15 Best Things to Do in Mancelona, MI

Mancelona, MI
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The beautiful village of Mancelona in Antrim County, Michigan, gives easy access to famous tourist spots like Torch Lake.

It has also attracted tourists to its central location between town and cities, hosting festivals, and equating Mancelona’s name to natural beauty.

In 1869, Perry Andress and his family moved to the area, founding the village.

They named the place Mancelona after their daughter.

In 1889, they incorporated the village, and then re-incorporated it under the General Law Village Act of 1895.

There are at least seven parks within the village, which also makes it a tourist area.

Enjoy a cup of coffee at one of its local coffee shops, shop for gift items, dine in like a local, or spend a lovely sunny day at the park.

Here are the best things to do in Mancelona, Michigan:

Grab Your Morning Coffee at Mitten Licken Donut Co

There’s no better way to kickstart your morning in Mancelona than to grab your favorite cup of coffee at Mitten Licken Donut Co.

The food truck is on East State Street, but you can also find them anywhere in the village, especially during summer.

Locals and tourists rave about their donuts and coffee, so you should try them out on your morning runs in Mancelona.

The dark roast and Freedom Hill coffee at Mitten Licken Donut Co are worth trying!

Watch the Mancelona Buck Pole

Mancelona also hosts a popular annual deer hunting contest called the Mancelona Buck Pole.

Hunters from across the state gather for this annual event, where they can show off their hunting skills and learn from each other.

If you participate, you can bring your buck to register and get a chance to win fabulous prizes.

Onlookers are also welcome to see all kinds of deer and enjoy the concession stands selling food, spices, veggies, meat, and many more.

Established in the mid-1950s, the Mancelona Buck Pole is the longest-running buck pole in Michigan.

You can find it on East State Street.

Buy Fresh Produce at Mancelona Farmers Market

Local farmers and crafters gather at Mancelona Farmers Market to sell fresh produce and locally made products.

These vendors will display their products which you can take home with you.

Products include plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers, poultry, jams, jellies, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, handmade products like jewelry, beanies, candles, and many more.

Founded in 2009, the Mancelona Farmers Market supports local farmers, crafters, and small businesses.

It’s located at Railroad Park Pavilion on Howard Street.

Play Bowling at Mancelona Lanes

If you love bowling, you can spend a few hours playing at Mancelona Lanes with your friends and family.

It features a nice, clean, and updated bowling alley for everyone’s comfort while playing and having fun.

The bowling center also produces delicious food and drinks, which have earned raves from customers, especially the shakes.

It also accepts private events like birthday parties while bowling.

Established in 1980, the Mancelona Lanes sit along East Calhoun Street.

Under new ownership, the bowling center offers a family-friendly environment for every local and tourist visiting the area.

Participate in the Mancelona Bass Festival

During your trip, you can also join the annual Mancelona Bass Festival.

This is a four-day event in June with a grand parade, flea market, carnival, raffle, kids entertainment and contests, and many more.

On the event's last day, there is a complimentary breakfast for everyone who comes and joins the festival.

It’s a fun four-day festival for everyone in the community and tourists who visit Mancelona.

The Mancelona Bass Festival started in 1955, a successful attempt to keep the local tradition alive.

Take Your Kids to Johnson’s Pond

Your kids can also enjoy the scenic and educational Johnson’s Pond, which hosts the popular Annual Kid’s Fishing Day.

Kids below 14 years old can join this event, where they can catch fish during the first day of the season.

For many years, the park has become an excellent destination for families with small children, offering fishing and frog and turtle hunting.

Johnson’s Pond used to be a swimming area, but the village has transformed it into an educational platform.

The Communities in Schools Choose Success and the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery joined forces to form Imaginature.

This is to give kids an area to enjoy nature and participate in outdoor activities.

If you’re traveling to Mancelona with kids, Johnson’s Pond is one of the best tourist destinations for them!

It’s located on the borders of the village in the southeast part.

Shop for Cannabis Products at Jailhouse Cannabis Co

If you like cannabis, there’s a dedicated store in Mancelona called Jailhouse Cannabis Co.

The store features different cannabis brands focusing on sustainable practices, and producing high-quality products.

They have cannabis vapes, flowers, wax, dabs, and edible goods like cannabis-infused cookies, but only adults aged 21 and above can buy them.

The store is inside an old jailhouse and has a small old police car displayed outside for advertising.

Jailhouse Cannabis Co also aims to help individuals who have had a negative experience due to previous marijuana laws.

The store also helps those still locked up because of marijuana-related offenses in the past.

Likewise, the store supports local outreach groups to give back to its community.

You can find it on East State Street.

At Pathless Finds Gifts & Gallery, you can buy your friends and loved ones lovely gifts and souvenirs from Mancelona.

The gift shop features cute collectibles like mugs, books, crochet items, handmade cards, jewelry, candles, plants, artwork, home decor, and many more.

It also sells herbal teas in different flavors infused with edible flowers.

Pathless Finds Gifts & Gallery is in downtown Mancelona.

Look for the perfect souvenir on your trip!

Grab a Slice of Delicious Pizza at Papa K’s of Mancelona

They said that you’ll find a delicious pizza if you follow your heart!

During your trip to the village, check out Papa K’s of Mancelona, which has gained renown for its pizza.

They also offer gluten-free crust, excellent for those with diet restrictions.

Their pizzas come with four-blend cheese and red sauce in hand-tossed, square, or thin crust.

You can also mix and match your pizza to enjoy endless variations!

Their other offerings are pasta, subs, homemade salads, and a few Mexican fares like tacos, nachos, and quesadillas.

The Kruger Family established Papa K’s of Mancelona in 1997.

You can find it on South Maple Street.

Let the Kids Play at Railroad Park

If you’re taking the kids to Mancelona, bring them to Railroad Park.

The park also hosts Mancelona Farmers Market, which is a perfect time for you and the kids.

It features a spacious playground area for the children to enjoy, adult exercise equipment, and a pavilion.

You can also have a picnic at the pavilion if you plan to stay at the park for a few more hours.

There are also ice cream parlors nearby so kids can have some sweet treats while having fun in the park.

Railroad Park is on the Northeast corner of M-88 and Highway 131.

Go Camping at Starlight Campground & RV Park

Camping in Mancelona offers relaxing, fun, and memorable experiences.

At Starlight Campground & RV Park, you can relax with nature while making and sharing memories with your family and friends.

Take advantage of the site’s gorgeous sunsets, beautiful starry skies, modern and vintage trailers, and scenic hiking trails.

As soon as you get there, you’ll have abundant firewood for your campfire ring, and you can even ask for ice, wood, and other items delivered straight to your campsite.

Formerly the Whispering Pines RV Resort, Starlight Campground & RV Park sits in the middle of beautiful pine trees.

It also features a swimming pool, pickleball and volleyball courts, a disc golf course, an RC racetrack, and a playground for small children.

There are also exciting themed activities you can join and enjoy.

You can find Starlight Campground & RV Park on Mancelona Road via East State Street.

Paddle along the River at Swiss Hideaway Canoe Livery

Swiss Hideaway Canoe Livery offers exciting canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and fishing for a fun day in the water.

You can explore the Jordan River, which offers exciting twists and turns for an hour to four hours.

It’s safe even for the kids and doesn’t require any paddling expertise or skills.

The state of Michigan has designated the Jordan River as a scenic and natural river, surrounded by the gorgeous Jordan Valley.

Established in 1970, Swiss Hideaway Canoe Livery is on Graves Crossing.

Enjoy Fishing at Starvation Lake

You can add fishing at Starvation Lake to your itinerary for a more exciting Mancelona trip.

The lake is home to different kinds of fish, such as brown trout, bluegill, largemouth bass, rock bass, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch.

Before the lake's development in the 1930s, people trapped and hunted animals in the area around the water.

According to local folklore, a hunter got trapped in one of his traps and died of starvation before being rescued.

A different story says that a snowfall trapped criminals who tried to hide in the area, and they all died from starvation.

On the northeast part of the lake, there’s a boat launch and a parking area for a few vehicles.

Starvation Lake is a great destination if you want to get in tune with nature while fishing and enjoying the lake’s relaxing views.

Other Things to Do Nearby

The village of Mancelona and its neighboring communities offer beautiful tourist spots that make memorable destinations for everyone.

Cross the village limits and enjoy what’s in store for you, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Visit Alden Depot Park & Museum

Built in 1907, the Alden Depot was once a resort drawing passengers on holidays in the Torch Lake area.

Now a museum, Alden Depot Park & Museum showcases preserved photographs, documents, railroad history books, memorabilia, and many more.

The museum, which the Helena Township Historical Society maintains, hosts a series of events like arts and crafts shows.

Likewise, the site features a beautiful flower garden where you can enjoy watching the sunset.

There are also picnic tables close to the shoreline with stairs for easier lake access.

Alden Depot Park & Museum is in Alden, Michigan, only 16 minutes away from Mancelona.

Book a Tee Time at Bellaire Centennial Golf Club

Nestled on beautiful undulated lush greens, Bellaire Centennial Golf Club offers tee time filled with fun and excitement.

The practice areas are also neat, and its Pro Shop contains all your golfing needs.

There’s also a restaurant inside the golf course where you can dine after a few golf rounds.

Bellaire Centennial Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course established in 1993.

The golf course can get busy during the holidays, so you may arrive a little earlier for convenience.

You can find this golf course on West Eddy School Road in Bellaire, Michigan, only 14 minutes away from Mancelona.

Final Thoughts

Mancelona, Michigan, offers exciting and fun activities and gorgeous tourist attractions that make your trip memorable.

Visit the beautiful village and experience the Up North Michigan experience.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Mancelona!