Before exploring the island’s woods, which carpet about 1,800 acres, stop in at the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center to see exhibits on the island’s natural history. Then hit the trails (and roads) – about 70 miles of them within the park – and bring binoculars for looks at woodpeckers and warblers (more than a dozen warbler species have been recorded here).
You can visit five historic buildings downtown, but military history buffs should march straight to Fort Mackinac, where, from May to mid-October, docents dressed in uniforms styled to the 1880s fire rifles and cannons and play the fife and drums during tours. The fort, which includes 14 original buildings filled with period settings, was built by the British in the late 1700s to help protect the thriving fur trade.
There’s only one state highway in the nation without cars, and about the only complaint you’ll get from cyclists about M-185 around the island’s lakefront perimeter is that the ride is too short — about 8 miles. Pack a picnic and stretch the day, with a stop at Arch Rock on the southeast shore.