Whether you’re visiting Mackinac Island or just coming to participate in the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk, there is something exciting about being in Mackinaw City on Labor Day each year.
About the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk
Labor Day weekend has different meanings for everyone. For some, it means camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities. For others, it is simply a chance to relax and enjoy a long weekend. New traditions are formed every year, yet there is one tradition in northern Michigan that has been standing for 55 years: the annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk.
Kicking off at 7:00 AM and led by the current Governor of Michigan, walking across the Mighty Mac draws an average of 40,000-65,000 participants each year. The reason for such a large attendance is the fact that this is the one day of the year that foot traffic is allowed on the bridge.
All participants start on the St. Ignace end of the bridge and walk the five miles back to Mackinaw City. There is no fee to walk the bridge, but bus transportation from Mackinac City to St. Ignace is available for $5 per person.
Participants may start anytime after the Governor’s party, but no one is permitted to start after 11:00 AM, therefore it is important to arrive early to secure transportation. The two lanes on the far East side of the bridge are open for walkers until 9:30 AM, then just one lane on the East side is open until all walkers have completed the bridge walk.
Bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, and pets are not allowed during the walk. Service animals, strollers, and wheelchairs are permitted.
History of Mackinac Bridge Walk
Having officially opened to traffic in 1957, the Mackinac Bridge has been hosting the annual bridge walk from the start. It has been said that only 68 people participated in that first walk, with a steady increase in attendance since. Participants all receive a Certificate of Completion upon finishing the walk in Mackinaw City. The annual Labor Day Bridge Walk is a unique event in which you are given the rare opportunity to walk over the third largest suspension bridge in the world.
Mackinac Bridge Tours
Mackinac Bridge tours are available but as this unique experience is becoming very popular, it is difficult to schedule all tour requests. Be sure to make reservations far in advance. The Mackinac Bridge towers each stand at 552 feet above the water, therefore an enjoyment of heights is necessary.
Things to Do Near the Mackinac Bridge
If walking across the Mackinac Bridge isn’t your thing, there are lots of great things to do in St. Ignace, places to stay in Mackinaw City, and unique things to do on Mackinac Island. Enjoy the holiday weekend!
article contributed by Jennifer Hamilton