I’m not sure when I learned the correct pronunciation of Mackinac, but at one time I pronounced it like it looks. However, for those of you who may not know, it’s pronounced like Mackinaw which is the name of the city where we stayed while visiting the area.
We stayed at Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground in Mackinaw City which is now one of my new favorite campgrounds. It is just over the Mackinac Bridge on the lower peninsula of Michigan, on beautiful Lake Huron.
A friend got me hooked on the Marine Traffic app where I could track ships sailing all around the Great Lakes. Several times I saw on the app that a large ship would be passing by our campground soon, so I rushed out to the beach to watch it. I developed a sort of obsessive fascination with ships while we were in Michigan. 😉
One day I noticed that the Arthur M Anderson ship was going to be passing under the Mackinac Bridge so we all headed into Mackinaw City to watch it. It was so cool to see it coming under the bridge!
The Arthur Anderson is known for being the last ship to have contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald ship before it sank in November 1975. We visited Whitefish Point where we learned more about that; I’ll save it for another post.
The ship is very hard to see in the picture above, below is a zoomed in view.
Mackinaw City is a really cute, touristy town with many shops, restaurants and a marina. You can also catch a ferry to Mackinac Island from there.
Visiting Mackinac Island was so much fun! There are no vehicles allowed on the island. The only modes of transportation are bicycles, horses and horse-drawn carriages in addition to walking of course. We took the ferry over from Mackinaw City.
Just after arriving on the island, it was a little overwhelming on the main street with horse-drawn carriages and bicycles riding by. It seems so unusual while at the same time so fascinating! I was torn between wanting to look around and take it all in like a typical tourist, while also having to make sure I didn’t get run over by a bicyclist or carriage.
There are so many shops and restaurants along main street. I honestly don’t know the name of this street, but it sure looks like a “Main Street USA” to me. Mackinac Island is famous for fudge and you can literally smell fudge as soon as you step off the ferry. All of the fudge shops have free samples so don’t be shy about asking for some. In fact, our carriage driver told us that the people working at the fudge shops expect us to come in and have free fudge samples, and therefore refer to us as “fudgies”. 🙂
We had lunch at Seabiscuit Cafe and then toured the island with Mackinac Island Carriage Tours. I would highly recommend this tour for the first time visiting the island. The island is small, but this tour gives you an idea of where everything is and the tour guide is wonderful at pointing out interesting spots and history. Plus it’s super fun to ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages!
My favorite stop on the carriage tour was at Arch Rock. The water here was such a brilliant turquoise blue.
After the carriage tour we rented bikes to ride the 8 miles around the perimeter of the island.
One of the nice things about planning a day trip to Mackinac Island is we did not have to reserve anything in advance. The ferry, the carriage tour, the bike rentals — none of that needed to be reserved in advance. The reason I appreciated that is because I wanted to visit the island on a day when the weather was perfect, and that’s exactly what we did. We had an absolutely perfect day on Mackinac Island!
This post is getting too long so I’ll share later about a couple of other day trips we took while staying in Mackinaw City. The last pictures are a few more from the campground.