The Best Complete Guide to Saint Ignace, Upper Michigan

Mackinac Bridge

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Planning a trip to Saint Ignace, and don’t know where to start?

Saint Ignace needs to be on your Upper Michigan bucket list and we’re here to tell you why. Are you planning a trip but can’t decide between nature, beaches or culture? Saint Ignace happens to have it all. Its proximity to Mackinac Island as well as the Lower Peninsula makes it an attractive tourist destination with a lot to offer. Plus it’s a great place to spend your vacation year round! With winter activities in the colder months and swimming and hiking in the summer, there is always something to do in Saint Ignace.

The Best Complete Guide to Saint Ignace, Upper Michigan

Complete Guide to Saint Ignace, Upper Michigan

Saint Ignace History and Facts

Saint Ignace was first “founded” by the Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette who came to Upper Michigan in 1671. Jesuits settled down in the area to convert Native Americans to Catholicism and teach French culture. Saint Ignace is the second oldest city in Michigan founded by Europeans after Sault Sainte Marie.

The city became an important fur-trading post in the 18th century due to its favorable location between the two great lakes. After this industry became less profitable the area became known for its fishing and lumber export in which Saint Ignace played a large role.

Today, the tourism industry is a significant source of income for the local population. Saint Ignace has just over 2,400 inhabitants which is still approximately the same as in the late 19th century.

Saint Ignace

Where is Saint Ignace?

Saint Ignace is a small city located in the south-east of the Upper Michigan peninsula. It sits close to the Mackinac Bridge which connects Upper and Lower Michigan and is one of the two ports that offers regular ferry services to the nearby  Mackinac Island. From Saint Ignace, it takes under an hour to drive to the Canadian border and Sault Sainte Marie.

Saint Ignace lies between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan with the majority of its coastline facing Lake Huron. 

Why you need to visit Saint Ignace

Saint Ignace is the perfect city to experience culture, nature, and history all in one place. It may be small but its strategic location puts you right where all the action is. Saint Ignace is the ideal starting point for a day trip to the famous Mackinac Island which is rich in history and has some of the best beaches around.

But there is plenty to see and do on the mainland as well. Visit the local historic lighthouses, go hiking in Upper Michigan’s stunning forests or simply relax by the shore of Lake Huron. In the evenings you can enjoy live music performances by the lake or take part in a sunset boat tour. Visit Saint Ignace for a bit of everything and truly make your trip to Upper Michigan unique.

Saint Ignace

How to get to Saint Ignace

Saint Ignace has several small airports in its vicinity, the largest one being Chippewa County International Airport. It takes around 35 minutes to drive there from Saint Ignace and there are regular flight services offered to nearby destinations.

There is also Mackinac County Airport which is located in Saint Ignace, however, it serves mainly private aircraft as well as flights to the nearby islands. If you’re coming by air Pellston Regional Airports another good option to get to Saint Ignace. This small airport is located on the lower peninsula but can be reached in just over half an hour from Saint Ignace.

You can also reach Saint Ignace via bus. Greyhound and Indian Trails offer regular services to the city year-round. Click here to read more on prices and timetables on the Greyhound website.

A convenient way to get to Saint Ignace is by car. The Interstate 75 runs across Mackinac Bridge, connecting the upper and lower peninsula and making Saint Ignace well connected and easy to reach. Consider what time of year you are planning to visit Saint Ignace and whether you might encounter tough weather conditions like ice and snow. Be careful when driving during these times and always put your own safety first.

How to get around Saint Ignace

There is no public transport system in Saint Ignace. Luckily the town is quite small so you can get around on foot to see some of the most important tourist sites. Keep in mind that many attractions will be located outside of the city limits though and could be tricky to access without a car. Definitely consider renting a car on arrival if you can. 

If you’re planning a trip to Mackinac Island you’ll have options like the public ferry or plane services to get you there.

Saint Ignace

When is the best time to visit Saint Ignace?

Like most places in Upper Michigan, it is smart to visit Saint Ignace during the summer. June to August are usually the warmest months with a high likelihood of sunny and dry weather. This is the time when most people will visit Mackinac Island which always raises tourist numbers in Saint Ignace as well.

If you are interested in hiking and sightseeing it might be a better choice to visit Saint Ignace in the fall. September and October can be a beautiful time to visit the area and you’ll be able to enjoy it with fewer tourists. Accommodation prices will be considerably cheaper during this time and you’ll get to see Upper Michigan’s beautiful forests in all their colorful glory.

Winter in Saint Ignace will be cold and snowy but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to visit. You can see the famous Mackinac Island Ice Bridge and enjoy snowmobiling, skiing and ice skating. What better way to experience a Michigan winter than in a snowy cabin in the woods close to Saint Ignace.

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