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Take a step back in time
If you are a history buff, be sure to check out the Fort Michilimackinac Pageant in Mackinaw City on Saturday afternoon, the “longest running, free historical Memorial Day performance in the Nation”. The itinerary is full of fun events for everyone, including a Grand Parade, Fort Michilimackinac Re-enactment, and fireworks at dusk. Since you will already be in the area, a great place to hike beforehand, and ease into this bygone era, is Mill Creek Historical State Park (231-436-4226). The park opens at 9am and holds daily reenactments of old sawmills and handsaws in addition to boasting three miles of accessible nature trails. If you have time, the Adventure Tour, featuring a Forest Canopy Bridge and Eagle’s Flight Zip Line, will give you a decent dose of adrenaline and make your trip extra special.
Wake up and race!
Get an early start and run the 10th Annual Mackinaw Memorial Bridge Race starting at 6am on Saturday the 25th! The race entry fee is $50 after May 1st and $60 if you wait to register the night before at race headquarters (no registration the morning of), but that includes the rare chance to race across the Mackinaw Memorial Bridge, a race T-shirt, and a hot (!) breakfast. Since you are up so early, you could even hop on a ferry to Mackinac Island (less than a half an hour trip) and have nearly an entire day in the quaint village to explore local shops, historical sites, and beaches. While you are on the island, head to Mary’s Bistro (906-847-9911) for dishes like Spit-fired Chicken or a Salmon BLT, savored right on their famed waterfront deck.
Plan a holiday getaway to Beaver Island
Escape the crowds that flock to Northern Michigan for Memorial Day by heading out to Beaver Island, a two-hour ferry boat ride off the coast of Charlevoix. A pristine environment with an intriguing history awaits, that may be just what you are looking for in place of a normally hectic weekend. It is a doable day trip, but if you can, the island is best experienced by spending the night camping or at one of its lodges or bed & breakfasts. Beaver Island Lodge (231-448-2396) and Brother’s Place (231-448-2204) are nice options that make it feel as though you really have taken a step back in time. Take an adventure and kayak through the archipelago of islands, dipping your paddle in waters that enticed fishermen over a century ago. If you would rather stick to land recreation, spend hours navigating old two-tracks and winding trails, ideal for hiking or biking, and reserve some time to learn more about the rich history of the island at the Marine Museum or Old Mormon Print Shop (link to Beaver Island Historical Society).