Things To Do In Mackinaw City

5 Fun Things To Do In Mackinaw City

When it comes to planning a vacation, Mackinaw City offers a plethora of attractions and activities for everyone. From the famous Mackinac Island to family-friendly adventures, this charming destination has something to offer every traveler. Whether you’re looking for free activities or paid attractions, Mackinaw City has it all.

Mackinac Island, known for its historic charm and horse-drawn carriages, is a must-visit attraction. Take a ferry from Mackinaw City and explore the island’s beautiful landscapes and iconic landmarks. You can rent bikes, visit the historic fort, or indulge in delicious fudge from the local shops. The island is a true gem waiting to be discovered.

For those seeking family-friendly activities, Mackinaw City won’t disappoint. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mackinac Bridge while strolling along the shoreline or relax on the sandy beaches. The little ones will love exploring the interactive exhibits at the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum.

If you’re looking for free activities, Mackinaw City has plenty to offer. Witness the stunning summer fireworks on Friday nights or enjoy live music at the parks throughout the summer season. Embark on a treasure hunt with letterboxing or geocaching activities, or take a scenic hike on the Narnia Trail with views of Lake Huron.

Explore the surrounding areas of Mackinaw City

While Mackinaw City itself is full of excitement, there are also nearby towns worth exploring. Take a drive through the picturesque Tunnel of Trees during the fall season and witness the vibrant autumn colors. Visit Cross Village, Good Hart, and Cheboygan for a taste of small-town charm, or indulge in some wildlife encounters at Garlyn’s Zoo.

Where to Stay in Mackinaw City

With a variety of accommodation options, finding the perfect place to stay in Mackinaw City is a breeze. Campers will enjoy the beautiful views and amenities offered by Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground and Wilderness State Park campsites. If camping isn’t your thing, there are also hotels, house rentals, and cottage rentals available.

Mackinaw City Restaurants

After a day of exploring and adventure, treat yourself to some delicious dining experiences in Mackinaw City. Darrows is a popular breakfast spot known for its generous portions and mouthwatering pies. Don’t miss the chance to savor the famous fudge from Murdick’s Fudge, or indulge in some tasty pasties from Hunt’s Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Company, a local favorite.

Free Activities in Mackinaw City

When visiting Mackinaw City, there are plenty of free activities to enjoy that will keep you entertained throughout your stay. From vibrant summer fireworks to picturesque hiking trails, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the top free activities you can indulge in:

1. Summer Fireworks

On Friday nights, you can catch the mesmerizing summer fireworks in Mackinaw City. Grab a blanket and find a cozy spot to witness the dazzling display lighting up the night sky. It’s a perfect way to end your week and start the weekend with a bang.

Summer fireworks

2. Parks with Live Music

Throughout the summer, several parks in Mackinaw City offer live music performances. You can enjoy the magical combination of beautiful melodies and the great outdoors. Pack a picnic basket, relax on the grass, and immerse yourself in the vibrant tunes.

3. The Narnia Trail

For nature enthusiasts, the Narnia Trail provides a serene hiking experience with breathtaking views of Lake Huron. As you stroll through the trail, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and the calming sounds of nature. It’s a journey that will take you to a world of tranquility.

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4. Letterboxing

If you’re up for an adventurous treasure hunt, letterboxing is a fantastic activity to try in Mackinaw City. All you need is a stamp, a notebook, and clues to guide you to hidden treasures. It’s a thrilling way to explore the area while uncovering hidden gems.

5. Hike, Swim & Play at Wilderness State Park

Wilderness State Park offers a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. You can embark on scenic hikes, dive into crystal-clear waters for a swim, or engage in various recreational activities such as volleyball, frisbee, or simply enjoying a picnic by the beach. The possibilities are endless at this natural paradise.

6. Stargaze at Headlands International Dark Sky Park

For those fascinated with the beauty of the night sky, Headlands International Dark Sky Park is a must-visit. The park offers a protected area for stargazing, free from light pollution. Lay back on a blanket, gaze at the breathtaking constellations, and let the wonders of the universe captivate your imagination.

With these free activities, you can make the most of your time in Mackinaw City without breaking the bank. From breathtaking natural landscapes to captivating performances, there is plenty to explore and experience without spending a dime.

Paid Attractions in Mackinaw City

If you’re looking for a memorable and entertaining experience in Mackinaw City, there are several paid attractions that offer unique and exciting activities. From thrilling performances to historical landmarks, these attractions are sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows

Experience the adrenaline rush of the Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows, where real lumberjacks showcase their skills in a thrilling competition. Watch as they chop, saw, and log roll with incredible precision and strength. This action-packed show is a must-see for those seeking an authentic lumberjack experience.

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Step back in time at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, where you can learn about the fascinating history of water-powered sawmills and explore the beautiful surrounding nature. Test your skills on the zipline or challenge yourself on the rock wall, all while immersing yourself in the history and natural beauty of the area.

Mystery Spot

Enter the world of optical illusions and mind-bending attractions at the Mystery Spot. Experience gravity-defying phenomena, mazes, and mind-boggling puzzles that will challenge your perception and leave you wondering how it’s all possible. This attraction is perfect for those who love science and enjoy a touch of mystery.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Visit the iconic Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and delve into the maritime history of the Great Lakes. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for breathtaking views of the Straits of Mackinac and learn about the lighthouse keepers who worked diligently to guide ships safely through the treacherous waters.

Courtyard Cinema & Playground

For a family-friendly activity, head to the Courtyard Cinema & Playground. Enjoy a movie under the stars in their outdoor cinema, complete with comfortable seating and a magical ambiance. After the movie, let the kids burn off some energy at the playground, ensuring fun for the whole family.

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Shepler’s Mackinaw Island Ferry

No trip to Mackinaw City is complete without taking a scenic boat ride to Mackinac Island. Shepler’s Mackinaw Island Ferry offers a convenient and enjoyable way to reach the island and explore its charming streets, historic sites, and natural beauty. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Huron during the ferry ride.

Paid Attractions in Mackinaw City

Immerse yourself in the excitement and history of Mackinaw City by visiting these paid attractions. From thrilling shows and mind-bending illusions to historical landmarks and scenic boat rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore Nearby Towns

If you’re looking to venture out of Mackinaw City and explore the surrounding areas, there are several nearby towns that offer unique experiences. From scenic drives to charming small towns, here are some destinations to consider:

Tunnel of Trees

Take a drive through the picturesque Tunnel of Trees during the fall season to witness the breathtaking display of autumn colors. This scenic route is a favorite among nature lovers and photographers.

Cross Village

Experience the charm of Cross Village, a small town known for its historic architecture and stunning Lake Michigan views. Explore local shops, enjoy a meal at a quaint restaurant, and soak in the relaxed atmosphere.

Good Hart

Just a short drive from Mackinaw City, Good Hart offers a peaceful retreat with its beautiful beaches and scenic hiking trails. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline or explore the nearby rural countryside.


Visit Cheboygan, a vibrant town located on the shores of Lake Huron. Enjoy waterfront activities such as boating, fishing, or simply relaxing by the lake. Explore the downtown area and discover local shops and eateries.

Garlyn’s Zoo

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to Garlyn’s Zoo is a must. Located a short drive from St. Ignace and the iconic Mackinac Bridge, this zoo offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of animals. From exotic species to native wildlife, Garlyn’s Zoo is a fun and educational experience for all ages.

Tunnel of Trees

Destination Distance from Mackinaw City
Tunnel of Trees Approximately 20 miles
Cross Village Approximately 25 miles
Good Hart Approximately 15 miles
Cheboygan Approximately 20 miles
Garlyn’s Zoo Approximately 15 miles

These nearby towns offer a delightful change of scenery and provide opportunities for exploration and relaxation. Whether you’re craving natural beauty, small-town charm, or wildlife encounters, there is something for everyone just a short distance away from Mackinaw City.

Where to Stay in Mackinaw City

When planning your trip to Mackinaw City, it’s important to find the perfect place to stay that suits your preferences and budget. Whether you’re a camping enthusiast or prefer the comfort of a hotel or rental, Mackinaw City offers a variety of accommodation options to choose from.

If you love the great outdoors and enjoy the rustic charm of camping, consider staying at one of the campgrounds in the area. Two popular camping options are the Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground and Wilderness State Park. Both offer beautiful views and amenities to make your camping experience enjoyable and memorable.

If camping is not your style or you prefer more convenience, there are also hotels available in Mackinaw City. From budget-friendly options to luxury accommodations, you’ll find a range of hotel choices that cater to different tastes and needs.

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Additionally, if you’re looking for a more secluded and unique experience, consider renting a house or cottage in Mackinaw City or nearby Saint Ignace. These rentals provide privacy and a cozy atmosphere, making you feel right at home during your stay.

Here is a table summarizing your options for accommodation in Mackinaw City:

Accommodation Type Options
Campgrounds Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground
Wilderness State Park
Hotels Various options available
House Rentals Several options in Mackinaw City and Saint Ignace
Cottage Rentals Multiple choices for a cozy stay

With these accommodation options available, you can easily find the perfect place to stay in Mackinaw City that suits your preferences and enhances your overall experience.

Mackinaw City Restaurants

After all the activities, I’m sure you’ve worked up an appetite. Luckily, Mackinaw City offers a variety of dining options to satisfy your cravings. One popular spot for breakfast is Darrows. Known for their generous portions, you won’t leave hungry. Make sure to save room for their mouthwatering pies!

If you have a sweet tooth, indulge yourself at Murdick’s Fudge. This iconic establishment is famous for its delectable fudge, made with only the finest ingredients. Treat yourself to a slice of heaven and experience the rich, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

For a taste of local flavor, Hunt’s Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Company is a must-visit. Sink your teeth into their delicious pasties, a traditional favorite in the area. These savory hand-held pies are filled with hearty ingredients and are the perfect comfort food. And while you’re there, don’t forget to try their mouthwatering cookies!


What are some free activities to enjoy in Mackinaw City?

You can catch the summer fireworks on Friday nights, head to parks with live music throughout the summer, hike the picturesque Narnia Trail, go letterboxing or geocaching, and explore Wilderness State Park for hiking, swimming, and playing.

What paid attractions are available in Mackinaw City?

Mackinaw City offers the thrilling Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows, the adventurous Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park with ziplining and rock climbing, the intriguing Mystery Spot with science attractions and optical illusions, the historic Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, the family-friendly Courtyard Cinema & Playground, and the scenic Shepler’s Mackinaw Island Ferry.

What nearby towns should I explore when visiting Mackinaw City?

Take a drive through the scenic Tunnel of Trees for stunning autumn colors, explore the charming small towns of Cross Village, Good Hart, and Cheboygan, and visit Garlyn’s Zoo for a wildlife experience.

Where can I stay in Mackinaw City?

Accommodation options in Mackinaw City include campgrounds such as Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground and Wilderness State Park, as well as hotels, house rentals, and cottage rentals.

What are some recommended restaurants in Mackinaw City?

For a hearty breakfast and delicious pies, visit Darrows. Indulge in the famous fudge at Murdick’s Fudge, and don’t miss trying the local specialty of pasties at Hunt’s Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Company.

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