Indianapolis to Mackinac Island Road Trip Guide


As a city with lots of residents, Indianapolis, more commonly referred to as Indy, is a lively place that’s home to a wealth of opportunities for all kinds of recreation enthusiasts. The city, whose name means “land of the Indians” has of course grown to be much more than that, and plays hosts to numerous visitors and tourists whose varies pursuits are met in style.

While in Indianapolis, you can't run out of things to do, places to visit, delicacies to enjoy, events and shows to attend, as well as a host of outdoor and indoor opportunities. Everyone definitely finds what interests them, whether it be families enjoying their time together away from home, or foodies exploring various dishes and cuisines, nature lovers taking in the sights, or history lovers going after knowledge. You definitely cannot, and will not regret the time spent in this city.

The cherry on top of your exploration of this city is embarking on a three-day RV road trip to Mackinac Island, a distance of about 490 miles. This adventure will leave you even more fascinated, open you up to lots of learning opportunities, and also offer you the chance to relax, refresh and recharge. Prepare to take a ferry somewhere along the way!

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: any
audience: all

Point of Interest

Rangeline Nature Preserve

Your first stop on your road trip from Indianapolis is the Rangeline Nature Preserve in Anderson, where you’ll get amazing opportunities to interact with nature. This preserve features a wide range of flora, landscapes, and water resources. Different recreational enthusiasts find this park a fun destination, particularly hikers, fishermen, and most importantly, mountain bikers. Regardless of your skill level, you are guaranteed a fantastic mountain biking experience here.

As you explore the trails in this preserve, prepare to cross bridges, log crossings, and teeter-totters. Feel free to come along with your pets as they are allowed in the preserve and along the hiking trails. However, you are expected to keep them on a leash and clean up after them.

Just adjacent to the preserve is the Mounds State Park that offers additional outdoor activities such as fishing and picnicking, as well as camping opportunities. You’ll get electric hookups for your RV here if you choose to spend the night.

Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Leaving the Nature Preserve and driving further north along Interstate-69 will bring you to your next stop in Fort Wayne – Fort Wayne Museum of Art. This architectural masterpiece, which was founded in 1897, is an American Art Museum that’s home to a wide range of historic and contemporary art exhibits. So, you should prepare to see lots of antiques and pieces that speak to the history of the country.

It’s up to you to decide how you want to explore this museum, be it by yourself or by taking advantage of the programs offered in the museum – lectures, tours, parties, and workshops.

If you’re visiting with your family, then your children will love the hands-on fun experience on offer at the Learning Center in the museum. Visit the Paradigm Gallery for beautiful art and craft pieces.

Overnight camping options are provided at the Bluffton / Fort Wayne South KOA campground if you decide to stay the night.

Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary

As you cross into Michigan from Indiana, there isn't anywhere you’ll be able to enjoy the view of so many beautiful birds as you will if you visit the Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary in Bellevue. One of the most unique things about this attraction is the fact that is the very first bird sanctuary in North America dedicated to the conservation of Sandhill Cranes. So, you can be sure you’ll see those when you arrive. Interestingly, some of the Sandhill Cranes nest in the sanctuary, while some are migrants.

Don’t for a minute think that only one species of bird lives here. As a matter of fact, over 200 bird species have been identified in this sanctuary, so you definitely want to come along with your bird book, binoculars, and camera. Some of the more popular birds here include osprey, bald eagles, migrating waterfowl, northern harrier, and warblers.

Private campgrounds are available around Pine Lake, north of the Sanctuary for overnight stay.

Lake Paradise

The perfect place to round off your trip as you draw near to Mackinac Island is Lake Paradise in Cheboygan and Emmet counties. This lake is a popular destination for visitors and tourists from all over the region. The lake used to be known as Carp Lake and features lots of cottages as well as homes that are open all year to guests.

Plenty of recreational opportunities are open to you when you arrive here, depending on what interests you and what you’re prepared for. If you have your fishing gear, you can angle for largemouth bass, rock bass, walleye, smallmouth bass, as well as many other fish species. The lake is also a prime swimming location for children and adults. Wildlife and nature observation are other ways to stay active here.

For camping opportunities, you can visit any of the nearby parks in Mackinaw City.


As you conclude your road trip and approach Mackinac Island, you won’t be able to access the island in your RV because of the surrounding water. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that the Island is not a fantastic spot for vacations. Among the things you will definitely love here are the amazing sunsets, exciting nightlife, unforgettable sunrises, and scenic view of the surrounding water body.

Parks and campgrounds, events, tours, winter activities, and edifices are some of the things that will intrigue you here.

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