27 Best Things to Do in Mackinaw City, MI

Mackinaw City, MI
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Buckle up and prepare yourself for a thrilling journey through the best things to do in Mackinaw City, Michigan.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: John Carrico, Wanda Norman, Thalia Noel, Eva Trull, Rhea Justice, Linda James and Sonia Whitfield.

Soak Up the Sun at Alexander Henry Park

Alexander Henry Park on a sunny day
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Every time I stroll through Alexander Henry Park, I can't help but marvel at the stunning views of the mighty Mackinaw Bridge.

For years, I've been capturing moments of my children growing up against this picturesque backdrop, their tiny footprints embedded in the soft sand.

During warm summer days, we often get our feet wet and venture into the lapping waves.

Swimming is permitted here, but always with a note of caution due to the sharp rocks that lurk beneath the surface.

I vividly recollect a day when my son, overcome with excitement, rushed into the water unprepared.

The rocks prevented him from a full swim, but his sheer joy of being in the water was hardly dampened.

He simply sat in the shallows, soaking in the cool water up to his knees.

The park offers more than just the beach.

View from the Alexander Henry Park
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It's lined with plenty of shady spots and benches, perfect for a relaxing day.

The sidewalk along the Mackinac straight is my preferred spot for a leisurely walk, as it provides an undisturbed view of the bridge.

An a bonus, and a personal favorite are the two museums nestled within the park.

The Lighthouse Museum and the Fort Museum offer a fascinating dive into local history.

These visits never fail to make me appreciate the rich heritage of our area.

A trip to Alexander Henry Park is always a day well-spent for my family and me.

The park not only offers an escape from the daily hustle but also provides an opportunity to connect with nature and our local history.

Cruise the Village Waters on the Ugly Anne Boat Tours

It's not every day that you get to soak in the sights of the Straits area from a boat.

But that's precisely what I did. I booked a tour with the Ugly Anne Boat Tours, and it was a day to remember.

Life in this village can get quite monotonous, so the tour was a breath of fresh air.

It was a bit of a struggle to get out of the boat – that last step is indeed a "doozy!"

Considering an additional rail on the dock is an improvement the team could look into, especially for folks with knee problems.

Once settled, the tour was nothing short of fantastic.

Our captain did an excellent job, continually rotating the boat so everyone could capture memorable photos.

The sight of the bridge against the sky was stunning – a testament to marvelous engineering.

The ride had a certain rustic charm – a touch of the old in the midst of the new.

It wasn't just a quiet ride, though.

The captain and his assistant were knowledgeable and shared fascinating tidbits about the straits and the bridge.

Their warmth and humor added to the overall experience.

Ugly Anne Boat Tours also had refreshments on board.

The prices were reasonable, with a selection of water, beer, and soft drinks available for purchase.

The gentle sway of the boat and a cool drink in hand made for a delightful combination.

Looking back, it was a day well spent.

I learned a lot, had fun, and got a fresh perspective on our beautiful straits area.

I certainly plan to go back again, perhaps with friends next time.

Discover the Magic of Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows

I remember the first time I stepped foot into the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show.

The bustling energy was infectious, and the anticipation was high.

I was instantly drawn into the world of lumberjacking, a profession that requires brute strength, agility, and an indomitable spirit.

I've always been a bit of a historian at heart, and this show gave me an insight into the logging industry's rich history.

It was both an educational and entertaining experience.

Each act was a display of raw strength and precision - from log rolling to tree climbing, every performance was a testament to the hard work that goes into logging.

The atmosphere was vibrant, with laughter and cheers.

Children and adults alike were captivated by the lumberjacks' showmanship and talent.

Watching their amazed faces, I realized this isn't just a show, it's a bonding experience for families and a way to educate the young ones about the importance of hard work.

I remember buying tickets from Mill Creek Campground, but you can also purchase them online or at the event itself.

Plus, the show isn't complete without a souvenir or two.

There's a variety of merchandise available at the event, and I remember the refreshing drinks being a lifesaver during the hot summer days.

The Jack Pine Lumberjack Show is a true gem in the Mackinaw City area.

Regardless of whether you have kids or not, it's definitely worth the time and money to visit.

After all, how often do you get to dive into the exciting world of lumberjacks?

Just remember to shout "TIMBER!" at the top of your lungs, and you'll fit right in with the rest of us locals.

Learn Maritime History from the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

View of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
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If you're someone who enjoys marvelous feats of engineering, you can't miss the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in our little village.

This decommissioned WWII Coast Guard ship has opened its doors to the public, offering detailed tours and even overnight stays!

I'll never forget the first time I stepped foot on this floating piece of history.

The ship is a testament to the technological advancements of the WWII era, and the tour is jam-packed with riveting information.

I found myself completely engrossed in the stories and facts that accompanied each part of the ship.

Now, I cannot discuss the Mackinaw without mentioning the wonderful crew.

These are not just your regular tour guides - there was even a gentleman onboard who served on this very ship!

Their firsthand experiences add an entirely new layer of understanding to the tour of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum.

The visit cost me $14, which felt like a small price to pay for such a unique experience.

Side view of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
Peter K Burian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And if you've served in the military, you'll be pleasantly surprised - my friend with his military ID only had to pay $11.

One word of caution, though, navigating the ship can be a bit tricky with its steep stairs or, as the crew calls them, ladder wells.

But don't let that deter you - it's part of the ship's charm.

Kids and those in good shape will have no trouble, but it might be a bit challenging for those with mobility issues.

Place Your Bets at Odawa Casino Mackinaw

My village is blessed with the gem that is the Odawa Casino Mackinaw.

This adorable and cozy little hideaway is the perfect spot to spend an evening, whether you're a fan of gambling or not.

The casino is ever so clean, thanks to its non-smoking status.

However, if you are a smoker, fear not - they have a lovely smoker's patio located conveniently right off the bar.

The slot machines at Odawa are a delight, especially for those who enjoy trying their luck on new machines.

Most of them are in perfect working order, with just a couple out of service - an impressive feat for any establishment.

What's more, the buttons are squeaky clean, no stickiness in sight.

For beer aficionados like myself, the draft here comes as a pleasant surprise.

At just $4 a pint, it's practically a steal compared to what you'll find in downtown Detroit.

And let's not forget about the perfect pour - it's an art form in itself.

Now, I must admit, the casino has recently moved into a new building, and it's a beauty!

Small but perfectly formed, always clean and well-maintained.

My time at Odawa Casino is usually filled with joy and excitement.

The staff is friendly, the environment cozy, and the slot machines aplenty.

Pamper Yourself at the Bayside Hotel of Mackinac

I've had quite a few interesting experiences at the Bayside Hotel of Mackinac.

The hotel itself is modern and straightforward, with a touch of elegance and a hint of warmth.

The staff is always friendly, putting a smile on my face each time I interact with them.

The rooms are kept clean, and the beds are comfortable enough to grant me a good night's sleep.

Bayside Hotel of Mackinac offers access to a water park and a private beach, which sounds like a fun escape.

Go Stargazing at Headlands International Dark Sky Park

Signage of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park
John A. Knouse, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I've always found solace under the star-dusted blanket of the night sky.

Living just a stone’s throw away from the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, I have had the privilege of enjoying this celestial spectacle more often than most.

The 550-acre woodland, home to bears, deer, and eagles, is a sanctuary of tranquillity during the day, but it's the night when the magic truly unfolds.

Every evening, the park transforms into a stage for a cosmic ballet, starring glistening constellations, planets, and the mesmerizing Milky Way.

Watching the sun set over Lake Michigan is an experience in itself, but it's the onset of the dark that makes this place so memorable.

The night sky, devoid of light pollution, offers an unfiltered view of the universe that’s simply awe-inspiring.

You can set up chairs or spread out blankets on the grassy areas, and if you're lucky, you might even spot the International Space Station.

Sometimes, you can catch a glimpse of a shooting star that lights up the night for that fleeting moment.

The staff, quite knowledgeable about celestial bodies, bring out telescopes for guests to spot the moon, planets, and nebulae up close.

The gift shop at  Headlands International Dark Sky Park remains open till 10 pm, where you can buy red-light flashlights or get free light film covers for your phones.

Why red, you ask?

Well, the park strictly prohibits the use of white-light flashlights or phones to maintain the purity of the dark sky.

This rule extends to the walk back to the parking lot, too, which is unlit and pitch dark.

So, make sure to switch your phones to dark mode with a red light filter or, better yet, bring a red light camera.

Just remember, the parking lot is a bit small, so make sure to get there early.

And don't forget, come before sunset for that beautiful view.

It's experiences like these that make me cherish my connection with this place.

Unleash Your Imagination at Enchanted Knights

Every time I cross the threshold into Enchanted Knights, it's as if I'm stepping into another realm entirely.

This local treasure isn't just a store, but a haven for all who are drawn to the fantastical and mythical.

With every visit, I'm awestruck by the mesmerizing collection of dragon-themed merchandise that fills the shop.

Each dragon statue, intricately designed and meticulously crafted, seems to breathe life into the mythic creatures they represent.

I'm always captivated by the level of detail in each piece, as if, at any moment, the sculpture may spread its wings and soar away.

But the magic doesn't stop at the statues.

The selection of dragon literature is equally impressive, offering a multitude of tales that whisk me away to realms of fantasy and adventure.

It's almost impossible to resist the call to adventure, to join the mythical creatures in their epic sagas.

What truly sets Enchanted Knights apart is the staff.

Their enthusiasm for all things fantasy is contagious, and their knowledge of the subject is awe-inspiring.

I find myself lingering in the store, drawn into conversations about legendary beasts and epic adventures.

Now, fair warning to all you fellow fantasy enthusiasts, especially those with a penchant for swords, knights, and the medieval period.

This shop is a trap for your wallet!

The allure of the shop's awesome collection is irresistible.

More than once, I've found myself leaving with a brand new Katana that I somehow convinced myself was a necessity rather than a desire.

Experience the Paranormal at Mackinaw Manor

You know that feeling when your heart races, your palms sweat, and adrenaline pumps through your veins?

That's exactly what I felt when I decided on a chilly evening to venture into the Mackinaw Manor, one of the most popular attractions in our beloved Mackinaw City.

I'd always heard my fellow townsfolk talking about it but never thought I'd experience it for myself.

I am so glad I did.

The moment I bought my ticket from the friendly attendant at the front, I knew I was in for a treat.

The manor is unlike any other - it's not just about the ghostly figures or the eerie sounds, it's about the entire experience.

Every corner and every room is filled with animatronics that bring the haunted house to life without any physical contact.

The highlight for me was how perfectly timed the scares were.

Just when I thought it was going to be calm, a sudden jump scare would make my heart leap into my throat!

It was the thrill of the unexpected that truly got to me.

I could see why so many people have praised it for its immersive storytelling.

One of the best parts about the manor was its affordability.

Unlike other haunted houses I've heard of, the Mackinaw Manor offers a spine-chilling adventure without burning a hole in your pocket.

Take Snaps with the McGulpin Point Lighthouse

Bird's eye view of the McGulpin Point Lighthouse
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There's something special about the McGulpin Point Lighthouse.

You can sense the years of history as soon as you step on the property.

The beautifully restored brick structure stands tall against the backdrop of the azure sky, inviting you to explore its rich past that dates back to 1869.

For just $3, you can take a tour and absorb the fascinating facts about shipwrecks and the lighthouse's pivotal role in maritime history.

McGulpin Point Lighthouse staff are always friendly and ready to share their knowledge about the area.

It's a real treat when you meet the supervisor - a fount of fun trivia.

I can never remember his name, but his stories are unforgettable.

McGulpin Point Lighthouse during winter
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The lighthouse isn't just about history, though.

Adventure awaits when you follow the interpretive trail down to the Big Rock.

There's a certain thrill in traversing the path, anticipating the sight that awaits at the end of the journey.

And the view from the porthole?

It is simply breathtaking - if you manage to squeeze through, that is.

It never gets old, even for someone who's seen it countless times.

Don't forget to make a stop at the quaint gift shop before you leave.

If you're a magnet collector like me, it's a treasure trove of unique finds.

But even if you're not, there's something for everyone.

Lamp at the McGulpin Point Lighthouse
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Have a Retail Therapy at Del Sol Mackinaw City

Oh, how I love to stroll through the charming streets of my hometown, Mackinaw City, especially during the bustling summer season.

One of my all-time favorite spots to hit up is Del Sol Mackinaw City, a unique store known for its color-changing merchandise.

My most recent visit to Del Sol was rather spontaneous.

I was out with my little niece in the park when she darted into the store.

There, we were warmly greeted by Nathan, who had an infectious enthusiasm about him.

What really impressed me was the way he interacted with my niece.

He made our shopping experience truly magical by showcasing how the products changed colors in sunlight.

I tell you, my niece was running around the store in sheer delight, a sight I'll cherish forever.

I also had an interesting encounter during one of my previous visits.

I had purchased a pair of their color-changing sunglasses during my honeymoon, and they come with this no-questions-asked replacement policy - you just have to keep the box.

The employee was incredibly helpful in guiding me on how to avail myself of the policy and also assisted me in trying on a few pairs.

The appeal of Del Sol Mackinaw City extends beyond its fascinating products.

Despite being a small store, they have a surprisingly diverse range of items - shirts, hats, bags, nail polish, you name it - all of which change color under sunlight.

The prices are quite reasonable, and their customer service is always top-notch.

Zemi, in particular, is quite knowledgeable about the products and is always ready to help.

Soak In the Flavors and Atmosphere of Audie's Restaurant

When it comes to unique dining experiences in the village, Audie's Restaurant is a spot that has always been a personal favorite of mine.

It's not just a place where I grab a bite; it's an adventure brimming with wild fare in a lodge-themed, trophy-filled space.

I remember this one chilly evening when I decided to step in for a quick dinner.

It’s hard to ignore the casual, rustic charm that Audie's Restaurant has to offer.

I was greeted by the friendly staff, whose genuine smiles were as warm as the cozy, wooden interiors of the restaurant.

I have always been impressed by their service, a perfect balance of attentiveness without being intrusive.

The menu here is as wild and varied as the decor, with my personal favorite being the Bison Meatloaf Hot Sandwich.

Each bite of this masterpiece takes you on a culinary journey, a blend of hearty, robust flavors that leave you yearning for more.

For those with a sweet tooth, the maple sundae is a treat not to be missed.

It's a sweet symphony of creamy, milky goodness with a hint of maple that perfectly rounds off the meal.

But what truly sets Audie's apart from the rest is their exceptional drink menu.

From a wide variety of classic cocktails to the best milkshakes in the area, there’s something for everyone.

A chilled glass of wine here, paired with a dish of their encrusted whitefish, has never failed to make my day.

Catch the Sunset from Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry

Signage of the Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry
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I must admit, there's something undeniably magical about traveling on the Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry.

The journey sets off from the bustling mainland, cutting through the crisp, cool waters of Lake Huron, and culminates on the quaint, serene, car-free haven known as Mackinac Island.

The ferries, always on time, are a beacon of reliability amidst the unpredictable nature of Lake Huron's waters.

Being fortunate to experience this journey often, I always look forward to the leisurely ride atop these magnificent ferries.

Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry's upper deck not only provides ample space for families and bigger groups but also offers the best vantage point for viewing the iconic Mackinac Bridge - particularly breathtaking during sunset.

If you think sunsets are a sight, wait till you see the bridge bathed in the soft glow of twilight.

It's the perfect way to wind down after a day spent exploring the island.

The staff here are not just friendly - they're a treasure trove of local knowledge.

Going beyond their call of duty, they've often enlightened me with fascinating trivia about the island's history and the surrounding waters.

On the other hand, their parking services are smooth and hassle-free, with overflow day lots and a shuttle service adding to the convenience.

Entrance to the Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry
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Here's a little secret - try getting aboard their newest ferry.

While I've been on many a vessel in my time, the speed of this one takes the cake.

Almost 40 knots, can you believe that?

And if luck's on your side, you might just bag a spot on the top deck on a sunny day, making for an unforgettable crossing.

But the fun doesn't end with the ferry ride.

Shepler's also conducts a Lighthouse Cruise, which I thoroughly recommend.

The Eastern side has a narrator onboard, enriching the experience with interesting tidbits about the lighthouses.

Remember to pack a good coat - the wind can get chilly out there on the deck.

With Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry, the journey is indeed as rewarding as the destination.

Just remember to tip the porters - they take excellent care of your luggage, ensuring it reaches your hotel safely.

People boarding the Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferrry
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Have a Friendly Game at Animal Tracks

On a sunny weekend, I decided to take my family to the local mini-golf center known as Animal Tracks.

We were a bit surprised by the price, as it ended up costing about $50 for the four of us, a bit more than we were expecting.

Despite that, we found the course to be quite enjoyable, offering both simple and challenging holes that kept us on our toes.

The course was overall well maintained and the layout of the course was clever, with some holes offering a challenge that made it more interesting and fun.

One of the best parts about Animal Tracks is how they've incorporated natural elements into their course design.

The inclusion of waterfalls and streams into some of the holes was a beautiful touch.

It gave us not only a great game of mini golf but also several selfie opportunities with the waterfalls as the backdrop - a unique feature that definitely enhances the overall experience.

We definitely got our money's worth, and I wouldn't hesitate to bring the family back again.

Take in the Panoramic Lake Views from the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Exterior view of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Peter K Burian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is one of the gems we have in Mackinac.

If you have not yet had a chance to visit, I'd say it's about time.

I often take a relaxing stroll along the lighthouse grounds, enjoying the immaculate landscaping and the panoramic lake views.

The beauty of the lighthouse draws in visitors from far and wide, but there's more to it than just looks.

The historic 1889 lighthouse is a treasure trove of knowledge, with educational exhibits and restored quarters that offer a peek into the past.

If you get a chance to take the tour, do it!

The guides are phenomenal, not only knowledgeable about Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse but also lighthouses across the globe.

In fact, you can learn about the operation of the light/lens and those who manned the lighthouse, which is quite fascinating.

Backyard of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
James Marvin Phelps, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adding to the experience, the staff dresses in period costumes, providing an even more authentic feel.

The experience was wonderful.

Kids won't be left out, either.

There are hands-on exhibits inside the lighthouse that help them understand the science behind lighthouses.

Plus, there's nothing like the thrill of climbing up the 52-foot tower.

Just remember to wear shoes with backs, or you won't be allowed up.

Let's not forget the gift shop.

It's great for picking up souvenirs or unique gifts.

And if you're there at the right time, the fog horn is something you won't want to miss.

Discover History at Colonial Michilimackinac

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Every time I walk the grounds of Colonial Michilimackinac, it's like stepping back in time.

Nestled within my hometown in Michigan, this landmark fort and fur trading village is a treasure that truly brings history to life.

As I meander through the reconstructed 18th-century fort, originally built by the French, I can't help but feel a deep sense of connection with the past.

There's something thrilling about witnessing the live demonstrations that occur daily.

I never tire of hearing the loud boom of the cannon firing across the peaceful waters of Mackinac.

Light house at the Colonial Michilimackinac
Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock.com

For the young ones and those young at heart, there's a delightful playground located within the fort.

It's always a joy to see the excitement on children's faces as they play amidst such historic surroundings.

Colonial Michilimackinac also has an active excavation ongoing, a fascinating sight to see and a testament to the immense historical value of the site.

One of my favorite activities is taking a scenic walk around the fort.

Be it the trail overlooking the tranquil waters or the one on the fort's walls, it's an experience that never fails to evoke awe and admiration.

Each room within the fort has its own story to tell, an adventure waiting to be embarked upon.

Colonial Michilimackinac isn't just a place to visit, it's a place to immerse oneself in the history and culture that shaped our area.

And as you watch the well-executed re-enactments or observe archaeologists meticulously at work, you can't help but feel a part of that vibrant tapestry of history.

An old house at the Colonial Michilimackinac
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Learn about Insect Species at the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World

Whenever the hustle and bustle of daily life gets too overwhelming, I find myself retreating to the peaceful haven that is the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World.

The moment I step inside, I'm welcomed by a mesmerizing display of the most exotic butterflies I've ever seen.

Their vibrant colors fill every corner of the room, fluttering from flower to flower, creating an enchanting atmosphere that makes me forget about everything else.

This indoor nature center is not just about butterflies, though.

I've always been fascinated by the variety of insects and reptiles they have on display.

It's a bit like stepping into a different world, one that's a little strange but endlessly fascinating.

I might not find all of them as beautiful as the butterflies, but they certainly captivate my attention.

The staff members are another aspect that makes my visits to this place so enjoyable.

Their knowledge about these creatures is astounding.

No matter what question I throw at them, they always have an answer ready.

It's evident from their enthusiasm that they truly love what they do.

One of the best parts about visiting the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World is the feeling of serenity it offers.

Sitting quietly, watching the butterflies go about their day, really puts me at ease.

It's also an educational experience, as it allows me to observe these fascinating creatures up close.

I've even brought my teenage children along a few times, and they absolutely loved it.

It's a great way to get them interested in nature and the wonderful creatures it is home to.

The admission fee might seem a bit steep at first, but trust me, it’s absolutely worth it - especially considering that it allows for multiple visits during your stay on the island.

I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than in the company of these spectacular butterflies.

Feel at Home at Rainbow Motel

You know that warm feeling you get when you stumble upon a hidden gem in your hometown?

That was exactly my experience with the Rainbow Motel.

From the moment I checked in, the friendly and accommodating owners made me feel right at home.

It's such a modest motel, but don't let that fool you!

My room was a delightful surprise - simple yet perfectly clean, with a bed so comfortable it rivaled my own.

Oh, and don't get me started on the convenience!

Whether I needed to do some quick shopping or catch a ferry to Mackinac Island, everything was just a stone's throw away.

One thing I absolutely loved about this place was the well-maintained landscape.

It felt like a breath of fresh air every time I stepped out of my room.

And talk about organization - the parking was numbered according to the rooms, making it a breeze to find my car!

But the goodies didn't stop there.

In the mornings, I was greeted with a fresh cup of coffee on the house!

And when I wanted some downtime, I could take a dip in the indoor pool or relax by the picnic areas.

I even noticed they had hot tubs, perfectly spotless - another feature that makes Rainbow Motel a standout among other places in the area.

I'm always keen on supporting local businesses, and Rainbow Motel, being family-owned, was just the ticket.

This little gem has now become my go-to spot for a quick getaway or even when I have friends visiting the area.

Who needs corporate-owned hotels when you've got a local treasure like Rainbow Motel?

Feel the Thrills of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Visitors admiring the Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park
Fsendek / Shutterstock.com

You've not truly experienced Michigan until you've spent a day at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park.

A locality that is as much a part of me as I am of it, this park offers a unique blend of history, nature, and adventure.

It's far from your ordinary park.

The adrenaline rush of the running zip line, the exhilarating challenge of the climbing wall, and the plank walk make it an adventure haven.

For someone who has been to this park countless times, trust me, the thrill never fades.

The sawmill demonstrations are a spectacle on their own.

Watching the mill in action is like taking a step back in time.

Nature trail at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park
Fsendek / Shutterstock.com

The historical facts about the lumber and the region  are as fascinating as they are educational.

No visit to Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park is complete without a visit to the sky deck.

The panoramic view of the water from there is a sight to behold every single time.

And then there are the trails.

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the trails are manageable and immersive.

The 'Listen to the Sounds of the Forest' section of the trail is something I particularly love.

It's like the forest is telling its own stories, and all you need to do is listen.

Waterbody at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park
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Stroll through the Past at Mackinaw Area Historical Society Heritage Village

Just as the morning dew gives way to a beautiful sunny day, I usually start my day with a rejuvenating walk through the Mackinaw Area Historical Society Heritage Village.

Each step through the village is like stepping back in time to the late 1800s.

The exquisite restoration of the buildings captures your imagination and instills a sense of awe for the craftsmanship of the era.

Mackinaw Area Historical Society Heritage Village offers more than just a visual treat.

The informative panels and educational programs are a treasure trove of information for history buffs like me.

One of my favorite spots here is the little nature center, which is a sanctuary of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The Art Trail is another gem in the village.

While some may wish for more displays, I find the existing collection quite enriching.

The serenity of the trail, coupled with the artistic creations, makes for an enthralling experience.

A walk in the village wouldn't be complete without a visit to the garden.

It's a living testament to our village's farming history and a delight to the senses.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you might even spot a porcupine or two, as I did on one of my strolls.

One of the best aspects of the Heritage Village is undoubtedly the enthusiastic staff and volunteers.

They are always eager to share their knowledge and have a friendly chat, making the whole experience more personal and heartwarming.

Taste the Local Beer by Bière de Mac Brew Works

Let me tell you about this great spot nestled about a mile and a half from downtown Mackinaw City.

It's my go-to place when I want to kick back with some friends or even have a quiet solo afternoon.

It's called Bière de Mac Brew Works Bière de Mac Brew Works, a craft brewery that is both industrial-chic yet with a polished interior.

My friends and I love to explore the flights of beers they offer.

There are always some intriguing choices that you won't find just anywhere.

The Bateau Brown has been my long-time favorite, but the Old World Cider is a close second.

Oh, and the Apple Beet Cider – don't get me started.

It's the kind of flavor that makes you question all the other beverages you've ever tried in your life.

But the real surprise at Bière de Mac Brew Works is the food.

Who would have thought that a brewery would serve such excellent dishes?

The salami mushroom cheddar Panini with kettle chips is my go-to, but the brisket sandwich – it's smokey, spicy, and all sorts of amazing.

The staff here is always friendly and helpful.

It's a big part of the reason I keep coming back.

And the outdoor space is a welcoming spot, perfect for hanging out in the summertime.

Learn Local History at Mackinaw Bridge Museum

Mackinaw Bridge Museum on a foggy day
ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

Every time I find myself in the vicinity, I can't resist the urge to visit Mama Mia's Pizza, not only for their lip-smacking food and refreshing drinks but also for the Mackinaw Bridge Museum that's neatly tucked away upstairs.

The Mackinaw Bridge Museum is a charming, free museum that houses a unique collection of memorabilia and photographs from the construction era of the Mackinaw Bridge.

The museum's exhibits stretch onto the edges of the dining area, which can get a bit crowded during busy hours.

But it's certainly worth the slight inconvenience.

Here's a tip: don't forget to check out the vintage arcade cabinets at the back.

They add a splash of old-school charm to the whole experience.

What I find truly fascinating about this place is how it provides a glimpse into the past.

The numerous items from the making of the Mackinaw Bridge paint an interesting historical picture that I feel is often more intriguing to adults.

Not to mention the museum also screens a few movies, clips, and interviews.

Although the chatter in the dining area can sometimes overshadow the audio, it's still an enriching experience.

If you happen to be an Iron Worker, you're in for a treat, as the food is complimentary!

Also, I strongly recommend participating in the Bridge Walk during Labor Day weekend.

I remember taking part in it back in 2002, and it was certainly an unforgettable experience.

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Mackinaw crossings strip, the museum offers a fun and educational break.

Have a Picnic at Wawatam Park

Every day when I wake up, I feel lucky to be living so close to the incredibly picturesque Wawatam Park.

An afternoon at this waterside gem is my preferred way of shaking off a stressful week.

Whether you are looking to have a picnic, spend some time with your kids, or just enjoy the serene beauty of Lake Huron, Wawatam Park is the place to be.

My children love the small playground that's situated right by the beach.

They can spend hours there, swinging, sliding, and simply enjoying the fresh air.

And as they play, I can watch over them from the comfort of shaded picnic tables, grilling up some burgers on the available grills, or just enjoying a good book.

When the kids need a break from the playground, we often take a walk along the park's rocky beach area.

They love collecting unusual stones and pebbles while I immerse myself in the captivating views of the Mackinaw Bridge.

Sometimes, I even bring along my telescope for a closer look at the boats sailing under the bridge.

But the best part of Wawatam Park, and something I look forward to every time, is getting our toes in the sand.

The water gets deep pretty quickly, so I always keep a watchful eye when the kids decide for a quick dip.

Lunchtime is another treat, with the park offering a handful of picnic tables.

We love to sit and enjoy our homemade sandwiches with the lake and bridge as our backdrop.

And don’t worry about nature’s call!

The park comes equipped with clean restrooms as well.

Stay the Night at Baymont by Wyndham Mackinaw City

Well, it's no secret that I've stayed in quite a few hotels in my hometown of Mackinaw City, but the Baymont by Wyndham Mackinaw City has always held a special place in my heart.

It may not be the most luxurious hotel in the area, but it's proven to be a reliable and comfortable choice.

Some might say it’s a tad on the pricier side compared to other local spots, but I truly believe the old adage: "you get what you pay for."

The Baymont may not be the newest kid on the block, but it's got character, and more importantly, it's always clean and safe.

The rooms are homely, with comfortable beds and a welcoming atmosphere.

The location is probably one of its biggest draws.

Not on the water but conveniently situated near the Mackinaw Crossing shopping district.

Everything is within just a short stroll.

Trust me, there's no better feeling than leaving your car behind and enjoying a leisurely walk to your favorite restaurant or shop.

One of my favorite things about Baymont by Wyndham is its proximity to the free ferry parking, making that trip to the dock a breeze.

The shuttle service is just the cherry on top, especially if you're not keen on paying the hefty parking fee near the boat.

Room 231 is my personal favorite.

It's spacious with a king bed and an easy chair that's perfect for unwinding after a long day.

The view of the interstate from the window is an unexpected perk - it's like a silent movie playing out in the distance.

The free breakfast is a real money saver!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Practice Nature Photography at of Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Mesmerizing view of the Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Andrew S / Shutterstock.com

I've been living here my whole life, and I can tell you that there's no place that fills me with awe quite like Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

The falls are a spectacle to behold, every change of season bringing in a new perspective of beauty.

I find myself drawn to the tranquility of the park, often going for woodland hikes by myself or with my family.

The trails here are always clear and well-marked, making it easy for anyone to navigate.

The journey from the upper falls to the lower falls is nothing short of breathtaking.

I've lost count of the times I've stood on the bridges, taking in the mesmerizing view below.

But the best part?

Being able to dip into the water at the lower falls.

Wooden stairs at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park
RonaldL / Shutterstock.com

Trust me, there's something incredibly invigorating about feeling the cool falls water on a warm summer day.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers year-round activities, so there's always something to do, no matter when you visit.

Oh, and I must mention the new store at the lower falls.

It's a neat little shop that has everything you'd need for a day out in the park.

Plus, the pub at the upper falls is a great spot to unwind and share stories with fellow park-goers.

Bear in mind, though, the park does draw in quite a crowd, especially during peak season.

But that's just a testament to how truly stunning this place is.

If you're up for it, the trek down the long staircase to the upper falls is well worth the effort.

The sight of the falls from that viewpoint is a memory that stays with you.

River flowing through the Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Gerald Bernard / Shutterstock.com

Get Up Close with Animals at Garlyn Zoo Wildlife Park

Entrance of the Garlyn Zoo Wildlife Park
rossograph, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On any given weekend, you'll find me leisurely strolling through the pine and cedar forests of the Garlyn Zoo Wildlife Park.

It's not your typical, run-of-the-mill zoo - it's a charming haven nestled in nature.

The first thing that strikes you as you venture in is the animals' enclosures, which are impressively large and naturally designed.

No animal seems out of place here, be it the lions, tigers, wolves, or the array of bird species.

The trails, laid with wood chips, wind throughout Garlyn Zoo Wildlife Park with slight elevation changes, making the walk an enjoyable mini hike.

One of the unique features here is the free-roaming peacocks and chickens - they're just as much a part of the wild experience as the encaged animals!

What I appreciate the most is the care and respect given to the residents of the park.

It's evident in the way the animals are maintained and the cleanliness of their habitats.

A visit to the Parkett enclosure is always a hit amongst the youngsters.

While the walk can take about an hour or so, the park is peppered with plenty of benches under the shade where one can take a breather.

Marvel at the Majestic Soo Locks

A ship passing through the Soo Locks
Focused Adventures / Shutterstock.com

You haven't truly experienced Sault Ste. Marie, until you've witnessed the awe-inspiring spectacle of a mammoth freighter gliding through the Soo Locks.

I've been visiting this engineering marvel for years, and the sight never gets old.

The day usually begins with a brisk morning walk along the shores of Lake Superior, anticipation building as I make my way toward the Locks.

Trust me, there's nothing quite like watching these giants of the Great Lakes rise and fall with the water level.

For a real treat, I time my visits to coincide with the arrival of a large freighter.

And I've got a little secret to share: though the visitor center posts estimated arrival times for ships, I use a marine traffic app to see when the next biggie is due.

This way, I get to experience the full drama of these colossal vessels navigating the passage.

Don't forget the visitor building.

It's brimming with fascinating displays that help you appreciate the mammoth task of managing these ships.

The staff are always on hand to answer questions and share interesting tidbits about Soo Locks' history and operations.

But remember, the weather here can be unpredictable.

That wind on the observation deck can be chilly, so make sure you're dressed appropriately.

And once you've had your fill of the Locks, the surrounding area is a treasure trove of souvenir shops to explore.

Final Thoughts

I can confidently say that Mackinaw City, Michigan offers a unique experience that is unlike any other.

From the rich history embedded in landmarks like the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Colonial Michilimackinac to the sheer beauty of nature one can admire at Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Headlands International Dark Sky Park, the best things to do in Mackinaw City, Michigan, cater to all types of interests.

It's my home, my paradise, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

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