St. Ignace’s unique location near 3 of Michigan’s Great Lakes, right at the gateway to the Upper Peninsula, the Mackinac Bridge, provides ample opportunity to revel in water. Explore shipwrecks, have countless days of fun with your family, try out a Great Lakes yoga class, and much more.
One of the best ways to enjoy water is cruising along on a boat and St. Ignace Marina offers a 136-slip state-of-the-art dock that can accommodate even 150 ft yachts. Go for a ferry ride to discover the nearby lighthouses, the spectacular sunsets, or soak up sights on Mackinac Island. Boating enthusiasts should definitely check out one of the largest antique and classic wooden boat shows in August!
Of course, going for a dip is probably the easiest means of having fun in the water. Both American Legion Memorial Park and Kiwanis Beach have covered pavilion picnic areas, and the former features grills. They’re both downtown, so getting from your waterfront hotel to the beach will be a breeze.
St. Ignace’s position right in the center of the Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve makes it ideal location for the city’s two diving facilities: Straits Scuba Center and Mackinac Straits Island & Diving Charters. Explore amazing, well-preserved shipwrecks with charters from these locations or go on your own adventure. You can also go for a shallow water dive from American Legion Park.
Snorkeling in the clear waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron will always be fun, but with 7 known shipwrecks at depths from just 8 to 12 feet, you can easily see shipwrecks while floating near the surface. Investigate keel structures, ships’ ribs, the outline of hulls, portions of various decks and more.
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Spend a day hunting for bass, muskellunge, pike, and other various freshwater fish on the fishing platforms at Wawatam Lighthouse and Chief Wawatam Park. You can also take a Fishing Charter to have an expert lead you to the best spots to go for Salmon, Lake Trout, and Steelhead in the open waters of Lake Michigan & Huron.
Is there a better place to build a sandcastle than on a sand dune? The unnamed stretch of sand dunes on US2 is about 10 miles west of town, and offers 6 miles of sandy beach. An evening visit will provide you with an absolutely breathtaking view of a sunsets on Lake Michigan.
If you’re looking for entertainment near the water, head to American Legion Park on the weekend. Starting in late June until early September, there are outdoor movies every Sunday evening, so grab your chairs and blankets, get a free popcorn, hit the concession stand, and enjoy one of the great movies alongside beautiful Lake Huron! Also, every Saturday there are fireworks on the bay in St. Ignace!
You don’t just have to wait for the weekend for some great entertainment - every night in the summer from 7-8:30pm, local talent showcases their music at Music by the Bay. Check out the entertainer list here and learn about their style of music! There’s also the Brews & Blues festival in early August which takes place right on the dock of St. Ignace. Listen to live blues while you appreciate a range of craft beers sourced from local breweries and chow down on some tasty pub grub.
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You never really have to leave the Great Lakes in St. Ignace, as the city has plenty of restaurants right on the water. Plus, every year, there’s the Fish Feast. Sample the best fish from local restaurants as you’re surrounded on three sides by gorgeous blue waters and Mackinac Island in the distance. The kids can play games, jump in the bounce houses, or try their luck at the Kid's Trout Fishing Pond while you relish in the live music, food, beer and wine.
All of St. Ignace’s beaches are prime locations for some stone skipping on the Great Lakes. If you’ve never done it, check out this guide to skipping rocks. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, however, you should definitely check out the annual stone skipping tournament held every year on Historic Mackinac Island. Take a St. Ignace ferry to the annual, all-ages tournament at Windermere Pointe Beach on the 4th of July. The pro skippers compete at high noon and you’ll often see 20+ skips.
The Seney Wildlife Refuge, just west of the Mackinac Bridge is a great place to paddle on the Great Lakes while also viewing wildlife. If you’re up for an adventure, you can kayak the 3 miles to Mackinac Island from St. Ignace, about 1.5-hour one-way trip for your average kayaker, that provides stunning sights of Lake Huron and the island as well as some pretty cool bragging rights. You can also check out kayaking tours nearby here!
You don’t necessarily have to view the Great Lakes from water-level to enjoy them. You can get an unforgettable bird’s-eye view of the Straits of Mackinac with a smooth, safe, and dry parasail flight from Mackinac Parasailing!
Wondering how you could possibly do yoga in water? Well, you’ll actually be on the water. Try out a SUP (stand-up paddle board) course for an amazing yoga experience with serene views and a peaceful backdrop, far from the chaos of the shores. Even seasoned yogis will have a new, unique adventure. Beginner courses are open to all levels and go through the basics of SUP first, and you can also try a meditation vacation yoga tour.
St. Ignace is one of the best places to enjoy the Great Lakes, and with its extensive, reasonable lodging options, it’s easy to see why so many make it their home port. Feel free to request a visitor guide, sign-up for our newsletter, and book your stay today!