Mackinac Island gets big tourism boost during 2021

Joe Mertens

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Downtown in Mackinac IslandTrip Savvy

In Northern Michigan, just a ferry ride away from Mackinaw City lies a beautiful vacation spot called Mackinac Island. It sits in Lake Huron between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas and is right across from the esteemed Mackinac Bridge. During 2021, it reached record-breaking tourism numbers after a disappointing 2020 in which the pandemic halted visitors.

Business owners believe many visitors discovered the iconic island for the first time this year. Chris Shepler, an operator of Shepler's Ferry said the summer was "out of control" for the ferry service. In addition to the ferries, the hotels on the island were also busy. It's currently believed that the hotel room revenue for the 2021 season topped the island's record of $74.56 million.

Tim Hygh, the executive director of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau believes that after a rough 2020, people were eager to travel. "It came after the vaccinations, and people were so eager to travel. The market found us." Hygh said.

With winter coming, the ferry rides to the island have closed but Margaret Doud, the mayor of the island, says she's excited about what 2022 may bring. "I look forward to moving out of the pandemic but we are still in a pandemic," said Doud, who can be found at the front desk of the Windermere Hotel.

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Beautiful Arch Rock on Mackinac IslandPinterest

While on the island there's plenty of places to visit, like Fort Mackinac, Arch Rock, the Grand Hotel, and a ton of unique shops and restaurants in the downtown area. To travel around the island, you can go a carriage ride, rent a bike, or just walk. The famous island was also the site of the 1980 romance film "Somewhere in Time" starring Superman himself Christopher Reeve.

So, have you been to Mackinac Island? If so, what was your experience like? If you haven't been, are you going to put it on your vacation list for 2022? Comment below and let me know.

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