Step back in time on Mackinac Island, a tiny piece of land where cars are banned and horse-drawn carriages are a regular sight. Tucked between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, this lovely spot offers peace and quiet all within easy reach of civilization. Spend your days exploring around your Mackinac Island vacation rental where you can swim in the cold blue waters of Lake Huron, enjoy the many shops downtown or sip tea on the porch of the spectacular Grand Hotel.

1. Downtown

Stay in the heart of Mackinac Island in the Downtown area. This small, picturesque neighborhood features buzzing candy shops and restaurants, so you’re never far from your next snack. Just steps from your vacation rental, you can try the legendary Murdick’s Fudge as you browse through adorable curio shops and gift stores. The ferry to the mainland docks nearby, so it’s easy to explore the area.

2. Mackinac Island East

If you’re looking for a quiet atmosphere and stunning architecture, look no further than Mackinac Island East. Just a short walk from downtown, this lovely neighborhood is rich with ornate homes and immaculately kept flower gardens. Sit on your vacation rental’s front porch in the morning as you sip coffee and watch the horse-drawn carriages roll by, or make the short stroll down to the water for beautiful views.

3. Mackinac Island West

Get away from the crowds in Mackinac Island West. Here, large single-family homes sit in the middle of spacious yards, creating plenty of space for the kids to play. Rent bikes to get downtown or around the island, or simply enjoy walking along the lakeshore path. For the best views of Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge, look for vacation rentals in the hills.

4. Central St. Ignace

Enjoy easy access to Mackinac Island as well as the outdoor delights of the Upper Peninsula with a vacation rental in Central St. Ignace. This compact neighborhood takes up the city’s downtown core, as well as a beautiful section of waterfront. Here, you can spend an afternoon exploring the souvenir shops downtown, or poke through the many antique shops. Ferries to the island dock nearby, making the trip quick and hassle-free.

5. West St. Ignace

Secure your own piece of Lake Michigan shore in West St. Ignace. Located west of the Mackinac Bridge, this quiet area offers nearly deserted beaches and beautiful bridge views. For a true local treat, stop by one of the many pastry shops to try this freshly baked Upper Peninsula favorite. Highway 2 runs through the area, connecting you to downtown in minutes.

6. Gros Cap

Get off the beaten path in Gros Cap. This small area, which sits just 10 minutes west of St. Ignace, offers the ultimate in peace and quiet. Choose a vacation rental near Lake Michigan for instant access to white-sand beaches and cool morning dips. This neighborhood, with its large yards and low-traffic streets, is a great choice for families.

7. Straits State Park

Wake up to picture-perfect views of the Mackinac Bridge when you choose a vacation rental near Straits State Park. For unimpeded views, look for rentals near Graham Point; for your own stretch of beach, opt for homes on the eastern side of the neighborhood. No matter where you stay, a pleasant walk or short drive brings you to the Mackinac Island ferry docks.

8. Evergreen Shores

Situated just north of the Mackinac County Airport, Evergreen Shores is an excellent neighborhood if you’re flying in or out. In this area, modest homes sit beneath towering pines, and many offer beachfront access to Lake Huron. I-75BL runs through the center of Evergreen Shores, so it’s easy to get on the road to Horseshoe Bay in the north, or the Mackinac Island docks in the south.

9. Downtown Mackinaw City

Experience Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in downtown Mackinaw City, which sits on the southern end of the Mackinac Bridge. With its charming nautical vibe and plethora of restaurants, this area makes an excellent base for exploring the island and surrounding cities. Whether you want an ultra-modern condo or a vintage-style cottage, Mackinaw City has it all.

10. West Mackinaw City

Enjoy a residential atmosphere with a vacation rental in West Mackinaw City, which sits less than five minutes by car from the ferry docks downtown. Here, you can stroll by Lake Michigan or walk to Colonial Michilimackinac Park to explore a reconstructed fur-trading village. After dark, visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park to enjoy unimpeded views of the spectacular night sky.

11. South Mackinaw City

Escape into the Michigan forest in South Mackinaw City. This quiet, densely wooded area provides a calm atmosphere and excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities from your vacation rental’s front porch. Choose a lakefront cottage for beautiful sunrises over Lake Huron, or revel in your privacy with a log cabin in the woods. When you’re ready to head to Mackinac Island, Highway 23 connects you to the ferry boarding points in downtown Mackinaw City in minutes.