Summer 2021 is around the corner, which means so are the great events and activities on Mackinac Island. Explore our list for updates across the island, ranging from new exhibits at Mackinac State Historic Parks to restaurant grand openings on Mackinac Island, just in time for summer.
How to Get to Mackinac Island
Getting to Mackinac Island is one of our favorite parts about visiting the island. Simply take I-75 to the ferry dock in either Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or St. Ignace just over the Mackinac Bridge in the Upper Peninsula. From there you’ll board a ferry via Star Lines Mackinac Island Ferry or Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry. Remember to purchase tickets in advance. Addresses, phone numbers and website links below.
Mackinac Island Ferry Updates from Shepler’s & Star Line
Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry Updates
Officially opened as of April 26, Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will be offering service to Mackinac Island from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City. Additionally, they will be offering destination-based cruises including 4th of July cruises, night sky cruises and lighthouse cruises.
Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Updates
In addition to daily service, Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry will also be offering themed cruises such as the Good Fortune Pirate Ship Cruise which is perfect for the whole family. They are also debuting a new hydro-jet option to make your trip to Mackinac Island quick and comfortable.
Is Mackinac Island Open?
Businesses start opening at the end of April, which kicks off the Mackinac Island season just in time for May 1. From there, the island slowly starts opening fully in May and stays open through the entire summer and fall season. The majority of businesses on the island will be opening for the season with a few new shops and restaurants including Grand Kids, Winchester’s Whiskey Burbon Room and The Lawn at Stonecliffe.
View the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau website for COVID-19 and other safety updates before your visit.
Mackinac Island Restaurant & Shop Updates for 2021
The Inn at Stonecliffe’s New Restaurant: The Lawn at Stonecliffe
Casual, outdoor dining with beautiful views of the Mackinac Bridge inspired The Lawn at Stonecliffe, a new restaurant located at The Inn at Stonecliffe. You can expect to enjoy live music, lawn games and a relaxed menu full of small plates, entrees, salads and pizza.
Winchester’s Whiskey and Bourbon Room Debuts on Mackinac Island
This summer, you’ll find Mackinac Island’s newest restaurant tucked into Bicycle Street Inn and Suites on Main Street. Featuring prohibition-style craft cocktails and a 1920s-themed menu, Winchester’s Whiskey and Bourbon Room will be serving up both lunch and dinner daily. Make sure to stop by this new family-friendly restaurant that is officially open starting April 30.
Shopping Updates for The Grand Hotel
New to the ground floor of The Grand Hotel, guests can find a shop called Grand Kids, which offers a wide selection of clothing and merchandise for kids. Additionally, both the men’s and women’s shops have been updated with new clothes, accessories and a refreshed look for 2021.
Mackinac Island Festivals & Events for Summer 2021
Mackinac Island Lilac Festival | June 4 to 13
The 73rd annual Lilac Festival celebration will offer a combination of in-person and virtual events, including the Lilac Queen coronation, Lilac Festival poster reveal, Michigan cornhole, lilac book launch and walking tours and planting sessions with lilac expert Jeff Young. Island businesses will also have various activities throughout the 10-day festival.
Mackinac Island 4th of July Fireworks Display | July 4
To celebrate the 4th of July, Mackinac Island is putting on a fireworks display starting at 10 p.m. The schoolyard will be the best location to watch the display, however, it can get busy and guests are encouraged to safely plan their seating arrangements.
Mackinac Island Fudge Festival | August 27 to 29
Known for its famous fudge, Mackinac Island is the perfect host for a fudge festival. Running through the last weekend of August, you can expect to see family-friendly events, demonstrations and much more. If you’re a Mackinac Island fudge lover, this festival is for you!
What’s New at Mackinac State Historic Parks
Mackinac State Historic Parks Special Events on Fort Mackinac
Special events this summer at Colonial Michilimackinac include informative history talks, the celebration of the King’s birthday on June 4, Movies by the Bridge, Fort Fright and Fire at Night. The special Fire at Night program allows guests to fire all four black-powder weapons at Michilimackinac including the famous cannon. This specific program is offered nightly after the fort closes to the public from June 5 to October 8.
Biddle House Mackinac Island Native American Museum Opening
Staring May 1, 2021, the reinvented Biddle House will be open to the public. Working directly with tribal partners, Biddle House will tell the continuing story of the Anishnaabek people. While it was previously slated to open for the 2020 season, construction progress due to COVID-19 derailed the opening since MSHP was only able to work on it during one weekend at the very end of the 2020 season. The team at Mackinac State Historic Parks is looking forward to this long-awaited re-opening.
Updates to Fort Mackinac Kids Quarters
The beloved Kids Quarters at Fort Mackinac will be receiving its third-ever exhibit update. This new exhibit will feature the history of the Straits of Mackinac. This will allow guests to experience how soldiers and civilians lived at Fort Mackinac in the 19th century. Housed in the oldest public building in Michigan, visitors will be able to play various musical instruments used by the military, try on clothes, or design their very own fort, among many other activities.
Road Improvements on Mackinac Island
Road work is scheduled to be completed along M-185 during this summer. Previously damaged by high water levels, this road will be getting a much-needed refresh, but could cause some annoyance through this summer season.
View the Mackinac State Historic Parks website for additional updates and information.
Mackinac Island Hotel Updates for 2021
Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Upgrades for 2021
The biggest update this year is the unveiling of the renovated Esther Williams swimming pool at Grand Hotel. Starting May 7, guests will find expanded outdoor spaces including 15 reservable poolside cabanas, a family-friendly area with a zero-depth entry pool and waterslide, family-friendly events like dive-in movie nights, a heated whirlpool and a private, adults-only pool area featuring an infinity edge and gorgeous views of Mackinac Island.
Mission Point on Mackinac Island’s New Event Space & Restaurants
New for the season, Mission Point completed their outdoor event space known as the Promenade Deck Pavilion. Additionally, they have rebranded their restaurants: Chianti, Bistro on the Greens and Round Island Kitchen (formerly Round Island Bar & Grill), all receiving a fresh look and outdoor seating options with views of Lake Huron.
Updates to The Hotel Iroquois on Mackinac Island
The Hotel Iroquois is updating their beloved Lighthouse Suite. This update features new bathrooms, carpet, furniture and wet bar. This refreshed look for the 2021 season and stunning views of the harbor and lighthouse are not to be missed.
Island House Hotel Updates
Opening in May with a fresh, casual coastal feel, Mackinac Island’s oldest hotel is ready to show off its modern comforts and historic charm. Guests can experience upgrades in the newly renovated and refurbished lobby and two-bedroom annex suites at Island House Hotel.
Chippewa Hotel Waterfront
For the 2021 season, Chippewa Hotel is receiving a fresh coat of paint in the lobby, stairwell and hallways. All rooms will receive special care and touch-ups and replacement of older furniture, lamps and beds. You can also expect to see new carpet throughout, all-weather flooring on the patio and great specials lasting all season long.
Lilac Tree Suites & Spa
The six jacuzzi suites at Lilac Tree Suites will be receiving major renovations for the 2021 season. You can expect to see refreshed marble tile, upgraded furniture, updated fixtures, new beds and gorgeous glass door walk-in showers to replace the old jacuzzi tubs.