Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a wonderful place to explore the great outdoors, and as the gateway to the UP, St. Ignace is the perfect first stop! No matter how you like to experience open skies, the Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in St. Ignace will have you covered. St. Ignace is located right on the Straits of Mackinac, overlooking Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
As St. Ignace is located right on the Straits of Mackinac, it’s no wonder that swimming is the first on the list. A local favorite is the Sand Dune Beach, a 6-mile stretch of beautiful, sandy beaches that’s also great for sun-bathing, and, of course, building sand castles. Take a dip a bit closer to the city at American Legion Memorial Park, a quarter-mile long beach next covered pavilion picnic tables and grills, or at Kiwanis Beach, which has a sandy beach with shallow waters perfect for young ones.
If views of the gorgeous Great Lakes on the Straits of Mackinac from above sounds appealing, then check out Mackinac Parasailing. You can take a smooth, safe, and dry parasail flight from a custom-made boat and create memories that will last a lifetime
St. Ignace is home to scenic, serene hikes through nature and along bodies of water from the Great Lakes to forested ponds. The Hiawatha National Forest is home to many trails, such as the 10 mile Sand Dunes Trail on which you can see many rare and endangered dune species. When it starts to get dark, the dunes are simply stunning against the setting sun or moon. In addition to its great hiking trails, Hiawatha National Forest also has a wide variety of mountain biking opportunities, such as the path parallel to the Whitefish River and the Mountain Bike Trail, a 26 mile adventure through northern hardwoods forest.
Due its location at the tip of the southern Upper Peninsula, St. Ignace is a migratory stopover site and significant nesting area for over 275 bird species. The forested shoreline and peninsulas provide landing and launching habitat for birds crossing over the straits in the spring and fall! See everything from Warblers & Tanagers to Scoter’s & Red-necked Grebe. Check out the St. Ignace birding guide here!
From St. Ignace, you can fish for weeks. From the fishing platforms at Wawatam Lighthouse and Chief Wawatam Park on the Great Lakes, you go for bass (small and large mouth), pike, muskellunge, and other freshwater species. Some of the best salmon fishing is found here as well. There’s plenty of area waters, too, such as Brevort Lake, Pine River, Carp River. Also, on Carp River, you can try Fly Fishing summer and through Fall.
With over 2,000 miles of Hiawatha National Forest roads open for motorized use, ATV owners are sure to have a blast. Traverse paths from simple trails to bumpy, fun challenges in secluded forests. It’s also an ideal place to snowmobile in the winter. Be sure to check out the map before you go!
For a bit of Up North Golfing, head to St. Ignace Golf and Country Club with its spectacular views of the Mackinac Bridge. The 9-hole golf course Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club Golf Course is a hidden gem worth checking out, and the Mackinaw Golf Club has a beautiful, professionally designed 18-hole course also worth a round.
The waters connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan offer a host of opportunities for sailing, fishing, cruising and paddling. The St. Ignace Marina offers a 136-slip state-of-the-art dock, capable of accommodating yachts up to 150 feet in length. You can bring your own vessel or explore rentals.
Try paddling on the Seney Wildlife Refuge, west of the Mackinac Bridge, for a great place view wildlife while on the water. The inland lakes at Brevort and the Les Cheneaux Islands are fantastic options as well.