We are still trying to recover from all of the fun we had last week when we visited Mackinac Island as a family. However, while we were there to visit the island we also took a couple of days to explore the main land and the surrounding cities. The first place we visited was Mackinaw City. This is the city you will most likely come into before boarding a ferry to the island. Be sure not to pass through too quickly, there are many wonderful things to do and see on the mainland before you head on over to the island.
The first thing we did when we arrived to Mackinaw City was stop at Mama Mia’s pizzeria. This restaurant is a legend! I can remember stopping there for pizza back when I was just a kid. However, if its been awhile since you’ve visited the area you may find that it looks different. This is because the old Mama Mia’s restaurant burnt down and had to be rebuilt. Don’t worry though, the food is still just as yummy! After enjoying a pizza and their famous garlic bread head on upstairs and get a free museum tour of artifacts and a video of when the Mackinac bridge was built. This place is a #1 must see when visiting Mackinaw.
Now that your belly is full you should have enough energy for some walking. Head just outside of the pizza parlor and find yourself among a city block of cute and eclectic shops. Just across the way is an outdoor mall full of stores, ice cream parlors, fudge shoppes and a place where you can get your picture taken in old fashioned clothes. Plus, if you stay around until dark the stores all host a free outdoor laser show every night in the main square of the plaza! My kids loved that.
A few more must see attractions in Mackinaw City:
If your feeling brave after visiting the mainland, a trip over the Mackinac Bridge is worth the drive. The Mackinac bridge connects the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan and is currently the third largest suspension bridge in the world! Yes, it is huge and it can even make my adventurous heart skip a beat. But once you make it to the other side you will find yourself in St. Ignas. A quaint little town with some amazing attractions. Our first stop was Castle Rock. This ancient rock rises over 200′ above the surrounding area and offers one of a kind views. Getting yourself to the top is a bit of a climb. Prepare yourself to hike 170 steps to reach the peak. But once you arrive to the top you wont ever want to come down.
While your in the U.P. you will also want to find your way over to Clydes Drive In restaurant. This old fashioned car hop still offers car side service and food that will take you back in time. The burgers are a bit greasy, but unlike any other burger I’ve had before. The kids meals also come in cute 50’s cars which my kids swooned over.
After lunch seek out the park and lighthouse on the water. It is a great place to relax and spend some time enjoying the sound of crashing waves. My only recommendation is to dress warm. Ha! We were there in the middle of July and it was 66 degrees. Maybe a fluke, I don’t know. . but it was COLD.
That pretty much summed up our trip to the top of the mitten. Do you have any other great places to share when visiting Mackinaw City and the U.P.? Share them with us in the comments and if you decide to join us in our adventures to Mackinaw we would love to see those photos! Tag us on Instagram at @raisingdickjane.
<3 Dick and Jane