116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Getting there is half the fun.
Before boarding a ferry to Michigan’s Mackinac Island, the nearly nine-hour drive from Cedar Rapids can be broken up with a pit stop in the Wisconsin Dells.
Eating pizza out of a retro Volkswagen Bus in the middle of Wisconsin seems to be a scene reserved for “That ’70s Show,” but can also be seen at Grateful Shed.
The hole-in-the-wall restaurant is on Wisconsin Dells Parkway, across the street from water parks galore.
Grateful Shed is home to retro relics and offers plenty to look at, including VW buses, a Greyhound bus for dining, ’80s-esque decor and signage, as well as arcade games. With four food trucks serving up their own specialties and a bar willing to concoct unique drinks, visitors are sure to find plenty to satisfy their hungry stomachs.
To Mackinac Island
Star Line and Shepler are the two most accessible and popular ferry services, shuttling visitors to and from the island. Star Line Ferry services run every 15 minutes or half hour, depending on the demand at the time.
Bicycles, strollers, wheelchairs and scooters are allowed on the ferries for passengers who require them.
Planning: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau offers a comprehensive guide to food and fun, lodging, sights to see, recreation and transportation options, at mackinacisland.org.
By car: About nine hours northeast of Cedar Rapids; then leave your car on the mainland and take a ferry to the island, where you then can walk, rent a bike, ride a horse or take a horse-drawn carriage tour.
Grand experience: Fans of the movie “Somewhere in Time” will recognize the Grand Hotel, where tea is served daily, and is among the amenities open to the public as well as guests; details at grandhotel.com.
Motor vehicles are prohibited on Mackinac Island and their means of transportation are by foot, bicycle, or horse and buggy.
Visitors are allowed to bring their own bicycles for a fee of $13, which covers the ferry ride. Otherwise, you’ll find ample amounts of bicycle rental services available once on the island, for tandem and solo bicycles.
When considering which mode of transportation to choose for your stay on Mackinac Island, from personal experience, biking was the most convenient and easiest mode for a family of five.
Some of our destinations would not have gotten crossed off the bucket list had we walked, since we wanted to avoid walking 8.2 miles or more.
Main Street on the island
Mackinac Island has plenty of sights to see, souvenirs to purchase and good food to eat. Whether you’re looking for an excuse to splurge while on vacation or lie low over the course of your stay, Mackinac Island has a variety of activities, shops and restaurants that complement every budget.
If you’re the type who cannot function on a normal day — let alone a busy vacation day — without a cup of joe, Good Day Cafe and Coffee Bar is a fitting first stop.
With lattes crafted with Mackinac’s signature fudge and year-round peppermint flavoring, ordering a coffee here is sure to guarantee a good day.
While on Mackinac Island, you are sure to step foot onto M-185, the 8.2-mile state highway that circles the island — and where motor vehicles have been banned for more than a century.
Natural landmarks including Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac and British Landing lie along M-185. The highway also offers views of both Lakes Huron and Michigan.
Producing the first merchandise to include Mackinac’s signature “8.2” on products, Destination Mackinac offers a variety of souvenirs, including glassware, stickers, magnets, T-shirts, sweatshirts, blankets and more.
Sure, cheesy gift shops will all supply these basic souvenir items, however it is clear that these items will sustain and prove to be your favorites time and time again.
The entirety of a day’s trip to Mackinac Island cannot easily be summed up, and this serves only as a small glimpse into what is a fun-filled, oh-so-worth-it day trip to Mackinac Island.
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