Mackinac Island: Why You Should Visit in the Fall

I wanted to take advantage of working from home this fall by going to see beautiful foliage somewhere. Of course, my first thought was somewhere out East like Vermont or New Hampshire but those states are far from Chicago and would end up being expensive. I started looking into Northern Michigan and the U.P., then landed on Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is a small island off the coast of Northern Michigan that can be reached by ferry from St Ignace or Mackinaw City (not cars allowed on the Island!) It looked like such a cute and quaint island but I was a little nervous that with it being fall, it wouldn’t look like the photos and there wouldn’t be much to do. I was wrong! We found tons of things to do, we even wanted to extend our trip.

It’s soooo cozy. Every fireplace was blazing and all of the restaurants were wooded with dimmed lighting. We stayed at Mission Point Resort which I would highly recommend (especially if you have a dog – it’s dog friendly!). It had the coziest lobby with dark wooded vaulted ceilings and massive fireplaces surrounding it. “The Library” just off the lobby had even more fireplaces and really cozy chairs & couches to lounge in while doing some work, reading a book or playing a game of cards. We ate breakfast at the Round Island restaurant every morning and went back for midday snacks and drinks in the afternoons. We always asked for a hightop by the window so we had a perfect view of the lake. For some cozy dinners we went to Woods and The Jockey Club. Both were the perfect setting for a romantic date to end our adventurous days exploring the Island. For more about these restaurants, check out my post Coziest Restaurants on Mackinac Island.

Library at Mission Point Hotel.

Avoid the summer crowds. Although the island was still very busy, there was not overwhelming amounts of tourists everywhere we looked. When we went hiking/biking, the paths were not full of people (this was great for my photo ops). Arch Rock is a popular place on the island to visit. I can imagine the crowds for taking photos and seeing this would be crazy in the summer! We were able to walk right up to it. We made a few dinner reservations because of limited occupancy due to Covid, but other than that we didn’t have any trouble with availability at restaurants. We even got to know a few of the servers at some of the restaurants because of the more intimate setting.

The Foliage! What put this whole trip in motion. The colors were incredible – everything I had imagined. The contrast between the bright green groomed grass or the dark green pine trees and the warm orange, red, and yellow leaves on all of the trees was spectacular. We spent some time walking along the inland paths surrounded by these colors. We also took a bike ride around the entire perimeter of the island to see the colors from afar. We could even see the colors on another island across the water. Everywhere we looked was more foliage!

A later sunrise. In October, the sun rises closer to 8:00am which is a much more reasonable time to watch the sunrise. Mission Point has a beautiful front lawn right on the water that faces due East. A lot of the rooms face the water as well, we were lucky enough to have one with a view of the water/sunrise on the mornings we didn’t want to walk out to the lawn. One morning just after sunrise we went on a bike ride through the beautiful trails with the sun shining through the colored trees. The views from up by Arch Rock were beautiful! It seemed like we were looking out over an ocean rather than a lake.

Sunrise from Arch Rock.

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