Hotels in Mackinaw City, USA
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Make Mackinaw City your hub for a Great Lakes getaway
Mackinaw City in Michigan punches above its weight as a Great Lakes holiday destination. This small waterside resort boasts shopping and dining galore in the shadow of the mighty Mackinac Bridge that carries Interstate 75 for five miles across Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Positioned at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the village population swells each summer when tourists fill up its hotels to enjoy leisure activities and local attractions like museums, parks, beaches and a wilderness offering unrivalled dark skies stargazing. Additionally, Mackinaw City is the main springboard for visiting scenic and historic Mackinac Island by ferry.
Mackinaw City boasts much to see and do
Don’t be fooled by Mackinaw City’s small size; the resort is packed with attractions and leisure opportunities to keep visitors busy any time of year. Sandy freshwater beaches in Mackinaw City are a popular draw for summertime bathing or waterside strolls in colder weather. Indeed, several of the resort’s hotels enjoy beachfront locations. Another magnet for tourists is the excellent fishing. On the Great Lakes, Huron and Michigan it’s possible to charter boats for fishing trips, and there are opportunities for small-boat fishing on French Farm Lake. Several golf courses are also situated in the region. If you crave winter-sports, Mackinaw City becomes a good base for cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating when temperatures tumble. Stargazers, photographers and astronomers will love Headlands Park, situated about four miles west. Recognized by the International Dark Skies Association, this wilderness landscape virtually free from artificial light pollution is the place to plunge yourself into complete darkness at night to admire dazzling views of Orion and the Milky Way in all their glory.
A leading attraction in Mackinaw City harbour is the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum. Occupying a retired icebreaking vessel, this museum invites visitors aboard to explore its engine room and mess deck. The local history trail continues at 18th century Fort Michilimackinac near Mackinaw Point. Now an open-air museum dotted with reconstructed period wooden buildings, it was once a supply depot and military stronghold for the French, and subsequently the British, in colonial times when the fur trade boomed. Nearby, the castle-style structure of the disused Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse also welcomes visitors. An even older disused navigational aid designed to guide mariners safely through the Straits of Mackinac can be seen about three miles west of Mackinaw City at the McGulpin Point Lighthouse, which began operation in 1869.
Enjoy numerous places to eat and shop in Mackinaw City
In Mackinaw City, there is no shortage of places to eat and go shopping. The resort’s hunger-busting eateries, mainly located on Central Avenue and Huron Avenue close to hotels in downtown, include Italian, fast food and seafood restaurants. The centrally-located Mackinaw Crossings shopping mall provides further dining options as well as shops plus an aquarium, a cinema and a children’s playground. The Victorian-themed outdoor complex, houses dozens of speciality shops and well-known retailers. Shopaholics can find even more retailers dotted throughout the village centre. These include shops selling gifts, souvenirs, handicrafts and sweet treats like chocolate, toffee and fudge made in Michigan.
Experience island life
One of Michigan and the Midwest’s best-loved visitor attractions is just a short ferry ride from Mackinaw City. Captivating Mackinac Island in Lake Huron was originally designated as the USA’s second national park after Yellowstone, but today it enjoys state park status. It has a permanent population of a few hundred residents, but in the summer season it heaves with holidaymakers who pour in to stay at its hotels and bed and breakfasts. Furthermore, the island features plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops, many selling delicious Michigan fudge. Visitors primarily come to enjoy the raw natural beauty of the island’s scenery and its gentler pace of life as well as fascinating historic sites. Since the island is car-free, it’s the perfect place for exploring forests, marshes and the attractive coastline on foot, by bike or on horseback. Covering barely four square miles, the island is a natural habitat for birds, bats, racoons, foxes and otters. It also boasts wonderful countryside speckled with Native Americans burial grounds and naturally-formed rock formations including a limestone rock arch.
The island’s strategic location in the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron made it a sought-after possession in the early days of North America’s fur trade. Indeed, British and American forces frequently tussled over the island and its port in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This heritage is impressively preserved at the family-friendly Fort Mackinac overlooking the harbour. As one of the most complete American Revolutionary War forts in the country, it showcases period buildings like a schoolhouse, bathhouse and barracks. The feeling you get of stepping back in time is completed during high season by the sight of costumed characters in historic costumes mingling with holidaymakers. Visitors can also look out for historic weaponry like cannons and rifles.