Mackinaw City is just a short drive (or 25 mile bicycle ride) away. From there it is a quick ferry ride to historic Mackinaw Island.
The Village of Mackinaw City is a resort community located on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Recently Mackinaw City was listed as the most popular tourist city in the state. Local attractions include Fort Michilimackinac, the Mackinac Bridge, the Mackinaw Crossings shopping mall, Mill Creek, the Old Mackinac Point Light, the Historic Village, the McGulpin Point Light, and the retired US Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw.
Mackinac Island is an island and resort area covering 3.8 square miles in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac. The 1980 film “Somewhere in Time” was filmed on the island.
It is about 8 miles in circumference and 3.8 square miles in total area. The 8-mile road encircling the island and closely hugging the shoreline is M-185, the United States' only state highway without motorized vehicles. Motorized vehicles have been prohibited on the island since 1898, Travel on the island is either by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage. Bicycles and horses can be rented on the island or you can bring your bike over on the ferry (for an additional fee). There are also horse drawn carriage tours of the island.
The island has a year-round population of about 500. The population grows considerably during the summer as hotels, restaurants, bars and retail shops, open only during the summer season, hire short-term employees to accommodate as many as 15,000 visitors per day. Don’t let those numbers scare you. They have it down to a science getting people to and from the island.
The island can be reached by private boat, ferry, small aircraft, and in the winter, by snowmobile. The airport has a 3,500-foot paved runway, and charter air service from the mainland is available. In the summer tourist season, ferry service is available from Arnold Transit Company, Shepler's Ferry, and Star Line Ferry to shuttle visitors to the island from St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.
Emmet County Area
We are located in Emmet County, which makes up the northwest tip of the state. The County contains 295,040 acres of which 197,677 acres are forested land. There are 68 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. There are many things to do in the area.
Just 50 yards north of us is:
Wilderness State Park is a beautiful natural area is located on a long finger of land that protrudes into Lake Michigan on the northwest tip of the Lower Peninsula. It offers scenic views of Lake Michigan, the Straits of Mackinac, and the Mackinac Bridge. A diversity of habitats from the sand dunes and beaches along the coastline to the mixed conifer and deciduous forest habitat in the interior offer a rich and diverse selection of plants and animals. On the east end, visitors are greeted by stands of virgin hemlock trees and second growth red pines that tower nearly 100 feet into the air. Wildlife watchers will find campgrounds and an extensive series of trails that provide foot access into the park’s interior and out to the western tip of the park at Waugoshance Point. The Lakeview Road on the south takes you through the Lake Michigan sand dune habitat and past a great beach. The Wilderness Park Drive on the north takes you along the north shore and through the typical wooded habitat found throughout much of the interior of the park.
The Headlands Park contains more than 600 acres of pristine woodlands, more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline and many species of rare and endangered plant life. Visitors to the Headlands may experience sightings of the many wild animals native to the area including: bald eagles, osprey, white tail deer, wild turkeys, coyotes and occasionally a black bear. Marked nature trails guide hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, and nature photographers to experience the park throughout the changing seasons.
In May 2011, the Headlands became the sixth International Dark Sky Park in the United States and the ninth in the world. Here you will find the darkest of skies, undiluted by light pollution and preserved in perpetuity by Emmet County. Monthly, free Dark Sky Park programs and special events are held at the Beach House and on the shoreline. Signs in the park direct visitors to designated Dark Sky Viewing areas. There is no camping, but the park is open 24/7 year 'round, with five miles of trails throughout the property. There is no entrance fee.
Of course, you could just wander down to the lake from Sommerset and it will be about as dark as you have ever witnessed. Just like the mariners of centuries ago.