I have heard the bridge called both "mackinac" and "mackinaw". While doing research for this blog I finally have the answer! It is spelled "mackinac" but it is pronounced "mackinaw". Are you confused? I sure was. The French were the first to arrive in this area and their pronunciation of the Native American name Michilimackinac (pronounced mish-il-ə-MAK-in-aô) is what stands today. So why do you sometimes see it spelled Mackinaw? When the British gained control they built the town Mackinaw City. They spelled it the way it sounded. Either way it is spelled it is still pronounced (mish-il-ə-MAK-in-aô). If you still find this confusing just call it “The Mighty Mac” as the locals do.
There are two great places to view the bridge. In St Ignace, on the north side, visit Bridge View Park. Make time to go after dark when the bridge is lit with multi colored lights. You will not be disappointed. Plan on arriving early as it can get quite crowded. My favorite place to view the bridge is from Straits State Park on the south side of the bridge. If you are camping get a sight close to the water and you can enjoy the view from your campsite.
Need to Know
- There is a toll for crossing the bridge so don't forget your wallet.
- If you have a fear of crossing the bridge they actually have drivers that will take you and your vehicle to the other side.
- On occasion the bridge is limited to one lane traffic for events or closed due to weather. Check the Mackinac Bridge Authority webpage for current updates.