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At the top of the mitten that is Michigan is the resort town of Mackinaw City. Not to be confused with Mackinac Island, this quaint town offers some great FREE tourist activities if you happen to be in the area.
1 – FREE Tourist Info and Food & More!
First, BEFORE YOUR VISIT – request a FREE Mackinaw City Vacation Guide from the Official Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau HERE
Then, when you arrive stop at the Mackinaw City Michigan Welcome Center on I-75, mile marker 338. Load up on FREE Maps and tourist flyers with offers and coupons for FREE food, FREE Souvenirs and FREE Gifts! You can also find these in most hotel lobbies.
2 – FREE Views of Mackinac Bridge
Mackinaw City is at the south end of the Mackinac Bridge. Alexander Henry Park is on the shore of the Straits of Mackinac on the east side of Mighty Mac (Mackinac Bridge) at the south end of the bridge. From the park there are incredible, nearly full-length, views of the majestic five-mile bridge.
Plan on spending a little time sight-seeing there as well. Alexander Henry Park is home to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
There are incredible photo opportunities and this is the perfect Mackinac Bridge vacation selfie location.
3 – FREE Night Sky Viewing @ Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Headlands International Dark Sky Park is just a short drive from Mackinaw City. The sky is incredibly, naturally dark as you look out over Lake Michigan and you have clear views of the night sky and stars, weather permitting. If you are lucky, you may even be able to see the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Take blankets or jackets as it will be noticeably cooler on the lake shore.
Admission is FREE.
4 – FREE Mackinac Fudge Samples
Mackinaw City’s downtown is lined with shops featuring Mackinac Island Fudge made on marble slabs. AND all of those shops offer FREE Samples of the world famous fudge. If you have a sweet tooth, you can get FREE samples from every shop! Try all the flavors, from the classic and most-popular chocolate to Traverse City Cherry – YUM! Be sure to stop by the Original Murdick’s Fudge Store in the Mackinaw Crossings entertainment complex.
Also at Mackinaw Crossings –
FREE Mackinaw Trail Winery Samples
FREE Nicholas Tasting Room Wine Homemade Wine Samples
FREE Les Cheneaux Distillery vodka, gin and whiskey samples
FREE Color-Change Gift at Del Sol
FREE Nightly Laser Show
Worth the splurge –
Be sure to spend the money to take a ferry to Mackinac Island – there is a ton to do there for FREE once you get there – start with a stroll down Main Street for more FREE fudge samples and window shopping, visit some FREE Museums and relax in one of the many FREE Parks on the island. It’s truly a different way of life with no cars on the entire island.
If you have time, take the drive to the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie. It’s about an hour drive. It is truly one of the coolest things to see a 1,000 foot lake freighter that weight as much as 60,000 tons raised 21 feet from Lake Huron to Lake Superior. There is an observation stand that is protected from the elements that offers FREE access. You can watch the entire process from there. In addition, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers operates an educational Soo Locks Visitors Center. Admission is FREE and they have FREE informational booklets and pamphlets that you can take with you.