| |

Getting to Mackinac Island: How to Ride the Ferry

If you recently booked or are looking to book a trip to Mackinac Island one question you may be asking is how do I get my family and luggage to Mackinac Island.

This post will tell you everything you need to know about riding the ferry to Mackinac Island.


View from Fort Mackinac of the harbor and downtown Mackinac Island

The location of your ferry departure depends on whether you are coming from the upper peninsula or lower peninsula.

If you are driving from the upper peninsula, you will likely board the ferry at St. Ignace.

While if you are coming from the lower peninsula, you will board the ferry at Mackinaw City.

We were coming from the lower peninsula and so traveled to Mackinaw City for our ferry ride.

There are multiple options of ferry companies to use for your travels to Mackinac Island.

We took the Shepler’s Ferry to Mackinac Island because our round trip tickets were included with our stay at Mission Point Resort.

It was an easy and enjoyable experience traveling to and from Mackinac Island on the ferry.

Our experience on Shepler’s Ferry was excellent so I definitely recommend them.

Here is everything you need to know about riding the ferry to Mackinac Island.

Ferry Docks Entrance

As soon as we pulled up to the ferry docks there were team members there to tell us where to go. They led us to some parking spots where we could park to unload all of our luggage

Unloading Your Luggage for the Mackinac Island Ferry

I was nervous that I was going to feel very rushed to get everything unloaded, but I felt exactly the opposite.

I was able take my time and think everything through so I didn’t forget anything.

We had two suitcases, a pack n play, and three random bags to give them. They tagged everything and put all of our stuff on a luggage cart. 

I had been wondering if you needed to limit your luggage or how well it needed to be contained.

They were very accommodating and flexible with everything you gave them.

Someone even had a bunch of dresses on hangers.

The Shepler’s Ferry team members were extremely helpful. 

Ferry Tickets

Once your luggage was pulled away by a team member on a luggage cart, you had to go into the main building to get your ferry tickets and pay for parking.

Our ferry tickets were included with our stay at Mission Point Resort.

If you need to purchase tickets, currently ticket prices are $34 round trip for an adult and $23 for children ages 5-12.

Children under age 5 are free to ride the ferry to Mackinac Island as well as leashed dogs and cats.

Note that pricing can change depending on demand and time of year so always make sure to check the ferry’s website for the most current information.

Expert Tip: You can transport your own bike(s) and bike trailer to Mackinac Island via the ferry but there is a charge for each bike plus the bike trailer. Check the website for details.

You can purchase your tickets for the ferry to Mackinac Island online or at the dock. Ferry tickets can be used any day or time.

Expert Tip: Make sure to put your ferry tickets in a safe place as you will need them for your return trip from Mackinac Island.

Ferry Schedule

Check the schedule on the Shepler’s Ferry website for ferry times to Mackinac Island.

During the busy summer season, the ferry departs about every 15 minutes.

Ferry rides depart Mackinaw City as early at 7:30am some days and go until 9:30 pm.

Departures times from St. Ignace are similar, but make sure to check the website for the most up to date information.

Note that during the off season, departures may be less frequently.

Expert tip: Always double check Shepler’s Ferry schedule before your intended departure time.

Ferry Ride to Mackinac Island

After picking up our tickets at the ticket counter, we parked the car, had a bathroom break, and stood in line to board the ferry.

We probably stood in line for about 10 minutes only.

The ferry ride to Mackinac Island took about 20 minutes.

We were able to just pull our stroller right on the ferry–another plus!

It was a relaxing and enjoyable ride.

The scenery is so incredible! You will get a gorgeous view of Lake Huron as well as the Mackinac Bridge.

There is an upstairs outside area to sit, or you can sit down below inside the ferry.

Arrival on Mackinac Island

Once we arrived on Mackinac Island, we disembarked and walked through downtown to our resort.

By the time we got to our resort, our luggage was already there. It felt like magic!

Return Ferry Ride to Mackinaw City

For the ferry ride back, we just had to give our resort 1.5 to 2 hours to get our luggage to the ferry and back to the Mainland.

That gave us a little time to do some last minute things on Mackinac Island before heading home.

After getting off the ferry back at the Mainland, they pointed to the large tent where our luggage would be.

We went in and found our luggage, and it was as easy as that!

Cannon overlooking the lake on Mackinac Island

Shepler’s Ferry made our traveling to and from Mackinac Island super easy and enjoyable.

I was super thankful for that!

If you are departing from Michigan’s upper peninsula at St. Ignace, the ferry ride process is very much the same.

Subscribe to my email list to be the first to know about new posts and more helpful travel tips for your family! May you LOVE your adventure. KW

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you, I had questions about this process. We are leaving and staying at Mission point resort with a baby so this post put my mind at ease!

    1. I am so glad this post helped put your mind at ease! I was very nervous about the process of riding the ferry and getting everything to the hotel too but the workers are great, and it’s a fairly smooth process! Let me know if you have any other questions! I would love to help! Enjoy your trip!! -Katie

  2. Did the island late July- star ferry was 31$ per adult, carriage ride around was 37$ per adult. In mackinaw city Don’t go to Toast-go-go for breakfast it’s a BOGO not worth it 3 meals 54$ plus tip and service was awful, go to Mr. Pancake better food and service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *