Mackinaw City Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by FrankS63
  • Things to Do
    by FrankS63
  • Things to Do
    by FrankS63

Mackinaw City Highlights

  • Pro
    Bwana_Brown profile photo

    Bwana_Brown says…

     An interesting small Off-the-Beaten-Path destination 

  • Con
    Tygerbeetle profile photo

    Tygerbeetle says…

     Best to rent a bike to get around 

  • In a nutshell
    rikutsumi profile photo

    rikutsumi says…

     A beautieful place that has something for everyone. 

Mackinaw City Things to Do

  • Mackinaw Manor Haunted Mansion

    Mackinaw Manor Haunted Mansion is a fully automated haunted house, using the latest in animatronics, special effects and state of the art sound technology creating a frighteningly haunting experience for you and your friends.

  • Drive the Mackinac Bridge

    The state of Michigan is cut into two pieces by the Straits of Mackinac, which join Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, allowing onward ship traffic to the other Great Lakes, canals and locks which lead into the Atlantic Ocean through eastern Canada. The northern portion of the state (the 'Upper Peninsula') was always quite an isolated spot at the best of...

  • History Around Every Corner

    Our most recent visit to Mackinaw City was appropriately during the 4th of July weekend. This time of year brings additional activities such as fireworks, parades and town festivals. It also brings an increase in the number of tourists. It is certainly not the time to visit if you’re looking to have the town to yourself, but if you’re looking for...

  • Mackinac Bridge

    Walk it, drive it, bike it... but whatever you do - take pictures of it! The Mackinac Bridge is the main reason to visit Mackinaw City, and so beautiful you won't ever want to look away. It is the third longest suspension bridge in the world, and just turned 50 years old in 2007. Don't miss it! (You can't really!) :)

  • Mackinac Island

    Be sure to visit Mackinac Island while you're in the area! You'll need to spend at least a day there, and you'll have to take the ferry to get there (see my Transportation tips). There is so much to do and it's such a beautiful, peaceful place! Don't miss out! Check out my Mackinac Island travel page - coming soon!

  • Trappers Creek Adventure Golf

    One of my favorite mini golf places! I think it's kind of old, but it's still so much fun. Neat design/decorations and the course isn't overly challenging (just fun!). It's usually less crowded than Animal Tracks because it's not right downtown. However, it's not open as many months as Animal Tracks is, so if you visit early/late in the season,...


Mackinaw City Hotels

Mackinaw City Restaurants

  • Horrible Experience All Round

    First time in Mackinaw City and decided to eat at the Historic Depot Restaurant for supper big mistake. There was 6 in our party and 5 of us had the steak kabobs and I had steak sandwich. The waitress took our order asked how we wanted our steaks done and left. When she brought our food back the waitress said they only do steak one way we looked at...

  • Avoid if you can

    This place achieved the trifecta of bad restaurants: Terrible service, cold food, and a lousy atmosphere. In order, then... I am often willing to forgive late food or a server's mistake if that person is pleasant. I have worked in restaurants, and know that sometimes the kitchen is late, and everyone makes mistakes. Our server, though, was...

  • Not The Best Food in Town

    I have to agree with a previous comment. The food at the Dixie is not as good as the atmosphere. The atmosphere is really the only thing they have going for them. The food is nothing special and the owner is not exactly customer oriented.

  • Best Place to Eat in Mackinaw

    If you want a delicious homestyle meal that doesn't cost a fortune then you have to try Darrow's while in Mackinaw City. Since they are so popular there is normally a line. I suggest you go there during the off peak times such as between 2 and 4 p.m. to avoid the heavy lunch and dinner traffic. They have yummy pies too!They are not on the main...

  • Pasties!

    All throughout the UP, you'll see signs for the Pastie - and everyone will claim their's is the best. Mackinaw Pastie is no exception, but I gotta say, they were as good as advertised. The restaurant itself is right across the street from the Comfort Inn, so it made our choice that much easier. They offer 3 varieties - Beef, Chicken, and Veggie....

  • Dixie Saloon

    This is a beautiful building. It also has a really wide menu and some nice views of the lake. From there, things go down hill a little. We were seated and served fairly quickly, but never with much enthusiasm. They didn't seem terribly accommodating to families with youngsters either - we ended up off in a corner. Wifey's meal came with fries - she...


Mackinaw City Nightlife

  • moneysavr's Profile Photo

    by moneysavr Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pink poney hops as of all bars on the island all college students work here so they have a blast after dark!
    Mix of joints and mix of foods high end to basic pizza!

    Dress Code: Casual most places but if you stay at the Grand hotel after 5:00p.m. men must put a suit on,women a dress no slacks.

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Mackinaw City Transportation

  • Arnold Transit

    To get across to the island, you'll have to take a ferry. Arnold Transit is one of the options, and it's a pretty good one. They get numerous awards for best ferry (all the lines probably do), but I will give them credit - the boats are large, clean, and can really move! You can sit up on the deck or in the comfort of an interior room - if the...

  • Mackinac Island Ferry: Arnold Transit...

    This is my favorite ferry line of the three. Considering they are all three equal in ticket price, the Arnold Line have the catamaran boats which are the fastest and the smoothest. Check their website for coupons.

  • Mackinaw Trolley Company

    I have never ridden one of these, but honestly, they look neat driving around town. I think it would be fun. They offer daily and group tours.


Mackinaw City Shopping

  • A shop that transends time

    This store will stand out the minute you walk in. It's so original and captures the imagination. The shop is filled with medieval objects and clothing. Every time I go there I find something I want to buy because none of it is sold near me. There are beautiful dresses, hansom shirts for the guys, notebooks with leather bindings, jewelry that looks...

  • Funky place to shop

    This place has been here forever! I am 49 years old and I remember getting a belt custom fitted for me at 12!! Lots of old antique furnishings and cool things still hanging around. Hand made Belts a big variety of buckles and this time I bought a wallet. Love this place! They actually say hello! The local crafts if you can get them. Fudge from...

  • Shops to Avoid in Mackinaw City

    These 3 shops, owned and operated by the same unethical people, all sell clothing and you can customize your clothing.Unlike the other American owned/established business that sell the same things, these shops decieve you with a large sign out front stating free shirts (then in fine print it states you just have to pay for the transfers you pick...


Mackinaw City Local Customs

  • Fudge!

    You absolutely must have some famous fudge while you're in the area. If you can't make it to the island to get Ryba's (the absolute best), then try Murdick's downtown.

  • The Island has a lot of young...

    The Island has a lot of young college students working here,to help pay their way thru school!The locals,some that stay on the island all year round were great,We would like to spend a xmas on the Island some year,some hotels &lodges are open not a lot! This is my Son Aaron and I, tourist watching from the porch of the Murray hotel!

  • Mackinaw City Hotels

    38 Hotels in Mackinaw City

    338 Reviews and Opinions

Mackinaw City Tourist Traps

  • Mystery Spot

    Ahhh, the Mystery Spot... those darn signs just draw you in. You just HAVE to find out what the mystery is. You'll probably be disappointed. This really is just a tourist trap - they draw you in, charge you way more than you should pay, then disappoint you with a cheesy tour. It can be fun if you're prepared for the cheesiness and willing to waste...

  • Mystery Spot

    Supposed to be a gravity defying wonder built on an ore mine. The tour guide takes you through 3 irregular built rooms and demonstrates how you can stand on tables at an odd angle without falling, sit in a chair and not be able to stand up, how a perfectly level beam is harder to walk on in one direction. The tour took all of 15 minutes and left...

  • Well they do have a lot of...

    Well they do have a lot of shops selling they same thing but one shop you will find some tee shirts at less money if you must buy a gift I dont know if thease are good quality but the kids dont mind if We buy them too big and allow them to shrink!!Fudge is fudge!My mothernlaw makes a great fudge that will top this stuff, well I might play...


Mackinaw City What to Pack

  • skylinedrive's Profile Photo

    by skylinedrive Updated Mar 14, 2008

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: ...
    - A jacket or sweatshirt (yes, even in the summer - the evenings get cool)
    - Umbrella or rain poncho

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: ...
    - Bug spray (especially if you plan to hike in the woods)

    Photo Equipment: ...
    - Camera - there is way too much beautiful scenery to miss out on pictures!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: ...
    - If you plan to swim in the lake, a pair of water shoes are a good idea. There are a lot of sharp rocks in the lake and it's best to protect your feet.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel

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Mackinaw City Off The Beaten Path

  • Castle Rock

    Climb to the top of Castle Rock for a breathtaking view of the Straits. Castle Rock is a limestone rock formation that stands nearly 200 feet above the ground. This activity offers exercise and some great photo opportunities, plus it doesn't cost very much! (I think it's less than a dollar to climb it.)Also, just for kicks and cheesy fun - there is...

  • The Headlands

    The Headlands is a beautiful county park spanning 550 acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline. There are nice nature trails filled with wildlife and plants for hiking or bicycling. One tip - bring bug spray!

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Mackinaw City Favorites

  • moneysavr's Profile Photo

    by moneysavr Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Spend one night at the Grand Hotel!!It is out of this world the food,the service, the rooms,the views of the grounds!

    Fondest memory: Sitting on the porch of Murray Hotel we stay at most of our visit, Great rates,good room,with a continental breakfast in the a.m.!The porch seats 4 and if your lucky you can grab a seat and watch the tourist's walk past!I could do that all day!
    This is the front of the Grand Hotels Main porch.

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