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Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

America’s original Grand Hotel has been an icon of summer resorts since 1887, perhaps because this historic hotel blends family fun by day with a hint of romance at night. There’s something for everyone, kids and adults alike, making this Mackinac Island resort one of America’s best family resorts.

Family fun by day

An 18-minute ferry ride to Mackinac Island hints at the fun and romance that waits at this Michigan destination. Once on the island, Mackinac’s flare for nostalgia is apparent. No cars are permitted, meaning horse-drawn carriages whisk families back to a bygone era at Grand Hotel, where lawn games, afternoon tea and formal dinner attire create a memorable ambiance.

Named one of the 10 best family-friendly resorts in North America by Travel + Leisure Family magazine, kids 11 and younger stay free at Grand Hotel. From beach rock hunts to duck pin bowling, from a horse stable tour at Grand Hotel to a butterfly house visit on the island, children will remember Grand Hotel as one of the best vacation spots.

Family time spent around the 220-foot-long, heated swimming pool will complete everyone’s summer vacation. A poolside fact for families: Grand Hotel’s pool is named after Esther Williams, an actress and competitive swimmer who starred in the 1947 movie "This Time for Keeps," filmed at the hotel.

A hint of romance at night

Grand Hotel’s nostalgic aura creates the perfect place for adults to steal away for their own romantic getaway. In addition to Grand Hotel’s formal-dress, five-course dinner, the resort offers a different kind of romantic meal: Woods Restaurant, an opulent Tudor mansion nestled in the wooded interior of Mackinac Island, only accessible by horse-drawn carriage. Pecan-crusted Mackinac whitefish, pan-roasted farm raised duck, and rosemary-crusted lamb chops are among the many delicious entrées served at the secluded restaurant. End every meal with a famous Grand Hotel pecan ball.

After dinner, relax on Grand Hotel’s front porch, the world’s longest porch at 660 feet. With 100 rocking chairs gracing this veranda, couples are treated to romantic, sunset views looking out to the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. For a romantic nightcap, the Cupola Bar offers a panoramic view of the Straits of Mackinac thanks to its perch atop Grand Hotel. Nightly entertainment adds to the ambiance.

Just off the parlor, the Terrace Room features nightly dancing to the live music of Alex Graham and The Grand Hotel Orchestra. After dancing the night away, your room awaits — a unique experience of its own — because no two of the 390 guestrooms available are alike. The new two-bedroom cupola suites are always a family favorite. Each suite features a bedroom with a king bed, spacious parlor and the option of connecting a bedroom with two queen beds, turning this stunning one-bedroom suite into a two-bedroom suite for added flexibility.

So venture on the Mackinac ferry. A bygone era of romance and fun waits for you.