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Photo by the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau
Mackinac Island is filled with two types of history: natural and physical. The geological formations of rocks and caves, wild flowers, and dramatic bluff vistas on Mackinac Island have helped bring visitors to this beautiful place for hundreds of years.
This pristine spot in Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac was the country’s second national park created three years after Yellowstone National Park. When the British moved Fort Michilimackinac to Mackinac Island in 1780 where it offered better protection, the purpose of the island changed. Americans took control of the fort in 1796. The first engagement of the War of 1812 took place on Mackinac Island when the British took back the fort. The Americans attempted to retake the fort in 1814 but failed in a bloody battle.
The fort’s soldiers cared for Mackinac Island National Park and when the fort closed in 1895, the country’s first state park was formed: Mackinac Island State Park. Today, the stone ramparts, the south sally port and the Officer’s Stone Quarters are all part of the original fort and look over the harbor and downtown.
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 14 buildings filled with interactive displays and period furnishings while listening to 19th century 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.
7127 Huron Rd., Mackinac Island, MI, 49757
Fort Mackinac is open from May-October and includes buildings restored their original look after the fort’s occupation by the British
The majestic and historic Grand Hotel is one of the first sights visitors see as they head into the harbor on Mackinac Island.
The Harbor Springs History Museum offers a unique look at the history of the community, starting with the first Catholic missionaries.
Wildlife sanctuary Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is located 3 1/2 miles north of Harbor Springs, between Lower Shore Drive and Lake Michigan.
Acres and acres of Northern Michigan are abloom with trillium during May, only adding to the beauty of spring Up North!
Built during World War II to haul heavy materials during the winter, the Icebreaker Mackinaw was in service for 62 years then became a museum.
Within the historic Chicago/West Michigan railroad depot in Petoskey, the Little Traverse History Museum is a history filled gem.
Mackinaw City’s Heritage Village lets visitors explore life in the Straits of Mackinac as it was during the era of 1880-1917.
The Harsha House and the Charlevoix Depot Museum, run by the Charlevoix Historical Society, preserve much of Charlevoix’s rich history.
With miles of scenic trails terrain and local snowmobile clubs, Northern Michigan is the place to bring the snow sleds in the winter.
Spring brings lots of outdoor activities to Northern Michigan but one often ends up on pancakes: making maple syrup.
Northern Michigan has many varied settings for kayaking- whether it by river, one of the inland lakes, or Lake Michigan,
The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods is a 55′ x 22′ redwood cross cut from one redwood tree and with a 28′ tall bronze crucifix.
The Andrew J. Blackbird Museum is named for a counselor who helped Native American veterans. Native American artifacts fill the museum space.
The Oden State Fish Hatchery in Alanson produces three strains of brown trout and one strain of rainbow trout.