So another unique thing about Mackinac island is it is only accessible by ferry or plane. Up until 2017 there were 3 different ferries to chose from. Arnold, Sheplers, and Star Line. Arnold was absorbed into Star Line so now there are these 2 to chose from.
There are 2 places you can depart from. Mackinaw City and St Ignace. I always leave from Mackinaw City because that is where I hit first from where I live. Now if you want to go over the Mackinac Bridge (you pay a small fee) and leave from St Ignace that’s a fun option too.
One thing I recommend doing is getting on the ferry websites prior to leaving. Now preseason the ferries leave every hour but once season starts which is Memorial Day to Labor Day it is every half hour. You get a small discount from buying online- plus you can get bundle deals. This is also where you can see the different types of ferry rides to take. There are also cruises, pirate ship and under the bridge rides. The ride is anywhere from 16-26 minutes depending on what ride you take. Remember that the ticket is round trip so DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET otherwise you have to buy another one.
If you are staying on the island I highly recommend bringing your own bike. You will get a pass that goes on your bike. Again keep this on at all times. Now if you don’t want to take yours there are plenty of rentals to chose from. Consider a basket too because it’s nice to have water in it.
If you are staying on the island. When you get to the ferry dock in Mackinaw City or St Ignace – there will be porters. They will ask if you are staying on the island and if so where. Each hotel or resort has a ticket that they put on the luggage. They tear the bottom portion for you to present at the dock on the island. Now rest assured I have never had anything misplaced or taken. The luggage is placed in a huge cart and wrapped in Saran Wrap. Now there could be a small chance you won’t end up on the same ferry as your luggage. Do not worry it will be there when you arrive to the island.
So you finally arrive to the island. If you are doing a day trip then head off to see the island. If you have your bike and luggage here’s what you do. Wait for them to unload everything and you head out to find your luggage. Once you get your luggage and bike you will start to head out- depending on the ferry line for example sheplers you walk down a pier to the main entrance while star line is all in one area. You will hear porters calling out hotel names. This is where you can give them your luggage to take to the hotel. Have cash to tip them. This is hard work and they ride bikes to deliver this. Sometimes you might be at a smaller place that doesn’t have their own Porter but that doesn’t mean you can’t use one. If you want one to take it to the location you pay them privately and sometimes they will give you their number to use them to bring it back to the dock when you leave.
Many hotels will have certain check in time and during peak season it will usually be at that time- but don’t feel you can’t go earlier. They store your luggage in a room and if the room becomes available they will place it in there.
I hope this helps you understand the whole process of going to the island. It can be a bit overwhelming at first but they have it run perfectly. So go to the ferry pages to get the deals and times.