Mackinac island vs. St Ignace

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by Morgan3820, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    Okay, because of all the positive things said about the area on this forum, we are planning a family flying trip to upper MI this coming summer. Specifically, looking at Mackinac Island or St. Ignace. Does any one have any experience with either of these destinations? Is the island worth the extra$$ over St. Ignace. The wife and daughter are favoring the island but it looks like Key West of the North to me (touristy), which is fine to a point, but I would like more than t-shirt shops and expensive restaurants. Is there any hiking? Planning on staying 2 nights.

    Thanks
     
  2. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    we like the island. Go for a bike ride, visit some fudge shops. The kids like it.
     
  3. nddons

    nddons Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Definitely go to the island. You don't get the horse**** and fudge smells in St. Ignace.

    You don't have to stay at the Grand Hotel to enjoy Macinac Island.
     
  4. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    In fact, I would recommend against it. Nothing cramps a weekend like having to lug a suit jacket and tie with you.
     
  5. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Stay in St. Ignace and save yourself big bucks on hotels. Then fly over to Mackinac Island each day.

    We did this for several days, several times over the years, and the flight to/from was always stunning. Make a point to fly over the big Mackinac Bridge, and be sure to take the horse-drawn carriage/taxi into town.

    It's the best way to visit Mackinac Island, IMHO.
     
  6. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's on our bucket list.
     
  7. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Mackinac island is a good weekend experience. It's great to land your plane there, and then have the horse-drawn carriage take you to your hotel. Rent a bike and go around the island in about 90 minutes.

    Two downsides to the experience:

    1. At least half the shops sell fudge. Or T-shirts. Or fudge and T-shirts. Tacky.

    2. The airport is owned by the state park, which charges you a fee to park your plane overnight, but they don't provide any tie down ropes. Bring your own rope. Also stakes, in case you have to park on the grass.
     
  8. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Over? Pssssshhhhh. You know you want to fly UNDER the bridge. At least I do.
     
  9. pilotjlr

    pilotjlr Pre-Flight

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    Mackinac Island, absolutely. As others have said, skip the Grand Hotel, unless you're into that sort of thing. I don't wear ties to business meetings anymore, and I certainly don't when on vacation.

    If you're into running, the 7ish mile run around the island is excellent. Or, rent a bike and do it that way. It's a nice experience.

    The restaurants aren't too overpriced, and there's enough to have good options.
     
  10. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don En-Route

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    Mackinac Island is definitely on my list. Hopefully I will be able to make the trip in the next year or two.
     
  11. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    We've vacationed in the straits area several times. Staying on the island is pricey, staying in St. Ignace much less so. You can stay in St. Ignace and fly over to the island, or you can ride the ferry to the island. Taking the ferry has advantages over flying in your choice of beverages, if you're so inclined.
     
  12. geneseib

    geneseib Line Up and Wait

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    We stayed in a Bed & Breakfast right downtown on Mackinac. Reasonable price and worked out well.
     
  13. 172andyou

    172andyou Line Up and Wait

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    +1 for this idea.
     
  14. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    I like that run...but...the bicycles all have fenders for a reason. No fenders on my running shoes. Bring another pair of shoes for dinner and the flight home.
     
  15. CFIRandy

    CFIRandy Filing Flight Plan

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    Am from Cheboygan and use to work on the island. Great place to visit. As othes have said, perhaps more economical to spend the day on the island then fly back to St. Ignace or other "mainland" area for the evening.
     
  16. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    True dat.

    They sweep up after the horses in town. On the rest of the island many roads have a layer of stuff on top of the pavement.
     
  17. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    While it's true that you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage if you don't fly, the downside of sitting in long lines and paying a pretty high fee for a boring boat ride is too much, IMHO.

    That, and you miss out on one of the most spectacular flights in America.
     
  18. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    High fee? What's that to you? You own an airplane, you're wealthy!

    We've always stayed in St. Ignace, never had a line of any significance to get on a ferry to or from the island. Always a long line to get on the ferry to Mackinaw City though, probably long lines at the ferry dock in Mackinaw City too. I don't find the boat ride to be at all boring. Just the opposite, I find it quite interesting. Good view of Mackinac and Round islands from the lake, the lighthouse, the bridge. Some of the trips even take you under the bridge then back to your destination.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  19. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Weekday afternoons the line looks long but I don't ever recall not getting on the next ferry to show up. (Never rode one on the weekend though.)
     
  20. MyassisDragon

    MyassisDragon Line Up and Wait

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    Since we live only 1-1/2hr flight from the island we visit about 4-5 times each year all seasons. And for very different experiences.

    If driving we would normally stay in St ignace and schlep over on a ferry and find the experience charming. We tend to stay away from main stream and go mom & pop for lodging. Our favorite is the driftwood where we can get a decent dinner, have a few cocktails, play pool and shuffleboard, then walk to our room (nothing fancy but clean & remodeled for around $60/night) During nice weather we like the Ceadars on the water. They have a campfire every evening and the rooms are old knotty pine throw backs from the 60's the new ownership (last few years) do a wonderful job keeping it clean and are very nice to hang out with at the camp fire on the beach.

    But if flying we will always stay on the island for a few reasons (besides we love it there) .

    1) Staying in St ignace with airplane and without a car feels a little limiting to us since the airport is not walking distance from downtown.
    2) The island is completely different at night after the last ferry has left the dock and we are wandering around deciding where to have a late dinner (if you haven't done this, you should )
    3) Cant plan A cocktail hour on island time so its nice not to have to worry.

    If you are really Hearty (or cheap) then there is camping allowed on Bois Blanc Island right next door and you can fly to the island in less time than St ignace. I have landed and the little FBO is new clean and unattended so we are planning on staying one of these years, but when we get away near Mackinac its not about economy its about Mackinac.

    When staying on the island We always do a few nights at the Grand and love opening weekend. All the rooms and suites are open to look at, there is no dress code (or formal dining for that matter) and every thing is laid back and there are hardly any patrons. We usually get upgraded to a suite due to low occupancy and have a blast watching them setup the furniture and grounds. AND I think it only ends up costing us about $125 per night/per couple.

    The other places we have liked is the Bicycle street inn with a balcony overlooking main street, and of course Mission Point on the other end of the island is quaint, and you can rent a bicycle for $5 if you dont want to walk into town. We are planning on some of the other B&B next year (or this winter) but have nothing to report yet.

    Our favorite things to do on the island are avoiding the touristy main street during the day when the boats are running. So we will hike and mountain bike the entire island. There are miles and miles of trails on the interior with beautiful paths. Golf is kind of fun too If we choose to bring the clubs instead of bikes.

    Its kitschy, quaint, and odd all wrapped up into one, and the horse manure smell goes to the background after a few hours when the charm of no motorized vehicles comes in focus.
     
  21. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    If you really want to cut down on costs, do what I did this year: set up a tent at Bois Blanc Island, then spend the day at Mackinaw Island.
    I've also stayed on the island, and I prefer the "Lakeview" motel...and it actually has an indoor pool!
    Also, make sure you go to the Mustang Lounge. Its a bar right off the main drag, with lots of aviation wall hangings, etc.
     
  22. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're right, of course. I ride a ferry almost every day, to/from Mustang Island, and I forget that once upon a time it wasn't boring. ;)
     
  23. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Best way to visit Mackinac is on a sailboat as part of the race... There are reasonable opportunities to charter your way onboard.
     
  24. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    I went to Mackinac in the Trinidad over the summer to drop a kid off to be part of a wedding party. My buddy and I spent a lot of time walking around. Lots to see.

    Bring cash. Everything is $10 or so a person, including touring the grand hotel =)
     
  25. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    Actually, I have always had a fantasy about doing a vertical loop over around a big bridge span, taking a picture at the top of the loop and sending an anonymous copy too the FAA. :yikes:

    Would that involve jail time or just license revocation and a fine? :dunno:
     
  26. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    Flying under the bridge
     
  27. frgo0629

    frgo0629 Filing Flight Plan

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    2 pics of my trip near there this August. Actually stayed in Frankfort.
     

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  28. frgo0629

    frgo0629 Filing Flight Plan

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    Pic #2. Couldn't get it to attach on other post
     

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  29. el con

    el con Line Up and Wait

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    Flying under the Bridge at Mackinac would put you in the category of being a "Flying Troll"
    FAA rules would probably be severe;)
    If jail time was levied you would probably serve time behind bars with a Mount'in Troll---ouch!!
     
  30. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    Same here, on our bucket list. While up there, we are also planning on circling the Skillagalee Island lighthouse for pictures (wife loves lighthouses), then continuing west to Beaver Island and eventually even further west.
    Possibly next summer, we'll see. :)
     
  31. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    By all means visit Machinac Island as able. If you want a little more layed back, you could check out Beaver Island too. They have nice pavement and a fairly new base ops building.
     

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