Mackinaw City Michigan: Ultimate Visitors Guide-So Much More Than Fudge and Ferries! 


Mackinaw City Michigan | Written by Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

Awesome Visitor's Guide and Travel Guide to Mackinac City Michigan with things to do, must-see spots, great places to stay and fun galore. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!

This past year we visited Mackinaw City three times! We always visit the city every summer, fall and winter as it's gorgeous in every season!

Mackinaw City Michigan-Day or night, is a vibrant city hoppin' with great eats, shopping and exploring. We know you will love it!


Mackinaw City MichiganMackinaw City Michigan
  • It's no wonder Mackinaw City is such a huge as over 2 Million guests visit each year!

We are always in awe of the stunning Mackinac Bridge and sparkling waters while catching a glimpse of the majestic Grand Hotel off in the distance. 

Visiting Mackinaw City during all four seasons awards you with vastly different experiences. 

  • Summer in Mackinaw City is fantastic for boating, enjoying the parks, walking the city and of course, Mackinac Island. 
  • Fall and winter in Mackinaw City are more low-key with far less tourists, affording you peace and serenity as you walk the beach and town.  Hotel prices are also less on the off-season but some attractions and restaurants are closed.  



 We feel the photo above embodies the very essence of the summer at Mackinaw City...

Shepler's ferry, sparking water, waving grasses, bobbing boats, the beautiful waving American flag and spectacular clouds.  

Sigh...I love summer.


Where We Stay in Mackinaw City Michigan

Here are our recommended hotels and places to stay in Mackinaw City Michigan.


Fun Things to do in Mackinaw City Michigan

So let's dig right in with our favorite must-see spots and fun things to do in Mackinaw City. We hope this Mackinaw City Michigan's Visitor's Guide will be helpful for planning your next trip!


Wander Downtown Mackinaw City Michigan

Mackinaw City MichiganMackinaw City Michigan

What's not to love about quaint shops, FUDGE and pizza parlors!  I love wandering through the stores, finding cute Mackinaw City shirts and just enjoying the day!


Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse


For 65 years, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City Michigan helped passing ships navigate the treacherous waters of the Straits of Mackinac.

Today, you can explore the lighthouse grounds, tour the restored keeper’s quarters, climb the tower and obtain an exquisite view of the Great Lakes and the Straits of Mackinac.

It's free to wander the grounds but there is a fee to enter the lighthouse.  Seriously, what a view of the gorgeous Mackinaw Bridge!

As you can see, the Mackinaw Bridge is gorgeous even during the winter!


Walk Under the Mackinaw Bridge


Why walk under the famous Mackinaw Bridge? Well, it's cool!  You can see vehicles passing overhead and it's just a cool experience.


Visit Mackinaw Crossings


Mackinaw Crossings is a great spot to get your shopping on! Since it is near the downtown area and Shepler's Ferry, you will have to wander through this quaint shopping area!


McGulpin Point Lighthouse


Location: 500 Headlands Rd, Mackinaw City, MI 

Take the self guided tour at McGulpin Point lighthouse!  There are several stops, each marked with a sign and instructions.  Use your cell phone to access the interactive TourSphere tour at emmetcounty.toursphere.com or call 231-486-0003 to listen to the audio stops.


Adrenalin Falls Ziplining!


Located near the Icebreaker, Shepler's ferry and Mackinaw Crossings, this zip lining adventure is a great time!


Grab a Ride on the Trolley!

Mackinaw City MichiganMackinaw City Michigan

Mackinac Old Time Trolley Company is a great way to tour the city!


Visit the Ice Breaker!

Tour with Shepler's Ferry


Shepler's is more than just a ferry to Mackinac Island.  

They have so many cruises including:

  • Night Sky Cruises 
  • 4th of July Cruise
  • Mackinac Island Labor Day Bridge Walk Direct Departures 
  • Lighthouse Cruises
  • Eastbound Lighthouse Cruise 
  • Extended Eastbound Lighthouse Cruise 
  • Westbound Lighthouse Cruise 
  • Extended Westbound Lighthouse Cruise 
  • Les Cheneaux Lighthouse Cruise 
  • Evening Lighthouse Cruise

Seriously, how fun are these! We are hoping to embark on a lighthouse cruise this summer.


Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

9001 W. US Hwy 23 Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Prepare to witness the power of the creek harnessed to cut timber into lumber at one of the oldest industrial sites on the Upper Great Lakes while visiting the reconstructed 18th century water-powered sawmill.

You can also soar through the trees on a zip line during an Adventure Tour. Historic Mill Creek Discover Park offers a variety of programs, tours and ziplining.  

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park is situated on over 600 acres with three miles of trails that contain beautiful forests, wildflowers and scenic views. A variety of wildlife species make their homes there. 

So grab your walking shoes and wear comfortable clothing as you will find adventure at every turn!


Eat at Mamma Mia's!

Mamma Mia's Mackinaw CityMamma Mia's Mackinaw City

So guys, Chris absolutely LOVES this place! Last summer, we ate here three times in three days!  The sauce is so delicious, the toppings are very fresh and the CHEESE, well...

Just so you know, when you go in, walk toward the back and get in line to order.  You will place your order, get a number and wait for it to be called.  It's self service so you save money.  


Our Favorite Spots in Mackinaw City Michigan 


By Guest Writer, Larry Collin

BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: We recommend staying in Mackinaw City for lower priced lodging, food, shopping and amenities.  We stay two nights-the night before our Mackinac Island trip and the night after.  

We always arrive at Mackinaw City the day before our trip to the Island so we can enjoy the numerous sites in the city. After checking into Parkplace Inn, we enjoy walking across the street to take pictures of the Mackinac Point Lighthouse and the famous Mackinac Bridge.  

However, it's not long before hunger begins to set in so we walk back to the hotel and drive about one mile to the downtown area...we could always walk but, we figure we will get enough exercise tomorrow.  (We feel good about that rationalization!)



One of our favorite places to eat dinner is at the Dixie Saloon restaurant because their perch and burgers are excellent.  We always hope there is an open table upstairs in the balcony area because it looks and feels like a cozy log cabin.  Sometimes the wait times can be long so be sure to arrive before or after conventional meal times.



Sometimes when we are looking for a quick bite to eat and a drink, we enjoy O'Reilly's Irish Pub.  This place is kind of a hidden gem as it is right next to the Dixie Saloon.  You can walk inside between the two restaurants.

Their steak burgers and onion rings are tasty. Plus I like the comfortable, friendly atmosphere and the wooden booths.


As for dessert, we like to go to one of the local ice cream parlors to buy heaping cones of our favorite delicious Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream. 

It's a perfect treat for the end of a good meal.


Since it's easy to walk around downtown we also like to splurge and got a pound of Mackinac Island fudge which is a decedent treat that you can only get in this area!

Other than eating, there are many more things to do in the town including shopping, mini-golf, sightseeing, zip-lining and boat tours.  You won't be bored!  

~Larry Collin 

Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk


Plan your Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk today!  

Every Labor Day, thousands of walkers descend upon the iconic Mackinac Bridge for the chance to walk across the majestic structure. 


Mackinaw City Blue Ice!

Mackinaw City dazzled its visitors with rare sparkling blue ice in February/early March 2018.  This phenomenon last occurred 7 years ago so visitors flocked to the city in droves to photograph and witness the spectacular event!  Enjoy our photographs here!  For additional blue ice photos, parking tips and "in the know" advice, click here!

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