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The porch at The Grand Hotel. | Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography
Not only is Mackinac Island rich in history as both a place where fur trading took place and where a fort was built to protect nearby territories, but it is filled with beauty and lots of activities and attractions to explore.
The majestic Grand Hotel is one of the first sights to visitors as they head into the harbor on one of the ferry boats. The hotel, which is perched on the bluff and overlooks Lake Huron, has been a draw to Mackinac Island since it was built in 1886. The Grand Hotel has 365 rooms and a famous front porch- the world’s largest at 660 feet long.
The Mighty Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic on November 1st, 1957, and connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula over the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. Nearly 500,000 vehicles cross the bridge during the summer, with that number dropping to a mere 169,000 in a typical January. Annual vehicle crossing is approximately 4,000,000. The bridge is a gateway to the serene beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but it is also a necessary link on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour.
Fort Mackinac, part of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, is open from May-October and includes buildings restored to how they looked during the later years of the fort’s occupation. Park interpreters depict US Army soldiers from this same period complete with distinctive Prussian-inspired uniforms.
Visitors can walk through buildings filled with interactive displays and period furnishings while listening to bugle music, and cannon and rifle firings. A long sidewalk leads visitors up to the Fort from the park below or horse-drawn taxis or tour carriages make stops at the rear entrance of the Fort atop the bluff.
This geological wonder is a natural limestone arch formed during the Nipissing post-glacial period when high Lake Huron levels and wave action created openings in the rock. Arch Rock stands 146 feet over the Lake Huron shoreline- nearly 15 stories tall. Like nearby Devil’s Kitchen and Sugar Loaf, Arch Rock’s limestone formation took thousands of years by wind, water, and receding glaciers to be created. The views from Arch Rock are dramatic. Sweeping views of Lake Huron and Canada make this a great place to enjoy.
The many ski resorts in Northern Michigan have winter activities for the entire family including sledding, sleigh rides, tubing, and more.
The Andrew J. Blackbird Museum is named for a counselor who helped Native American veterans. Native American artifacts fill the museum space.
The elegantly restored Cheboygan Opera House is an acoustically superb, Victorian theatre that presents entertainment of many genres.
The Charlevoix Circle of Arts is a vibrant, cultural center in downtown Charlevoix that presents six major visual exhibits annually.
The Oden State Fish Hatchery in Alanson produces three strains of brown trout and one strain of rainbow trout.
Historic Mill Creek Discover Park has 625 acres along Lake Huron, 3.5 miles of hiking trails, a reconstructed saw mill, mill dam, and more.
Travel along the Tunnel of Trees in Northern Michigan and you will pass through Good Hart and see historic Saint Ignatius Catholic Church.
Mackinaw City’s Heritage Village lets visitors explore life in the Straits of Mackinac as it was during the era of 1880-1917.
This Inland Waterway covers 38.2 miles from outside of Petoskey to Cheboygan. Find state parks, fishing, swimming, and more along the way.
A visit to Northern Michigan is not complete without a walk along the Lake Michigan in search of Petoskey stones.
Just a short drive from Harbor Springs or Petoskey are more than a dozen Northern Michigan cross country ski trails in Emmet County.
Get the sleds and the skates out, put on the cold weather clothes, and enjoy sledding and ice skating in Northern Michigan.
This 28-mile scenic highway running between Atwood and Boyne Falls known as the Breezeway draws visitors because it is gorgeous.
With woods, dunes, and frozen lakes, the trails near Charlevoix and Boyne City are the places to cross country ski from December-March.
Within the historic Chicago/West Michigan railroad depot in Petoskey, the Little Traverse History Museum is a history filled gem.