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Family Vacations: Mackinac Bridge


The nearly five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge,                                  including approaches, links the upper and                                                  lower Michigan peninsulas.
The nearly five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge, including approaches, links the upper and lower Michigan peninsulas.

The mighty Mackinac Bridge straddles the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron to connect Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. Pronounced MA keh nah, Mackinac is short for Michilimackinac, which was an Indian territory on what is now Mackinac Island.

Measured the conventional way, between towers, Mackinac Bridge is the world's ninth longest suspension bridge. Measured by impact, it ranks right up there with the Golden Gate Bridge. No wonder Michiganders call it "Mighty Mac."

Ceremonies to celebrate the official beginning of construction were held in 1954; it opened in 1957. The Mackinac Bridge has had a lasting impact on travel in Michigan -- on the day it opened, the ferry service to the Upper Peninsula ended.

Crossing the seemingly endless bridge can be its own reward, with the added bonus of entering another world: Michigan's incomparable Upper Peninsula.

Mackinac Bridge Quick Facts:

Total length of bridge 26,372 feet.

Length of suspension bridge 8,614 feet.

Length of main span between main towers 3,800 feet.

Height of main tower above water ­552 feet.

Total length of wire in main cables 42,000 miles.

Total concrete in bridge 466,300 cubic yards.

Total weight of bridge 1,024,500 tons.

Total weight of concrete 931,000 tons.

Total number of workers at bridge site 3,500.

Total number of engineers 350.

Total number of blueprints 85,000.

Architect: David B. Steinman.

Mackinac Bridge Information

Address: I-75

Mackinaw City, MI

Telephone: 906/643-7600, 800/649-3777

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Michigan State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Michigan, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Ontario, Canada Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Ontario, Canada as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

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