Have you heard? July is National Picnic Month…and Mackinaw City is the perfect place to celebrate along the shores of the Straits of Mackinac!
According to DaysOfTheYear.com, “The word ‘picnic’ is thought to have first been used by Tony Willis in 1692, and from that point forward everyone from the working class to the upper crust have been fascinated with taking their repast outside under the sky. Picnic Month celebrates the history of this activity and the way it has been used to bring families, countries, and all humanity together.”
Wikipedia defines “picnic” as “a meal taken outdoors (al fresco) as part of an excursion – ideally in scenic surroundings, such as a park, lakeside, or other place affording an interesting view, or else in conjunction with a public event such as preceding an open-air theatre performance, and usually in summer.”
Here in the Mackinaw City, there are a dozen parks throughout town which are ideal to enjoy a simple picnic meal—whether you pack the basket yourself or stop by one of our local restaurants or markets for to-go items.
- Alexander Henry Park: Built in 1987, this park is located at the northern end of Henry St. and provides the best view of the Mackinac Bridge and the Upper Peninsula. This facility is linked to the Mackinac State Historic Park sites (Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Colonial Michilimackinac) by a gorgeous 1,800-foot waterfront walkway. The park is filled with interpretive displays, landscaping, picnic accommodations and restrooms.
- Arnold Transit Company Park: This is the perfect downtown location to relax while others are shopping. There is a swing set, slide, picnic tables and benches. There is no bathroom or water at the park, but these can be found nearby at Village Hall and on DuCharme Street.
- Conkling Heritage Park: Located just north of the Straits Harbor, this park is the main location for many of the city’s festivals, events and concerts in the Performance Shell. The park also offers a handicapped accessible picnic table and an observation deck for viewing over the lake. Conkling Heritage Park provides the residents and visitors of Mackinaw City with over 500 feet of waterfront access along South Huron Avenue. A wooden sculpture of Edgar Conkling, carved by local artist Jerry Prior, stands proudly in the park.
- Maritime Park: This park provides waterfront access and is located on North Huron Avenue, across from Depeyster Street.
- Fishing and Observation Pier: This dock juts 1,100 feet into Lake Huron and offers views of the waterfront from all sides. It has recently been renovated with a walking trail, benches and informational markers. The small wind turbines power many of the marina’s facilities. The dock provides views of the Mackinac Bridge, the islands and boat traffic entering and exiting the Village.
- Gary Williams Memorial Park: Formerly known as Sinclair Park, this park was renamed in honor of a departed Village Council member and is located along North Huron Avenue, providing waterfront views.
- Indian Pathways Park: This landscaped picnicking park was developed with the cooperation of the Michigan Department of Transportation and is immediately adjacent to the Interstate 75 corridor. This park is utilized not only by the Village of Mackinaw City residents, but also by travelers looking for a pleasant place to enjoy an outdoor break and great view of the bridge.
- Municipal Marina: The Marina is a harbor of refuge for transient vessels using the Straits area, where the lawn provides a gathering place for community events, band concert, and other activities. A monument is located on the Marina lawn memorializing Mackinaw City’s war veterans. This Park is home to three Civil War cannons from the USS Hartford, which played an important role in the battle for New Orleans. The facilities feature restrooms and showers, an indoor recreation area and a boater information center with internet access.
- Old School Park: This property is the former site of the Mackinaw City elementary and high schools, which has been developed into a kid-friendly park with a play structure, swing set, spring toys, picnic tables and more.
- Mackinaw City Recreation Complex: This is the Village’s primary community park servicing the needs of participants in organized recreational activities. The complex is used by the Mackinaw City School District as a home field for baseball and softball activities including Little League. The park features tennis courts, basketball courts and is also home ice for the Mackinaw City Skating Association. A picnic pavilion, concession stand, bleachers, picnic tables, bar-b-cue pit and other amenities are also on site.
- Campbell Park: This park is dedicated to Nancy Campbell and is located along North Huron Avenue between Sinclair and Depeyster Streets.
- Wawatam Park: With Views of Mackinac Island, the marina and the Mackinac Bridge, this park provides picnic facilities and a playground for children as well as a carving of Chief Wawatam, one of the Village’s forefathers.