23 and 24 July 2020
Mackinac Island is located near the Straits of Mackinac, the dividing line between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, on the Lake Huron side. Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island was America’s second national park after Yellowstone, however it was later turned over to Michigan to become their first state park. Connecting the towns of St. Ignace on the north and Mackinaw City on the south of the Straits is the Mackinac Bridge which looks similar to the Golden Gate Bridge, minus the distinctive orange paint. An image of the bridge is used on some of Michigan’s license plates.
Driving from the north, we briefly visited St. Ignace and then continued to Mackinaw City where we stayed. Both towns are only a 20-minute ferry ride from Mackinac Island. St. Ignace has its touristy charm but Mackinaw City was the right place for us. We stayed within easy walking distance of the beaches, restaurants, shops and ferry terminal.
Mackinac Island is the most popular tourist destination in Michigan and for good reason. There are no cars on the island so we started our day by renting bicycles and peddling the 8.2-mile perimeter road. The road is flat and mostly paved so it is an easy ride. Back in town we ditched the bikes, got lunch and walked up to the Grand Hotel, which as its title would indicate is quite grand. For us Mackinac Island was a great day trip, possibly the highlight of our three week adventure. For others it would make a relaxing long weekend or a carefree week, but that’s not how we roll. It’s time to see what else the Great Lakes Region has to offer.
Mackinac Island shoreline including The Arch
Mackinaw City Lighthouse