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If you’re a fan of movies that tug the heartstring, chances are you’ve probably seen Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.
It’s a beautiful story about time travel and romance at the turn of the 19th century. What you may not know is that it was filmed on Mackinac Island, just across the water from Mackinaw City.
You’re probably reading this and thinking there’s a typo. Nope! Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island are pronounced the same (mak-in-aw) but spelled differently.
The name Michilimackinac (the place of the great turtle), was first given to Mackinac Island for its shape and eventually to the entire Straits of Mackinac region.
When Mackinaw City was incorporated in 1882, they chose to use a simpler spelling with “aw” at the end. It also made it easier to distinguish the island from the town.
Somewhere (anywhere!) in Mackinaw is fantastic for groups. There are some standard “must-dos,” a few “out-of-the-ordinary” attractions, and then the really “OMG it’s so cool!” spots.
The Mackinac Bridge, or “Mighty Mac,” is the 4th longest suspension bridge in the world at nearly 5 miles. It was completed in 1957 and connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.
It was designed to withstand high winds, changing temperatures, and constantly varying weights.
Check out some fun facts and bridge trivia at the free Mackinaw Bridge Museum above MaMa Mia’s Restaurant. The restaurant’s owner was one of the original ironworkers who built the Mighty Mac!
Tour the 130+-year-old lighthouse that guided ships through the treacherous Straits of Mackinac. Learn about the families who lived and worked there, as well as the tragic shipwrecks that took place.
It’s a beautiful spot rich in maritime history.
Step back in time to the days of the American Revolution. The fort and fur trading village offers a glimpse of colonial life during America’s earliest days. Historical interpreters share fascinating tales of British soldiers, French-Canadian merchants, and settlers at Colonial Michilimackinac.
Grab your bike or put on your walking shoes and ferry across deep blue waters to beautiful Mackinac Island.
There are no cars allowed on this little slice of paradise, but horses and buggies abound! Explore the island’s winding paths, historic buildings, and fabulous fudge.
Stop at the Grand Hotel (which boasts the world’s largest porch) or visit the quaint shops on Main Street.
Scout out the charming film locations for Somewhere in Time – you can also visit in the fall for the Somewhere in Time weekend. Meet cast and crew, watch special screenings of the film, and get lost in the magic and elegance of 1912.
Take the adventure of Mackinaw up a notch at Adrenaline Falls Zipline Adventure. Soar high above two magnificent waterfalls and a Starbucks in downtown Mackinaw City. (Starbucks?? Can you take your Starbucks with you? Probably not…sigh.)
Explore 3 miles of trails through lush green forest and learn how lumber was cut at a working sawmill. Then take to the trees for a birds-eye view of the canopy.
Board the 36 foot Newton boat for an hour and a half tour of shipwrecks, lighthouses, and the stunning Great Lakes. If you want to get up close and personal, Nautical North Family Adventures offers snorkeling at one of the area’s oldest wrecks.
Get up close and personal with the Mackinaw natives on an Old Time Trolley Tour. Trolleys are always a fun way to see a city (I mean, you’re on a trolley!) and this one hits all the Mackinac hot spots.
There aren’t many places where you can watch world-class lumberjacks go head to head and axe to axe! Learn about Michigan’s rich logging history as the axe antics abound!
This super fun show is action-packed and great for groups.
Sip n Sail Sunset Cruises are a must-do evening event for groups. Enjoy a glorious Michigan sunset on the water while relaxing with a drink and some great local talent.
Headlands International Dark Sky Park is a dark sky-protected place with more than 2 miles of uninterrupted Lake Michigan Shoreline. That means that when the sun goes down, the stars come out. Literally.
Depending on the time of year, you’ll have magnificent views of the Northern Lights, shooting stars, nebulae, and stunning constellations. It’s a breathtaking show performed nightly by Mother Nature herself.
If you visit in January, plan on a VERY warm coat and some toilet paper. That’s because January in Mackinaw City means one thing… Winter Fest and outhouse races!
Teams of 5 (one to sit, 4 to race) build outhouses on skis and race down the icy streets. All entries must have a toilet seat – and something to wipe with!
Wrap up your time in Mackinaw with a bonfire on the beach. Kick back and relax to the sounds of the water while licking the gooey goodness of s’mores from your fingers – what could possibly be a better end to your group trip?
Somewhere in Mackinaw, there’s an adventure waiting for your group. It’s a beautiful, lush, almost otherworldly spot that beckons you to relax and enjoy being in the moment.
To learn more about how Mackinaw is perfect for groups, pop up the most recent episode of Destination Dispatch.
Sabrina Leighio from the Mackinaw City Chamber of Tourism shares some great group secrets and ideas for your trip.
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