Mackinac Island Carriage Tours - Mackinac Island, Michigan
The Grand Hotel
The narrated carriage tour continues inland and most of the year it stops at the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum where you will leave the two horse hitch carriage which brought you from downtown. Very early or late in the season, the museum may be closed and you will take the entire tour in the smaller carriage, but most of the year this is your opportunity to visit the carriage museum. The Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory is next door for an additional fee.
The Carriage Museum has a neat display of historic carriages, including a horse drawn hearse that is still used for Mackinac Island funerals today. There are also gift shops and a place to have a snack before starting the main part of the tour.
After the break at the Carriage Museum, you board a larger 35 passenger, three hitch carriage to travel through the interior of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island State Park. Along the way, your driver will point out wild flowers and other island feature such as the three cemeteries, Skull Cave and the Fort Holmes Rifle Range.
The next stop on the tour is at Arch Rock for a 5-10 minute visit of the beautiful natural limestone arch. Arch Rock is at the top of a bluff, 145 feet about the Straits of Mackinac and offers a spectacular view. This is also a chance to take a rest room break.
You reboard the same carriage to continue your tour. Near the end of this stretch of the drive, you will pass the Scout Barracks which accommodates up to 54 Michigan Boy and Girls Scouts participating in the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp and Governor's Honor Guard. The program began with eight Eagle Scouts in 1929. one of whom was Gerald Ford, who became the thirty eighth President of the United States. Over 30,000 youth have participated over the years and the two story barracks was constructed in 1935.
The next stop is at Fort Mackinac, where you may leave the tour to visit the 18th Century Fort (fee) without having to climb the hill from the city below. Following a tour of the Fort, you may rejoin the carriage tour as space is available or continue on your own.
The carriage tour continues past the 1902 Governor's Summer Residence. The three story 1902 mansion has been the summer residence of Michigan governor's since 1945.
Your carriage will now return to the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum where you transfer back to a smaller carriage for the return to downtown Mackinac Island. As that carriage passes the Grand Hotel, you may disembark to go to the hotel. If you leave the tour at the Grand Hotel, that will be the end of your tour.
Private tours are also available, using carriages which will seat up to 8 people. The pricing with Mackinac Island Carriage Tours is $132 per hour for 4 people or less and $33/hour for each additional person. Private Livery reservations are taken on the same day only. Call the ticket office at (906) 847-3325 after 9:00 on the day of your tour and ask for the Private Livery department in order to make a reservation.
Private tours are also available with Gough Carriages (906 847-1053) starting May 4, 2018 until mid October. You can have this tour take you places that are not as heavily visited and enjoy getting to know the driver, who will probably be a Mackinac Island native. The price for these tours also starts at $132 per hour for up to 4 people with additional fees for larger parties. These tours depart from the street in front of Marquette Park below Fort Mackinac and you will see the surreys lined up during business hours. Many people stop by the front of the line to schedule their tour or you can reserve a tour at (906) 847-1053.
Here is is what we experienced during a private tour with Arrowhead Carriages in 2014. This is a neat way to have a different experience on Mackinac Island and is worth doing even if you have taken a standard carriage tour. The hours may very depending on the amount of business. Prior to the 2018 season, when Gough Carriages bought out Arrowhead Carriages, there were two smaller carriage tour companies.
Copyright 2008-2018 by Keith Stokes