The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World
The tiny Mackinac Island is home to not just one, but two places where you can walk among live butterflies. The largest of these is the original, a status that was recently added to the Butterfly House’s name. Opened in 1991 as a simple greenhouse occupied by a variety of local butterflies, the Butterfly House is now an extensive tropical enclosure, which is home to butterflies native to four continents.
Visitors are provided with a butterfly identification chart with admission, and guests may choose to continue to Insect World, an informative exhibit that explores the importance of insects and houses several species, including the impressive Goliath beetle. The Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory is open seasonally and features a wide variety of imported butterfly species, as well as a butterfly pupa viewing area.
Address: 6750 McGulpin Street, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Visit The Grand Hotel
|286 Grand Avenue, Mackinac Island, MI 49757|
After that, you can opt to end your tour at the Grand Hotel.
We have some great adviceon making the most of visiting the Grand Hotel, along with tips if you opt to spend a night or two at this iconic hotel.
Play the Giant Chess Game at the Grand Hotel
If you simply want to visit the Grand Hotel, keep in mind that there is a $10 entrance fee for non-hotel patrons and a dress code for certain areas of the hotel.
Afternoon Tea is served daily from 3:30 to 5:00 pm.
Camping In Mackinaw City
Whether youre from Northern Michigan or some other part of the state, you might enjoy sleeping closer to nature than in a hotel or apartment. If thats the case, Mackinaw City has a few places where you can go camping. Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping and Mackinaw City KOA are our favorites.
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping
You can find all kinds of campsites at Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, including tent and RV sites with full hookups. The campground even has cabin rentals. You wont see concrete or asphalt on its sites either. Instead, the entire camp is surrounded and covered with indigenous plants and wildlife.
Also, Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping has 1 mile of waterfront on Lake Huron with beautiful views and natural beaches. During your stay, you have access to a range of amenities biking and hiking trails, miniature golf, heated pool, arcade and game room, discounts at Mackinaw Club Golf Course, and free shuttle service to Mackinac Island ferries.
Mackinaw City KOA
Part of the Kampgrounds of America system of privately held campgrounds, Mackinaw City KOA has a variety of wooded campsites for tents and RVs. It rents cabins as well. Theres a Lake Michigan beach less than 2 miles away, or you can use the on-site heated pool.
You can bike or walk the campgrounds nature trail to Colonial Michilimackinac, or explore the North Western State Trail, which is ideal for biking and hiking. Additionally, the camp offers free shuttle services to the Mackinac Island ferry docks.
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Things To Do In The Mackinaw City Area This Fall
Mackinaw City is considered the Crossroads of the Great Lakes for good reason it is central to dozens of unique locations and activities along both the Lake Michigan and Lake Huron shorelines, as well as the vast woods and waters of both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. This autumn, bring the family, friends or consider a solo trip to the Tip of the Mitt to explore Michigans most colorful season.
Warmer than normal temperatures are forecast for September, according to the 2017 U.S. fall forecast released by AccuWeather.com. Yet, according to AccuWeather expert long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok, its too early to tell how the hotter than normal September and rain will affect the vibrancy of fall foliage.
Generally, the annual seasonal show peaks in stages, beginning at the top of the state in the Upper Peninsula, where it gets cooler first. Peak color is usually found in the U.P. between mid-September and early October in the northern Lower Peninsula between late September and mid-October and so on.
Color patterns, however, depend greatly on the weather as well as other factors including lake-effect warming, which delays color changes near Great Lakes and inland water shorelines. In addition, cooler valleys or exposed hills may see color changing faster. Weather conditions in summer and early September largely determine how brilliant each seasons colors will be.
State Scenic Byways:
* M-119 Tunnel of Trees * US-2 Top of the Lake Scenic Byway * Tahquamenon
Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
Known as the Queen of the Great Lakes, the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83 was decommissioned in 2006 and is set up as a museum. The vessel was built during World War II to meet heavy material and transport demands during the winter, and some people refer to it as the Largest Icebreaker on the Great Lakes. It was also a goodwill ambassador across the region.
Now, the Icebreaker features informative displays and is open for guided tours of the bridge, captains quarters, engine room, mess deck, sickbay, wardroom, and more. You can even arrange group events and overnight stays. Before you leave, visit the ships store for military and nautical souvenirs.
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Old Mackinac Point Light Mackinaw City Michigan
Old Mackinac Point Light Station was founded in 1889, and operated as a lighthouse from 1890 to 1957. Because Mackinaw Point is situated at the intersection of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, a lighthouse was needed for ship vessels and other boats traversing these waters. Congress considered the proposal to construct a lighthouse on Mackinac Point in 1889, but they only approved the construction of a fog signal. It wasnt until 1891 when they decided that building a lighthouse here was also necessary. Visitors of the lighthouse can view the tower for a small admission fee and shop in the museum store.
526 N Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, Phone: 231-436-4100
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Visit The Butterfly House And Insects World
|Butterfly House and Insects World6750 McGulpin Street, Mackinac Island, MI 49757|
You can also tour the Butterfly House and Insects World at this stop on the carriage tour .
The 1800 square foot tropical garden is filled with hundreds of live butterflies from around the world. Insects World showcases giant insects from the tropics, including the Goliath Beetle. They also have a turtle pond and some live reptiles.
5) Visit Arch Rock
|6131 Arch Rock Rd, Mackinac Island, MI 49757|
If youre doing the carriage tour, board a country carriage and head out to Arch Rock.
Arch Rock does not charge an entrance fee.
Arch Rock on Mackinac Island is a Common Stop on Carriage Tours
Almost everyone that visits Mackinac Island has a slew of photos of Arch Rock.
This limestone geologic formation towers 146 feet above Lake Huron and is over 50 feet wide. There are stairs down to the base of the formation if youre looking for exercise and a different view.
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The Hook Lakeside Grill
Featuring balcony dining with a view of Lake Huron, The Hook Lakeside Grill offers a more upscale experience. The menu includes a range of beef and brisket burgers, prime rib, fresh walleye and whitefish, and specialties. However, the star of this restaurant is the bar, which makes amazing cocktails and has 34 microbrews and beers on tap.
Biere De Mac Brew Works
At Bière de Mac Brew Works, you can get upscale comfort food. This gastro-bistro pub has more than a dozen hard cider and craft beers on tap all the time. The goal, though, is to serve every style of beer that has been classified by the Brewers Association as of 2016. While you drink, you can order burgers, sandwiches, salads, and soups.
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Watch A Movie Under The Stars
On Sundays in July and August watch a film under the stars on the Great Lawn at Mission Point Resort.
This is one of the best movies under the stars locations.
On Tuesday, Sunday and on rainy days enjoy a movie in their historic theater.
Remember, 75% of the Island is Parkland so get out and Explore
Hike, bike, paddle, drive a horse and carriage.
Whichever mode of transportation you like just be sure to spend time exploring.
Mcgulpin Point Lighthouse & Historic Site
McGulpin Point Lighthouse and Historic Site once protected ships from treacherous storms, dense fog, and rocks from 1869 until 1906. Although Congress granted the petition to construct a lighthouse at McGulpin Point in 1854, there were several circumstances that caused severe delays. So, a new petition was presented in 1864 and a sum of $20,000 was allotted for the project. Work started in 1869, and the design of the lighthouse emulated that of Chambers Island and Eagle Bluff lights. The McGulpin Point Lighthouse discontinued use in 1906. And more than a hundred years later, the county bought it and hosted a gala celebration in 2009 to honor its reopening.
500 Headlands Road, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, Phone: 231-436-5860
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Wawashkamo Golf Course For A History Lesson
Wawashkamo is an interesting blend of history and today.
It is Michigans oldest, unchanged, private nine-hole golf course. It was founded in 1898 and that way you see it today is mostly how it was over a century ago.
This is also the land of the great 1814 Battle of Mackinac Island. This was once a farmers field where American soldiers attempted and failed to drive the British from their hill.
When you tee off at the first hole you are teeing off on historic ground.
FREE to view, a fee to play.
Where To Stay In Mackinaw City
Accommodations in Mackinaw City cater primarily to those in transit–either tourists on their way to nearby Mackinac Island, or travelers going between the United States and Canada. Mid-range motels dominate, with the area around the ferry terminal along South Huron Avenue serving as the most popular place to stay. If you’re looking for something with more character and pleasant views over the lake, go farther south to the suburb of Edgewater Beach. There, you can choose from a number of options along Route 23.
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Explore The Colonial Fort Michilimackinac
If youre a history buff, be sure to explore Colonial Fort Michilimackinac, located in downtown Mackinaw City. The fort is the site of one of the most extended continuous archaeological digs in North America, where scholars have been excavating since 1959. From the beginning of June until mid-August, you can see archaeologists in action daily. With their reenactments and demonstrations, history comes alive. In addition, the fort contains 16 restored buildings, and each building, furnished in period settings, has exhibits that highlight the buildings purpose.
Pro Tip: To fully explore the fort, once a military compound and fur trading village with significant history from the Revolutionary War, requires a lot of walking. Colonial Fort Michilimackinac has a limited number of motorized wheelchairs that it lends without charge.
+ Best Things To Do In Mackinaw City Michigan
Located at the tip of Michigans Lower Peninsula and on the southern side of the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City is the last place that you drive through before crossing the Straits of Mackinac and entering the Upper Peninsula.
The village is one of the top places to visit in Michigan because of its location and rich history as well as being one of the two main ferry ports for those wanting to visit Mackinac Island.
There are so many things to do in Mackinaw City, and weve put together a collection of favorite activities, historic sites, events, restaurants, and accommodations to make planning a day out or vacation easier.
Check out our Mackinaw City map of everything we recommend in this article right here.
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Mackinac Island Carriage Tours
In keeping with the island’s historic authenticity, those who do not want to travel by foot or bicycle have only one choice – carriage ride. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours provides guided tours of the island, which last just under two hours and include the ability to “hop off” and experience some of the sights along the way, including Fort Mackinac and the Butterfly Conservatory, as well as a brief stop at Arch Rock.
The tour also includes admission to the Surrey Hills Museum, operated by the carriage tours, which provides a look at the history of the island’s horse-powered vehicles, including a hearse and even a fire vehicle. Tourists are also able to call a ride to get a horse-drawn taxi, arriving at dinner or perhaps the airport in Mackinac style. An evening carriage ride through Historic Downtown is a particularly romantic option for couples looking for things to do at night on Mackinac Island.
North Central State Trail Mackinaw City Michigan
North Central State Trail is now a recreational rail-trail that is 62 miles long. It used to be part of the Michigan Central Railroad. The railway was based in Detroit and in 1882 a section of track was constructed to extend the railway up to Mackinaw City. At this time, the timberland industry was booming and the railway made the transportation of timber to other regions possible. This new piece of track also helped to bring tourists to Michigans Lower Peninsula. Decades later, in 1957, automobiles became the preferred mode of transportation and the Mackinac Bridge assisted with travel from the Lower to Upper Peninsula.
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A Brief History Of Mackinaw City
Northern Michigan has a long Native American history and the area that we call Mackinaw City has always been an important place for them. In 1715, the French arrived and settled in the area, building Fort Michilimackinac. They had a major military and trading presence on the Straits of Mackinac. Through transport changes from railroads to automobiles and car ferries over the years, the village became a popular vacation destination.
However, why do so many people visit here? What is there to do in Mackinaw City today?
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Mackinaw City Cruises On Ugly Anne
The Straits Area Tour Company offers two Mackinaw City Cruise options on its famed Ugly Anne charter boat. The Mackinaw City/Mackinac Bridge tour is a history cruise where youll learn the history of shipwrecks as you travel over them, local Native American Lore, learn about living in the north country, and the maritime history of the area while cruising under the Mighty Mackinac Bridge.
The Mackinaw City Sunset cruise will take you under the magnificent Mackinac Bridge before giving you the best seat in the house to see one of the most beautiful sunsets in North America.
Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows
Highlighting the areas logging history, Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows are very entertaining and educational. The competitive shows take you back to the late 1800s when logging was an important part of the economy. World-class lumberjacks compete in logrolling, chopping, ax throwing, sawing, and speed climbing for the Bull of the Woods title. There are chainsaw carving demonstrations and log boom runs as well. The fast pace of the shows keeps you involved.
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