Top 10 Reasons to Love the Mackinac Straits

1. St. Ignace ferry: Add a fresh perspective to your Mackinac Island excursion by hopping a ferry in the U.P. village of St. Ignace. Three ferry lines offer rides to the island. (stignace.com)

2. University of Michigan Biological Station: Since 1909, this research center has been dedicated to the environmental sciences. Public classes are available in subjects like bird watching and nature writing; kids camps are also offered. (www.umich.edu/~umbs)

3. Somewhere in Time Weekend: Relive the Mackinac Island filming of the 1980 movie Somewhere In Time with Victorian costumes, tours to filming sites and the re-creation of scenes with original cast members. (grandhotel.com)

4. Kayaking Les Cheneaux: Three dozen Lake Huron islands, interlaced with marshes, reefs, sandbars and hidden coves, seem to have been designed specifically for kayak enthusiasts. Rent, take a class or sign up for a guided tours. (woodswaterecotours.com)

5. Museum of Ojibwa Culture: More than 300 years ago, Odawa, Huron and Ojibwe tribes populated the Straits. Cultural remnants like life-size longhouses, reconstructed wigwams and archeological artifacts are on display at this St. Ignace museum. (906-643-9161)

6. Elk viewing in the Pigeon River Country on horseback: Saddle up with Vern Bishop for a ride through this magically beautiful forest and an up-close look at the 800-pound antlered beasts that call it home. (989-733-6463)

7. Mill Creek in Mackinac State Historic Park: Built in the 1780′s, this water-powered sawmill was one of the first Great Lakes industrial sites. Attractions include sawing demonstrations, a reconstructed 18th-century house and hiking trails. (231-431-4100, mackinacparks.com)

8. Bois Blanc Island: A mere 20 people populate this island year round, and you can join them – for a day or two, at least. Try rustic camping or a bed and breakfast, or even just a day trip. Get there with the Plaunt Transportation ferry from Cheboygan. (888-752-8687, bbiferry.com)

9. Mackinac Island Carriage Tour: Clip-clop in old-fashioned style to some of the island’s most beautiful places. (906-847-3307, mict.com).

10. Lighthouse tour: Michigan has more than 100 lighthouses, a number of which stand proudly in the Straits area. Because many are not accessible from the mainland, try a narrated tour with Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry (800-828-6157, sheplersferry.com).

Emily Bingham is assistant editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]

Note: This article was first published in June 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.

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