Straits of Mackinac

Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Bridge
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The Straits of Mackinac is a beautiful stretch of water that separates Michigan’s Lower Peninsula from its Upper Peninsula.  The currents are strong and the winds can be treacherous. It is a magnificent body of water - spring, summer, fall and winter.

It connects two of the five Great Lakes, Michigan and Huron. The magnificent Mackinac Bridge crosses the Straits at its narrowest point, which is five miles wide.

People travel from near and far to see this fabulous bridge structure and to cross from one peninsula to the other. It is no wonder that the great State of Michigan’s Motto is: If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you!

Mackinac Bridge from Shore in Mackinaw City

The Straits of Mackinac a transportation bridge throughout history....

The Straits have been important for transportation and commerce throughout history. As early as the 1600’s, French fur traders and Native Americans plied these waters in canoes laden with furs. John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company was centered in this area and the home of its manager is located on glorious Mackinac Island. Today, this home is an actual "living historic museum" and well worth a visit.

The strategic importance of the Straits' history is evident by the establishment of forts in the area. Fort Michilimackinac is located in Mackinaw City, Michigan at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula and Fort Mackinac, is located on Mackinac Island.

Both Forts have historical importance and FUN to visit:

  • Save your money to enjoy these active forts - your children will learn history (and, maybe you, too).
  • Activities are numerous at both forts with fun skits, making crafts and maybe even watching Dad marching as an old-time soldier.
  • If the budget is tight - don't buy fudge and toys that will be forgotten but head for at least one of the forts...and hopefully both!

Too many families, couples and individuals stick around the busy Main Street of town looking at the tee-shirts and fudge shops rather than learning about the awesome history the forts can teach about the Straits of Mackinac and its people.

Four Islands Are in the Straits of Mackinac

There are four islands in the Straits; Bois Blanc Island, Mackinac Island, Round Island, and St. Helena Island. The largest island is Bois Blanc Island. To get to Bois Blanc Island there is a ferry from downtown Cheboygan which is south of Mackinaw City.

While you are exploring Michigan, take notice of the historic lighthouses in the area. The Round Island Lighthouse is quaint, historic, and waiting to welcome you as you travel through the Straits. Have your camera ready at all times and capture the beauty of the area.

Marcia & Kathy's Insider Tip: Crossing the Mackinac Bridge will give you a fantastic view of the Straits. It is well worth the trip even if the other peninsula is not your destination.

And, walking the high bluffs or eating lunch at the Grand Hotel's Fort Mackinac Tea Room high above the Harbor will definitely give you a birds eye view of the Straits.

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