Set Your Own Pace On A Smooth, Paved (Car-Free) RoadTired from a day in the sun but rejuvenated by refreshments at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room, my fearless husband and I hopped on our bikes near Mackinac Island State Park and started on the 8.3-mile trek around the island. Our initial plan was to ride for a little bit and turn around if we became exhausted, but as we rode the smooth, paved paths near Mackinac’s shoreline, we took our time admiring old buildings and stopped a few times to splash in the water. Surprisingly, the ride was the opposite of exhausting—it actually gave us the chance to enjoy less-busy parts of the island at our own pace!
Biking The Island Is As Easy As Biking Half Of The IslandAs we got closer to the halfway point (about three miles in or so), we realized how ridiculous it would be to turn around after riding half of the loop when we could just keep going and see what was on the other side of Mackinac (after all, riding halfway out and back is the same distance as riding around the whole island!). And so we pedaled on, and I ignored my fears that there might not be a bathroom for hours or that I might fall off my bike and have to drag myself four miles back to town (I promise I’m not as un-fun as I sound).
THIS Is Why Everyone's Telling You To Bike Around Mackinac IslandGUYS, biking all the way around Mackinac Island is SO worth it! I love downtown Mackinac, but leaving the “hustle and bustle” for a bit to admire the natural beauty of the island (and Lake Huron) is something I can’t adequately describe. The best I can do is give you the exact thought that popped into my mind while coasting along M-185:
I FEEL LIKE I’M INSIDE OF A TRAVEL MAGAZINE.
The views are seriously amazing, and you'll see all of those "unreal" blues and greens that you may not think exist in real life (they totally do, and they're even more beautiful in person than they are in photos)!
Surprise: There Are Rest Stops!Oh, and for those of you who were as concerned as I was about the bathroom situation—there are restrooms (and a park with tables, trash cans, etc.) at about the halfway mark. Plus, there are benches and plenty of places along the route to “pull over” for non-bathroom-related rest breaks. There are no stores, however, so make sure to bring everything you need with you (click here to get more tips on what to pack).
Bonus: Visit The School For Extraordinary Sunset ViewsIf you make it back just before dark, be sure to bike over to Mackinac Island Public School for the perfect sunset-watching location. There’s plenty of room on the grass to sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the most gorgeous fiery skies you’ll see this summer. Of all the things we did during our day on Mackinac Island, this was seriously one of my favorites. You'll also have a front-row seat to watch sailboats and ferries, all while being in the midst of some adorable, colorful houses.
(Not a Photoshop blunder--it just looks like there are two suns!)
Biking Mackinac Island: The Takeaway
Looking back on it all, I'm so glad we made the bike ride around Mackinac. There are several tours and attractions you can visit while on the island, but if you're looking for pure, natural beauty, coasting around Mackinac Island by bike will allow you to see so many unspoiled views you won't have access to otherwise.