Preserved history creates a soul-reviving escape on Mackinac Island, the Les Cheneaux Islands and the mainland's Mackinaw City.
Haldimand Bay on Mackinac Island
Haldimand Bay on Mackinac Island

The Straits of Mackinac, where lakes Michigan and Huron meet, also marks the intersection of history and fun. Civilized outings to colonial landmarks and Victorian-era hotels balance bikes or hikes through parklands.

Day 1

Two ferry lines shuttle across the Straits of Mackinac to Mackinac Island, a carless haven where horse-drawn carriages clip-clop through town and past Grand Hotel, known for its 660-foot porch and gracious hospitality.

Dozens of shops fill the downtown, including plenty of places to buy fudge.

You'll find decent salads and sandwiches—and unbeatable views of the harbor—at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room.

Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel

For a great family deal, buy a season-long membership to the Mackinac State Historic Parks, which includes Fort Mackinac, with structures that are more than 225 years old. Whether or not you're with kids, spend the afternoon exploring Fort Mackinac—and consider stopping in for afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel.

Mission Point Resort
Credit: Courtesy of Mission Point Resort

Grab dinner at the Bavarian-style lodge Woods or at one of the restaurants at Mission Point Resort, where you can also lounge on the lakefront lawn, relax with a lilac facial in the spa, or join activities such as flower pressing or bocce ball on the 18-acre property. 

Day 2

Michigan preserves more than 80 percent of the island as parkland; a bike makes exploring the park easy. (Bike rentals are available along the main street.)

Colonial Michilimackinac
Colonial Michilimackinac
| Credit: John Noltner

Or head back to the Lower Peninsula to immerse yourself in history, this time at the reconstructed fort and fur-trading village Colonial Michilimackinac or Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, a reconstructed sawmill and nature park south of Mackinaw City.

Mackinaw Crossings features options for shopping, dining on fresh perch and walleye at Scalawags Whitefish and Chips, and entertainment for kids on the playground.

Add a Day

Head to the Upper Peninsula via the Mackinac Bridge. Stretching 5 miles across the Straits of Mackinac, the bridge connects Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas—and serves as a gateway to those two beautiful, different worlds.

Kayaking Les Cheneaux Islands Michigan
Credit: Jason Lindsey

East of St. Ignace, the pristine water among the Les Cheneaux Islands are a haven for paddlers. Woods and Water Ecotours leads guided hiking, biking and kayaking trips out of Hessel. The tiny laid-back town is home of the first Chris-Craft dealership. See the polished wooden treasures during the annual summer wooden boat show.