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Please visit this article on the new website: Michigan – Mackinac Bridge: Gateway to Yooperland

Michigan – Mackinac Bridge: Gateway to Yooperland

I had wanted to see the Mackinac Bridge for a long time and thanks to UPtravel.com, who hosted our lodging and attractions, my kids and I were finally able to see the bridge and the Upper Peninsula this summer. The Mackinac Bridge (pronounced Mackinaw) is an engineering marvel. At five miles long, it is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, and the fifth longest in the world.

Mackinac Bridge

Completed in 1957, the bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Over 4 million vehicles cross the bridge each year. The towers stand 552 feet above the water and at the mid-point of the bridge, travelers are 200 feet above the water. Stopping while driving across the bridge is prohibited, so I had one of my kids take this picture.

View from Mackinac Bridge

But before you cross the bridge, you’ll probably want to stop and admire the bridge from land. The place to stop on the south side is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. In addition to the bridge, you can also see this stately brick lighthouse.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Tours of the lighthouse are available, and as much as I would have loved to have seen the view from the top of the tower, we were on a tight schedule and didn’t have enough time. Lighthouse tours cost $6.50 for adults and $4 for kids, but there is no charge to park and admire the view. Walk up to the beach to get a better view of the bridge.  That’s where I took the first picture and this next one (with the zoom lens).

Mackinac Bridge Closeup

There are also picnic tables and restrooms on the lighthouse grounds. If you have even more time, nearby is Colonial Michilimackinac, a reconstructed 18th-century fort and fur-trading village. I’m a big fan of living history museums and it pained me that we didn’t have time to tour it. But we did make a quick stop for some of Mackinac’s famous fudge. Technically, it’s Mackinac Island, not Mackinaw City (on the mainland), that is famous for fudge, but there’s plenty of fudge to be found in Mackinaw City too. Each of us picked out a flavor of fudge, and we were on our way again.

The toll to cross the bridge is $4 per car. The speed limit is 45 mph, which is good because you don’t want to drive so fast that you miss the view. In my case, I was very glad that I had a teenager who could ride shotgun and take some pictures.

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge

There is another viewing area on the north side of the bridge in St. Ignace.

Mackinac - Bridge View Park

I couldn’t find an official website for this park. It is located on Boulevard Drive off U.S. 2, just west of the bridge.

View of Mackinac Bridge from Bridge View Park

After we crossed the bridge we were officially in Yooperland. Yooper is a a nickname for people born and raised in the U.P., which stands for Upper Peninsula.

Welcome to Michigan's Upper Peninsula

We spent three days seeing as much of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as we could. The next several posts will cover some of the sights that we saw. But before we move on to that, let’s talk about food. The traditional Yooper food that you don’t want to miss is a pasty. So that you don’t mispronounce it, I must tell you that it rhymes with “nasty” not “tasty”. And that’s unfortunate, because pasties are not nasty. It’s a terrible thing that I couldn’t find another word that rhymed with pasty. A pasty consists of pie crust filled with vegetables, ground meat, and seasonings, served with a side of gravy or ketchup. If you go to the U.P., you must try one. My kids weren’t crazy about them, but I thought they were good. I tried them at two different places and thought one was definitely better than the other. Some places make vegetarian versions too.

Pasty from Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Another food worth trying in the U.P. is whitefish. It is a mild fish that is perfect battered and fried, or served as a fish sandwich.

Have you been to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula? Is the Mackinac Bridge on your bucket list? This website has some cute activities about the Mackinac Bridge for kids.

Check back soon to read all about our adventures in the Upper Peninsula. Or better yet, subscribe via email and my posts will come to you. Plus, you’ll receive a free copy of my ebook, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

 

Ready to visit?

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
526 North Huron Ave.
MAckinaw City, MI  49701
(231) 436-4100

Bridge View Park
Boulevard Dr.
St. Ignace, MI  49781

 

This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

10 comments to Michigan – Mackinac Bridge: Gateway to Yooperland

  • Ela

    Terri, excellent post.I can’t wait for more UP adventures to read about

  • Nicole

    The timing of this article and the UP are uncanny. I was just up late last night googling this bridge and area sites for our summer road trip. Thanks!

    • Terri Weeks

      Nicole, I’m so glad you found it helpful. What sites are you interested in visiting?

      • Nicole

        We live in MD and are in the process of seeing as many states as a family as we can together. We have been up and down the eastern seaboard. Thanksgiving week will be Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Orange Beach and Chattanooga. Thank you for posts that helped to plan our deep south trip. This coming summer trip I have penciled in: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Chicago, Bronze Fonz, Soo Locks, Tahquamenon Falls, glass bottom shipwreck tours, Palms Book State Park, Munising waterfalls, Mackinac Bridge/lighthouse, fudge (thank you!), Travers City, sand buggies, Grand Rapids, HOME.

        • Terri Weeks

          Those sound like awesome trips. I’m excited for you! I’m working on the post about Soo Locks right now. We also went to Tahquamenon Falls, Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours, Palms Book State Park, and Traverse City. Does your family like animals? If so, you should add Oswald’s Bear Ranch to your list of places to visit in the U.P. I will be writing about it soon.

  • Nicole

    I look forward to your post. Thank you.

  • Ela

    Terri and Nicole,
    while in Munising make sure you also DO(!) Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore cruise. Waterfalls and shipwrecks are cool, but this cruise on good weather day(!)is unforgettable

    • Nicole

      Thank you, Ela. I appreciate your input on Pictured Rocks and will be glad to look in to it. My 13 year old son is most looking forward to an opportunity to ride a buggie in the sand. Or whatever it’s called. :)

  • Terri Weeks

    Ela – You’ll see when I post about Pictured Rocks that we did not have one of those good weather days. Rocks, what rocks? All we saw was fog. Well, it did clear up a little. You’ll see.