A Trip to Fort Michilimackinac

Colonial Fort Michilimackinac, in Mackinaw City, Michigan, was built between 1714-1715. It was originally intended to help control the fur trade that was booming in the northern Great Lakes region. Despite being an official fort, it wasn't really used as a military outpost. Instead, it was a "fortified community" of sorts. Now, however, the fort has been moved to Mackinac Island. The majority of the original fort was moved across the ice in 1780-81. 

Of course, there’s a ton of awesome stuff to do on Mackinac Island. But the Fort should absolutely be a stop you make. It truly is a trip back in time. There are regular reenactments of the French surrender, daily tours, and so much more.

There are 16 buildings total at the Fort, all of which are decorated in true 1700’s fashion and are staffed with educated professionals – all dressed the part of 1700’s soldiers, traders, trappers, etc. – to give you more information on the Fort’s history. There is also a live archaeologist dig happening on site. The dig happens every summer, and it has been going on since the summer of 1959. To date, it’s the longest ongoing archaeological excavation in the United States.

While you’re at Colonial Michilimackinac, make sure you check out the cannons and the Kid’s Rendezvous – which is a playground intended to map the route of old fur traders.

They also have several special exhibits going on right now. France at Mackinac showcases how the Fort existed under French regime from 1670-1760. Treasures from the Sand explores what historical archaeology is, and it’s place in Colonial Michilimackinac. Powder Magazine uncovers the military ruins at the Fort, and Redcoats on the Frontier is a kid-friendly exhibit that dives into what the British’s lives were like at Fort Michilimackinac.

The Fort is open through early October – which means you’ve got tons of time to get up to Mackinac Island for a visit! Enjoy a day exploring the Fort, and grab some fudge (so we can live vicariously through you, of course)! 

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