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how to get there

Phoenix, Arizona
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how to get there

We are planning on flying from Phoenix for a 3 day stay at Mackinac. We plan on renting a car and driving from some major city to Mackinac What city should be fly to : Chicago? Detroit? Once we land, we would like to spend a couple of days in the big city that we have flown to.

Also if we rent a car from a big city can we drop it off someplace close to the island and then take a ferry to the Grand Hotel

We are planning on coming for the Big Band weekend and do some ballroom dancing. I hope that it will be worth it

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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1. Re: how to get there

when do you plan to visit?

at any rate, judging from what you've said in your post, i'd say fly into chicago (if tix prices and/or car rentals are reasonably competitive with detroit, cleveland etc)...... not to knock the other 1st and 2nd tier cities around here, but if you're planning on spending time doing big city stuff on this trip, then chicago is the way to go, IMO.... drive time to mack island is a few hours longer than detroit, MKE, etc, but it's not that much... also, if you fly into chicago, you have the option of driving on either side of lake michigan to and from the island..... however, YOU DO NOT WANT TO RETURN TO CHICAGO AROUND THE SOUTH END OF THE LAKE ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you WILL pay for it dearly sitting in traffic! but i do recommend timing it properly and driving on both sides of the lake....

you will find, driving along the west side thru wisc and upper MI, some very high quality scenery especially in upper MI.... if you go this route, DEFINITELY drive along lake superior and spend some time at pictured rocks national park... when you drive along the east shore, thru lower MI, DEFINITELY hug the shore as much as possible and be sure to spend some time at sleeping bear dunes national park.... stop in 1 or 2 of the excellent beachtowns along the way.....

as far as mack island, you can leave your car at the ferry terminal on the mainland during your stay on the island.... if you're able, i strongly recommend renting bikes on the island (kinda pricey, but you gotta do it) as you'll be able to cover a lot of ground.... it's an easy 8 miles around the island.... some may disagree, but IMO, mack city is the better place to stay vs st ignace.... seems like st ignace has seen better days, however, i would venture to say you'll get better deals on lodging.... either way, drive over the bridge---very impressive, indeed.

if you plan to use chicago for your portal city, post in the chicago forum for more detailed info....

some links to a TA article on driving around the great lakes, and a slide show of a trip we took last year that covers some of the territory of your planned trip......

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-c183176/United-S…

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-064d-4778-84f0…

hope this helps!

Bay City, Michigan
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for Michigan
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2. Re: how to get there

I'd see what rates are for several airports-Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Flint. If you end up in GR, Lansing or Flint, I'd rent the car and head to Traverse City for a couple of nights. Not a big city, but a great town with a plethora of great restaurants, fun shopping, scenic drives, parks, wineries, etc., then head to MIsland.

Yes, there are parking lots right at each ferry dock; parking is safe. If you want to pay to park, they have fenced parking areas, also.

Williamston...
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3. Re: how to get there

I think what you're asking is if there's a rental car agency where you can turn in the car upon arrival in Mackinaw City, since you won't be using a car for those 3 days on Mackinac Island. I don't know the answer off hand but maybe someone else does. No sense in renting a car if you're not using it.

Also, I know I'm not promoting my own state, but if I had to choose between Chicago and Detroit on the basis of doing some sightseeing, I'd have to go with Chicago.

Edited: 18 August 2013, 02:06
Bay City, Michigan
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4. Re: how to get there

There is no place to drop off a rental car. Closest airport is Pellston. It would cost you a fair amount of money to get a ride to MC and back to Pellston. and then you'd have to rent all over again. Cheaper to just keep the car for the few days, by and large. You could call ask rates though; never hurts to do the research!

Manistique, Michigan
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5. Re: how to get there

Another airport to look at is Traverse City (TVC)

Atlanta, Georgia
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6. Re: how to get there

All good suggestions above. My thought is see places unique to Michigan that you are not likely to see on another trip.

While I normally fly into Flint or Pellston, in this case I'd suggest Detroit. It's only a 4 hour drive to Mackinaw City, depending on traffic.

If you've never visited The Henry Ford in Dearborn (practically minutes from DTW), it's worth a visit. You could spend the better part of a day visiting there and Greenfield Village. I'd then also recommend a stop in Frankenmuth for a chicken dinner or perhaps an overnight stay. As mentioned, Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes are also worth a visit.

Plan on keeping your rental car, there is no where to return it while you are on the island. Don't pay for overnight parking, I have never heard of an incident with break-ins in either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace.

While I normally use Shepler's Ferry (great service and crew), all three ferry lines basically offer the same price for the trip. Buy your tickets online in advance (they are good for any day and any departure) to save a few dollars and time waiting at the ticket booth.

If you are staying at Grand Hotel, go ahead and drive to St. Ignace and depart from there (ferry prices are the same from either city). It's worth the drive over the Mackinac Bridge!

Have a great trip!

Petoskey, Michigan
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7. Re: how to get there

Check prices for Pellston. It has a shuttle to take you to the ferry. By the time you figure out renting a car, fighting traffic, a LONG car trip....I think you'll like our lovely little Pellston airport (only drawback is it only has one carrier - Delta).

Kansas
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for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
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8. Re: how to get there

The Pellston airport IS lovely. The service to it and the prices are not.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: how to get there

I would fly to Chicago, given that Detroit is not very safe. (In general.). If you rent a car from Avis or Hertz, you can drop it in Pellston which is about 25 minutes away from Mackinaw City. You can definitely take a ferry to Mackinac Island, I would personally recommend Sheplers ferry.

Bay City, Michigan
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10. Re: how to get there

Excellent point, Lighthouselovertoo, right on the money! Hopefully the OP reads that and does his research. We'll be in Pellston this weekend; maybe just have to stop and revisit this lovely small airport! ;)

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