A Fun Way to Get To Mackinac Island - Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry

Disclosure: Our family was given complimentary tickets to experience Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry. I was not required to express a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.

We’re continuing our Mackinac Island series with a one of the coolest ways to get to Mackinac Island – a ferry ride. For our special Mackinac Island trip we chose Star Line Ferry. See why we think it’s THE FUN way to get to the island!



  • Walk up tickets available. I’m one who always buys tickets beforehand, but Star Line makes it easy to buy tickets the day of. And they have departures at least every hour, so you can rest assure that you’ll get on a boat.
  • Spacious. We were one of the last ones to board and actually thought there wouldn’t be enough room, since a huge Boy Scout Troop just boarded. We were fine and didn’t have trouble finding a seat.
  • Go under the Mighty Mac. Check their schedule and definitely try to make the one that goes under the bridge. It’s free!

  • Enjoying the views. This goes without saying but the views are great! You can also feel the excitement in the air when you start seeing the island, Grand Hotel, and the town getting closer and closer.

Star Line Mackinac Ferry - Taking in the views

Star Line Mackinac Ferry - View of Grand Hotel

Star Line Mackinac Ferry - Views of the Lighthouse

  • Rooster Tail. The only ferry going to Mackinac Island that has a “Rooster Tail”. See it in action here!

  • Quick. Getting to Mackinac is about 18 minutes. If you choose one that goes under the bridge, allow for 30 minutes. It was the perfect length without the kids getting too antsy.

Tips to enjoy Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry:

  • Make sure you know which dock you want to go to! We departed from St. Ignace and Star Line has 3 docks. I failed to look at the dock we were departing from so we stopped at each one until we reached the right one – Dock #3.
  • Get to the docks at least 15-20 minutes beforehand. If you decide to park your own car, you’ll need time to get back (especially if you wait for the shuttle.)
  • Stay warm. If you decide to sit outside on the top, make sure to grab a light jacket. It’s much chillier.
  • Stay on the left side (port) side to enjoy views of the island as you arrive. Stay on the right side of the boat (starboard) to say good-bye to the island.
  • Cross the bridge! We loved going to St. Ignace because we had the chance to cross the Mackinac Bridge. The “Mighty Mac” is a marvel! To make it even more special, try to make a ferry ride that goes under the bridge. It will add to the experience! There is a toll of $4 (cash or credit) each way.

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge - Up Close

Bottom Line:

Going on a Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry is definitely the way to go to Mackinac Island. Make sure to take a boat that goes under the bridge!

Nitty Gritty:

Website: https://www.mackinacferry.com/
Location: Two different locations – one in St. Ignace (Upper Peninsula) and the another in Mackinaw City.
Hours: Check website for schedule.
Ticket prices: Prices start at $26/adult, $14 ages 5-12, 5 and under are free. Check their website for specials. If you order online it will be less expensive.
Parking: They have a secured parking lot where you can leave your car if you are staying overnight or day. You can also pay extra for valet parking. If yu decide to park it yourself, they have shuttles that will bring you back to the dock.
Stroller-friendly? You can bring strollers and bikes on board. Strollers are free. Bikes are an additional fee.
What to expect:  A quick ride into Mackinac Island

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