Michigan Field Trip: How to Make It to Mackinac Island
Inside the terminal at Pellston Regional Airport
Summertime, and the livin' is easy. So you're thinking of a late season trip so long as there's blue water involved, hm? Believe it or not, Michigan's got beaches, blue water and budget-friendly destinations. This week we'll be looking at the ways and places in which you can chill out while diving into the state's Upper Peninsula.
Google Map Mackinac Island. Do it right now. It's waaaay up there in Michigan, isn't it? And yet, it's a real island that's been insanely popular with vacationers for 125 years. There are no cars on the island nor is there a bridge to reach it, so how do the seasonnaires, the daytrippers and perhaps even you get on over there? Let's see...
· Commercial flight. The nearest major airport for scheduled flights is Pellston Regional (PLN). The airport is super quaint with only two gates and an interior chock-full of flannel, stone fireplaces and taxidermied animals. Even the carpeting is hunter's plaid. Delta is the only airline with year-round flights, and only from Detroit, so you'll need to connect at DTW.
Don't miss heading up the carved wood stairs off Delta ticketing to reach the second level of the airport, with its observation windows and couches, plus a full restaurant and bar. FREE WIFI throughout PLN!
You'll still have to drive/call a cab from PLN to the ferry to Mackinac Island, as Pellston Regional Airport is on the mainland, but only a 20-minute drive to the dock.
· Private plane or helicopter. Mackinac Island Airport (code: MCD) is mostly served by private planes, both propeller and jet. The closest other airports for fuel are Pellston, Cheboygan and St. Ignace. Pricing totally depends on what plane you're requesting, how many flyers are going over, what airport you're leaving from and if you'll be piloting it or not.
· Shepler's Ferry. Roundtrip price: $24 ($22 if online) Additional special rates here. This is the way we traveled and we loved it for its organization (even valet parking is available!), its proximity to the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, and its central dock right on the main street of Mackinac Island.
· Arnold Transit. Roundtrip price: $24 ($21 if online). Additional special rates here.
· Star Ferry. Roundtrip price: $24 ($22 if online). Additional special rates here.
· Private boat. An iffier, pricey option, but give Indian River Sports a call to inquire.
Sighting the Mackinac Bridge from the Shepler's ferry
Disclosure: We were on Mackinac as a guest of Pure Michigan, but all photo and opinions are completely our own.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]