Find your way around this tranquil, quaint town with a Mackinac Island bike rental. Mackinac Island, Michigan offers the charm and hospitality of a small town with the nautical, relaxed Island lifestyle worth traveling for.
“The Jewel of the Great Lakes”, you’ll find Mackinac Island offers shopping, tours, recreation, and much more at its luxury resorts and bed and breakfast properties. From dramatic history and beautiful beaches, to homemade fudge and afternoon tea, there’s something for everyone in Mackinac Island.
You won’t find car rentals, traditional car taxi cabs, or any vehicles permitted on Mackinac Island. In order to preserve the quiet pace of life desired on the Island, automobiles are not driven on Mackinac Island.
You can arrange to take a ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Igance to the Island proper, and bringing your own bike along will cost approximately $10, in addition to the per person fee to ride the ferry.
If you aren’t interested in arranging for your own bike, or haven’t ridden a bicycle in your adult life, there are options! You’ll find your own Mackinac Island bike rental available, with many options to choose from.
Searching for a way to traverse Mackinac Island on your own? You’ll find many bicycle rental shops available, with solo or tandem bikes available for your trip. This post summarizes the local businesses on Mackinac Island where you can find the preferred method of transportation to enjoy all the Island has to offer: the bicycle.
Explore the many choices you have for a Mackinac Island bike rental and make your trip a memorable, exploratory one.
Mackinac Island Bike Rental: Find a Bike and Enjoy the Trail:
The Island itself is only 3.8 square miles, and even though you’ll various activities and reasons to stop along the way, you can circumvent the trek around the Island in just over eight miles. The journey makes a great morning or afternoon jaunt, seeing natural limestone fixtures and beach views that are just off the beaten path of Mackinac Island’s popular tourist finds.
Biking along the trail can be done in one and a half hours, or perhaps much longer depending on how often you’d like to stop and leisurely sight see along the route. The trail will enable you to see the Grand Hotel, Skull Cave, Governor’s Residence, Fort Mackinac, Sugar Loaf, Arch Rock, and more.
There are many trails that run along the interior of the island, and while the paths may be unmarked, you’ll find signage and trail markings along the way for you to find your way back to town.
You’ll experience the natural beauty and scenery, courtesy of a Mackinac Island bike rental, and see what many other tourists weren’t able to take advantage of. Since the island is only just over three square miles, you will run into people eventually, even if you think you have gone too far.
The island is not that big after all, and you won’t get lost exploring on your bike. Just stay on the paved paths.
There are brief stopping points with picnic tables, restrooms, and more, but you won’t find shops or stores, so pack a light meal or snacks as well as plenty of water to sustain along the way. Take a step off the biking path to soak up the amazing views, crisp air, and ocean breezes of Mackinac Island.
The pictures will be worth it, and only begin to share the story of your great Mackinac Island bike rental!
Where to Get a Bike
The Grand Hotel
Finding a Mackinac Island bike rental might just be as easy as contacting the concierge at your hotel. The landmark resort on Mackinac Island, The Grand Hotel features expansive grounds, gourmet restaurants, stately guestrooms, and an ambiance with a luxurious, nostalgic feel. The resort staff is happy to accommodate your needs for a brief bike ride around town or along the unique trail.
Rates start at $9 per hour for adult bikes and $5 per hour for children. Half-day and full-day rental rates are also available. The Grand Hotel also offers Burley rentals, making it easy for you to travel with small children.
Mackinac Island Bike Shop
This Mackinac Island bike rental is located on Main Street, adjacent the appropriately named Bicycle Street Inn & Suites Waterfront Collection hotel. The shop touts many benefits, including no rental deposit required, pro-rated rates after the first hour, and special sunset rates from dusk until 10am the following day.
Rates start at $9 per hour for adult bikes and $5 per hour for children. Tandem bikes, adult tricycles, strollers, Burleys, Weehoos, and Tagalongs are specialty rentals available. There are also free extras included with every Mackinac Island bike rental from this shop, including bottled water, a bike rack, and helmet included.
Mission Point Bike Rentals
Mission Point is another luxurious resort offering Mackinac Island bike rental available. Visit the Activities Center on resort to find rentals available for your vacation recreation.
Adult single speed rates start at $7 per hour, while multispeed bikes start at $8 per hour. Tandems, Burleys, and Tagalong rentals are available at Mission Point. Half day and full day discounts are offered as well.
Ryba’s Bike Rentals
The famous family owned fudge shop expands their offerings with a Mackinac Island bike rental for you to enjoy. Take in the sights of the Island after you enjoy some decadent fudge with a fun bike ride. You can make reservations in advance with Ryba’s for larger groups.
Rates range from $6-9 per hour for single, 3 speed, 7 speed, and mountain bike adult rentals. Tandem, tagalong, baby carts, strollers, double strollers, and other options are available. Rates are either per hour or offered at a full day discount.
Island House Bikes
Mackinac Island bike rentals are not limited to guests of The Island House. The shop is open to the public between May and October, the peak season on Mackinac Island.
Rates start at $8 per hour for adult bikes and $6 per hour for children. Day, 24-hour, and overnight rates are available. Tandem, Burley, Trikes, Stroller, and Performance bikes are available.
Mackinac Wheels and Mackinac Bike Barn
One company with two separate outposts offers an abundance of experiences to enjoy a relaxing bike ride on the Island. Boasting a staff that “lives and breathes bikes”, you’ll find the experts you need to help with your bicycle queries and guided exploration for a Mackinac Island bike rental at Mackinac Wheels. Staying on Mackinac for a longer period of time? The shop even offers bikes available for purchase, as well as bicycle repairs.
Rates start at $6 per hour for adult single speed cruisers, up to $9 per hour for mountain bikes. Tandems, adult trikes, Burleys, Tagalongs, and strollers are available. Half day, full day, midnight rides, and 24-hour rentals offer discounted rates. Contact Mackinac Wheels by email or phone for large group rentals in advance.
Bike Rental Mackinac Island: things to consider
Ride safely: you can even get a speeding ticket! Because bicycles are a method of transportation on Mackinac Island, be aware of your surroundings and obey all traffic signs to ensure you aren’t in violation of local ordinances. bikes are the golden standard for tickets, which include speeding tickets and DUI’s.
There are over 70 miles of natural and paved trails throughout Mackinac Island, giving you plenty of ground and variety to cover and see on your bike ride.
Mackinac Island licenses approximately 85,000 bicycles each year, and many visitors bring their own bicycles with them on the ferry.
Just as if you were driving a car in the United States, but you won’t be, because you’re on Mackinac Island, stay on the right side of the road when pedaling your bike around.
You won’t need to worry about a car hitting you while you partake in a Mackinac Island bike rental. But be warned for busy downtown streets full of other bikers, wandering pedestrians, and especially horses, some of which may be taxis or running carriage tours for groups. Horses often aren’t able to stop quickly, especially when they have carriage tours operating, so be cautious!
Coming down the hill from the Grand Hotel is a bit steep and where a lot of people wipe out or get speeding tickets. This area you will want to be extra cautious because there are a lot of horses and pedestrians. Often, people will walk their bikes down this area to be safe.
Bikes can disappear. You would think since the island is so small that it would never happen – well it does. I have friends who have had bikes taken. Lock up your bike and play it safe.
While vehicle parking can be tricky when you’re visiting a new city, bicycle parking is no exception on Mackinac Island. When you park your bike on the street, keep it within the white line. Otherwise, look for clearly marked off-street parking areas where other bikes are stashed. Burleys, tandems or bikes that do not have kickstands must use off-street parking. Bikes should never be parked on a sidewalk, as pedestrians frequent the streets, or locked to a fixed object, where they can be obtrusive.
Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are not generally permitted within the city, as they prohibit the use of non-emergency motor vehicles. Individuals with disabilities may obtain a permit and file with the Mackinac Island Police Department and receive a license to operate.
I’ve always been a fan of Mackinac Island for its great people, food, natural beauty, pleasant atmosphere, and genuine hospitality. Plan a trip to this quiet Island and you’ll soon enjoy a relaxed pace of life when you take a step back in time – the island is so relaxed, you won’t find a single car driving by! Bicycles enable you to focus on the pleasant sights and open road ahead of you.
Take a journey to explore lesser-known sites off the beaten path and enjoy a Mackinac Island bike rental for your sightseeing. You never know what you might find, and remember: “not all who wander are lost”!
Fun Date Ideas with Your Mackinac Island Bike Rental
If we are being honest, at the end of the day the old school charm of Mackinac Island IS romantic. The second you step onto the island its as if you were transported to another time (except people are not dressed up in period time pieces). There are so many fun things to do on the island, but bike dates has to be one of the top!
- Head over and get your Mackinac Island bike rental and for a romantic ride, get a tandem bike. It shows you trust each other and it creates teamwork in your relationship.
- Get bikes with baskets! Then head over to Doud’s Market and get all the fixings for a picnic (don’t forget the wine) and ride out to someplace overlooking the grandeur of the water.
- Ride bikes out to the bottom of Arch Rock and marvel at its beauty. The water there is also crystal clear blue and looks like the Caribbean.
- Plan a romantic proposal.
- Ride out to the The Woods for a romantic dinner and then ride down to the West Bluff for an epic sunset view over the Mackinac Bridge. There is even a bench there where you can get off your bike and sit down and relax.
- Ride out to the Butterfly House and see these majestic beauties and how colorful they are.
- Head up into the island, up past the Grand Hotel and find the neighborhoods. Ride through and guess how much the houses are worth. Trust me – you will be wrong every single time.
- Ride up to Sunset Rock and get views of the sunset, Mackinac Bridge, the Upper Peninsula, and Lake Huron. It’s like a 4 for 1 deal.
- On a clear night, head up to Fort Holmes, the highest point on the island, for the best stargazing the island has to offer.
Additional Information about Mackinac Island
Technically you can visit Mackinac Island year round, but not all the businesses are open. The season runs from about April to October every year and is largely dependent on weather conditions. Many moons ago I can remember the island being 100% open past Halloween, however this last year I went up to the island in the beginning of October and a lot of places were starting to close because the weather was just terrible. While I think the island is amazing in all weather conditions, it isn’t very fun when you have to take a rough ferry over and then battle cold, rainy weather with winds. So I can respect not wanting to visit for that. Caveat – if you do visit in the fall, you get the pleasure of seeing all the magnificent colors of the leaves that have changed on the trees and that in itself is worth its weight.
In the winter the island does receive a fair amount of snow, so you would be pressed to get a bike down the street.
A lot of people ride bikes on the island, including the staff who work there for the season. You won’t be hard pressed to find a place to lock up your bike at a hotel, resort or bed and breakfast. However, downtown can get crazy busy so keep an eye out for a spot.
Most people who rent bikes use them just to get around the downtown area or ride the outskirts of the island, which is truly magnificent and just over eight miles around (on mostly flat terrain). But there is so much of the island to explore outside of the downtown area and within that eight mile radius of the outskirts. If you are up for an adventure and want to really experience the magic of the island, go up into the island and explore the roads. I have found neighborhoods of residents, grocery stores, a whole lot of greenery and wooded areas, and it is just beautiful!
Just keep in mind that if you do go into the residential area to be respectful to those who live back there. It is not busy and loud the way downtown is and I assume that they would like to keep it that way. Just pass thru and observe the neighborhoods and magic that are happening away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown.
I feel like I should say this, although everyone knows it, but wear a helmet. It is for your safety after all and the last thing you want to do is get hurt during your holiday on Mackinac Island. I have seen a few people in my 35 years take some nasty falls on their bikes.
There are a few times during the season when Mackinac Island gets more visitors than normal. You will find all the hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, cottages, and private rentals are booked AND there is a ton of people who just have day ferry tickets to be on the island. Events like the Yacht Race and Lilac Festival can bring these crowds. If you are planning to be on Mackinac Island during this time frame and ride your bike, take extra precautions with all the extra foot traffic.
If the island is crazy busy downtown, it makes more sense to just use your bike on the outskirts or if you need to get from say Mission Point Resort to the Grand Hotel, take one of the side roads that is off the Main Street where the majority of “traffic” is. When the height of the season hits, the downtown area is crazy busy with other people on bikes, on foot and the horses and carriages.
I would strongly argue during the height of the season to just NOT use a bike downtown during the busy hours of the day.
If you are planning to come to the island just for a day and a Mackinac Island bike rental is in your cards, check with the tourism board and see if anything is going on that day. If it is crazy high season and they have a big event, you would need to come over on the first ferry to guarantee yourself a bike rental for the day. Even though some hotels have bike rentals on their properties, there is a first come first serve basis, with guests getting priority access. For example, if every lodging is booked on the island, finding a bike may have a set of challenges. It takes no extra time to call ahead and see if anyone plans to have bikes and let them know your plan. You may be able to book your bikes in advance and just pay for an extra day if you do it over the phone – it is worth checking on.
Lastly, just have fun. Whether you come to enjoy Mackinac Island for a day or a week, it is going to be the most unforgettable time of your life. I can remember the first time I went to the island and I was just in awe of how different everything was because they had no cars. Ask anyone who visits Mackinac Island, they did not just visit once, they are repeat visitors and it is because the island just steals your heart that way. And while it may be Michigan’s hidden gem for some, I don’t mind sharing it because I think everyone should experience the magic this small island exudes in the middle of Lake Huron. So pack your bags, plan ahead, make sure and wear a helmet and any other protective gear you may need, grab a water or desired beverage of choice, some snacks, your partner, a camera for the beautiful photo stops you will encounter, and grab your Mackinac Island bike rental to get on your way.
Have a wonderful trip! Let me know if you visit the island and if you enjoyed biking around it or through – it is a favorite among the people who continuously visit the island year after year.