Shop

Mountain Biking Trail

1. Arch Rock Bicycle Trail
The paved path winds from Fort Mackinac to Arch Rock, where you can connect with Tranquil Bluff Trail and it’s glorious Lake Huron views.

2. Crack-in-the-Island Trail

3. Tranquil Bluff Trail

Outdoor Dining

1. Pink Pony
Picture this: Great Lakes whitefish beer-battered and deep-fried, an ice-cold Oberon and you —all sitting on a deck that literally hangs over one of those mighty Great Lakes.

2. Carriage House, Hotel Iroquois

3. Fort Mackinac Tea Room

Picnic Spot

1. Marquette Park
Get provisions at Doud’s Market then head across the street and find a spot to spread out at the downtown park sandwiched between Fort Mackinac and the harbor.

2. British Landing

3. Point Lookout

Place to Have a Cocktail

1. Pink Pony
Order the famous island rum runner. Get ready for a good time.

2. Verandah at the Carriage House, Hotel Iroquois

3. Horn’s Gaslight Bar

Place to Take an Instagram

1. Arch Rock
This dramatic limestone formation rises 146 feet above the water—you bet the views are amazing up there!

2. Grand Hotel

3. Sunset Rock

Porch to Hang Out and Enjoy the Day

1. Pink Pony
The back deck—with its bright pink umbrellas and water views—will hands down be one of your favorite spots on the entire island.

2. Grand Hotel’s front porch

3. Island House Hotel’s porch

Quaint B&B

1. The Mackinac House
This new boutique B&B opened in 2019, and it’s already made an impression on guests with its large front porch and beautifully decorated interiors.

2. Lilac House Bed & Breakfast

3. Bayview Bed & Breakfast

Restaurant for a Special Occasion

1. Pink Pony
Friends, this restaurant won eight Red Hot Best awards this year—eight! It’s safe to say you should make it a point to visit.

2. Woods Restaurant

3. Carriage House

Spot to Take in a View

1. Fort Holmes
Fort Mackinac’s younger, smaller sibling sits atop the highest elevation on the island and is free to visit May–October. Definitely check it out.

2. Cupola Bar, Grand Hotel

3. Top of Fort Street

Tour  

1. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours
On an island run by horsepower, it’s only fitting to hop aboard one of the signature red-and-yellow carriages.

2. Sip n’ Sail Cruises

3. Shepler’s Ferry Lighthouse Cruise

Transportation to or Around the Island

1. Shepler’s Ferry
Three generations of the Shepler family have been transporting guests to and from the island since 1945. Even landlubbers trust they’re in good hands.

2. Star Line Ferry

3. Great Lakes Air

Wedding Venue 

1. Grand Hotel
Say “I do” on the famous front porch then get whisked away to happily ever after in a horse-drawn carriage.

2. Mission Point Resort

3. Inn at Stonecliffe 

Whitefish Dish

1. Pistachio Crusted Michigan Whitefish, Yankee Rebel Tavern
The dollop of whipped honey butter on top will make you so, so happy.

2. Whitefish Sandwich, Carriage House, Hotel Iroquois

3. Smoked Whitefish Chowder, Seabiscuit Cafe