Mackinaw City

The Mackinac Bridge stretches 5 miles to link Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. (Photo © 2016 Matthew Ginn)

The Mackinac Bridge stretches 5 miles between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. (Photo © 2016 Matthew Ginn)

While we were on vacation near Gaylord, Mich., we took a day trip about an hour’s drive to Mackinaw City, the northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula—the end of the middle finger of the mitten, if you will.

Like Gaylord, the town was much more vibrant than we’d expected. I expect it gets a lot of tourist traffic. We went straight to Colonial Michilimackinac Park, where one can view the Mackinac Bridge.

The bridge, colloquially known as “Big Mac,” was built in 1957 to connect Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. It traverses the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan flows into Lake Huron. At the time of construction, it was billed as the “world’s longest suspension bridge between anchorages” (8,614 feet; source). Its 3,800-foot main span remains the third-longest in the United States and 17th-longest in the world. The total length of the bridge is 26,732 feet—almost exactly 5 miles.

After eating lunch in the park, we drove a short way down the road to Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. There we watched a demonstration of historic timbering techniques—until Daphne got bored of the boards. Then back to our cabin for dinner and a rest.