Just across the Mackinac Bridge, many folks extend their stay in Northern Michigan with a couple days, a weekend or even a week in the Upper Peninsula, using St. Ignace as a base for exploring. From there, adventures from wilderness to bewilderment abound.
Cross the Mackinac Bridge
Have the camera ready! Just crossing the iconic Mackinac Bridge is thrilling. The Mighty Mack is the 16th longest bridge in total suspension and connects Michigan’s upper and lower peninsula. The bridge is recognized as part of the North County National Scenic Trail, a 4600-mile hiking path through 7 states. There is a small fee for crossing the bridge, collected on the northern end.
During the summer the Mackinac Bridge will host a number of special St. Ignace event crossings, including the Mini Cooper Crossing, Gold Wing Midnight Riders and Corvette Crossroads.
Walk The Huron Boardwalk
Built over the past 35 years, the spruce-and-maple-lined wooden boardwalk curves along the scenic shore for one mile, from Kiwanis Beach Park to American Legion Memorial Park, past small shops on one side and Lake Huron on the other. The nearby Museum of Ojibwa Culture, a National Historic Landmark, features a birch-bark canoe and handmade Native American crafts. The Mackinac Grille serves fresh local whitefish baked on a maple plank. The Huron Boardwalk was rated as one of America’s top 10 boardwalks in 2014 by bustle.com.
French Forts, Ojibwa Culture—History Aplenty
Just west of the Mackinac Bridge Authority toll plaza, enjoy the Mackinac Bridge View Park located on the shore of the Straits of Mackinac. The observation center shares the story of the Bridge, while the picnic pavilion offers a spectacular view of the Bridge.
In keeping with its rich history as the third oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States, St. Ignace honors and celebrates its heritage. Visits to local museums from Fort de Buade and the Museum of Ojibwa Culture to the Father Marquette Memorial and New France Discovery Centre in downtown St. Ignace, will help to satisfy the curiosity of even the most avid history buff.
Natural Phenomenon: Towering Limestone Formations & Mysterious Anomalies
Stop and climb the world famous Castle Rock which rises almost 200 feet above the surrounding area like a medieval castle tower. At the top, there are excellent views of Mackinac Island, Lake Huron and the area. Outside the Souvenir Barn, you can have your picture taken alongside Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox!
Voted Michigan’s #1 unusual attraction, the Mystery Spot offers guided tours through an area where gravity seems to have gone haywire! Experience optical contradictions and physical sensations that are hard to believe. Also, enjoy mini-golf and maze in the woods, and new zip lines traveling up to 25 miles per hour.
Hit St. Ignace’s Beaches
St. Ignace and the surrounding area is home to a number of beaches, some of them right downtown. In addition to swimming and wading, visitors can enjoy a picnic, participate in a game of horseshoes or volleyball or play on the playground equipment.
Explore The Hiawatha National Forest Dunes
Sand dunes are a scenic part of the Michigan landscape, and can be found close to the present and past shoreline of the Great Lakes. One particularly attractive dune area is found on the Hiawatha National Forest in the St. Ignace Ranger District, west on US 2, from Pte. Aux Chenes to beyond the National Forest boundary. There is nothing that equals the majesty of the sand dunes near St. Ignace or the ethereal beauty of an Upper Peninsula sunrise or sunset over the many rivers and lakes. Sunsets paint stunning picture from the sandy short of Brevort Beach, a Michigan public shoreline beach, located south of Brevort River in the Hiawatha National Forest.
Attend A Fish Feast
Bring your appetite for food, fun and live music to the St. Ignace Marina pier for the Great Lakes Fish Feast. Sample fish delicacies prepared by local restaurants, let the kids play games, or have them try their luck at the Kid’s Trout Fishing Pond. Because the event is on St. Ignace’s city dock, you are surrounded on three sides by the beautiful blue waters of Lake Huron, with Mackinac Island as a backdrop! Top it off by staying for fireworks over the bay at dusk.
Drop A Fishing Line
Fishing enthusiasts have any number of opportunities at their finger tips: hire a charter fishing boat for day, cast a line in the waters adjacent to one of the many piers and docks or launch a boat at any one of the local boat ramps. The Straits are home to migratory salmon and steelhead as well as small mouth bass, pike, muskellunge, and other freshwater species. St. Ignace’s location is an obvious advantage for fishing the big waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron but visitors are urged to consider fishing the many inland lakes and rivers as well.
Take a Lighthouse Cruise
The Straits has more than a dozen lighthouses strategically located on and around the islands, reefs and shores. Many of these lights are in operation today while others stand as memorials to the courage of generations past. For a close-up view of many of the lighthouses in the Straits Area, choose a westbound cruise or an eastbound cruise or if you have time, enjoy both!
Watch Live Waterfront Entertainment
Bayside Live is a free summer waterfront concert series. Bands, singer/songwriters and comedians entertain and amuse the audience during free evening performances at the marina pavilion on the shores of Lake Huron in downtown St. Ignace. Concerts are presented every Thursday evening from July 2nd through August 27th.
Attention all Parrotheads! Don’t miss the Cheeseburger In Paradise tribute to Jimmy Buffet’s style of Caribbean soul on August 1st.
Check out the gallery for more St. Ignace fun: