Many families spend weekends and summers in Michigan sightseeing. A family vacation to old frontier forts and the National Historic Landmarks of Mackinac Island State Park and Mackinaw City can give both children and adults a sense of being transported through time. On family vacations, visitors can picture themselves living in an earlier era with horses, log houses and Native American neighbors, experiencing a simple life and hard work.
Mackinac Island is a Must-See in Michigan Sightseeing
From the lower peninsula of Michigan, Mackinaw City is the port for taking a ferry to Mackinac Island. Once on the island, browse the downtown area, treat the family to the island’s rich chocolate fudge and take a horse-drawn carriage (cars are prohibited on the island) to Fort Mackinac, the first of many historic sites in the area. Built in the 1880s, the fort has 14 original buildings with period furnishings. At the fort, take time to explore the interactive displays, watch a court martial reenactment and play Victorian children’s games.
Make Family Vacations a Fun Adventure
To make family vacations a hit for adventurous adolescents, try parasailing over the Straits of Mackinac or take the adventure tour at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, located about five minutes south of Mackinaw City on US-23, which has a zip line, a climbing wall and a bridge suspended over the forest canopy. Tamer activities at Mill Creek include a sawmill demonstration, interactive exhibits and nature trails.
More Historic Sites of Michigan, Mackinaw City Area
A favorite stop for family vacations is Colonial Michilimackinac, a 1770’s-era fort and fur trading village with 13 reconstructed buildings. Interesting (and educational) demonstrations of daily activities like cooking over an open hearth’s smoking fire and firing rifles and cannons, along with fun hands-on activities like playing colonial games, bring history to life and give a taste of what it was like to live in the fort back when the French and British were building trade relations with Native Americans in the new world.
Another of the historic sites is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, where visitors can climb the large brick tower for a bird’s-eye view of the Straits of Mackinac and learn a bit of lighthouse and shipwreck history.
For family vacations or an interesting day trip in Michigan, Mackinaw City offers plenty to fill your time and awaken your imagination this summer. Most of the historic sites in the area are open daily from early May to early October.