A Mackinaw Area Adventure For Kids: Bringing History to Life!

We hit the road again to the Mackinaw area, and brought history to life for our kids!

On this adventure, we drove up and stayed in a cabin in Mackinaw. With the fall weather, the crowds were lighter and it gave us a lot of freedom to wander and explore at our own pace. Another added bonus was it gave us more time with several tour guides to ask questions and learn. 

My oldest is studying Michigan History in school and has been learning about fur traders, shipping, and the Great Lakes. We were able to bring it all to life by hiking the shores and visiting several lighthouses. It was wonderful.

Check out some of our favorite stops!

Mackinac Bridge

Take a few minutes to hike near the bridge. You can walk the shoreline and explore the ironworking of the bridge from below. Then drive across the bridge and admire the cable work above.
Fun Idea for kids: Take a picture under the bridge with one foot in Lake Huron and one in Lake Michigan.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse & Shoreline

Take a few minutes for a walk around the lighthouse and shoreline at Old Mackinac Point. If you have time take the lighthouse tour and check out the complex. There is a working lighthouse, gallery, and shipwreck museum along with several hands-on activities and period-based furnishings. If you are in the area you may even get the chance to hear a fog horn demo.
Fun Idea for Kids: Let them explore the rocks near the shoreline and watch the ships go under the bridge. Also, you can take a picnic to eat!

McGulpin Lighthouse 

Take a step back in time and tour the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s lodgings. Enjoy learning about life as a lighthouse keeper. On the grounds is an outbuilding with historical information about Native Americans and early settlers in the Mackinaw area.
Fun Idea for Kids: Have them count the steps to the top of the lighthouse. Also, you can have them go out up the tower to look around at the beautiful view.



Chin-Sin Trail & McGlupin Rock

We love hiking this trail. There are several informational posters and displays along the trail to learn about life in Mackinaw. While hiking the trail you get an idea of how unsettled the area was. The trail ends at the shoreline where you can see McGulpin Rock and the Mackinac Bridge. 
Fun Idea For Kids: Have them lay on the bigger rocks and watch the waves come in. Also, you can try skipping rocks in the waves. Mackinaw


In addition to all of the wonderful sites and scenes of the Mackinaw area above, we spent several hours just watching ships and hiking the shorelines on this trip. A few other stops we loved:

  • Colonial MichiliMacinac  
  • Maritime Park
  • Wawatam Park (Has a Playground)
  • Mackinaw Bakery 
  • Historic Mill Creek Discovery Center
  • Jack Pine Lumberjack Show


What are some of your favorite Historical or learning-based activities to do in the Mackinaw area?

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Magann grew up in the Holly, Brandon, and Grand Blanc school areas. Magann was married to her husband Nathan in 2011 and has 3 energetic boys and 1 little girl. After graduating from Utah Valley University and having her oldest son, Magann decided to become a stay at home mom. They moved back to Michigan from Utah 6 years ago. Magann loves to be busy. She is active in her church and church youth program, a PTO board member, as well as, being involved in a couple of book clubs and kids playgroups. She enjoys making connections with others and enriching their lives. For fun, Magann loves to be outside with friends and family, photography, traveling, planning events, reading a good book or doing something crafty/DIY. Check out her work and projects on Instagram or her website.