Mackinaw City – Travel
Categories: Shopping, sight seeing, family fun, restaurants
Mackinaw City is the gateway to what else but Mackinac Island and the last stop before heading up into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is often used as a staging point to either of these locations but Mackinaw City is a destination all in itself. With plenty of shopping, restaurants, activities, and sight seeing to be done you could easily spend your whole vacation there. They also have lodging options to fit any budget: from resort hotels, motels, cabins, and camping all just minutes away from all the action.
After settling in from our long drive north, we decided that we needed some beach time. We followed Trails End Road just a short distance out of town until it meets up with Wilderness Park Drive. There you will find a small parking lot and some public beach access complete with restrooms. There are plenty of beaches in the area to choose from, we picked this one because… well it was right there. It was pretty small but the sand was soft and well groomed and the water was shallow for a good distance from the shore so the kids could venture out. One thing to note is that the bathrooms are essentially a toilet over a hole in the ground so it was pretty stinky …very stinky …I’d rather hold it stinky! But in case of an emergency I’d rather have one available than not.
After the beach we dried up and made our way into town for dinner. We ate at Mama Mia’s Pizza (which will get its own review at a later time) and then set out for some shopping. There are a large amount of stores in the downtown area filled with all sorts of trinkets and touristy stuff. There were also live performances, street performers, and tourist grabbing activities such as putt putt golf, a maze of mirrors, and even a haunted house. All kinds of goodies to choose from including: ice cream, popcorn, taffy, and we can’t forget the fudge! Fun Fact: Mackinaw tourists are called “Fudgies” by the locals because of their tendency to “flock to where the fudge is”.
After dark we made our way to Colonial Michilimackinac Park which has a great view of the Mackinaw Bridge all lit up at night. There is also Fort Michilimackinac and the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse that can be toured during the day but we did not visit those on this trip. After dark you mainly find couples strolling the path hand-in-hand, gazing at the view or into each other’s eyes. It’s a very nice place to wind down after a day of sight-seeing!
Betsy: I grew up just south of Mackinaw City so to be quite honest, us locals tried to avoid it when it was peak tourist season. Because of that perspective, I am not as easily excited about visiting Mackinaw City as Chris is. With that being said I still enjoyed myself. I most especially enjoyed the views of the water, the bridge and the lighthouse as I am more into scenic stops whereas Chris loves “touristy” stops like souvenir shops and such. Luckily Mackinaw City offers both, so we were both content there for the day.
Chris: I love Mackinaw! I went there as a child and was just completely wow’d by everything. Since then I’ve made several visits and it never gets old. For whatever reason I am completely in love with the tourist trap towns. I collect souvenirs such as ornaments and squished pennies and take photos…. LOTS of photos! I haven’t visited the Fort and been in the lighthouse since I was a kid so that’s something I wan’t to fit in the schedule next time we’re up there.