Mackinac Island State Park

Mackinac Island State Park is a state park located on Mackinac Island in the U.S. state of Michigan. A Lake Huron island, it is near the Straits of Mackinac. The island park encompasses 2.81 mi² (7.28 km²), which is approximately 80% of the island's total area of 3.78 mi² (9.78 km²). The park is also within the boundaries of the city of Mackinac Island and has permanent residents within its boundaries. M-185 circles the perimeter of the park as the only motorless highway in the state due to the island's ban of automobiles.[2] The park is governed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. On July 15, 2009, the park celebrated its 20 millionth visitor.[3]

Mackinac Island State Park
Map of Mackinac Island showing the state park boundaries
LocationMackinac Island, Michigan
United States
Coordinates45°52′N 84°37′W
Area2.81 sq mi (7.3 km2)
Established1875 (Mackinac National Park)
1895 (Mackinac Island State Park)
Governing bodyMichigan Department of Natural Resources / Mackinac Island State Park Commission
Mackinac Island State Park
Part ofMackinac Island (#66000397[1])
Designated NHLDCPOctober 15, 1966

The park was first established as Mackinac National Park in 1875, which was the second national park established in the United States after Yellowstone National Park. In 1895, it was transferred to state control and reorganized as Mackinac Island State Park, which was the first state park in Michigan. The park contains many important historical and geological features, such as Fort Mackinac, Fort Holmes, other historic buildings, historic sites, limestone caves, and other unique rock formations. The park also operates the Mackinac Island Airport. Many of these sites are formally operated by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, which also operates two other parks around the Straits of Mackinac area: Colonial Michilimackinac and Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park.

War of 1812

Mackinac Island played an important role in the War of 1812 between the United States and Canada (then a British colony). Fort Mackinac, upon the island, was built by the British army during the Revolutionary War. The British later relinquished the fort to the Americans in 1796, but then built and maintained a similar fort on nearby St. Joseph Island. The two nations used their island forts in a struggle to maintain supremacy over the waters of northern Lake Huron. As one of the opening actions of the War of 1812, the British captured Fort Mackinac and maintained it as a British stronghold until the end of the war. An American attempt to recapture the fort in 1814 failed in the Battle of Mackinac Island. When the war ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815, the island was returned to American control.

Information centers

  • Soldiers' Barracks (in Fort Mackinac; admission charged)
  • Visitor Center (free)
  • Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau (free information year round)

Historic areas

Historic buildings


Caves and rock formations



  1. "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  2. Hutchins, Brian (2005). Michigan's West Coast: Explore the Shore Guide. Roscommon, MI: Abri-Press. p. 177. ISBN 0-9760754-9-0.
  3. 20 Millionth Visitor Welcomed to Mackinac State Historic Parks July 15, 2009. Archived October 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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