5 Spots to Discover the Rich History of St. Ignace

The city over the bridge is much more than just a gateway to Michigan’s Mackinac Island. St. Ignace offers hundreds of years of history: visiting it offers a look into how the city was shaped, those who once inhabited it, and more. Since next August is the city’s 350th birthday, with a celebration being planned, now is the time to explore all that made St. Ignace one of the top spots in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Here are 5 ways you can experience and enrich yourself through history in St. Ignace, MI!


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Explore the Shipwrecks of The Straits of Mackinac

Photo Credit: @chris_roxburgh


The waters that line the shores offer many wrecks that have yet to be discovered. Will you be the one who will discover them? Due to the fog, ice, rocky shoals, and wind, the waters of the Straits of Mackinac have caused a large number of shipwrecks over the last 150 years. St. Ignace is the place to check out those shipwrecks!

Photo Credit: @chris_roxburgh


Do you prefer to get up close and personal with the shipwrecks? Straits Scuba Center is the place to go. However, If you’re not a fan of diving into the waters, check out these Glass-Bottom Boat Tours and see the shipwrecks from above! These tours visit two different shipwreck sites – making up a 2-hour tour. You’ll also get a look at the historical lighthouse in St. Ignace!

Photo credit: @jennah_mah


Don’t forget to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum for a unique way to discover a more in-depth look in the history of the shipwrecks of Lake Superior and the Straits of Mackinac. Although in Michigan the time to cruise the open waters is seasonal, now is the perfect time to plan your trip to celebrate St. Ignace’s 350th Birthday! For more information check out this Guide to St. Ignace’s Shipwrecks.


Discover the Wawatam Lighthouse

Photo Credit: @michigannutphotography


The Wawatam Lighthouse is located at the end of the boardwalk in downtown St. Ignace. This lighthouse once was located in Monroe, Michigan! In 2004, the lighthouse was broken up and shipped up north in five different pieces. In 2006, the Wawatam Lighthouse received its final home on the boardwalk in downtown where it also received its latest make over. Here is where the lighthouse was first lit in August of that year and can be seen for over thirteen miles.


The lighthouse is lit all year so ships can cruise in the dark hours of the summer nights and snowmobiles can navigate the frozen lake. Are you wondering how the name ‘Wawatam’ came about? Well through the mid-1980’s the railroad ferry named Chief Wawatam used the same dock where it now stands.



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Discover the History of The Upper Peninsula Tribes

Photo Credit: @elksthatrun


Have you ever wondered how Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was founded and who it was founded by? Look no further because the Museum of Ojibwa Culture has the answers. This museum offers a first-hand look into the culture of the tribes who once inhabited it.  The museum is conveniently located next to Father Marquette’s gravesite. Jacques Marquette AKA Father Marquette is who first founded Sault Ste Marie and later St. Ignace. You can learn more about the man who founded St. Ignace at the Father Marquette Memorial located in the Straits State Park.


While you’re in town for the 350th Birthday party take a free guided walking tour through St. Ignace! These walking tours happen every Monday and Tuesday.


Climb the World-Famous Castle Rock

Photo Credit: @Lil_berkey


This isn’t your average rock formation. Castle Rock rises 195 feet about sea-level and is the ultimate lookout point to capture the best views of St. Ignace, the Straits of Mackinac, and Mackinac Island. The rock was once named “Pontiac’s Lookout” by the Ojibwa Tribe when they inhabited the area, making it one of the oldest lookout points near St. Ignace. Castle Rock was originally opened as a tourist attraction in 1929 and has since been a very popular tourist attraction.


Don’t forget to snap a photo with the historic Paul Bunyan and Babe his Blue Ox statues located at the bottom of the rock.

10 Hidden Gems in St. Ignace


See History Come to Life at Fort de Baude Museum

Photo Credit: @trailsandtravel


The Fort de Baude Museum is the Mackinac regions premier historical museum. Housing the biggest collection of Native American and military artifacts such as weapons, trade items, arrowheads, and more! All artifacts come from the European to Native American period within the Great Lakes region that make up about 8,000 years of the rich history. The Museum is the perfect place to learn the history that make up St. Ignace before the 350th Birthday Party!


There are many ways to indulge in the history of St. Ignace and learn how the area became what you see today. Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter for up-to-date information on the 350th Birthday bash coming up in August 2021!

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