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Old 07-20-2020, 09:41 AM   #1
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KC MO 2 Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island

Cindy and I are leaving Kansas City on 8/8, arriving Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping afternoon/evening of 8/10. We currently have reservations for 4 nights at Mill Creek. Only portion of the plan that is firm is arrival date. Would like to limit driving to 300 miles per day. We appreciate any guidance/recommended routes/routes to avoid/places to overnight/things to do while there.
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Old 07-23-2020, 04:50 PM   #2
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We are at Mackinaw Mill Creek right now!! This place is still one of my favorite . My wife wasn’t able to get a lake site this year but we ride bikes down every night for the sunset. Even the cloudy nights when you think there won’t be a beautiful sunset just give it time and let the sun get below the clouds!! Fantastic place. Sorry no help on travel
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Old 07-23-2020, 05:45 PM   #3
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If you are taking the ferry over to Mackinaw Island look into the early morning times. I think the first two or three headed over by Sheppplers Ferry Service take you out and under the Mackinaw bridge for the same basic price, otherwise you just head straight to the island. If you have time drive about 70 miles north to Sault Saint Marie and watch the freighters go through the Soo Locks, its free and they have a great observation deck. Also check out the Headlands International Dark Sky Park which is also free and about 8 miles due west of Mackinaw City. About the time you are there the Perseid Meteor showers will be full on, and maybe catch the northern lights. And last about 30 miles south in Indian River is the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods if you are into religion. Headlands International Dark Sky Park - Website for Emmet County Headlands International Dark Sky Park, The National Shrine of Cross in the Woods
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Old 07-23-2020, 06:36 PM   #4
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Also consider visiting the Dunes and Pictured Rocks, Taquamenon Falls and other natural and historic sites west of The ‘Soo. Just about anywhere you want to walk or drive is beautiful. Ask around where you might find wild blueberries to pick, check into the logging and iron ore and freighter history.
Full Disclosure: I party grew up there and miss it especially in the summer.
Weather will be changeable, need a range of clothing.
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Old 07-23-2020, 06:53 PM   #5
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This place is still one of my favorite . My wife wasn’t able to get a lake site this year but we ride bikes down every night for the sunset.
And the mosquito's .......Love it there too...
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Old 07-23-2020, 06:55 PM   #6
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And the mosquito's .......Love it there too...

They aren’t that bad this year it doesn’t seem!! But in the previous years certain areas were rough!!
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:37 PM   #7
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I'm not sure I'd make a 1400 mile round trip for a 4 night stay anywhere except there! Stunning place. Safe travels and Google is your best friend on selecting the best routes.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:43 PM   #8
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Get a thermocell for the mosquitoes and noseums.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:51 PM   #9
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If you go visit Taquamenon Falls you must drive a bit further to Paradise Mi to Brown’s Fishery best White Fish In Michigan it’s a little hole in the wall place but some of the best fried food you’ll sink you’re teeth in!! Darrow’s in Mackinaw City has pretty tasty food as well.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:56 PM   #10
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If you go visit Taquamenon Falls you must drive a bit further to Paradise Mi to Brown’s Fishery best White Fish In Michigan it’s a little hole in the wall place but some of the best fried food you’ll sink you’re teeth in!! Darrow’s in Mackinaw City has pretty tasty food as well.
The Lock View in Sault St Marie is another good place to go.
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:02 PM   #11
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The Lock View in Sault St Marie is another good place to go.

Yes Grumpy you are correct the family and I did that 3 or 4 years ago we did the tour as well. But the lock gates were acting up and we got stuck in the lock for over an hour it wasn’t pleasant with an 8 yr old and wife had a bun in her oven!! Lol. But it was great seeing it from the boat as well as on land. There are so many things to see and do in Michigan it’s a great place to vacation. Sleeping Bear Dunes is another great place to see! My list could go on and on.
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:58 PM   #12
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I'm going to assume you are taking 70 to Indy and 69 up to Michigan. It's going to be just over 300mi from the state line to Mackinaw. Its 296mi from my house in Port Huron to Mackinaw and I do that run in 4 hrs. If remember right there is a stretch of 69 from 94 up to Lansing that is kinda rough. Once you hit Lansing take 127 north all the way to 75.you should have pretty smooth sailing from Lansing to Mackinaw. North bound traffic starts to get a little bad starting thursday evening and friday evening is even worse. Do yourself a favor and don't even think of heading back south on a sunday. 75, 127, and 131 are all a rat race because everyone is headed back south to home from "up north".
Mackinaw city, there's quite a bit to walk around and see, shop, eat, etc.
Mackinaw island, we normally spend a day there and that's about it. We've been there quite a few times. BEWARE of the Grand Hotel. They charge you just to walk in front of the joint. It's a rip off. I've done it many times and never paid a dime. Lol!
I dont know your age or physical fitness but we rent bikes on the island and ride the "highway" all the way around the island. I think there are two or maybe three bike rental places there and they are all about the same prices. Make sure to get cruiser bikes. Your backside will thank you.
And like the others have said, the Soo Locks, the falls, the smoked fish in paradise, all in the upper and sleeping bear dunes and the old mental hospital now called The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse city in the lower are all within a 2hr drive at most from Mackinaw. Four days up there ain't enough to see all of it, so whatever you didn't see that you want to will give you an excuse to come back.
Safe travels and give a shout out once you're up there.
BTW, we will need some pics posted or you weren't there! Lol!
Enjoy!!
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Old 07-24-2020, 03:33 PM   #13
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We have never had any bug problems camping in that area. And I don't think we have noseums in Michigan. Since Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes are national parks they are still closed, the boats are running along pictured but the road to the top of the dunes is closed.
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:32 PM   #14
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Route question

I appreciate all of your input and recommendations. Cindy and I are excited for the trip and are going to do some of the things you all have identified. I do need some route responses though. On our way up to Mackinaw we are needing to pickup a rental car at the Pellston Regional Airport. My trip planning software routes to US131 (just north of Grand Rapid) then M72NW to US31. My other trip planning keeps us on US131 to Petosky then US31 on to the Regional Airport. Looking for input on this. Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge!
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:00 PM   #15
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Pellston, The icebox of the nation!.

If you are hitting Pellston on the way up, Drive to Indy, Take 31N out of Indy.

At South Bend you can take 20 east towards Middlebury to hit 13 N which turns into 131 N in Michigan or stay N to I94 E which will take you to Kalamazoo and 131 N.

31 N is a nice drive once you get off the loop in Indy. I live near Kalamazoo and given the choice would always take 20 across to Middlebury because I like 2 lanes over 4. I have driven over 2 million miles and like the scenic route when possible. Yes it is slower to go to Middlebury. Watch out for the Amish Buggy's.

Once you get to your site, you stated Mill Creek. We did a day trip to Historic Mill Creek State Park a few years ago. It was great if you like historical sites. The recreated sawmill was awesome, there is the opportunity to zip line and a nice swing bridge if you are so inclined. My son loved it. Also lots of hiking trails.

Colonial Michilimackinac State Park is right under the south end of the Mackinaw Bridge. A great historic site with lots to see if you like historic themes. They do digs on site and you can talk with the people and they will show you what they have found. The view is also great.

A few miles west in Cheboygan there is a nice microbrewery that has a great Blood Orange if you like breweries. The Rusted Spoke brewery in Mackinaw looks over the Lake Huron, beers are okay, the view is good from the second story. It is a nice break from the tourist boulevard.

If you can't tell I like history and beer.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:07 PM   #16
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To answer you trip questions: 131 ends at Petoskey and becomes 31. Just follow it around the bay North to Pellston.
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