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Mackinac Island – A Secret Destination in the USA for Your Retirement List – Mackinac Island

This is the thirteenth in the series Travel Destinations in the USA for your retirement list. This destination starts with the Letter M; Mackinac Island in Michigan a laid back, serene place to explore over a weekend. Make it an extended weeklong road trip by adding Burt Lake and Indian RIver to your holiday.

I was meeting up with an old friend and little did I know that I would discover a secret destination hidden from the world here. I have been away from Michigan for 40+ years. Nostalgia hit full-on when I visited my friend. We went back to visit our old school, the old neighborhood…and we recreated many fond memories.

Nostalgia tour over, we headed over to her beautiful home complete with four kids, a dog and a cat! She was the one to take me up north through the flatlands of peninsular Michigan to a place I had never explored before, a secret destination hidden from the world.

Ferry boat speeding through the Lake from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island
Ferry Service to Mackinac Island

Mackinac Suspension Bridge

Mackinac island is in northern or Upper Michigan. You reach it by crossing the beautiful Mackinac Suspension Bridge which will rival the Golden Gate bridge in span and engineering. This lesser-known bridge is a secret destination hidden from the world.

This awesome bridge connects Upper and Lower Michigan. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in the western hemisphere with 7400 feet of roadway. It has a total length of 8614 feet and is a remarkable bridge that takes you from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace over Lake Huron and Lake Michigan – about 5 miles. These two massive lakes are part of the five Great Lakes.

Mackinac Suspension Bridge extends into the Lake Huron to Upper Michigan
The approach to Mackinac Suspension Bridge
Driving in car on Mackinac Bridge
Travel destinations for seniors 60+
On Mackinac Bridge
View of the suspension cables on Mackinac bridge
Close-up view
Lighthouse at St Ignace
Wawatam Lighthouse at St. Ignace

Mackinac Island

You won’t find the bridge crammed with tourists, it is indeed a treasure. The bridge enters St. Ignace and from there you can take a ferry service to Mackinac Island.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Mackinac Island is about 5 sq. miles of serenity that is rarely seen by the international tourist crowd. It’s really quiet, and beautiful and no private vehicles have been on the island for more than 100 years. Only emergency and service vehicles are allowed.

Beach on Lake Huron with lots of boulders and sand with a few people playing in the water
Beach on Lake Huron

The traditional wood buildings have been preserved carefully. Visit the lighthouse, relax and play on the beach on Lake Huron. There are a lot of serene resorts to unwind at here.

front parking of curio shop with signboard in background
Curios anyone?

Shopping We Must Go On Mackinac Island!

What’s life without shopping! So, of course, we went to a curio shop which had some really beautiful and rare souvenirs that you can pick up

Stairs carved into panoramic rock going up to viewpoint
The climb to Panoramic View Point

Behind the souvenir shop is the Castle Rock Panoramic Viewpoint. You can climb up the neatly carved steps to the top of the Panoramic Rock and have a Birdseye view of Lake Huron from there. This is truly a secret destination hidden from the world. There is a statue of Paul Bunyan and his bison that kids enjoy looking at. It is a bit kitschy, but it’s a great place to get away to! The best part is there are few tourists around.

View of Lake Huron from the Panoramic View Point
View of Lake Huron from the Panoramic View Point
Statue of Paul Bunyan and a blue bison
Legendary Paul Bunyan with his Bison

A road trip to Mackinac Island can continue on to more points of interest at Burt Lake and Indian River. It’s a pleasant drive and you can stop for a few days at each of these destinations for a longer holiday.

Burt Lake

We also went to my friend’s vacation home on Burt Lake which is a beautiful smaller lake in the Lower Michigan peninsula. This is another secret destination hidden from the world!

The lake is surrounded by beautiful homes. The still waters tempt you to jump in! Since my friends had a motorboat on their own private pier which could seat about eight people, we all got in including children, dog, cat (!) and went out on the lake.

Motor boat driving fast on lake burt with a raft tied behind dragging rider
Burt Lake

The kids had a great time jumping off the boat into the quiet waters. They also had Jet-skies, rafts, and water skies so the kids could enjoy water sports. The adults too had a lot of fun trying out the various water equipment while one of us was always at the wheel.

A home on the bank of Indian river
A home on the Indian River

Indian River

The Indian River which feeds the lake is a great place to explore so we steered the boat up the river. The river is idyllic and all along the banks of this meandering river are the most beautiful houses.

the still waters of Indian river with houses on the banks
Serene Indian River
A home on bank of Indian RIver
View of a home on Indian River
Another home as we glide along on Indian River
Another home as we glide along on Indian River

We took in the view of these beautiful homes and found a great riverside restaurant to eat lunch on the river bank. You can dock and fasten your boat to the designated pier and go up to dine!

Sun sets on a home on Indian RIver
Sun sets on a home on Indian RIver

Don’t forget to try the pasties which are a speciality of the area. From this food itself, you know that there is a huge European influence in this area.

Pasties are nothing but a delicious short-cut pastry stuffed with lots of vegetables and meat a bit like Samosa. You bite into one and it’s delicious!

The day ended with a scrumptious barbecue and a campfire. Of course, when there’s a campfire you gotta have s’mores!

Sunset over Burt Lake
Sunset over Burt Lake

If you are traveling on the East Coast of the US, do try to visit this hidden paradise! You will enjoy a road trip to all three destinations.

Other Attractions Here:

  • Photography
  • Sailing
  • Boat Races
  • History-Buffs
  • Music Festivals
  • Hiking

Do tell me your thoughts about this destination – would you visit? I’m waiting for your comments below!

The above post is only about the author’s own experiences at Mackinac Island and its surroundings. Please do plan travel and accommodation before going.

I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z 

Looking for more adventure? Why not try the Everglades!

34 thoughts on “Mackinac Island – A Secret Destination in the USA for Your Retirement List – Mackinac Island”

  1. Wow, that’s a lovely and picturesque tour to Mackinac Suspension Bridge.
    I loved all your pictures they are so lively and made me feel I’m present there.
    Thanks for sharing this detailed tour guide to this secret destination.

  2. I had heard a lot about Michigan but never get a chance to visit this. after reading your post, would love to visit this in upcoming vacation. lovely clicks and it seems you had a great time over there.

  3. Wow I haven’t heard of Michigan being a place to visit as a tourist. Good that you came across this place.

  4. Wow!!!.This looks like awesome destination. Love the pictures and it says about the location very well. Will make a plan to visit.

  5. What lovely clicks. It sure looks like a secret which you loved to uncover. Your pics and excitement caught in your words in this post tell me that you really enjoyed the place.
    Keep posting 🙂

  6. Thanks for the amazing exciting virtual visit of Michigan, don’t have any plans doe Michigan in coming days, but yes after your post adding it to my travel list!

  7. Wow! sounds like such a magical place. The title actually made me thinks about the chronicles of Narnia. Would love to visit someday.

  8. That’s a very informative post about a place that sounds very magical. Loved the pictures. Hopefully will be able to visit one day and enjoy the magic!!

  9. Wow…what a beautiful place. I love the serene view and magical beauty of michagen ,it looks like heaven.

  10. Thank you for sharing. Michigan is a wonderful place, as I was born here, and have lived most of my life in the Thumb area. Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places in the U.S., and there are only about ten states I haven’t visited.

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