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Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 6:24 PM


American Legion Memorial Park

Known as the “red, white, and blue park,” American Legion Memorial Park is the southern anchor to the Huron Waterfront Boardwalk in downtown St. Ignace. The park features the longest stretch of accessible beach in downtown with a view of Mackinac Island and the Chief Wawatam Lighthouse. It also is a popular spot for families with a colorful red, white and blue playground area and covered pavilion with picnic tables and grills, and public restrooms. Near a veterans memorial and shipwreck preserve monument, a waterfront gazebo serves as a bandstand for musical entertainment throughout the summer. 

Bridge View Park

Just west of the Mackinac Bridge toll plaza is the aptly named Bridge View Park. The park grounds and picnic area offer spectacular views of the iconic Mackinac Bridge, and an on-site telescope allows for up-close views. An enclosed observation pavilion has exhibits inside about the history and construction of the bridge and public restrooms. Picnic tables and grills are also available. There is plenty of parking for passenger vehicles, RVs, buses, and vehicles towing trailers. 

Chief Wawatam Park Named for the Chief

Chief Wawatam Park features interpretive signage that provides information about the ferry that serviced the Straits of Mackinac for nearly 75 years. The Chief Wawatam was the “largest and most powerful railroad ferry to serve the Straits.” It was named in honor of Chief Wawatam, an Ojibwa man who saved the life of a British fur trader during the Anishnaabe attack on Fort Michilimackinac in 1763, which was part of the greater movement termed Pontiac’s Rebellion. The park also has a splash park, a fishing platform, benches, picnic tables, and a human sundial great for creating hours of fun in the sun. Today, where the ferry once docked, the Wawatam Lighthouse stands as a beacon for boaters in the bay. 

St. Anthony's Pocket Park

This petite park in the heart of downtown St. Ignace offers an excellent view of the iconic St. Anthony’s Rock, a limestone sea stack estimated to have been formed more than 350 million years ago. Native Americans used the rock as a lookout. In the late 1800s, a concert bandstand was constructed atop the rock by the Europeans who had settled here. The park features benches and picnic tables for enjoying tasty treats purchased from nearby restaurants and ice cream, fudge, and candy shops. The public restrooms on site are open seasonally. 

Kiwanis Beach

Anchoring the north end of the Huron Waterfront Boardwalk, Kiwanis Beach features a sandy shore in a protected section of Moran Bay, perfect for building sandcastles, catching some rays, and wading and swimming. A gazebo, picnic tables, and a bounty of colorful flower beds round out the park’s intimate charm. 

Lake Michigan Sand Dunes

An easy 10-mile drive west of St. Ignace on US-2 brings you to the area’s iconic sand dunes. Stretching for several miles on Lake Michigan’s northern shore are wind-swept dunes and beaches of gleaming white sand. Stroll along the water’s edge, relax on blankets and chairs with a page-turning summer read, or swim in the refreshing sky-blue waters. Lifeguards are not on duty, but a state-of-the-art rip current warning system has been installed at the popular swimming areas to warn of dangerous rip currents. Additional water rescue equipment like life jackets, throw ropes, and lifesaving rings are also placed strategically along the shoreline at the dunes. Parking is allowed along the south shoulder of US-2. Stay on the paths and be mindful of sensitive plants and nesting areas, which are marked. 

Dock #3 City Park

At the southern end of St. Ignace, somewhat off the beaten path near the U.S. Coast Guard Station, is the Dock #3 City Park on Ferry Lane. Formerly the site of the annual Fourth of July community celebration, the park features picnic tables, a shelter, and restrooms that are open seasonally. Also on site are a boat launch, fish cleaning station, and basketball court, and playground. 

Little Bear Sports Park

Just north of town on the grounds of Little Bear East Arena and Community Center is Little Bear Sports Park. It features two softball diamonds, a fitness trail loop that intersects with the North Country Trail, outdoor stretching equipment that is accessible year-around, and a fishing dock at the pond, which is stocked with perch and walleye. An on-site concession stand and restrooms are open only during sporting games and other special events. 


On the grounds of the Museum of Ojibwa Culture is Father Marquette Park, site of the mission that Father Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit priest, established in 1671. He named the mission St. Ignace after St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order. It is also the site of Father Marquette’s final resting place. The tree-shaded grounds feature a statue of Father Marquette, a fountain, and the burial site with his remains, which were moved from Marquette University in Milwaukee where they had been for 145 years and reinterred in St. Ignace in 2022. The park and its grounds on North State Street are archaeological sites registered as a National Historic Landmark and Michigan Historical Site. It is also included on the National Register of Historical Places.


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