Snowy Owls Spend their Winters Around the Straits of Mackinac

Snowy Owls have recently been observed in Cheboygan, St. Ignace and on the Mackinac Bridge. It is still early December, but these beautiful arctic visitors are starting to appear throughout the Midwest in good numbers. During the past several winters snowy owls have been frequent visitors to Mackinaw City, and there should be prime opportunities to see them here this winter.

Local places to watch for Snowy Owls include open areas along the Mackinaw City shoreline, light poles, tops of buildings and out on the ice once it forms in the Straits. If you are lucky enough to see a Snowy Owl, don’t get too close and it may just stay put for others to enjoy. If you want to see a map of where some Snowy Owls have been seen locally, visit If you want to learn more about the migration of owls and other raptors in the area, the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch is a great resource.

In early December 2017, a Snowy Owl was observed sitting at the base of the cannon located near the entrance of the Colonial Michilimackinac parking lot. It had been there for most of the day and cars entering the lot were passing within a few feet of it. Concern grew that it may have been injured, perhaps by a passing vehicle on the Mackinac Bridge which crosses over the parking lot.

Mackinac State Historic Parks Curator of Natural History Jeff Dykehouse, who has a state and federal bird banding permit, captured the owl to see if it was injured. It had no obvious injuries, so an aluminum numbered band was put on its leg. According to the Bird Banding Lab with the U.S. Geological Survey, bird banding is a universal and indispensable technique for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds. Over 1.2 million birds are banded, and more than 87,000 encounters with banded birds are reported annually.

According to Dykehouse, the owl was most likely an immature bird, as is the case with most snowy owls in this area at this time of year. After the owl was shown to some of the other park staff members, it was released inside Colonial Michilimackinac and eventually flew up to the roof of one of the fort’s buildings.

Oh Deer…Firearm Hunting Season Through the Straits

Since first opening in 1957, the Mackinac Bridge Authority has counted the number of deer taken south across the bridge during Michigan’s firearm deer season. This information helps the DNR index the size of the deer herd in the as well as the success of the firearm deer season in the Upper Peninsula.

Over the past 60+ years, those counts collectively total 278,250. The all-time high came in 1995, when 18,887 deer were tallied. Other prime years were 1959 (16,056 deer), 2000 (14,445), 1964 (13,335) and 1958 (13,065). More than 10,000 deer were also counted in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1996 and 2000.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (M-DNR) recently released its 2019 prediction report, which states that “with overall deer numbers being low in the U.P., buck sightings have been limited. Those that have been observed look very healthy and antler development appears average for the region.”

Overall, throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, hunting (including deer and other mammals) is big business. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs report that the statewide economic impact of hunting is $8.9 billion (with 700,000 hunters) and combined with fishing put Michigan the top state in the Great Lakes region – generating more than $11.2 billion annually. This includes licenses, gear, clothing, hotels, meals and more.

According to the DNR, the 2018 hunting seasons (bow, firearm and muzzleloader) brought out more than 554,300 hunters statewide who spent a combined 7.5 million days afield and bagging more than 360,000 deer (bucks and does).

Michigan’s 2019 archery season for deer is now underway and the firearm deer season in Michigan runs November 15-30, 2019.

Mackinac Bridge Deer Crossing Totals (1957-2018)

1957       9,224

1958       13,065

1959       16,056

1960       9,798

1961       5,962

1962       9,700

1963       11,894

1964       13,355

1965       11,050

1966       10,093

1967       9,528

1968       8,283

1969       7,250

1970       3,084

1971       4,251

1972       2,466

1973       2,885

1974       3,404

1975       3,784

1976       3,175

1977       2,618

1978       3,157

1979       2,841

1980       2,695

1981       3,313

1982       3,128

1983       3,393

1984       3,922

1985       5,378

1986       4,713

1987       6,036

1988       7,960

1989       9,279

1990       8,450

1991       9,361

1992       8,581

1993       7,328

1994       8,903

1995       18,887

1996       10,900

1997       4,992

1998       6,800

1999       9,703

2000       14,445

2001       8,073

2002       8,221

2003       8,091

2004       6,598

2005       6,098

2006       5,819

2007       6,346

2008       6,813

2009       3,942

2010       4,092

2011       5,731

2012       6,460

2013       4,207

2014       2,233

2015       1,500

2016       1977

2017       2991

2018       3317


Planning Ahead for the 62nd Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk – Monday, September 2, 2019

As it was for the 2018 Annual Bridge Walk, the Mackinac Bridge will be closed to public traffic from 6:30 a.m. to Noon on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 to accommodate the 2019 Annual Bridge Walk.

The walk begins at 7 a.m. You may start walking any time after the governor’s party starts the walk at approximately 7 a.m. No one will be permitted to start after 11:30 a.m., so make sure you arrive early. There is no fee or registration required to participate in the walk and each participant will receive a numbered bridge walk certificate at the completion of their walk. Certificates will be distributed at both ends of the bridge.

This year, the walk begins in St. Ignace at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge in the Upper Peninsula, and in Mackinaw City at the south end of the bridge in the Lower Peninsula. To participate in the walk, you may:

Walkers will use the left-hand outside paved lane as they walk onto the bridge, regardless of which end of the bridge they start from. Walkers who turn back at the midpoint will turn right, then return using the opposite side outside paved lane. Walkers who choose to cross the entire bridge will stay in the left-hand outside paved lane all the way across.

No bus transportation across the bridge will be available this year. Walkers who decide to walk across the entire bridge will need to arrange their own transportation back to the end of the bridge where they started – after the bridge reopens to public traffic at noon. There is limited parking space available west of the Mackinac Bridge Authority plaza area. Parking and shuttle service is being provided by the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce and St. Ignace Visitor’s Bureau and is available at Little Bear East Arena.

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will again be offering direct departures between Mackinac City and St. Ignace for the 62nd Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk on September 2. Direct service between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace will begin at 5:30am. Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children (ages 5-12) now through Sunday August 25. Children under 5 are complimentary but do require a ticket for boarding. Monday August 26 prices increase to $26 and $13 respectively.

Star Line Ferry is also offering shuttle service. The ferry will be departing their Mackinaw City Dock at 6:30 am going directly to our St. Ignace dock.  When you arrive in St. Ignace you can walk across the street and catch the FREE shuttle to the starting area. The cost for this departure is $15 per adult and $ 8 per child (ages 5-12). Children under five years of age travel free. They will also have a boat that leaves directly from the Mackinac Island Dock at 6:00 am for those on the Island that would like to get an early start. The cost for this departure is $15 per adult and $8 per child for a one-way ticket. Cost for a round trip ticket on the same departure is $18 per adult and $9 per child.

Baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the bridge during the walk. Prohibited items include signs, banners, umbrellas, bicycles, roller skates, skateboards, wagons and similar types of devices. With the sole exception of working service dogs, no animals are allowed. Walkers must stay away from bridge railings and the center mall which divides the walkers from the vehicular traffic.

The Michigan State Police and other official personnel will be available in the event of an emergency. Please note, there are no restrooms on the bridge and the average length of time to walk the bridge is about two hours. Portable toilets will be located in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

Except for pre-qualified, registered participants in the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Run, no running or racing is permitted on the bridge. Playing tag on the bridge is not permitted and no smoking on the bridge, please. For information on the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Run, please go to or contact the Governor’s Council at 517-347-7891.

Individuals under the age of 18 should have the permission of a parent or guardian to participate in the walk. Any two or more people walking together should make plans for a meeting place in the event that they become separated during the walk.

As in the past, persons who need reasonable accommodations due to disability may contact the Mackinac Bridge Authority by Aug. 30, 2019 at 906-643-7600. TTY users may call the Michigan Relay Center at 800-649-3777.

Those looking for accommodations over Labor Day weekend will find a list of area hotels, motels, B&Bs and other options available in Mackinaw City:

Everyone Loves a (Mackinac Bridge) Parade

Each year, a handful of special parades are held in which the participants travel across the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge. These events are fun not only for the participants, but for visitors in downtown Mackinaw City as well. Please add these dates to your summer travel calendar:

Friday, April 26                  4th Annual Jeep the Mac

Last year, more than 800 Jeeps participated in this annual trek. This year’s crossing will begin at 3pm in St. Ignace with all Jeeps heading south into Mackinaw City before looping around to return to the Upper Peninsula.

Saturday, July 20              6th Annual Mustang Stampede

Celebrating the classic Ford muscle car which was first introduced in 1964. Dozens of cars will be on display from 10am-4pm in Conkling Heritage Park, followed by the bridge parade at 4:30pm. Dinner follows, with live music and the awards ceremony.

Saturday, August 3          Mini on the Mack (

Help break the English-held “World Record for Largest-ever MINI Cooper Parade” during this spectacular bi-annual (the current record of 1450 is held by the Surrey MINI Club Owners in the UK). In 2017, 1328 cars participated in the Straits area event (up from 1319 in 2015) and this year hopes to be the biggest group to date.

Saturday, August 24        30th Annual Corvette Crossroads

Hundreds of Corvettes are on display at the Mackinaw Crossings Mall parking lot from 10-2, with awards in a variety of categories presented at 3pm. The procession lines up at 6pm, with the crossing of the Mackinac Bridge at 7pm. All Corvettes in town are welcome to cross the Mackinac Bridge (there is a nominal fee for non-show registered ‘Vettes to participate in the parade).

Friday, September 6       12 Annual Antique Tractor Crossing (

First held in 2008 (with 614 participants), this parade feature all makes, models, shapes and sizes of vintage tractors and farm equipment from around the country (and beyond). The line-up begins in downtown Mackinaw City at 9am, with the procession traveling across the bridge to downtown St. Ignace, ending at the Little Bear Arena. Last year, over 1,300 tractors joined in the parade.

For lodging reservations throughout the summer season, visit



The Everything You Need to Know About the 61st Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk

The Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce has shared the following information about this year’s Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk…on Monday, September 3.

It’s true, there are big changes in the event this year. While the loss of busing service is notable, this may ultimately be a happy change for participants. Get up and get out there! Less waiting in line means more time to stay and play in our local communities. Book a fishing charter, do some shopping, go out for breakfast, tour an attraction… these are options participants may not have had time for on Labor Day in previous years.

We’ve taken a moment to compile some of the information that will help you better educate patrons on the changes and remind them of a few rules. Here are a couple important things that you can catch before they make it out of the hotel room…

NO WAGONS. That rule has not changed… it’s a safety precaution (your child and gear should be safe and in front of you, not in tow behind). Wagons present a tripping hazard to others. No one will be permitted onto the bridge with a wagon.

NO PETS. Yes, of course service animals are welcome…that is it. No recreational companion cats, dogs, birds, etc.. No one will be permitted on the bridge with a pet.

NOBODY is crossing center span after 10 am. All participants will be turned back in the direction they started from. Beginning at 10 a.m., the turnaround point will be moved towards the ends of the bridge, but you may start walking up until 11:30 a.m. This restriction will ensure that the bridge is able to reopen to traffic at noon.

NO WALKING IN CENTER LANES. Both center lanes are reserved for emergency vehicles. Walkers will use the left-hand outside paved lane as they walk onto the bridge, regardless of which end of the bridge they start from. Walkers who turn back at the midpoint will turn right, then return using the opposite side outside paved lane. Walkers who choose to cross the entire bridge will stay in the left-hand outside paved lane all the way across.

Ample parking is available throughout Mackinaw City, but it could be a considerable walk to get to the bridge. Please encourage guests to factor additional time into their morning plan for parking and walking.

All participants must walk to the base of the bridge- the 339 Exit Nicolet/Jamet Street ramp near Audie’s Restaurant. The walk will begin and end in this location. No public transportation is available in Mackinaw City. Many hotels may offer transportation accommodations for guests; inquire at the front desk.

The bridge will close from 6:30 a.m. to noon. The Michigan Fitness Foundation Labor Day Bridge Run will cross first, as in previous years. The walk will begin at 7:00 a.m. lead by the Governor. An early start is advised.

St. Ignace will offer busing for participants from Little Bear East Arena to the base of the bridge and back. For the first time ever certificates will be given from both sides of the bridge!

Please take a moment to review all of the information below, note the ferry service options and watch the informational video by the Mackinac Bridge Authority; it illustrates the details of the new format. If possible, please share this video on your social media and/or website to help educate visitors.

ALSO, please read below to learn how participants can support our local Chamber and be a Double Crosser this year- do the whole ten miles with us!

If you would like to serve as a volunteer, we are recruiting! The Chamber will need 50 volunteers for the Mackinaw City side this year. Please contact me to sign up. As an incentive the Mackinac Bridge Authority will enter ALL volunteers into a drawing for a coveted tower tour AND an anchor pier tour. Please, please contact us to sign up to help if you are able.

Is there any way to walk the entire bridge in one direction?

Yes. You can make arrangements for your own early morning transportation (before the bridge closes at 6 am) and walk back, or you could make plans for transportation after the bridge re-opens at noon. Probably the best, and easiest, option for participants will be to take a ferry ride!

Early morning direct departures will be offered by both ferry lines. The cost will be $20.00/adult, $10.00/child. Pre-Registration is required for Shepler’s, Star Line is offering first come, first serve sales only. Participants who choose this option will take the ferry in the morning and walk back.

Important! Remember: NO ONE will be crossing center span after 10 am. Participants that haven’t made it to center span at this time will be turned back to return to the side they started walking from. Please plan accordingly and select an appropriate ferry departure.

For more information, visit the Mackinaw Bridge Authority.

For overnight accommodations, visit the lodging page of our website:

5th Annual Mackinaw City Mustang Stampede Rolls into Straits of Mackinac July 20-21, 2018

More than 100 cars are expected to gather on Saturday, July 21 for the 5th Annual Mackinaw City Mustang Stampede to be held at Conkling Heritage Park, along the shores of Lake Huron, in downtown Mackinaw City. Celebrating Ford Motor Company’s iconic Mustang, which first rolled off the assembly line in 1964 to become one of the most noted muscle cars on the road today.

Check in and registration will take place on Friday, July 20 between 2-7pm or 8-9:30am on Saturday, July 21 at 409 S. Huron Avenue, next to Conkling Heritage Park and Best Western Dockside. All cars must be checked in and on display by 9:45am on Saturday.

Saturday’s schedule:

The registration fee is $50 per car if postmarked by June 30, 2018 and $60 after (based on availability). Registration includes: parking space for the car, a commemorative t-shirt, an event keepsake, token for the Mackinac Bridge parade (your token is for your return trip back to Mackinaw City for dinner). Also included is ONE dinner ticket. Additional tickets can be purchased for $10 each. Extra t-shirts can be purchased at the show as well. No refunds will be given. To register:

For lodging reservations for the Mustang Stampede weekend, or throughout the summer season, visit

Focusing on Mackinaw’s Northern Lights

By Rachel Rolland, Great Lakes Aurora Hunters™

Did you know that the Straits of Mackinac has the same geomagnetic latitude as southern portion of Norway, Sweden and Finland, which is just south of the some of the best Northern Lights viewing in the world?

Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are a spectacular natural phenomenon that are hard to predict, often rare to see and nearly impossible to forget. Their occurrence is tied to the activity of the sun, and the solar wind caused by the eruption of spots on the sun’s surface. They occur in an oval that surrounds the geomagnetic north pole, which is south of the geographic north pole. This allows for sky watchers in the northern U.S. to see this magnificent night sky display—including the Mackinaw area. The Northern Lights can appear as soon as 30-45 minutes after sunset but are more likely to be seen during the darkest time of the night, typically from midnight to 2am. However, the Northern Lights are not out every night.

The Northern Lights are caused when charged particles from the sun interact with earth’s magnetosphere, and these disturbances are ranked on a scale of 0-9, known as the Kp scale. A Kp of 5 or above will usually bring the lights to the Mackinaw area, but it’s not out of the question to see the lights out when the Kp is at a 4. There are numerous additional factors that contribute to aurora visibility but knowing the Kp is a good place to start.

A successful northern lights hunt requires patience, so be prepared to spend a fair amount of time watching and waiting for the lights to appear. There is an ebb and flow to the aurora, and it can often involve hours of waiting for a jaw-dropping period of heightened activity, known as a substorm. If you’re only seeing the faintest, pale glow on the northern horizon—keep waiting! This low glow could be a great sign of things to come. If conditions are right, that low glow will rise, brighten and burst with ripples, pillars and waves of shimmering light.

To the naked eye, the Northern Lights range from a pale, white glow to a variety of visible colors depending on the brightness of the aurora at the time. A camera will pick up more of the color than the naked eye is able to see, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t see colors during stronger storms. The lights will primarily be in the northern portion of the sky but can stretch all the way overhead and into the southern skies during intense aurora activity (typically Kp 7+).

After you’ve watched the Northern Lights dance across the Mackinaw sky, you’ll fully understand why the aurora is one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World.” Although a successful aurora hunt requires planning and patience, you will be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime when the aurora ignites the dark night in front of you. It is an incredible and majestic experience that will leave you in total awe of the night sky.

The Great Lakes Aurora Hunters maintains a Facebook page with regular alerts when conditions are prime. Follow them here:



America’s Longest-Running, Free Memorial Day Historical Program Continues in Mackinaw City (May 26-28)

Since 1962, the Memorial Pageant Weekend has entertained families in what remains the longest-running, free Memorial Day historical program in the United States. This year’s festivities run Saturday, May 26 through Monday, May 28. There is no admission charge for the historical reenactment pageant or related events.

Costumed reenactors bring to life the June 2, 1763 battle between the French, British and Native Americans which helped shape the history not only of this region but of the entire state of Michigan, the Midwest and America. More than 400 cast members bring history to life during scheduled performances throughout the weekend at Colonial Michilimackinac, set along the shores of the Straits of Mackinac—where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron converge.

Honoring local veterans, specifically those who were casualties of war, the annual Mackinaw Memorial Parade, steps off on Saturday, May 26 at 1pm from Conkling Heritage Park, near the Municipal Marina. More than 100 combined floats, bands, clowns, queens, reenactors and other entertainers from around the Great Lakes region follow a route that travels down Huron Avenue to Central Avenue to Nicolet Street at Colonial Michilmackinac.

Fireworks are planned at dusk that evening, at Conkling Heritage Park on South Huron Avenue along the shores of Lake Huron.

On Monday, May 28, a brief and informal Memorial Day observance, paying tribute to the soldiers who served at Fort Mackinac, takes place on Mackinac Island. Soldiers assembles at 8:30am at Fort Mackinac, march to the Post Cemetery, perform a short ceremony and salute, and then return to the fort. Ferry service from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island is available at 7:30am from both Shepler’s Ferry and Star Line Ferry.

A Memorial Day Service is also planned at 10am on Monday at Conkling Heritage Park in Mackinaw City.

For lodging reservations for Memorial weekend, or throughout the summer season, visit

PHOTO SOURCE: Fort Michilimackinac Reenactment.

Spring Blossoms in the Straits of Mackinac

Spring is a beautiful time of year in the Mackinaw City area, as the winter melts away and nature comes out of its deep slumber. Plenty of seasonal activities are planned to celebrate the arrival of spring and all its beauty—from the flora to fauna to astronomy to aviary.

Savoring Michigan’s sweet treat…maple syrup

The longer, warmer days means sap begins to flow in the maple trees that dot the landscape around the miles of woodland trails. In the furthest reaches of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park visitors can find the Maple Sugar Shack, nestled along one of the hiking trails. While the sugaring season will have wrapped up by the time the interpretive season begins at here in May, guests can still find the shack and interpretive panels detailing the history of sugaring in this area and the process of doing it.

Beauty from the ground…wildflowers abound!

One of the surest signs that spring has arrived in the north woods is the appearance of an abundance of beautiful wildflowers covering the forest floor, including the Yellow Trout-lily, Spring-beauty, the Large-flowered Trillium and the smaller Nodding Trillium, Marsh Marigold or Cowslip and Jack-in -the-Pulpit. Head out along the hiking trails at Wilderness State Park, The Headlands International Dark Sky Park,  at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park and along sections of the North Country Trail. Please remember that trillium are protected in Michigan and that picking them is illegal (but photographing them is recommended).

Foraging from the forest floor…morels, ramps and fiddleheads!

In addition to an abundance of wildflowers, spring means the arrival of wild edibles – such as morels, ramps and fiddleheads – the most hunted spring treasures. May is morel month in Michigan but depending on the weather these illusive fungi can be found as early as April and as late as mid-June, especially the further north you go. Morels begin to pop up along the woodland floor when the daytime temps reach around 60–65 degrees while the evening temps stay above 50 degrees. As you search, look along southwest facing hills where the sun’s rays warm the ground around tree groves mixed with living, dead and dying ash, elm, oak and aspen trees. Given there are a lot of “false morels” and other poisonous mushrooms, it is advised to take a guide (either a person or a printed book) to help you identify a true morel. If you can’t find them in the woods, look for them on the menu of area restaurants during the spring season – topping fish, chicken or steak, fried to a crispy goodness or cooked into a creamy bisque.

Mackinaw City…for the birds!

The 2018 Mackinaw Raptor Fest, April 6-8, provides an entertaining and educational showcase to promote public awareness and knowledge of raptors and waterbirds and the significance of the Straits area during migration. Located at the junction of two peninsulas and two Great Lakes, Mackinaw City creates a unique confluence of migrating birds every spring and fall. A variety of activities are planned throughout the weekend, including field trips, bird counts, watches, banding, star gazing, live raptor presentations and special programs focused on identification, photography and ecology, among other activities. For the complete schedule of events, please click here.

Cast a hook, line and sinker!

Fishing really is a four-season activity here in the Great Lakes State, but as the ice melts and the temperatures rise, the rivers, streams and lakes become a hotbed for a variety of species. The Straits area offers opportunities for migratory steelhead and salmon, as well as other freshwater fish. Spring fishing begins in April when the smelt begin to run, followed by trout season in late April and walleye season which opens mid-May. As we move into summer, look for lake perch and bass off the coast of Wilderness State Park or head to Paradise Lake, just five miles south of Mackinaw City, where bass, pike, walleye and panfish are plentiful. Be sure to check the Michigan Department of Natural Resourcest for specific season dates and licensing information.

Hunting Michigan’s beloved Petoskey Stone!

Many people think that Petoskey Stones can only be found in Petoskey. Yet this hexagon fossilized coral (Hexagonaria pericarnata) from a coral reef that existed during the Devonian era 350 million years ago, can be found along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the Sleeping Bear Dunes area as far north as the Straits of Mackinac. Spring is the ideal time to scour the beaches for rocks that have been churned up over the winter, before the thousands of tourists have had the time begin their search. Established as Michigan’s state stone in 1965, the Petoskey Stones were formed as a result of glaciation, in which sheets of ice plucked stones from the bedrock, grinding off their rough edges and depositing them in the northwestern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Look to the skies…and beyond!

Although there is no way to predict when Northern Lights (aurora borealis) will light up the sky, the Straits area provides the perfect night sky conditions for viewing this unique phenomenon. Northern Lights are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere, creating dancing color of lights such as green, pink and purple. Located along the Lake Michigan shoreline just south of Mackinaw City, the Headlands International Dark Sky Park is a popular place for settling in for the sky show. Mark your calendar for April 20 to attend a special program on Statewide Astronomy Night under the Lyrid Meteor Shower and a waxing crescent moon. Spring full moons will grace the sky March 31 (a blue moon – the second full moon of the month), April 29 and May 29.

For list of events taking place in the Straits of Mackinac during the spring season (such as the Spring Meltdown, Spring Break Splash, Taste of Mackinac and Mackinac International Bridal Expo), click here.

Those wanting to venture over to historic Mackinac Island during the pre-season should note that ferry service begins April 1. Mackinac State Historic Parks (Colonial Michilimackinac, Historic Mill Creek and Fort Mackinac) open in early May.

For spring travel ideas and lodging options, visit

Mackinaw City Releases 2018 Visitor’s Guide to the Straits Area

The Mackinaw City area has been welcoming visitors for centuries, drawn to the natural freshwaters of the Straits of Mackinac, the rich woodlands and natural resources, the ongoing history and genuine Northern Michigan hospitality.

To aid travelers in their future visits to the area, the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau has published its 2018 Visitors Guide, available free at all Pure Michigan Welcome Centers, at select locations in the Mackinaw City area and at Midwest consumer shows represented by the West Michigan Tourist Association.* It can also be viewed online at

“We have created this Mackinaw Area Visitors Guide to help you plan your next visit with us,” says Deb Spence, Executive Director of the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau. “We hope you find it useful, educational and entertaining.”

The 40-page guide features articles about the Mackinac Bridge, Headland International Dark Sky Park, Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), Mackinac Island, sculptures of Jerry Prior, lighthouses, Day Trip Destinations and winter activities in the Straits, among others. It also includes listings for area accommodations, shops, restaurants, parks and services, as well as a list of 2018 special events, of interest to visitors and locals alike.

WMTA 2018 Consumer Shows

Cottage & Lakefront Living Show

March 1-4 in Novi, MI

Grand Rapids Women’s Show

March 9-11 in Grand Rapids, MI

Michigan Golf Show

March 9-11 in Novi, MI

Good Sam Indy RV Super Show

April 12-15 in Indianapolis, IN

International Women’s Show

May 3-6 in Novi, MI