Explore the 9 Best Things to Do in Mackinaw City: Your Ultimate Guide for Fun & Adventure

Seeking out the best things to do in Mackinaw City? Whether it’s a deep dive into the area’s maritime past, a culinary tour of local delicacies, or an outdoor escapade on land or water, our no-fluff guide has you covered. We’re here to steer your Mackinaw City adventure to the highlights that simply can’t be missed.

Discovering the Charm of Downtown Mackinaw City

Upon entering downtown Mackinaw City, you’ll find a lively atmosphere as warm as the locals themselves. With quaint specialty shops lining the Main Street and tantalizing aroma wafting from renowned eateries, the downtown area serves as the heart of Mackinaw City, pulsating with charm and vibrancy.

Shopping and Dining on Main Street

Main Street satisfies both shoppers and food enthusiasts alike. From locally crafted beers at Mackinac Island Brewhouse to gourmet spices at Broken Barrel and the delightful charm bracelets at Be Charmed, there’s something for everyone. And when hunger strikes, dive into the culinary scene – whether it’s upscale dining at The Chippewa Room or homemade Italian dishes at Mackinaw City Pizza Palace. Every corner teems with a sense of discovery and delectable tastes.

Events and Entertainment Downtown

The city’s vibrant spirit extends into its entertainment scene. From the multifaceted performances at the Cheboygan Opera House to seasonal events at Mackinaw Crossings, downtown Mackinaw City is a hub of excitement.

As dusk falls, the city buzzes with live performances and festivities under the enchanting northern lights, turning every moment into a treasured memory.

Nautical Adventures at the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

Your Mackinaw City trip won’t be complete unless you explore the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum. Once the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw WAGB-83, it tells the riveting tale of the icebreakers’ role in keeping the shipping traffic flowing on the Great Lakes during winter. Step aboard and delve into an important part of Michigan’s naval history.

Inside the Icebreaker

Inside the ship, you’ll discover informative exhibits that illustrate its 62 years of service. From the Captain’s Quarters to the Engine Room, each corner of the ship offers a unique glimpse into life aboard the icebreaker. Set aside an hour for the tour – each minute spent is a step back in time, offering an engaging insight into the legacy of Icebreaker Mackinaw.

Experience History at Colonial Michilimackinac

Colonial Michilimackinac, a reconstructed 18th-century fort and trading post, will thrill history enthusiasts as it acts as a time capsule. Its ongoing archaeological project has unearthed layers of history, helping us understand the region’s past. And with live reenactments that breathe life into the historical accounts, you’ll embark on a journey through time that’s as informative as it is immersive.

Outdoor Activities for All Ages

Mackinaw City offers ample opportunities for those ready to embrace the call of the wild. Whether it’s bonding over water activities like kayaking and canoeing or casting a line on a guided fishing charter, the city offers a variety of outdoor activities. And for golf enthusiasts, the 18-hole Mackinaw Club Golf Course promises a fun day out in the sun. Don’t miss out on these exciting mackinaw city attractions during your visit.

Hiking and Biking Trails

The city offers eight scenic trails for those keen on strapping on their hiking boots or pedaling towards adventure. These trails, including the Shoreline Trail and Ridgeline Trail, cater to outdoor enthusiasts at any skill level.

Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or an invigorating run, the city’s trails provide the ideal setting for your outdoor adventures.

Historic Lighthouse Tours

Take a step back in time with a tour of the city’s historic lighthouses. The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, for instance, stands as a beacon of history. Explore its Keeper’s Quarters, marvel at the maritime navigation exhibits, and climb the tower for a panoramic view of the Straits of Mackinac.

Every tour in Sault Ste is a voyage back in time that reveals the lighthouses’ vital role in guiding ships.

Mackinac Island Excursions

Consider a detour to Mackinac Island, a unique world just a short ferry ride from Mackinaw City. Step off the ferry and into a historic downtown area that’s brimming with charm and history.

Ferry Services

Your journey to Mackinac Island begins with a ride aboard Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry. This family-owned ferry service has been setting the standard in comfort and safety since 1945. With amenities like indoor and outdoor seating, a snack bar, and restrooms, your ride across the Straits of Mackinac promises to be an enjoyable one.

Island Attractions

Once you step foot on Mackinac Island, you’ll be greeted by a host of attractions. From the world’s longest porch at the Grand Hotel to the serene lakeside setting of Mission Point Resort, there’s something to cater to every taste and preference. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, historical intrigue, or culinary delights, Mackinac Island has you covered.

Unforgettable Experiences Near the Mackinac Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge, an awe-inspiring icon of Michigan, connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Its sheer size and engineering marvel make it a must-visit attraction. But the experience doesn’t end there.

An array of unforgettable experiences, including Colonial Michilimackinac, the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, are located just a short distance from the bridge.

The Majesty of the Mackinac Bridge

Earning the nickname ‘Mighty Mac’, this suspension bridge is one of the longest in the world. Its monumental size, along with its 3,800 feet span between towers, is a testament to the marvels of engineering.

Opened in 1957 and dedicated a year later, the Mackinac Bridge stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the spirit of progress.

Nearby Natural Wonders

Within a short drive from the Mackinac Bridge, you’ll find a wealth of natural wonders that offer unique experiences. Some of these include:

  • The majestic Tahquamenon Falls
  • The enchanting Kitch-iti-kipi spring
  • The serene Wilderness State Park
  • The vibrant cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Each location offers a unique window into Michigan’s scenic environment, including the breathtaking Lake Huron and the stunning Lake Michigan, both situated in the picturesque northern Michigan.

Adventure Golf and Other Family Fun

Mackinaw City is brimming with family fun activities. Whether it’s navigating the puzzling gravity anomalies at the Mystery Spot or cheering for your favorite lumberjack at the Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows, there’s an activity for everyone.

And for those looking for an educational twist to their fun, don’t miss out on playing adventure golf at Animal Tracks, where you can learn about Northern Michigan’s wildlife.

Accommodation Options: From Campgrounds to Luxury Hotels

A range of accommodation options await you after a day of exploration and adventure. Whether you prefer the rustic charm of a campground, the cozy comfort of a cabin, or the luxury of a hotel, Mackinaw City has you covered.

Camping and RV Sites

The city’s camping and RV sites provide the ideal setting for nature enthusiasts. These sites come equipped with amenities that enhance your outdoor experience. From the leisure amenities at the Indian River RV Resort to the family-friendly activities at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, you’re in for a memorable stay.

Hotels and Resorts

For those who prefer hotel comforts, Mackinaw City has much to offer. Take the Mackinaw Beach & Bay All Suites Resort, for instance. Its rooms offer private balconies overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, and the resort itself provides amenities for relaxation and leisure, including a complimentary hot breakfast with your stay.

Culinary Delights of Mackinaw City

Prepare yourself for a culinary adventure in Mackinaw City. From the delicious pasties at locales like Hunt’s Mackinac Pastie & Cookie Co. and Bessie’s Homemade Pasties to the quick bites at The Taste of the Upper Peninsula, the city’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious.

Breakfast Hotspots

Kickstart your day with a hearty breakfast at local hotspots like Darrow’s Family Restaurant known for its large portions and homemade foods, or The Pancake Chef, where breakfast is served all day. These venues offer a cozy atmosphere to enjoy the most important meal of the day.

Iconic Treats and Sweets

Your visit to Mackinaw City wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some sweet delights. Murdick’s Fudge is a local favorite that has delighted visitors for years. And for a live demonstration of candy-making, head to Devon’s Mackinac Island Candy Factory.

It’s a sweet end to your culinary journey in Mackinaw City.


From the historic charm of downtown to the breathtaking views from the Mackinac Bridge and the culinary delights that await at every corner, Mackinaw City offers a diverse array of experiences that cater to all tastes. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Mackinaw City is your one-stop destination for an unforgettable vacation. So, when are you packing your bags for Mackinaw City?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mackinaw City worth visiting?

Yes, Mackinaw City is definitely worth visiting for its scenic parks, historic sites, and exciting outdoor adventures.

Is one day enough on Mackinac Island?

One day is enough to visit Mackinac Island, but staying overnight will help you make more memories and avoid rushing through the experience.

Is it better to stay on Mackinaw City or Mackinac Island?

Staying in Mackinaw City is a better option due to its lower cost, modern accommodations, and extensive nightlife, and you’ll still need to take the ferry to visit Mackinac Island.

Is there more to do in St. Ignace or Mackinaw City?

Mackinaw City offers more activities and amenities compared to St. Ignace, making it a better choice for those seeking plenty of entertainment and exploration options.

What are some unique shopping experiences in downtown Mackinaw City?

You’ll find a variety of unique shopping experiences on Main Street in downtown Mackinaw City, including Mackinac Island Brewhouse, Broken Barrel, and Be Charmed. Enjoy exploring!