Home is Where the Horses Are

There are few things as quintessentially Mackinac than the horses.

They’re the first thing you see when you step off the ferry, their clip-clop is the first thing you hear, and they keep things moving on the island — literally. Horses were first brought on to Mackinac Island in the 1700’s, when they were used to build Fort Mackinac. In 1901 automobiles were banned on the island, making horses in-demand modes of transportation. This combined with increased tourism and sightseeing have made horses king.  Whether you’re a Carriage-Tour-taker or an equestrian expert, everyone can find away to appreciate the four-legged mascots of Mackinac Island. 

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours: Let the horses be your guide to Mackinac Island. Take a guided carriage tour across the island, available for booking at their kiosk on Main Street across from the ferry docks. Standard tours last about 2 hours starting downtown, although special routes can be arranged.

Good to know: Horse-drawn taxi cabs are available through radio dispatch. Call the taxi dispatch office to arrange a pick up.

Grand Hotel Horse and Carriage Tours: Learn about the history of Mackinac Island in a grand fashion, or opt for a private tour with your own itinerary. The Grand Hotel stables house 12 horses and is free and open to all visitors on Mackinac Island — it’s a great way to see the horses up close. 

Good to know: The Grand Stables doubles as an antique carriage museum with approximately 30 carriages from both the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island Carriage Tours. Scan the QR code on each carriage and take a self-guided tour.

Jack’s Livery Stable: Take the reins with family horse and buggy rides that put you behind the horse. After an assessment of your driving ability and some important guidelines, the island is your oyster. Trail Guides will be on-hand to let you know the best routes and paths. Avoid downtown instead opt for a leisurely ride around the parts of Mackinac Island you don’t get to see every day.

Good to know: Jack’s Livery Stable only takes reservations the day before your rental, same-day rentals are welcome.

Cindy’s Riding Stable:  Sister company to Jack’s Livery Stable, Cindy’s Riding Stable maintains about 30 horses a year. If you’re looking for a chance to sit in the saddle and sight-see at a horse’s pace, Cindy’s is the place for you. After saddling up, professional guides will give you riding instructions and escort you to the state park, from there you can opt to follow your guide or explore independently.

Good to know: If you ever have a question or concern, your trail guide is always available to offer advice and expertise. They know the island, they know the trail, and they definitely know horses.