We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

What if the water's too rough?

Which Mackinac Island hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Wisconsin
posts: 3,385
reviews: 130
What if the water's too rough?

This will be our first trip, we booked for one night at the Main Street Inn and I'm pretty excited, until...What happens if the weather's really bad and we can't take the ferry? Does this actually happen? We'll be coming from WI, spending two nights at Munising, then our third nights on the Island before going to TC for two more nights. We'll be there the end of September.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 37,662
reviews: 118
1. Re: What if the water's too rough?

Never heard of that happening. It can be rough, but not too rough in the straits, at least during the island ferry season

Gaylord, Michigan
posts: 1,061
reviews: 144
2. Re: What if the water's too rough?

We've never had a problem. The Arnold Line has a catamaran that is very smooth, even in rough water. I've been on all the boats on all 3 ferry lines, in all kinds of weather and the boats were fine.

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 282
reviews: 25
3. Re: What if the water's too rough?

That's really not a concern. These boats run through all kinds of foul weather. It's the ice that stops them! You're more likely to have a delay trying to fly over from St. Ignace than catching a ferry.

I found a video on YouTube a couple of days ago of the Arnold Line's 'Huron' headed into Haldimand Bay (Mackinac Island Harbor) when the weather was a bit rough during a late season storm in the 1990's. I probably would have been sick riding on it, but the weather wasn't stopping that ferry! Take a look: http://youtu.be/RRBrsHavRtY

I think you'll be fine in September!

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
posts: 3,579
reviews: 94
4. Re: What if the water's too rough?

The ferries are held up by weather only once in a year or two and then only for a few hours. That doesn't mean there aren't a few times during the season when most people would find the trip unpleasent.

Wisconsin
posts: 3,385
reviews: 130
5. Re: What if the water's too rough?

I had read a comment about the boats not going and I didn't know how big a problem it is. About how long is the ride (thanks for letting me take the short-cut route by asking outright rather than hitting my guidebooks, I figure others may want to know)? I'll grab my Seabands just in case. Ah, I think I'll skip the video, but I appreciate the thought LOL.

So Red, as much as I'd like to see you all in UT, DH kind of laughed at that, but we may spend more time checking out your area as now we're staying further north in Alden. Maybe we'll focus on the sights and natural beauty and skip those big city lights. That's what we loved about the Southwest

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 282
reviews: 25
6. Re: What if the water's too rough?

From either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace, it's less than a 20-minute ride, regardless of ferry line.

Since you're coming from the north, you'll reach St. Ignace first, so you may want to catch the boat from there. Check schedules though, as St. Ignace has slightly less frequent service than Mackinaw City.

The three ferry lines are:

http://www.sheplersferry.com

http://www.arnoldline.com

http://www.mackinacferry.com (Star Line)

The prices and schedules of the three are nearly identical, though I prefer Shepler's. All offer free overnight parking, which is all I ever use. All of them will also help with luggage and arrange a dock porter on the island to help get the bags to your hotel, if needed.

If you purchase your tickets online (they are good any day/any departure), you'll save a few dollars.

Have a great trip!

Northern Michigan
Destination Expert
for Petoskey, Michigan
posts: 1,731
reviews: 29
7. Re: What if the water's too rough?

arrr matey...there be no such ting as too rough ;-)

Bay City, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Michigan
posts: 5,155
reviews: 927
8. Re: What if the water's too rough?

I have watched that video a few times-dramamine needed? LOL

LOL at DHC.

Anyone ever eat at the Douglas Lake Bar? I think Light has.....thinking of stopping there on our way to MC in September.

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
posts: 3,579
reviews: 94
9. Re: What if the water's too rough?

My Dad recently are at Douglas Lake Bar, but I haven't been there.

Frozen_Tundra, If you go from St. Ignace, you follow the shore along the back side of the Island. If you go from Mackinaw City, you have a much better view of the Bridge and the rest of the Straits.

Ann Arbor, MI
Destination Expert
for Michigan
posts: 1,710
reviews: 120
10. Re: What if the water's too rough?

That ferry video cracks me up! It's like the rain, sleet, snow slogan for the post office. They're going to deliver their load of fudgies no matter what the lake throws at them!

I have eaten at the Douglas Lake Bar, but only appetizers. It is much more upscale than the name suggests which didn't fit what I was looking for at the time. The appetizers were quite good though. If you're looking for a nicer place this would be a good choice (at least from my one trip). I liked the building itself--very cozy. Back then they only served dinner, not lunch. Not sure if it has changed it's hours or not.