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View Full Version : Mackinac Island touring tips, hints, suggestions



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sk8er1964
05-24-2010, 04:27 PM
I've stayed at the Mission Point Resort (http://www.missionpoint.com/) which was nice. The room I had was rather small - it was in the old part of the resort. Didn't matter much to me because I was alone (it was at a conference). The resort provided luggage service to and from the ferry docks. IIRC, I just walked to the hotel, which was pleasant and not too far. I think that there's a lot to do there, but I was not able to due to being there for a conference plus it was late fall then.

We did an island bike ride when we went there when I was a kid back in the late 70's. That time we had camped at Wilderness State Park. I remember that it was a very pretty ride.

The time that I was there between the childhood camping trip and this more recent conference, I just remember things as being very expensive. That time we didn't stay on island, but were there for a weekend taking the ferry back and forth, and eating meals on the island. We did get to go to the Governor's mansion (it was a political event) - I don't know if that is open to the public, but the views and gardens are wonderful. Also, even if you aren't staying there, a visit to the Grand Hotel is a must.

If you are going to travel off island, the Soo Locks are fascinating - we saw them for the first time a few years ago. I second the Whitefish Bay and Tahquamenon Falls recommendations, and agree that Fort Michilimackinac is more interesting than the fort on island.

michiruwater, I have wanted to do copper country for the longest time, but we never have had the time/money to go. One of these years we will. It looks so beautiful up there.

Nickel
05-24-2010, 05:00 PM
I was wondering if our resident Yooper would have some words of wisdom. ;) And thanks to my other Michiganian friends for your thoughts and experiences as well as those who have visited the area.

We aren't staying on the Island, just making a day trip over there. We'll be staying in Mackinaw City. Or maybe I should consider a hotel in St. Ignace instead?

I suspected the island would be, as michiruwater puts it, contrived, but that's ok, I still want to see it, and as much of it as we can fit in for a day. I am not in very good physical shape so any island sightseeing will have to be done using the carriage taxi. I can do some walking or hiking but knowing me, I'd get all excited and try to overdo it then be hurting and I don't want that to happen so I am going to try to restrain myself from doing too much off-the-beaten-path walking. I wish I could ride a bike but I have had balance issues for a number of years now and just can't handle a bike anymore.

A co-worker is pushing the Tahquamenon Falls so I'll have to do some research on that. Does anyone know if that is a do-able day trip from Mackinaw City/St. Ignace or should we plan to get a hotel in the U.P. one night (or two)?

ETA: Just took a look at mapquest to see where the falls are and it seems like it would be a do-able day trip but it also looks like it will make more sense for our home base to be St. Ignace instead of Mackinaw City. Good thing I haven't booked anything yet. ;) But I want to book the hotel(s) soon so I need to make a decision.

sk8er1964
05-24-2010, 05:30 PM
I don't know much about St Ignace, but this might help. http://www.stignace.com/

Tahquamenon is definitely a do-able day trip. You might want to double check how much walking is needed, though, to get to the falls. I can't remember since it's been a long time since I've been there.

skatemommy
05-24-2010, 08:19 PM
I don't know much about St Ignace, but this might help. http://www.stignace.com/

Tahquamenon is definitely a do-able day trip. You might want to double check how much walking is needed, though, to get to the falls. I can't remember since it's been a long time since I've been there.

It is a lot of walking; not so much from the parking to the lower falls (easy) as it is to get to the upper falls which of course is the most spectacular.

danceronice
05-24-2010, 11:40 PM
I second the recommendation of Michilimackinac. It is a far more interesting fort than the one on the island. I usually go to the one on the island but it only takes an hour or so. The view is pretty impressive but nothing much happened there.

ROTFL...you must have skipped the North Blockhouse or reading any of the exhibit signs. Basically the first battle of the war of 1812 was the British retaking the island fort. The only "important" thing that happened at the mainland fort was the massacre during Pontiac's Rebellion, when local tribes used a lacrosse game (well, the precursor to lacrosse) to trick their way into the fort and kill the British soldiers. It didn't actually have must effect in the grand scheme of things.

However the 'shows' are much more fun on the mainland, and it's all in one place--most people totally miss the Historic Downtown on the Island, which is where the blacksmiths' shop, 1840s house, and the Beaumont House are.

I stand by my statements about the horses. The Grand treats theirs well (I still wouldn't stay there, it's wicked overpriced) but the taxis and tour carriages treat the horses like crap and the drivers worse.

Remember, it's a nice place to go for a day, but it's not so great for seasonals, especially the ones who have to live on the Island itself. So we see the things they don't want tourists to notice. It's kind of like Disney, only no centralised infrastructure or benefits.

And if you hit the upper UP, please please pleas visit Fort Wilkins. They're very lonely up there.

loopey
05-25-2010, 01:55 AM
I haven't been in 20 years, but it was beautiful, and the fudge amazing!

Theatregirl1122
05-25-2010, 04:22 AM
ROTFL...you must have skipped the North Blockhouse or reading any of the exhibit signs. Basically the first battle of the war of 1812 was the British retaking the island fort. The only "important" thing that happened at the mainland fort was the massacre during Pontiac's Rebellion, when local tribes used a lacrosse game (well, the precursor to lacrosse) to trick their way into the fort and kill the British soldiers. It didn't actually have must effect in the grand scheme of things.

The "battle" at fort Mackinac that started the war of 1812 was an immediate surrender with no fighting. Which, while it may be important to the war of 1812, is not very interesting. And since "something" constitutes more than just battles. Fort Michilimackinac also talks about the fur trade which I do think is "important".

Meredith
05-25-2010, 01:02 PM
snip...

And if you hit the upper UP, please please pleas visit Fort Wilkins. They're very lonely up there.

That's the name of the fort I was tying to remember! I haven't been to the UP since I was a child; Nickel has some idea how long ago that was ;) but Fort Wilkins was one of the most haunting places to me. If I remember correctly, the fort had not yet been renovated.

Second favorite site was Tahquamenon Falls, but best of all was Copper Harbor. The scenery in the UP is exceptional but seeing your father chased by a bear is something you don't forget. Only kids can laugh at something like that. :D

michiruwater
05-25-2010, 01:04 PM
Second favorite site was Tahquamenon Falls, but best of all was Copper Harbor. The scenery in the UP is exceptional but seeing your father chased by a bear is something you don't forget. Only kids can laugh at something like that. :D

Copper Harbor! :cheer2::cheer2:

LURVE Copper Harbor. Grew up 45 minutes south of there (Hancock) and always go there as often as possible when I go back home. It's one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen.

Lizziebeth
05-25-2010, 03:17 PM
Copper Harbor! :cheer2::cheer2:

LURVE Copper Harbor. Grew up 45 minutes south of there (Hancock) and always go there as often as possible when I go back home. It's one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen.

My dad was born and raised in that area and we visited quite a few times when I was a kid. It is really beautiful country.

Nickel
06-04-2010, 02:51 AM
We just got back from our Mackinac region excursion. Thanks for all the tips! We took the Shepler's ferry and I loved sitting on the top deck with the wind blowing in my hair! I very much enjoyed our day on the island and was really glad we were there when the lilacs were so plentiful and fragrant. Makinaw City is such a quaint little town, too. I went up to Sault Ste. Marie one morning to see the Soo Locks (hubby wasn't interested in that so I went alone while he lazed about at the hotel) and found it interesting but it would have been more so if a freighter had been going through at the time. All I got to see go through was a little Soo Locks tour boat, lol. But I got the idea of how it works so I guess that little demonstration wasn't so bad. I definitely want to go spend a lot more time in the U.P. some day as I didn't get to see the waterfalls or Whitefish Point or Copper Harbor, etc.