Published on April 14th, 2021

Mackinac Island is a place everyone should visit. The soothing water, 70+ miles of trails, rich history, and horse-drawn community make it an experience everyone will enjoy.

There are different ways to get to Mackinac Island and we’ll talk about those briefly, but in this blog post we’re going to dive into the best way to get to the Mackinac Island ferry if you fly into a commercial airport.Travel to Mackinac Island can include transportation such as commercial ferry boats, private planes and airport shuttles.


Take a Shuttle from the Airport to the Mackinac Island Ferry

Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) and Chippewa County International Airport (CIU) are the two closest airports and are both less than 35 minutes from the ferry docks. Both airports have a shuttle that will take you from the airport to the ferry dock and back again for a fee.

  • Mackinaw Shuttle

Mackinaw Shuttle operates out of Mackinaw City and has a wide variety of shuttle options. A shuttle from Pellston Regional Airport to a Mackinaw City ferry is $50/person roundtrip or one-way for $40 for the first person and $25/person for additional passengers.

Mackinaw Shuttle also offers shuttle services for Chippewa County International Airport to the St. Ignace ferry. A one-way trip is $210 up to 2 people (1 or 2 people are the same price) and $25/person for additional passengers.

Mackinaw Shuttle also has a shuttle available for the Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) located about 2 hours south in Traverse City, Michigan. That cost is $320 for a one-way up to 2 people (1 or 2 people are the same price) and $25/person for additional passengers

At Mackinaw Shuttle, children under 10 are half the price of the fees about. Also, an additional $20 fee may be issued for before or after hour services. Both departure and return shuttles can be reserved ahead of time. Visit the Mackinaw Shuttle website or call 231-539-7005 for more information.

  • Soo Line Airport Shuttle

Soo Line Airport Shuttle operates out of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and is available for services anywhere in St. Ignace as well as the shuttle from Chippewa County International Airport to the St. Ignace ferry dock. A one-way shuttle ride is $80 for the whole party. Reservations can be made by calling 906-440-4674.

Rent a Car at the Airport and Drive to the Mackinac Island Ferry DocksHere’s a graphic showing driving distance to Mackinac Island ferry docks from cities across the eastern United States.

Another option if you fly into an airport, especially one further away, is to rent a car. Take a road trip to scenic Northern Michigan and park the rental car at the ferry parking lots for an overnight stay on Mackinac Island.

Rental Car and Airport Shuttle to Mackinac Island

And finally, if you fly to an airport and decide to rent a car, you can drop it off at Pellston Regional Airport and then use their shuttle service to get to the ferry. They have drop-off and rentals available through Avis and Budget rental companies. Then, you can arrange a shuttle to take you to the ferry!


Get to Mackinac Island by Ferry

The most common way to get to Mackinac Island is by ferry. Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry have locations in Mackinaw City in the lower peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. The ferry is a about a 16-26 minute ride from mainland to Mackinac Island.

Get to Mackinac Island by Airplane

Mackinac Island visitors can arrive by airplane on a brief flight from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island Airport.

While flying to Mackinac Island sometimes is the only option in the winter when the water freezes, you also can fly to Mackinac Island in the summer. Photo Credit: Katharine Rose Witt

Another way to get to Mackinac Island is by airplane. You can fly commercially from St. Ignace, charter a flight from other Michigan airports, or arrange a private flight in. Flying is common in the winter for locals and visitors alike especially when the water freezes along the Straits of Mackinac. It’s a fun adventure that many people don’t consider.

Great Lakes Air and Fresh Air Aviation both operate out of St. Ignace and can be contacted for more information about flying to Mackinac Island.

Bring Your Boat to Mackinac Island

Beat the crowds and take your own boat to Mackinac Island. Sailors and motor-boat owners can plan their route and rent a boat slip from the Mackinac Island State Harbor, East Dock, and Coal Dock. For slip rental information in the Mackinac Island Harbor call 906-847-3561. For East Dock and Coal Dock rental information text Veronica at 906-430-0095.