Are you planning a trip to Mackinaw City, Michigan and looking for some exciting activities to make your trip a memorable one? Look no further! You’re at the right place, as we’ll be exploring the 26 best and fun things to do in Mackinaw City, MI, making your trip an interesting one.
Conveniently located at the very tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Mackinaw City is a gateway to the breathtaking Mackinac Island and a hub of historical, natural, and cultural delights. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxed getaway, Mackinaw City won’t disappoint.
This family-friendly destination offers a number of must-visit places and experiences, ensuring you make the most of your trip. While planning your trip, you also need to understand the best time to visit Mackinaw City, Michigan, to make the most of your vacation.
26 Best & Fun Things To Do In Mackinaw City, Michigan in 2023
1. Take a Ferry to Mackinac Island
Begin your Mackinaw City adventure by taking a ferry to Mackinac Island. Located in Lake Huron at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, this iconic island is a vehicle-free paradise that can only be accessed by ferry.
Two ferry companies serve the island visitors, shuttling between St. Ignace, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island. As a visitor, you can board the Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry of the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry to the island.
A trip here feels like time travel, with horse-drawn carriages and bicycles as primary transport. While on the island, indulge in the world-renowned Mackinac Island fudge, a treat that’s both rich in flavour and history.
Address: Mackinaw City, MI, United States
2. Colonial Michilimackinac
One of the unique things to do in Mackinaw City, Michigan, is to explore the Colonial Michilimackinac, an 18th-century fort and trading post at the Straits of Mackinac.
Built in 1715, the Colonial Michilimackinac connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The site is now preserved as an open-air historical museum, with several reconstructed wooden buildings and palisade, and is now part of Fort Michilimackinac State Park.
On your visit, you’ll be met by historical interpreters who are stationed throughout the fort to answer your questions and perform demonstrations. Visitors can also watch smoke billow from cannons, mortars and muskets and see residents prepare food and tend the gardens.
Address: 800 N Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
3. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
One of the best places to visit in Mackinaw City is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. Built in 1892 along the Straits of Mackinac, this historical structure offers a glimpse into the life of a lighthouse keeper.
The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse helped passing ships navigate through the treacherous waters of the Straits of Mackinac. Visitors can explore exhibits such as the original lens, a chance to explore the second floor of the house, tours of the lighthouse tower, a movie, Shipwrecks of the Straits, and the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum.
The climb to the top rewards visitors with unparalleled views of the magnificent Mackinac Bridge and the confluence of Lakes Michigan and Huron.
Address: 526 N Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
4. Mackinaw Crossings
One of the best things to do in Mackinaw City, MI, with kids is to explore the Mackinaw Crossings. This Victorian-inspired center offers unique shopping, dining & entertainment.
The shopping center has over 50 specialty shops, attractions and dining. The mall also features a children’s playground, a free nightly laser show, a Rock climbing wall, an Archery shooting lane and a 10,000-gallon fish aquarium.
Explore this mall with your family, dine at their themed restaurants, and let your children enjoy nightly laser light shows.
Address: 248 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
5. Headlands International Dark Sky Park
One of the unique outdoor activities to do in Mackinaw City is to visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Spread across 550 acres, this park is one of the rare spots where the Milky Way’s splendour can be witnessed with the naked eye.
The park offers marked trails for hiking, photography, bicycling and cross-country skiing. It also contains pristine woodlands, over two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline and many species of rare and endangered plant life.
On your visit, you may see some of the many wild animals native to the area, including bald eagles, osprey, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, and occasionally a black bear. Regular events, such as meteor shower viewings, make this a celestial experience.
Address: 15675 Headlands Rd, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
6. Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
Known as the “Queen of the Great Lakes” and once the largest icebreaker on the Great Lakes, the USCGC Mackinaw now rests as a floating museum. This 290-foot former Coast Guard icebreaker is on exhibit as a museum ship at the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime.
Touring this vessel gives visitors a unique insight into maritime history and the importance of icebreaking in naval logistics. From the ship’s engine room to its living quarters, every corner tells a tale of life at sea.
Address: 131 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
7. Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park
One of the top attraction destinations in Mackinaw City is the Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. This 625-acre park, nature preserve, and historic site marries history with adventure.
The park features three miles of trails that contain beautiful forests, wildflowers and scenic views. Beyond exploring a functional replica of a water-powered sawmill, you can also experience the adrenaline rush of the Adventure Tour, featuring a forest canopy bridge and a 425-foot zip line.
The park’s Visitor’s Center also houses a Museum Store featuring a wide variety of unique gifts, mementos, apparel and publications. Take a tour of this museum and learn about the history of the site featuring archaeological artifacts.
Address: 9001 W, US-23, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
8. Mackinac Bridge
One of the free things to do in Mackinaw City is to walk or bike across the Mackinac Bridge. Often referred to as the “Mighty Mac”, this suspension bridge is a testament to modern engineering.
Opened in 1957, the 4.995-mile-long Mackinac Bridge is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges; it connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac, a body of water connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, two of the Great Lakes.
As part of the things to do in the city, walking across the bridge during the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk can be a memorable experience. If you’re driving, pull over at the numerous scenic turnouts to capture stunning photographs.
Address: Mackinaw City, MI, United States
9. Wawatam Lighthouse
Located just a 13-minute drive north of the city, exploring the Wawatam Lighthouse is one of the best things to do near Mackinaw City, Michigan.
Built in 2006 and overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, this 62-foot-tall lighthouse has quickly become an emblem of Mackinaw City. Visible for more than 13 miles out over Lake Huron, this automated, modern lighthouse is now an official aid-to-navigation.
It’s particularly beautiful during sunset when the sky paints a myriad of colours as a backdrop. The nightly “Lighting of the Lighthouse” is a ceremony that shouldn’t be missed.
Address: St Ignace, MI 49781, United States
10. Mackinaw Club Golf Course
One of the fun things to do in Mackinaw City, MI, this weekend is to play golf at the Mackinaw Club Golf Course. This golf course offers 310 acres of natural wetlands and streams along mature forests and rolling meadows.
Opened in 1997, the golf course features 18 holes, par-72 course, bent grass tees and 6,807 total yards. They also offer a 24-hour booking service and a pro shop where you can buy or rent your equipment.
With its rolling greens surrounded by woodlands and wetlands, it’s not just a sporting endeavour but also a serene nature escape for golf enthusiasts.
Address: 11891 Mackinaw Hwy, Carp Lake, MI 49718, United States
11. Garlyn Zoological Park
Looking for family fun things to do near Mackinaw City, MI? Then, head to Garlyn Zoological Park. Located 47 minutes away from Mackinaw City, this 30-acre zoo is the largest zoo in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The Zoo, which started in 1994, is home to hundreds of native North American Animals, including, Alligator, Badgers, Fox, Wolves, Bobcat, Whitetail deer, Javelina, Cougar, River Otter, Porcupine, Bison, as well as exotic animals from around the world.
Visitors can enjoy the natural wooded appeal of mature pine trees and cedar mulched trails. You also get to see, learn about and enjoy animals from all over the world.
Address: U.S. Rte 2, Naubinway, MI 49762, United States
12. Mackinaw City’s Sunset Cruises
One of the unique things to do in Mackinaw City today is to embark on a sunset cruise, where you get to appreciate the size of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
These cruises offer enchanting views of the golden hour, with the sun setting behind the Mackinac Bridge. Capture stunning photographs, enjoy the gentle breezes, and bask in the beauty of the horizon.
The cruise is offered each evening except Tuesdays and is one of the best places in North America to end your day. While on the cruise, you can listen to the history of Michigan’s most famous island. You can also have your favourite drink while on the cruise.
Address: Mackinaw City, MI, United States
13. Mackinaw Parasailing
Looking for fun things to do in Mackinaw? Then, try parasailing over the sparkling waters of the Strait of Mackinaw. This fun outdoor activity involves gliding in the air in a parachute while being propelled by a speedboat.
This custom boat enables the parasailers to take off and land directly from the flight deck, making for a smooth, safe and dry parasail flight. Get a bird’s-eye view of the stunning Lake Michigan coastline and famous sites like Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.
Address: 201 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
14. Mackinaw Area Historical Society Heritage Village
One of the unique things to do in Mackinaw City is to learn about the history of the city at the Mackinaw Area Historical Society Heritage Village.
This 143-acre living museum allows visitors to explore life in the Straits of Mackinac as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Heritage Village is devoid of lights, cars or modern conveniences.
Take a guided tour of the village, enjoy the hiking trails and take a step back in time. Regular events like traditional craft demonstrations add to its charm.
Address: 1425 W Central Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
15. Soo Locks
Often called the “Linchpin of the Great Lakes”, the Soo Locks are an impressive feat of engineering and human ingenuity that connects Lakes Superior and Huron.
The locks operate by raising and lowering boats between the levels of Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes using a series of gates and chambers. Water and boats are moved solely by the force of gravity. The Soo Locks, which dates back to the mid-1800s, is a popular tourist attraction in Mackinaw City.
On your visit, you can take in the sights and sounds of mammoth lake freighters and distinctive vessels, such as tall ships, sailboats, cruise ships, and military crafts, locking into Lake Superior or Huron. You can also climb the observation platform and have a fantastic vantage point to watch the locking process.
Address: Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783, United States
16. The Haunted Theatre and Mackinaw Haunted House
One of the unique things to do in Mackinaw City is to explore the Haunted Theatre and Mackinaw Haunted House. This family-owned attraction destination has been in operation since 1974.
The attraction, which is open from May 1st through October 31st every year, features a fully automated haunted house, animatronics special effects and state-of-the-art sound technology to create a frightening haunting experience for you and your friends.
Visit this haunted house and have a screaming, laughing, positive experience and take home an unforgettable memory.
Address: 114 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
17. Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Your trip to Mackinaw City would be incomplete without exploring the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Located in Paradise, this 50,000-acre park is the second-largest of Michigan’s state parks.
The park’s center attraction is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls, which is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The Upper Falls has a drop of about 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across.
Nature lovers can also see wild animals such as Black bears, coyotes, otters, deer, foxes, porcupine, beaver and abundant bird life, including spruce grouse, pileated woodpeckers, bald eagers and a variety of waterfowl and songbirds.
As part of the fun outdoor activities to do near Mackinaw City, you can go hiking, camping, boating and canoeing at the park.
Address: 41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI 49768, United States
18. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Located at Whitefish Point Light Station, the Great Lake Museum is a maritime museum with over 200 shipwrecks lying in its immediate vicinity.
The museum features exhibits of shipwreck artifacts, artwork, shipwreck models and lifelike mannequins. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is a maritime museum located at Whitefish Point Light Station.
As part of the free things to do near Mackinaw City, take a self-guided tour of the restored 1861 Lightkeeper’s Quarters, the 1923 Lifeboat Station Surfboat House, the Motor Lifeboat House and the Navy Radio building, currently featuring the Daniel J. Morrell Exhibit.
The bell of the famous steamer Edmund Fitzgerald is on display and serves as a memorial to her crew in the Shipwreck Museum Gallery.
Address: 18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI 49768, United States
19. WaWatam Park
Located on Lake Huron, exploring Wawatam Park is one of the fun outdoor activities to do in Mackinaw City. The park is a beehive of fun family activities.
Wawatam Park features a wide range of amenities, including a children’s playground, a wood carving of historic Chief Wawatam, picnic tables, benches, gills and a scenic view of the Mackinac Bridge.
At the par, you can engage in a number of activities, like kayaking, paddling or strolling along the shore and gazing upon the Mackinac Bridge.
Address: 300 N Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
20. Animal Tracks Adventure Golf
One of the family fun things to do in Mackinaw City is to explore the Animal Tracks Adventure Golf.
Located beside the Mackinac Bay Trading Company, the Animal Tracks is a mini-golf course famous for its forest and wildlife theme. The miniature golf offers you the challenge of matching up any 12 animals with their respective tracks on the hole markers.
This golf course is an ideal place to bond with your kids, as the simple nature of the course allows them to be more independent while having fun.
Address: 220 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
21. The Mystery Spot
One of the unusual things to do in Mackinaw City is to seek adventure at the Mystery Spot. Famed gravity-defying area, this unusual attraction site welcomes over 2 million visitors every year.
The Mystery Spot features a number of attractions, including 2 thrilling ziplines, a human maze, and a custom-designed 18-hole putt-putt golf course. Visitors can take a guided tour of the famous Mystery Spot and engage in other activities on site.
Address: N916 Martin Lake Rd, St Ignace, MI 49781, United States
22. Enchanted Knights
One of the unique things to do in Mackinaw City for adults is to go shopping at Enchanted Knights. This unique shop features some of the largest selections of medieval, fantasy, and mythological-inspired items.
Located at the Central Avenue entrance, the shop features quality swords and knives, a full-size knight samurai warrior, dragon, and Pegasus – Renaissance clothing, jewellery, mythical figurines, incense, T-shirts and much, much more.
Take a step out of the ordinary and shop for mythological items at this unique shop.
Address: 230 E Central Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
23. McGulpin Point Lighthouse & Historic Site
One of the must-see attractions in Mackinaw City is McGulpin Point Lighthouse and Historic Site. Constructed in 1869 as a navigational aid through the Straits of Mackinac, it is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the Straits.
Open mid-May through mid-October, the lighthouse offers panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac and a commanding view of the Mackinac Bridge. The nearby trails, filled with interpretative signs, are perfect for a leisurely walk.
Address: 500 Headlands Rd, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
24. Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows
One of the family-friendly things to do in Mackinaw City is to experience a throwback to the logging heritage of Michigan at the Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows.
This show pays tribute to the state’s lumberjack traditions. Watch in awe as professional lumberjacks demonstrate skills such as chopping, sawing, axe throwing, cross-cut sawing, logrolling, and chain saw carving.
These family-friendly shows are as educative as they are thrilling, explaining the history and significance of each event.
Address: 10510 US-23, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
25. Mind Thrill Escape Rooms
Looking for fun things to do in Mackinaw City with friends and family? Then, experience an immersive, captivating and challenging adventure at Mind Thrill Escape Rooms.
Established in 2017, The Mind Thrill Esacpe Rooms offers interactive rooms for a number of puzzles and challenges. Participants are offered the opportunity to take on a series of challenges and puzzles in under 60 minutes. Some of the escape rooms on offer include Shipwreck in the Straits, High Risk Heist, Time Traveler, Ranger Station and Hot Seat.
The Mind Thrill Escape Rooms is one of the ideal attraction destinations for family fun in Mackinaw City, Michigan.
Address: 136 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
26. Mackinaw City Recreation Complex
One of the best things to do in Mackinaw City is to engage in indoor activities at the Mackinaw City Recreation Complex. Although used by the Village of Mackinaw City School District as a home field for baseball and softball activities, the center is also open to the public.
The Recreation Center also features an indoor golf range, arcade, pickle ball, roller derby, basketball courts and board games. It also offers an 18,000 square feet of rental space for events.
Visit this indoor recreation center and engage in numerous indoor activities with your friends and family.
Address: W Central Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, United States
Plan Your Trip to Mackinaw City, MI
Mackinaw City is a treasure trove of experiences, offering something for everyone. Each alleyway, every whisper of the wind, and the gentle ebb and flow of the lakes narrate stories of a bygone era while celebrating the present.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, this picturesque city in Michigan promises an unforgettable visit. Visitors leave with their souls enriched, memories etched in their hearts, and a promise to return to this enchanting haven.