The Straits of Mackinac offer boating enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy sailing, fishing, cruising and paddling, in the waters connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Bring your own watercraft or choose from locally available boat, canoe or kayak rentals.
There are plenty of marinas, boat launches, docking facilities and warm hospitality along the Straits of Mackinac.St. Ignace harbor offers a 136 slip state-of-the-art marina, capable of accommodating yachts up to 150 feet in length. The marina is conveniently located in downtown St. Ignace, near shopping, restaurants, boat supplies and groceries.
The Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve, a 148 square mile state preserve, lies at the northern tip of Lakes Michigan and Huron.
The Straits have historically had a reputation as a dangerous area to navigate as can be witnessed by the number of shipwrecks. Storms originating in the lower Lakes funnel through the Straits, magnifying wind and wave action. In addition to the treacherous weather conditions, there are perilous rocky shoals and shallows threatened the safety and well-being of Lake sailors.
Over the years untold numbers of ships floundered in the Straits while others were driven ashore. The remains of some shipwrecks have yet to be found. The Preserve contains at least eleven identified wrecks.
Fishing in the Straits of Mackinac area is nothing short of spectacular. The Straits offer extraordinary opportunities for migratory salmon and steel-head as well as small mouth bass, pike, muskellunge, and other freshwater species. St. Ignace’s location is an obvious advantage for fishing the big waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron but visitors are urged to consider fishing the many inland lakes and rivers as well.
The spring fishing season begins in April when the smelt begin to run and dippers arrive with their nets. Trout season begins in late April followed by walleye season which opens begins May 15 each year.
Summertime brings limitless opportunities for swimming as the sun warms the big lakes as well as the smaller inland lakes and rivers. St. Ignace boasts a safe, sandy beach in the heart of downtown at Kiwanis Beach. Beach-goers looking for more space to spread out and relax need only take a short drive down US-2 to one of the most spectacular beaches in the world. The ancient dunes of Lake Michigan extend to the water’s edge and the soft, sandy lake bottom and shallow water makes the beach a favourite for families.
Many of the hotels and motels in St. Ignace and the surrounding area have indoor and outdoor pools for visitors who prefer more consistent water temperatures.
Paddling is a silent sport for athletic, adventurous types. St. Ignace has miles of shoreline with smooth waters, island channels, inlets, rivers and creeks. The bird sanctuary just west of the Mackinac Bridge is a spectacular place to glide along with wide open view of sky, water and wildlife. Inland lakes at Brevort and the Les Cheneaux Islands offer some of the best waters for kayak and canoe adventures.