Free Things To Do In Mackinaw City
1 - Walk the Beach
Walk the beach, skip a stone, speculate on the cargo of a passing freighter, or just enjoy the sun. The view of the Mackinac Bridge is always majestic, the offshore islands give scale to the scene, and Round Island Lighthouse can be seen day or night.
2 - Stroll Downtown & Waterfront
Stroll through our downtown history using the free Mackinaw City Historical Pathway Map and Guide. Heritage Village, on the west side of town, features restored buildings and interpretive signs. Our Audio Tours, explaining our modern town and its history, can be accessed from any phone from any where. Call 231-486-0003 and enter a stop number. You can also listen by clicking on the following link: Historic Pathway Audio Link
3 - Biking
Bicycling lets you see more of Mackinaw in less time. Use our Hike and Bike map to tour the downtown or take a longer distance ride through the rural forests to the south. The two DNR rails-to-trails bike paths are paved within the village limits providing easy slopes and smooth surfaces. Please click on the link to the US 23 Sunrise Heritage Route for more information.
4 - Visit McGulpin Point Lighthouse
McGulpin Point Lighthouse, on the west side, is free and open to the public. Climb the tower to get a fantastic view of the Straits.
5 - Geocache Mackinaw City
The Village of Mackinaw City has 32 hidden geocaches placed along the sidewalks, in the parks, and in all corners of town. Seven of these caches are part of the Mackinaw City Maritime Tales Trail. Most of these caches have been placed for year-round access so be sure to explore in the winter. About 12 geocachers have hidden these caches. Included in the Mackinaw City geocache count are the following caches on the west side of town:
- The Headlands - 8 caches
- McGulpin Point - 3 caches
- Heritage Village - 4 caches
6 - Experience Fudge Making
Fudge and whitefish are the unique foods of Mackinaw. Fudge making is performed on a cool marble slab to help the fudge thicken without grainy crystals. The fudge makers love to have onlookers so make it a point to watch their technique.
7 - Visit Mackinac Bridge Museum
Visit the free Mackinac Bridge Museum and watch a movie detailing the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. Much of the footage was taken by workers with privileged access to the construction site so the footage is remarkable. This movie is a classic, full of great information and incredible shots. It is shown at Mama Mia’s Pizza on Central Ave. The owner of the pizza parlor was a young bridge worker in 1954-1957 and offers this free movie as part of his heritage.
8 - Free Concerts
Free concerts on the lawn at Conkling Park are offered on Tuesday and Saturday evenings during the summer. Bring your blanket and lounge on the lawn or use one of the chairs that are provided. This program is provided by Music in Mackinaw and features the all- volunteer Straits Area Concert Band on Tuesday evenings.
Conkling Park is located on the waterfront on South Huron Avenue next to the State Marina.
9 - Heritage Village
Bring your family to Heritage Village, a reconstruction of Mackinaw's past from 1880 through 1917 on 40 acres of parkland on the west side of town. Come visit the buildings, hike the nature trail, romp through the fields, fly your kite, or sit and watch the birds and bees. A covered pavilion makes this an ideal out-of-the-way picnic spot to share lunch, watch the kids play, and just relax. The park is always open and cell phone tours are available at all times. The times of guided tours can be found on the Mackinaw Area Historical Society's web page at www.mackinawhistory.org .
10 - View Nature & Waterfront
There are many natural areas around Mackinaw. The Headlands is a 550-acre pristine woodland with more than two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline just waiting for you, your family, and your dog to explore. Visitors walking the miles of nature trails may experience sightings of the many wild animals native to the area including: bald eagles, osprey, white tail deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, porcupines, and occasionally a black bear. Come at night and look up to see our treasured night skies. Or cross the street from Headland to Heritage Village and walk the short Nature Trail that features interpretive signs. There are many other natural areas in the vicinity including the 585-acre French Farm Lake featured in the Michigan state forest just south of Headlands. The North Country Trail passes through French Farm traveling north across the Bridge into the Upper Peninsula or south into Wilderness State Park.Back to Top
11 - Scavenger Hunt
Search about town for the answers to complete any of these scavenger hunts! A puzzle always makes for family fun and these questions can be a family challenge. Look at all four options to pick the type your family will most enjoy!