St. Ignace (Saint Ignace) may be known for its ferry service to Mackinac Island
or its memorials to Father Marquette, but the town is also home to Straits State Park, the Huron Boardwalk, the
start of the St. Ignace-Trout Lake Trail
a number of waterfront parks.
Straits State Park features hiking trails, a modern campground, and a rocky beach with
an excellent view of the Mackinac Bridge.
In downtown St. Ignace, the Huron Boardwalk meanders along the shoreline from Kiwanis Beach
to the St. Ignace Light, near the marina. There is also a brick-paved walking route that starts at
American Legion Memorial Park and goes to Kiwanis Beach. Both routes offer nice views of St. Ignace and
the waterfront area.
Near the Little Bear East Arena on Marquette Street is the start of the St. Ignace-Trout Lake Trail, which is used for mountain biking, hiking, and snowmobiling. The trail stretches approximately 28 miles, passing through Moran along the way.
St. Ignace has lodging and restaurant choices along State Street/Business I-75 and on US-2 just east of I-75.
You can find ferry service to Mackinac Island in downtown St. Ignace.
St. Ignace to Manistique Bike Route
Using the wide road shoulder on US-2, cyclists can ride west from St. Ignace to
. The bike route offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, farmland, and natural wetlands. The route passes through Brevort, Naubinway and Gulliver. Many of the beaches along US-2 are on protected land, which means you should not disturb the native plants. Between Brevort and Naubinway, you can ride close to the beautiful blue water of Lake Michigan for long periods of time, and even stop to dip your toes in the big lake. The route to Manistique is 85 miles one way, but you can make it shorter by riding to Brevort (18 miles), Naubinway (40 miles), or Gulliver (72 miles).
From downtown St. Ignace, you will need to ride on the outer edge of the road until the wide paved shoulder starts about a mile west of I-75. US-2 can be a busy road at times, so obey traffic laws and ride with caution when using the bike route. It's also a good idea to pack food, water, and supplies for the long ride.
Before you go, it's a good idea to check the
State of Michigan's construction database
to make sure there will not be any construction on the road that can interfere with your ride.
St. Ignace Area Parks
is located off North State Street, at the northern edge of the Huron Boardwalk.
The park's sandy swimming beach and picnic area offer a scenic view of St. Ignace's harbor area.
Father Marquette Park
is located across the street from Kiwanis Beach.
The park is dedicated to Rev. Father James Marquette and is the final resting place of the missionary/explorer.
Marquette and Father Dablon established the first permanent settlement in Michigan at the Sault. In 1670, Marquette came to Michilimackinac, and during the following
year, he established a mission on Point Iroquois. Marquette was also the first settler in the area that what would become Chicago.
The park features historical markers and a beautiful fountain. Adjacent to the park is the Museum of Ojibiway Culture.
There is limited parking along the side of the street, next to the park.
American Legion Memorial Park
is located near Lake Huron and
has a nice playscape that is popular with kids.
A nearby picnic shelter has a great view of Mackinac Island and ferry boats
travelling between St. Ignace and the island.
Dock #3 Park
features a fishing pier with an excellent view of Lake Huron and Mackinac Island.
Near the pier, there is a picnic shelter and a boat launch. Across the street, a
large playground and basketball court can be found.
Straits State Park
is accessible from Church Street in St. Ignace. The park
has a rocky beach on the Straits of Mackinac that provides an excellent view of the
Mackinac Bridge. The park also has a scenic overlook that offers a different view of the bridge.
The park has two modern campgrounds with modern restrooms. The largest campground has 225 camp sites
with electrical service. The park also has a group use campground. For campground reservations,
see the DNR's Straits State Park web site.
The Straits-Main Trail
is a one-mile hiking trail that connects the two modern campgrounds and leads to the stairs for
the scenic overlook. The park has a small playground and a couple of picnic areas.
Father Marquette National Historic Site
is part of Straits State Park and
is located on the west side of I-75. The park features a
monument dedicated to Rev. Father James Marquette. A walking trail connects the
parking lot and the park's ampitheatre. A scenic overlook, located a short distance from the
ampitheatre, provides a decent view of the Mackinac Bridge.
The best place to take photos of the Mackinac Bridge on the north side of the
Straits of Mackinac is at Bridge View Park
, which is located at the end of Marley Street.
If you plan to take photos of the bridge at night, a tripod is recommended to avoid having the
photos turn out blurry. If you don't have a tripod, sitting your camera on top of your car or on
a park bench can provide a stable surface to take photos of the Mackinac Bridge.
Bridge View Park has large parking area, restrooms and a couple of picnic shelters.
Ferry Service, Boating & Fishing
St. Ignace is a starting point for ferries to Mackinac Island, and you can find
Shepler's Ferry, Star Line Ferry and Arnold Ferry in downtown on State Street. The ferries provide regular service to and from the island from spring through the fall.
For recreational boaters, St. Ignace has a very nice public marina with easy access to
downtown. St. Ignace Municipal Marina features 136 slips and can accommodate yachts up to 150-feet long. The marina is located near the Wawatam Lighthouse.
Near Dock #3 Park on the southwest side of St. Ignace, there is a fishing pier on Lake Huron.
The pier is a great spot to cast a fishing line or to just enjoy the beautiful view of
Lake Huron and Mackinac Island.
A Michigan fishing license is required to fish on Michigan waterways, and you can get a license at Ace Hardware in downtown St. Ignace. You can also purchase a license online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site
and at bait shops and sporting goods stores.
The lighthouse in downtown St. Ignace got its start as a fixture at a Michigan Welcome Center
on I-75 in Monroe, Michigan. When the rest area was remodeled in 2005, the lighthouse was
saved and moved to St. Ignace. The lighthouse is located on a dock that was once used by
railroad ferries Chief Wawatam and Sainte Marie.
More About St. Ignace
For car enthusiasts, St. Ignace hosts the Antiques on the Bay Auto Show and annual St. Ignace
Auto Show in June, attracting cool cars of all kinds.
Motorcyclists aren't left out of the fun. St. Ignace is the gateway to the Upper Peninsula
and is a great spot to start a color tour ride in the fall. The city is also the final destination for the the Gold Wing Riders Midnight Ride
, which starts in Grand Rapids and helps raise funds to fight Juvenile Diabetes.
The annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk is fun event and a great way to enjoy the
last weekend of summer. It provides the rare opportunity for pedestrians
to cross the bridge.
St. Ignace has many hotels and motels to choose from along State Street/Business I-75
near downtown St. Ignace and on US-2 near I-75. It is typically cheaper to stay in St. Ignace
than Mackinaw City.
For eateries, there are fast-food choices on US-2, west of I-75. Family-owned restaurants
can be found along State Street/Business I-75 near downtown.