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Mackinac Island Ferry 2023 Guide: Exploring the Straits with Shepler’s Ferry and Star Line

mackinac island ferry in mackinac harbor
The Mackinac Island ferries in harbor

by Gabrielle Trembley

Take a Ride on a Mackinac Island Ferry

If you’re planning a trip to explore Mackinac Island, chances are good that you’ll be taking Mackinac Island ferry boats to get there.

Whether you leave from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City, these two Mackinac Island ferries, Shepler’s Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry, will get you there.

Shuttling back and forth between St. Ignace, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island, these ferry companies give you the most magnificent scenic route across the sparkling waters of the Straits. Whether you’re interested in classic ferry rides, fast ferries, or hydrojet ferries, both Shepler’s Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry, the leading ferry companies in Mackinac Island MI, have got you covered.

No matter which company you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a fun, safe, and efficient ride to and from the beautiful island on these boat lines.

Read on for our complete guide to taking a ride on a Mackinac Island ferry.

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Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry
556 E. Central Ave., Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Shepler’s Ferry strives to give every passenger the best first-class service you could ever imagine. With friendly, well-trained staff and modern equipment, you can sit back and relax, knowing that you are in safe hands.

All tickets are round trip, and no reservations are required. Complimentary day parking is available, as well as paid overnight parking. Each ferry ride is 16-26 minutes long, depending on the wind, current, and other natural factors.

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If you want to venture under the Mackinac Bridge, they have a special Mighty Mac ride that takes you on that scenic route. Interested in learning about the galaxy? They offer unforgettable Night Sky Cruises, where you set sail under the natural beauty of the night sky while an expert star lore historian teaches you all you need to know about the mysteries that live above us.

Shepler’s has been serving northern Michigan for over 75 years, so it’s safe to say that they run like a well-oiled machine now, ensuring that your adventure to and from the island is a breeze.

star line ferry
The Star Line Hydro Jet / Photo from Mackinac Island Ferry Company

Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Company
801 S. Huron, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Since 1878, Star Line ferry has provided the only high-speed Hydro-Jet ferry service to Mackinac Island.

With three different kinds of ferry rides to choose from, you can pick which one will best suit your needs. If all you’re looking for is a quick and efficient ride to the island, their Classic Departure option is only 18 minutes and will get you there safely.

For a more relaxing, scenic ride, choose Under the Bridge and enjoy watching vehicles passing over the bridge from below.

Their third option offers the most exciting entertainment: How does riding a pirate ship sound? Board the Good Fortune pirate ship to experience maximum fun on your way to or from the island. You may even get the chance to fire some cannons.

They also offer Nauti Pirate Cruises in the evenings for adults 21 and over where you can sail under the bridge or around the island to enjoy a nice night out with your friends.

Star Line offers complimentary day parking and paid overnight parking. No reservations are necessary, and all rides are wheelchair accessible. Star Line has everything you need to experience enjoyable rides to and from the island. Just get yourself to the dock, and they’ll take care of the rest.

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Visiting Mackinac Island

Plan your trip to Mackinac Island and explore its beauty. The Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau can provide you with a business directory and a visitors guide to enhance your experienc, or you can use our complete guide to Mackinac. Book your ferry tickets and choose from a variety of ticket options offered by these ferry companies.

PRO-TIP: Don’t miss the Fourth of July fireworks display over the Straits of Mackinac during your visit.

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About the Author-
Gabrielle Trembley is a Content Writer at My Michigan Beach. She is a graduating senior at Grand Valley State University with a major in Writing and a minor in Applied Linguistics. She has been a passionate writer ever since she was a child. In her free time, she enjoys reading at the beach, watching her favorite shows, and playing with her kitty.