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Old 03-13-2012
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Mackinac Island

My boat's berthed in Muskegon, Michigan, and we're looking forward to sailing up to Mackinac Island this summer. We usually sail as far North as Charlevoix, and would like to hear any tips you might have regarding a trip to the island for a stay of a couple nights.

How are the overnight accommodations? What to see in the area (there's a big bridge). How's Mackinac city's marina....St. Ignace.

So in general, what's the cruising scoop up there?
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Old 03-13-2012
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Re: Mackinac Island

There is a lot of poop on the island, literally.

It is one of the largest tourist attractions in the Midwest.
Lots of t shirt shops and a lot of fudge.

The island is beautiful, but there are a lot of people there.

We stayed at Mac City Marina and used the ferry service to get to the island.
Our next time up we plan on staying at St Ignace, but I do want to spend a night or two on the island just to say we did it.

Since you cruise to Charlevoix, than I am sure you are familiar with Gray's Reef just North of there. Be careful going through there.

The Mac race is in mid July so avoid the island around the 20th (I think). Not sure when the Bayview Mac would be arriving.

The docks are now State run through the DNR so you can make reservations through them.
DNR - Mackinac Island State Harbor

I am sure you will have a great trip, have fun and enjoy.
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Old 03-13-2012
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Re: Mackinac Island

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Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
The docks are now State run through the DNR so you can make reservations through them.
DNR - Mackinac Island State Harbor

I am sure you will have a great trip, have fun and enjoy.
Are there any good anchorages around the island? Is there a breakwater to anchor in?
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Old 03-13-2012
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Re: Mackinac Island

towards the end of July the week end of the 21 to mid week the next week dockage may be hard to find

http://www.cycracetomackinac.com/
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Re: Mackinac Island

Tim pretty much covered when to stay away which are the Mac races back to back weeks in July. If you want to stay on the Island then make a reservation as far in advance as possible. They do fill up July and August.
Getting in June and Sept. is much easier.

The marina on the Island is new and quite nice. Permanent docks so a slight climb for most boats.Cannot beat the location! St. Ignace is also quite new, floating docks, not as much going on in SI. Mackinaw City is a older marina but I actually like the heads and showers better than SI. If I was making the decision it would be the Island and stop in the city or SI on the way in or out if you want. For the Island, just bring plenty of money and good legs for walking.

Anchorages are few and far between in that neighborhood. The holding in the Islands basin is poor, it is totally open to the S and SE, and there are more ferries going in and out to make it pretty rough. Pay for the dock and enjoy the peace of mind. I have been there all months from June to Sept. and it is really quite comfortable and pretty quiet unless you pick the time when the races are in. If the wind is forecasted above 15-20 from the SE( which is rare but horrible there), stay on the mainland. It is really rough with the fetch from that direction.
A great trip, and make certain that you visit Beaver Island on the trip....that is where there really is "Island Time".
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Re: Mackinac Island

Mac is a great place to stay on a boat. It is very different when the last ferry goes home.
I don't know of any suitable anchorages around the island for overnight, but there is a designated area inside the break wall; it is tight and fairly deep. I usually get a berth, away from the ferry dock if possible because of the surge. We Usually visit after Labor day. Anything westerly will be on the nose from the island to Grays Reef.

Sailor tjk1 is correct about grays reef, it is nothing to take lightly... you need to know exactly where you are, and watch for down bound shipping.

Beaver and Garden Islands are nice if you like a slower pace. Anchor or hail the municipal dock at Beaver, or anchor in Indian Harbor at Garden (tight fit wrt draft).

Have fun.
Ed
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Re: Mackinac Island

Ive tried anchoring in the basin ... doesn't work ...you can see the bottom & it is just a giant sheet of stone , nothing for the anchor to grab and there is usually a good breeze thru the strights so you need good holding.
around the side of the island you can get a bite in the sand, not reccommended to leave the boat to tour the island but beautyful to go for a dip.
Also if you are up there check out Les Cheneaux on the UP ,good cruising & They have a wooden boat show in early august.
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Old 03-14-2012
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Re: Mackinac Island

Mac Island is a great trip from Muskegon. Gray's Reef is simply stunning with the amazing water clarity and big boulders gliding beneath your hull. I highly recommend staying at the marina on the island. It's only a couple of years old and as such has excellent facilities and a perfect location for exploring main street and the rest of the island. The downside of the marina? Reservation can be tough to come by (book 'em now!) and the slips are majorly rolly throughout the day because of the constant flow of ferries. You'd think they would slow up to no wake speeds inside the breakwater, but no such luck. You'll be treated to a 2-3’ swell anout every 30 minutes or so from sun up to sun down. Anchoring inside of the breakwater is not any better as you'll get the same ferry wakes and poor holding. Stay at the marina and bring plenty of docklines and fenders.

Do rent bikes (or bring your own) on the island. The loop around the outside is flat and very enjoyable. Do take a trip either by bike or buggy to the interior as it's a whole different experience. Arch rock and the Grand Hotel are both crowded, but worth it.

Mackinac City features two state (DNR) marinas. Both are nice and within walking distance to town. However, The Straits Marina (DNR #2) is new and has great docks and facilities. You can also anchor in the small bay on St. Helena Island just west of the Mac Bridge if the winds and waves allow. The lighthouse is picturesque and the view of the twinkling bridge at twilight is spectacular. If time allows, the "Snows" (Les Cheneaux Islands) make a great side trip with cool towns (Hessel and Cedarville) and plenty of good quiet anchorages.

You can read about our latest cruise to Mackinac Island in the following links:

Sail Far Live Free: Mackinac Island

And...

Sail Far Live Free: Beaver Island to Mackinac Island
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Last edited by kwaltersmi; 03-15-2012 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 03-15-2012
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Re: Mackinac Island

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Originally Posted by kwaltersmi View Post

Mackinac City features two state (DNR) marinas. Both are nice and within walking distance to town. However, The Straits Marina (DNR #2) is new and has great docks and facilities.
Thanks for the update. The Straits Marina was not there the last time we were up there about 6 years ago. Nice to have all the tools available to you when you are on the water and knowing there is a new marina available to you is just more power, Thanks.
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