Midwest Living Review
Perched above the island's Main Street, Fort Mackinac is within Mackinac Island State Park. Both attractions belong to Mackinac State Historic Parks, a group of museums, buildings and parks on the island and across the water in Mackinaw City. Eighty percent of the island is state park, with dense forests, geological formations like Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf, and historic monuments and cemeteries. The governor's summer residence, a white Victorian, is also situated on park grounds. While Fort Mackinac saw light military duty in the early 1800s, today it's a vibrant living museum. Employees dress in 19th-century clothing, engaging every visitor. Cannons are shot off hourly, and several other vivid reenactments provide an animated depiction of Fort Mackinac life. Smaller visitors will enjoy the Children's Museum where they can try on solder's clothing, play a giant fife, or identify a beaver pelt. Carefully restored officer quarters offer a candid and sometimes painful view of life as a 19th-century soldier. There is a mildly strenuous uphill walk involved in the tour, but there is handicapped access to the fort. The scenic vista and lively historical re-creations are surprisingly engaging.