The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island has celebrated a major milestone. On Monday, July 10th, the well-known Michigan national landmark has turned 130 years old.

For those from outside of the Great Lakes region, the Mackinac Island is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, tourist destination in Michigan. The island is located at the northern tip of Lake Huron. It lies between lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, just northeast of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects both land masses.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island

The Grand Hotel advertises itself as having the longest porch in the world. In 1989 the hotel was added to the register of National Historic Landmarks. It is also well known for a number of famous visitors, including five U.S. presidents – Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It was also visited by Russian presidents – Vladimir Putin and Dimitri Medvedev. And in the early days – by Mark Twain and Thomas Edison.

The decision to build a hotel was made in 1886. The Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. The enterprise purchased land on Mackinac Island and began construction. The hotel opened on July 10th, 1887. After opening, it was advertised to the residents of the bigger cities around Great Lakes as a summer retreat for vacationers. The tourists would arrive by lake steamer or by rail.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
One of the guest rooms. Photo credit:

The hotel is listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Gold Lists” as one of the best places to stay in the whole world. Additionally, Travel + Leisure magazine lists it among the “Top 100 Hotels in the World”.

Mackinac Island became a popular summer resort destination during the Victorian era. One of the most unique aspects of the island is the fact that cars are NOT allowed. Therefore, you move around on foot, in a horse drawn carriage or on a bicycle. The island is accessed by a ferry from either Mackinaw City or Saint Ignace, or by airplane.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Inside one of the guest rooms. Photo credit:

The hotel has 393 guest rooms. The rates are not low. They begin around $300 per person, per night, for double occupancy, and around $560 for single. For suites, they begin around $1,300.

While not cheap, it is a unique lodging destination. And for those of you, especially abroad, who are planning once in a lifetime visit to Great Lakes region, I would strongly recommend staying there, if only for one night.

The hotel is closed for about 6 months in the winter when the weather does not allow for regular ferry service to the island.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Busy street on Mackinac Island.


The Grand Hotel – – more info, reservations –

The Mackinac Island – all the info you need to plan your visit –

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
The Grand Hotel at sunset. Photo credit:
Rich S.
Rich S.
Rich S. is a lifetime photographer and traveler based in Metro Detroit area. He has been traveling the Great Lakes area for over 30 years. Follow his blog about his trips, interesting activities and destinations in the Great Lakes region.

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