Living On Mackinac Island: Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, many workers live on Mackinac Island during the summer season.

We prioritize providing comfortable and convenient employee housing on Mackinac Island. Whether you prefer to live in a men’s, women’s, or co-ed dormitory, we have comfortable spaces waiting for you.

Our housing facilities are equipped with everything you need. The kitchen has a full-size refrigerator, stove, microwave, pots, pans, and utensils, making it easy to prepare meals. From fully furnished common areas to high-speed wireless internet and on-site coin-operated laundry facilities, we’ve got you covered.

Experience the beauty of Mackinac Island while working in a supportive and inclusive environment. Apply now and discover your perfect place to live, work, and thrive.

Learn more about seasonal employee housing on Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island is nestled in the sparkling waters of Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Known for its picturesque landscapes, historic charm, and car-free environment, Mackinac Island is a true gem of the Great Lakes region. Accessible by ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace, Mackinac Island transports visitors to a bygone era with its preserved Victorian architecture and natural beauty. With no cars allowed on the island, transportation is by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage, adding to the island’s unique appeal as a peaceful and enchanting destination.

Mackinac Island boasts a rich and storied history that dates back centuries. Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the island served as a strategic trading post and cultural crossroads. In the 17th century, European explorers and fur traders arrived, establishing forts and settlements that played pivotal roles in the region’s colonial history. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Mackinac Island witnessed significant military engagements, including the capture and recapture of Fort Mackinac. Following these conflicts, the island evolved into a bustling summer resort destination, attracting wealthy vacationers seeking leisure and recreation amidst its stunning natural beauty. Today, Mackinac Island continues to honor its heritage through its well-preserved architecture, historic sites, and vibrant cultural traditions.

Several organizations on Mackinac Island provide activities, resources, and support for employees living here. The Mackinac Arts Council brings talented artists for live music in the park, offering enjoyable entertainment options. The Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau offers island information, while the Mackinac Island Recreation Department hosts various activities for leisure and community building. Additionally, Mackinac State Historic Parks offer cultural experiences, and Mackinac Connect serves as a valuable networking resource for island residents and workers, enhancing the overall community experience.

Experience the vibrant nightlife on Mackinac Island, where evenings are filled with live music, delicious food, and lively entertainment. Whether you’re craving a cozy pub atmosphere with live bands, indulging in delectable cuisine at one of the island’s many dining establishments, or dancing the night away, or stargazing on the beach, Mackinac offers something for everyone. Test your knowledge at trivia nights, showcase your singing skills at karaoke, or enjoy employee dinners and talent shows that bring the community together. With a diverse range of activities and events, Mackinac Island’s nightlife promises unforgettable moments and endless fun for all.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and exciting events of Mackinac Island! Throughout the tourism season, the island hosts a plethora of special events. From the FORT 2 FORT 5-MILE CHALLENGE to the DETROIT CHAMBER MACKINAC POLICY CONFERENCE. Celebrate the arrival of spring at the MACKINAC ISLAND LILAC FESTIVAL, featuring highlights like the LILAC 10K RUN & WALK and the spectacular LILAC FESTIVAL GRAND PARADE. Experience the magic of summer with the 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS and the W.T. RABE STONE SKIPPING CONTEST. Sail into adventure with the CHICAGO YACHT RACE and the BAYVIEW YACHT RACE, or step back in time with a VINTAGE BASE BALL GAME. Indulge your sweet tooth at the MACKINAC ISLAND FUDGE FESTIVAL and test your endurance at the MACKINAC ISLAND EIGHT MILE RUN and the GREAT TURTLE TRAIL RUN. The season comes to a close with MACKINAC ISLAND HALLOWEEN WEEKEND.

 

Yes, many workers live on Mackinac Island during the summer season. Some employers offer housing for their staff on Mackinac Island or on the mainland in St. Ignace.

Apply for seasonal jobs on Mackinac Island online at mackinac.jobs.  Start by completing the online application then submit a resume to stand out.

People who live on Mackinac Island get around by foot or bicycle. With motor vehicles not allowed, residents and visitors alike embrace these traditional modes of transportation, contributing to the island’s distinctive charm.

Motor vehicles are strictly prohibited on Mackinac Island, with limited exceptions granted only to emergency and service vehicles. Instead, bicycles and horses serve as the primary modes of transportation, allowing visitors to explore the island’s scenic beauty at a leisurely pace. Additionally, camping and campfires are not permitted on the island. While bicycles are a popular choice for getting around, it’s important to note that e-bikes are restricted. Furthermore, if you’re planning to fly a drone on Mackinac Island, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the Mackinac State Historic Park Commission to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Yes, it is generally safe to swim on Mackinac Island. The island offers easy access to most of its shoreline, and the waters around it are considered safe for swimming. However, it’s always advisable to follow any posted safety guidelines.

Mackinac Island typically experiences a relatively mild and temperate climate, with temperatures that vary by season. The island’s location in Lake Huron influences its climate, keeping it cooler in the summer and milder in the winter.

Summer temperatures typically range from 70°F to 80°F, providing pleasant weather for outdoor activities. Temperatures can occasionally  go above 80°F, it’s relatively rare for the island to experience hot weather.

Fall on Mackinac Island brings cooler temperatures typically from 60°F to 70°F. It’s perfect sweater season, great for outdoor activities!

Winter on Mackinac Island is cold, with temperatures typically ranging from 20°F to 30°F.

Like many locations in the Great Lakes region, Mackinac Island experiences a moderate amount of rainfall throughout the year.

In the summer months of June, July, and August, occasional rain showers are possible.

During the fall months of September and October, the weather is pleasant, and the island’s natural beauty flourishes.

Winter on the island is cold and snowy from December through March.

Spring, particularly in April and May the island transitions from winter to a milder climate.

While Mackinac Island does experience rainfall, it is not known for excessive or heavy rainfall. Mackinac Island offers a beautiful and enjoyable experience regardless of the season. It’s a good idea to check local weather forecasts to ensure you are prepared for the specific weather conditions.

Mackinac Island’s combination of natural beauty, historic charm, absence of motor vehicles, and culinary offerings make it a popular and appealing destination for those seeking a tranquil and memorable experience.

  • The island is known for its picturesque landscapes, including stunning shoreline views, lush forests, and natural beauty offering a serene escape from the hustle of urban life.
  • Mackinac Island is home to well-preserved Victorian architecture and historic sites such as Fort Mackinac, Fort Holmes, the Blacksmith Shop, and Biddle House. Visitors can step back in time and experience a sense of nostalgia.
  • No Cars Allowed: One of the island’s unique features is its ban on motorized vehicles. This creates a peaceful, car-free environment where visitors can explore by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage.
  • Outdoor Activities: The island offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to horseback riding and sunset cruises.
  • Fudge and Culinary Delights: Mackinac Island is famous for its delicious fudge, and numerous shops on the island offer a wide variety of flavors. Additionally, the island’s dining scene offers fresh fish and other culinary delights.
  • Cultural Events: The island hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Derby Day Soiree, Lilac Festival, Fourth of July celebrations, Fudge Festival, and Macktoberfest.
  • Historical Significance: Mackinac Island played a crucial role in the early history of the Great Lakes region, Native American life, the War of 1812, and the fur trade. Historic sites like Fort Mackinac offer insights into this history.

Discover Mackinac Island’s breathtaking natural beauty as you explore the island’s numerous hiking and biking trails. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich history and stunning landscapes with iconic landmarks such as Anne’s Tablet, Arch Rock, and British Landing. Marvel at the geological wonders of Devil’s Kitchen, Crack-in-the-Island, and Eagle Point Cave, or wander through tranquil nature trails teeming with native flora and fauna. Uncover hidden gems like Robinson’s Folly and Skull Cave, and don’t miss the picturesque views from Sugar Loaf and Sunset Rock. With so many natural attractions to explore, your outdoor adventures on Mackinac Island are sure to be unforgettable.

  • Approximately 85% of the Island is State Park. Trail maps are available at the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau and the MSHP Visitors Center.
  • Mackinac Island is situated in Lake Huron between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
  • Mackinac Island has been a National Historic Landmark since 1960.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed, making horses and bicycles the primary modes of transportation.
  • Mackinac Island is home to the Island House Hotel, built in 1852.

Getting to Mackinac Island

All new and returning employees must arrange their own transportation to and from Mackinac Island. In addition, the employee must cover all relocation costs incurred. It is important to budget money accordingly, it may be up to three weeks before your first payday.

Commercial Airports

The closest commercial airports are the Pellston Regional Airport or Chippewa County International Airport. Both are small regional airports serviced by Delta. Connecting flights from other larger airports in Michigan are available. Both airports are about 25 miles away from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace, where ferries are available to Mackinac Island. Ground shuttles are available from the airport into Mackinaw City. We recommend Northern Transport.

Charter

Fresh Air Aviation also flies from St. Ignace airport. Call 906-285-6727 for fares, reservations, and flight times.

Greyhound Bus Line

Greyhound has service to the area with stations in both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. There is only a curbside drop off in Mackinaw City, but it is across the street from Shepler’s Ferry, which is also within short walking distance to multiple hotels. There is small indoor bus station in St. Ignace, but it is about a mile walk to the ferries and a half mile to the nearest hotel. Visit greyhound.com or call 800-231-222 for more information.

Other Bus Options

It will be necessary to take a ferry from the mainland to Mackinac Island. The cost is about $35.00 for a round trip ticket. Once on the island, discounted employee tickets can be purchased from both ferry lines, but they are not available for purchase on the mainland. There are two ferry companies that service the island and are available from both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. Be sure to check their schedules before you make your travel plans.

Star Line Ferry

Mackinaw City Dock
801 Huron Street 587, Mackinaw City

St. Ignace Dock
N. State Street, St. Ignace

Shepler’s Ferry

Mackinaw City Dock
556 East Central Avenue, Mackinaw City

St. Ignace Dock
601 N. State Street, St. Ignace

If you intend to bring a car with you, it will be necessary to store it on the mainland, since there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island. Both ferry lines offer a variety of seasonal parking options at their off-island locations in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City. There are packages available for purchase as well as seasonal commuter tickets. It is wise to contact the ferry and check pricing prior to arrival. Information regarding this service may be obtained by contacting either of the ferry services.

Packing For Mackinac

When packing your belongings, use large plastic bin containers. They are weather protected and will be able to handle the conditions of the Island. Make sure that you put your name and address on every piece of luggage and furniture that will be coming to the Island. At the ferry, you will load all of your belongings onto a cart that will be rolled onto the boat.

Taxi & Dray Service

Once you dock onto the island, your belongings will be carted off the boat and you will need to move everything to your new home. You will need to make prior arrangements with the Taxi or Dray Service.

Taxi Service

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours 906-847-3323

Dray Service

Mackinac Island Service Company 906-847-3713

More information about regarding schedules and
fares can be found by visiting www.mict.com

Living on Mackinac Island

Most major cell phone providers have towers that cover the area; however, we are in a very remote area and coverage is not perfect. Do not have friends or relatives call you at work. In an emergency, someone may contact you through Human Resources at (906) 847-7196.

USPS

The Post Office is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM Saturdays. There is access to PO Boxes until 8:00 PM daily.

P.O. Boxes may be rented for under $20 for 6 months.

UPS

102 Market Street
906-847-6194

FED EX

7325 Main Street, B, (Coal Dock)
906-643-8288

Sending Packages

Do not have mail sent ‘c/o The Island House.’ Personal mail is not to be received at work without express permission

Shipping of packages via UPS or FedEx can be addressed to the HR Office. You will be notified via email when packages arrive.

Callewaert Family Human Resources
7463 Main Street, Mackinac Island, MI 49757

Attn: Your name
c/o J. Ryan Macy

Central Savings Bank of St. Ignace

Summer Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Address: 21 Hoban Street

Call: 906-847-3759

ATM is located at the Star Line Dock 1

First National Bank of St. Ignace

Hours: Monday- Friday, 8:30am – 4:00pm
Saturday, 9:00am –12:00pm
Address: 7399 Market Street

Call: 906-847-3732

ATM located outside of bank

Both banks are equipped with an ATM. Safety deposit boxes are available for a yearly rental fee and a $40.00 deposit.

The bank will not cash personal out of town checks unless you have an account. The bank will, however, cash our employee pay checks, but it is necessary to bring your social security card and driver’s license. Both banks are able to open savings accounts for seasonal employees.

Since there are no cars on the Island, it is suggested that you bring a bicycle. Bikes must be registered with the Mackinac Island Police Department (Ordinance NO. 259) at a cost of approximately five dollars. Not only does this provide information to the city in assessing traffic needs, but assists in locating missing bikes. It is also recommended that you bring, and use, a lock as a precautionary measure. Employees are not to park bikes in front of the Hotel; racks are located behind the Hotel.

Bike Safety

  1. Watch For Horses – Please be prepared for very busy streets. Be cautious of horses at all times as it is difficult for them to stop quickly.
  2. No Training Wheels – No person shall operate a bike with training wheels on Main Street, Market Street or Cadotte Avenue.
  3. Walk On Sidewalks – Pedestrians need to walk on the sidewalk for their own safety. Please look before stopping in the street, turning or crossing the streets at all times.
  4. Stay To The Right – Please stay to the tight side of the street and keep bikes within the white line when parking on the street.
  5. Bike Parking – Please do not park bicycles on sidewalks or lock them to fixed objects. Burleys, tandem or bikes without kickstands must use off street parking.

24-Hour Taxi Service

There is a 24-hour horse drawn taxi service on the island that can help you move your luggage to and from housing if needed. The cost is roughly $10 and they can be reached at (906) 847-3323. Please note that putting bicycles on the taxi is not permitted.

There is a medical center on the island, as well as an ambulance and plane service for those in need of immediate care that is not available on the island. However, there is no pharmacy. Tylenol, Advil, etc. are readily available at many stores, but it is advisable to bring any medications you think you may need.

Groceries On Mackinac

Doud’s Market

7200 Main Street
906-847-3444

Doud’s is the market located on the island and has a limited selection of most items. Living in a resort area, you will find that everything is given resort prices, which are much higher than normal. It is suggested that you bring some groceries with you to help save money. The market is a full line grocery store which also offers breakfast, lunch
and dinners at the deli counter.

Open daily from 7:30am until 12:00am during peak season.

Doud’s Market & Deli

7395 Main Street

The market’s second, smaller location is open during the summer months and offers deli goods, snacks, beer and wine.

Harrisonville General Store

6th Street

This little store is located up in Harrisonville (in the Village) and offers a variety of things. There is something for everyone. They sell groceries,household items, snacks, beer and wine. Only cash is accepted, so come prepared.

Summer peak hours are Monday–Saturday from
10:00am until 10:00pm. Sunday’s from 12:00pm until 7:00pm.

Off-Island Groceries

The nearest big box store is in Cheboygan, which is about a 20-minute drive from Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula.

You may choose to shop off Island from time to time, so you will need to have bins with lids, coolers, ice packs and always have your things marked with your name and address. You will load and unload your bins at the ferry and will need to either bike it all back home, or arrange dray delivery ahead of time.

Mackinac Island is lucky to be able to transition through all four seasons of Michigan weather, meaning things can change quickly and you should be prepared for temperatures that fall below freezing in the spring and fall, and climb into the upper-80s in the summer.

Here’s a look at what a typical year’s temperatures will be:

  • April 48° / 31° 6 Days Rain/Snow
  • May 61° / 41° 7 Days Rain/Snow
  • June 70° / 51° 6 Days Rain/Snow
  • July 76° / 57° 6 Days Rain/Snow
  • August 74° / 56° 7 Days Rain/Snow
  • September 66° / 49° 8 Days Rain/Snow
  • October 53° / 39° 9 Days Rain/Snow

Places of Interest

Most the Mackinac Island attractions, shops, and services offer an island employee discount upon request.

Trails

 

Parks

Great Turtle Park
2601 Crest View Drive
906-298-0333

The park is located in Harrisonville and can be accessed via 6th or 7th Street off Cadotte Avenue or Cupids Pathway. Great Turtle Park currently houses a soccer field, sand volleyball court, basketball court, softball field, disc golf course, pavilion with a fireplace and seasonal bathrooms. Park closes at 10:00pm.

Off-Island Services

Department of Immigration

Sault Ste. Marie 906-632-8822

EUP Community Dispute Resolution

128 W. Spruce Street, Arlington Plaza, Suite 7, Sault Ste. Marie

906-253-9840

Legal Services of Northern Michigan

130 W. Spruce Street, Sault Ste. Marie 906-632-3361

Mackinac County Courthouse

100 S. Marley Street, St Ignace 906-643-7300

Secretary of State

395 N. State Street, St Ignace 888-767-6424

Mackinac Straits Hospital and Health Center

St. Ignace Medical Clinic 906-643-8285

McLaren Northern Michigan

Cheboygan Medical Center 800-248-6777

Petoskey Medical Center 231-487-2000

Community Health Access Collation

Community Health Care/Financial Assistance Programs 906-643-7253 

LMAS District Health Department, St. Ignace

Public Health Clinic dedicated to providing county residents with disease prevention, environmental hazard protection, health promotion and emergency management through education and advocacy. COVID-19 vaccinations are available through LMAS District Health Department.

906-643-1100

Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP)

The health plan manages the care of Upper Peninsula residents enrolled in Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan, MIChild, Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS), MI Health Link, or Medicare Advantage.

800-835-2556

Dental

Dental Clinics North

Cheboygan Clinic – A partnership of local health departments.

877-321-7070

Other Resources

Diane Peppler Resource Center, St. Ignace

Crisis counseling, advocacy, resources and referrals. Shelter for domestic abuse and sexual assault victim available.

800-882-1515, 24 hour hotline.

NorthCare Network

Mental health and substance use disorder resources. northcarenetwork.org Toll Free: 888-333-8030

Sault Tribe Health and Human Services Health

Counseling, Substance Abuse.

906-643-8689

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan

Petoskey Mental health, domestic abuse, drug/alcohol abuse,

906-643-8689

Suggested Packing List

Below is a list of items that are sometimes overlooked by people coming to work on the island. It is by no means a definitive list, as it doesn’t include basic clothing or uniform items you will need, but it should help you to make your own more detailed list.

Clothing

Warm clothing is suggested for anyone working in the early or late part of the season. Northern Michigan is known for its unpredictable weather, and warm days and cool evenings are the norm even in the summer.

  • Swimsuit
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Shower Shoes
  • Water Shoes

    (Our beaches are rocky)

  • Rain Gear
  • Warm Jacket
  • Warm Hat
  • Mittens or Gloves

Hygiene Products

Doud’s is the local market here on Mackinac Island, offering a limited range of products. Being situated in a resort area, you’ll notice that prices tend to be significantly higher than usual. As a result, it’s advisable to bring essentials like toiletries and laundry detergent with you to save on expenses.

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Hair Products

    (comb, brush, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, etc.)

  • Deodorant
  • Cologne/Perfume
  • Makeup
  • Feminine Products
  • Shaving Kit
  • Contact Lens Case & Solution
  • Glasses
  • Bath Towels & Wash Clothes

Medication

  • Prescription Medicines
  • Over-the-Counter Medicines

    (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, etc.)

  • First Aid Kit

Miscellaneous

  • Beach Towel
  • Bicycle

    Be sure you have front and back fenders on the tires. Also, a basket is nice to have as well.

  • Twin XL Size Bedding

    Sheet, Pillow, Blanket

  • Sunscreen
  • Backpack
  • Headlamp / Flashlight
  • Water Bottle
  • Headphones
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Chargers

    Phone, Laptop, Electronics

  • Alarm Clock

    Don’t depend solely on your phone

  • Umbrella
  • Hairdryer
  • Pens & Paper