Located on the very tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, the resort community of Mackinaw City, on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac, plays host to more than a million visitors each year. Mackinaw City event venues prosper from the town also being the gateway to the Upper Peninsula and Makinac Island, a Victorian community known as Michigan's crown jewel. From Mackinaw City's peninsula setting, visitors can watch the sun rise over Lake Huron and set over Lake Michigan.
Mackinaw City is a 20-minute drive from Mackinaw City/Pellston Regional Airport, which is served by daily flights on SkyWest from Detroit and four times a week on Lakeshore Express from Chicago's Midway Airport. Mackinaw Shuttle provides service from the regional airport into town for $30 one way or $49 round trip.
The meeting venues in Mackinaw City are hotels, with several solid choices in properties used to catering to visitors. The venues with the most guest rooms and meeting space include Best Western Plus Dockside, the Bridge Vista Beach Hotel & Convention Center, Crown Choice Inn & Suites, Clarion Hotel Beachfront, and the Hamilton Inn Select Beachfront.
Special event venues in Mackinaw City usually involve its stunning outdoors or rich history. There are a number of parks in town that offer outstanding views of the Straits of Mackinac, including the beach at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse where a barbecue can include making s'mores over a bonfire as the sun sets behind the Mackinac Bridge. Other venues include Mackinaw Crossings, with an 830-seat theater, shops, and restaurants, and a nightly laser light show; Shepler's Lighthouse Cruises; Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, with a WWII ship as its centerpiece; Colonial Michilimackinac State Park, an 18th-century fort and fur-trading village of 13 authentically reconstructed buildings that features live interpreters and reenactments; and Heritage Village, a rural setting reminiscent of the 1880 to 1917 era.
Mackinaw City has a number of good restaurants for local cuisine. Darrow's Family Restaurant is the place for Grandma's cooking and must-have pies; Mackinaw Bakery and Coffeehouse is famous for its huge donuts and good prices; Scalawag's Whitefish & Chips is a magnet on summer evenings for its fish cooked fresh upon order and for people-watching; Krueger's Fish Market, where the locals go to get the fish they just caught dressed, is the place to try fresh jerky and whitefish that is smoked onsite; and Audie's Restaurant is known for its great tartar sauce and maple ice cream sundae with caramelized pecans.
Along with more than 100 retail shops and restaurants and a full calendar of festivals in the village, the Mackinac Straits Area is home to three National Historic Sites, Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows, and places like Headlands International Dark Sky Park, with about 550 acres of pristine woodlands, more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline, and many species of rare and endangered plant life.