Photo by the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau
The area was named Michilimackinac by the Native Americans and when the French built a fort here in 1715, they recorded the name with a “c” on the end as a French word with an “aw” sound would be pronounced. Many guests to the area mispronounce Mackinac by saying “Mack-i-nack.” The “c” on the end of this word is instead pronounced as “aw.”
The word became shortened to Mackinac. The fort was moved on the winter ice to the island across the straits which became known as Mackinac Island.
Edgar Conkling was the founder of the city in 1857 and he changed the name to Mackinaw to reflect how the word actually sounds. Thus, in this part of Michigan, there is Mackinac Island, the Mackinac Bridge, the Straits of Mackinac, Mackinaw City, and the Icebreaker Mackinaw and they are all pronounced the same way: Mack-i-naw. There is no Nack in Mackinaw or “aw”! Pronounce it Mack-i-knack and you’ll give yourself away as a tourist who doesn’t know how to pronounce the place that you’re visiting…..
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The majestic and historic Grand Hotel is one of the first sights visitors see as they head into the harbor on Mackinac Island.
A visit to Northern Michigan is not complete without a walk along the Lake Michigan in search of Petoskey stones.
Travel along the Tunnel of Trees in Northern Michigan and you will pass through Good Hart and see historic Saint Ignatius Catholic Church.
The history of the fur trade in Northern Michigan is captured at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City.
The history Northern Michigan’s Inland Water Route is preserved at the Inland Water Route Historical Museum in Alanson.
The Andrew J. Blackbird Museum is named for a counselor who helped Native American veterans. Native American artifacts fill the museum space.
Just a short drive from Harbor Springs or Petoskey are more than a dozen Northern Michigan cross country ski trails in Emmet County.
Fisherman’s Island State Park has more than 2,600 acres and miles of gorgeous Lake Michigan beach and is located just south of Charlevoix.
The Headlands, just west of Mackinaw City, is one of six International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. and one of nine in the world.
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.