Mackinaw City, Michigan

We left Frankfort and headed for Mackinaw City on July 17th. We hunkered down at a campground called Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping. Overall, this campground was just okay. The location was wonderful, remarkably close to the places we wanted to visit and things we wanted to do but it was too large for the staff that worked there as they were mostly work campers which made it a little chaotic at times. We used it as a jumping-off point, and it worked well for us.  

Entrance into our campground.

The campground was located right on Lake Huron. There is an exceptionally long bridge that connects the Lower Peninsula with the Upper Peninsula (Mackinac Bridge.) This bridge separates Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

We took one day and visited the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and walked along the waterfront. thereafter completing our little tour, we hopped back into the car, headed up the road to Mackinaw City, and walked around looking at all the shops and restaurants.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

The downtown area is set up to cater to the summertime tourists and crowds catching the ferry over to Mackinac Island (more on that later). 

It was important to us to put our feet in the water at least once in each of the Great lakes we visited, so here we are, checking out the water temperature.

We would see so many people in the water swimming, even on days when it was not “swimming weather.” We just needed to know how warm the water was, and we were pleasantly surprised.  

Dipping our toes in the water!

Lake Huron

We took a half-day trip south visiting the Crib Lighthouse in Cheboygan, MI; took a few pictures, and took a short nature walk out on the boardwalk and Lake Huron shoreline.  

On a nice sunny day, we loaded up our bikes on the back of the Crosstrek headed into Mackinaw City, did a portion of the Mackinaw City to Cheboygan City trail (about twelve miles out and back).   

Some of the surrounding cities that we explored while in Mackinaw City were: 

Harbor Springs – 5/5 The day we were here, the weather was not cooperating, but we drove through and looked at all the houses that were on the water.  This was an area that had lots of $$$ between the homes, the yachts tied up in the little harbor, and the preppy little sailing school.  

Petoskey – 5/5 – The day we were here the weather decided to cooperate and we got out, walked around, and did some window shopping.  

Charlevoix 5/5 – The day we were here they had a street fair. The main street through town was shut down, and food trucks lined the street. They had their amphitheater set up for a night of music and relaxation. We didn't stay long enough to listen, but this is also a definite “must-see” if in the area.  

Another day trip we did while in Mackinaw City was over to Mackinac Island. We got up early and boarded the short 15-minute ferry ride over. Once we arrived we hopped on the horse-drawn carriage ride/tour through the island (held between 15-20 people). I highly recommend putting this on your list if you visit, it was so fun and so informative.  

Carriage Ride - Mackinac Island

We visited the butterfly sanctuary on the first stop of the tour getting up close and personal with a lot of Monarch butterflies. After this attraction, you then board a second larger carriage/wagon (seems like it holds fifty people) that takes you down to the waterfront where you can see the Arched Rock, snap some pictures, and then off for more sites on the island. The entire tour took us about 2 hrs. to complete, which included about 30-40 mins in Butterfly Sanctuary. Again, I highly recommend it.  

When we came back to Main Street it was time for lunch, and the town was packed. We grabbed something to eat, bought a few T-shirts, and boarded the ferry back. Overall, this day was 10/10. We had so much fun. Be advised that going early was a big benefit as we pretty much walked up to the ticket office bought our tickets and hopped on a wagon for our carriage ride tour; when we returned there was a line of people waiting both to purchase tickets and to get on a carriage we estimated that some people would be waiting an hour before starting the tour. 

On July 27th – July 30th, we met our Canadian friends in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for the weekend to celebrate Theresa’s and my birthday. We had a wonderful time. We played Mexican Domino's, ate a ton of tasty food, went on a few short hikes, and just spent time catching up. Overall, it was a great weekend and we are so blessed to have such wonderful friends.  

Standing by Lake Superior

This concludes the entire two weeks that we spent exploring Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. Everything we saw and everything we did is highly recommended if you ever decide to venture into this part of Michigan.  

We visited from July 17th - July 31st, 2023.




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