Some places seem to be stuck in time. In Arizona, U.S. Post is still delivered by mules in the Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon (where one can see the Havasu Falls.). In Michigan, there is still an American Highway where cars and motorized traffic are forbidden. The car-less highway is located on the Mackinac Island, and besides being an island seemingly frozen in time, Mackinac Island is also full of interesting places and historic sites to see.

While exploring this stunning part of Michigan be sure to explore the untamed wilderness lands of the Upper Peninsula. But for a different Upper Peninsula experience, come back in the winter and go snowmobiling in the peninsula's massive lake-effect snow. The Great Lakes are stunning and full of places to see and explore with activities for every season.


Mackinac Island - A Historic Island Stuck In Time

Located in Lake Huron in the state of Michigan, Mackinac Island is a remarkable island stuck in time. It was the site of the second-ever American national park (the first being Yellowstone National Park). It was partly a national park in the 1800s for 20 years. It was managed by the US Army garrison that was stationed there and was returned to the state by the federal government when the garrison shut down.

  • 2nd National Park: Mackinac Island Was Home to America's Second Ever National Park
  • Mackinac Island State Park: Covers Over 80% of The Island
  • Getting To The Island: Ferry, Small Aircraft, Private Boat, and Snowmobile over an Ice Bridge In The Winter

Since then the island has been Michigan's first state park and a favored holiday destination. Today it is a summer colony and home to a number of historic sites like Fort Mackinac. The fort was first built by the British and was the site of a couple battled during the War of 1812.

  • Historic: It Is Notable For Its Historic Sites Like Fort Mackinac
  • Camping: Camping Is Not Permitted On The Island

Today the entire island is a National Historic Landmark and is famous for its wide range of architectural styles (e.g. the Victorian Grand Hotel). The downtown streets are lined with many retail stores and restaurants.

Related: Skip Mackinac Island And Explore The Great Lakes' Mackinaw City, Instead

The M-185 Motorless Highway

The M-185 is a state trunkline highway that circles around Mackinac Island following along Lake Huron's shores. It is a narrow paved road that is notable for its absence of vehicles - or at least motorized vehicles. The only access to the highway is by passenger ferry and is the only state highway in the United States where motor vehicles are (more or less) banned.

  • Length: 8 Miles

The highway is 8 miles (or 13 km) long and offers many stunning scenic views of the straits that separate mainland Michigan from the Upper Peninsula as well as the straits that divide Lake Huron from Lake Michigan. There are also numerous roads and trails branching off the highway into the interior of the island.

  • First Car Accident: In 2005

The highway was first built in the first decade of the 1900s and was designated a state highway in 1933. It was first paved in 1960 and had its first accident in 2005 (previously it was the only state highway never to have a car accident). The highway has just recently reopened after having been closed for repairs from high water having eroded and damaged around four miles of the highway.

Related: Beaver Island Is the Most Remote Place In Michigan, And It's Easier To Get There Than You Think

Getting Around on The Highway

If one would like to get around on this highway, one will need to do it by foot, bike, horse, or a horse-drawn vehicle.

One can also get around the highway on roller states and rollerblades - although they are banned in the downtown area. One doesn't need to take a horse with one to the island. Saddle horses, carriages, and bicycles are available for rent on the island.

  • Ban: Since The 1890s
  • Exception: An Exception Is Made For the Island's Emergency Vehicles, Service Vehicles, and Snowmobiles

The ban on cars is not recent. It is about as old as automobiles themselves and dates back to the 1890s. Strictly speaking, it is not a complete ban as exceptions are made for the island's emergency vehicles and exceptions for a few others.