Hop from one peninsula to another, in Mackinaw City
Michigan is famously split into two peninsulasthe Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsulaand Mackinaw City has the distinction of serving as something of a meeting place between the two. While the Mackinac Bridge is the true gateway between the two peninsulas, the vast majority of visitors traveling between the two like to stop off and spend some time in this charming port town, which is located at the northernmost tip of the Lower Peninsula and at the southern end of the bridge.
Things to see
Lovingly referred to as the Mighty Mac by locals and visitors alike, the Mackinac Bridge is a true engineering marvel and a proud piece of work. This incredible, five-mile-long bridge stretches over the treacherous Straits of Mackinac and boasts two distinctive towers that can be seen from miles away in all directions. Upon its completion in 1957, the bridge finally connected the two peninsulas, making it a major historical achievement.
Fort Michilimackinac State Park
From actors in old-fashioned garb at Colonial Michilimackinac to the incredibly well-preserved Fort Michilimackinac, which was originally built circa 1715, this attraction offers an exciting glimpse into what life was like back when the region was dominated by French fur traders. The British later took over the fort and its surroundings, and there are several opportunities to dig more deeply into the history of the region at the park.
No trip to Mackinaw City would be complete without a visit to Mackinac Island, which is located in the Straits of Mackinac. No cars operate on the island, and you have to take a boat or ferry over. Many would argue that the fudge shops are the main attraction on the island, but there is plenty of island fare to sample and entertainment to enjoy.
If you're willing to drive an hour north, you can check out a large expanse of the Upper Peninsula and, more importantly, pay a visit to Soo Locks or even set sail on a boat tour.
Traveling to Mackinaw City
Mackinaw City is a popular destination for travelers from metropolitan Detroit, and other major areas in various parts of the Lower Peninsula; the vast majority traveling up Interstate 75 to get there. I-75 is the most direct route, to be sure, but other options include US-23 and US-31.
If you'll be flying in from elsewhere in world, the closest major airport is Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) in Grand Rapids, which is about 3.5 hours away by car. Several smaller, regional airports serve the area too. In the Lower Peninsula, there's Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City and Alpena County Regional Airport in Alpena.
Climate and best time to visit
In the summer, temperatures tend to range from the low-70s to the mid-80s, and the humidity is tempered by the pleasant breezes that flow through the region off the nearby lakes. Spring and fall are beautiful times of year to visit too, but temperatures can dip surprisingly low. However, the added bonus of visiting Mackinaw City in late fall and early spring is that it's off-season, so Mackinaw City hotels tend to offer exceptionally affordable rates.
Where to stay
South Huron Avenue
Hotels lined along South Huron Avenue offer views of Lake Huron and are close to Mackinac Bridge. The Comfort Inn Lakeside offers private balconies to take in the serene sights of Mackinaw Island. Bridge Vista Beach Hotel & Convention Center is a great option to do business in such laidback surroundings.
Staying central pretty much gives you instant access to the bridge road and lower rates. Baymont Inn & Suites is near Kewadin Shoes Casino and many restaurants. While there, treat yourself to a dip in the pool or hot tub.
* Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. All rates are displayed in USD unless otherwise noted. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency.