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Mackinac Bridge Walk

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For a fun family outing this summer, head to Mackinaw City, Michigan to take part in the annual September Mackinac Bridge Walk. One half of this magnificent bridge is closed to car traffic, allowing people to stroll along this five-mile structure that spans the dramatic Straits of Mackinac. This is a rare chance to stop and admire the views up and down the Straits as you walk across to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula.

In 2007, the Mackinac Bridge celebrated fifty years of its existence, spanning the stretch between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. This is the third longest suspension bridge in the world, and the longest in the Western Hemisphere. The total length of the bridge across the Straits is 26,372 feet or roughly five miles. At mid-span, the bridge is 200 feet above water level, allowing ship traffic to move through the Straits of Mackinac unimpeded.

The need for the bridge was first voiced in 1884, when the experimental year-round ferry system was deemed a failure. Encouraged by the success of the 1883 Brooklyn Bridge, supporters (including Cornelius Vanderbilt) drew up a range of ideas for a span across the Straits, including a tunnel. Cost and the difficulty of settling on a design proved to be stumbling-blocks, however, and in the 1920s, the state legislature again turned to the idea of a year-round ferry system. Within five years, the ferry traffic was so heavy, that the Governor ordered the Highway Department to seriously study the feasibility of constructing a bridge. But with an estimated price tag of $30 million, the idea was shelved once again.

At last, in 1953, the Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority began selling bonds to cover the cost of constructing a bridge. The final bridge was designed by Dr. David B. Steinman, and the costs were covered by a number of corporations and agencies and through the state's gasoline and license plate tax revenue. The bridge officially opened on November 1, 1957, and the last of the bonds was finally retired in 1986.

Campgrounds near the Mackinac Bridge:

Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping
Mackinaw City MI
Mackinaw Island KOA
Mackinaw City MI
Tee Pee Campground
Mackinaw City MI
Lakeshore Park
St. Ignace MI
Castle Rock-Mackinac Trail Campground
St. Ignace MI
St. Ignace/Mackinaw Island KOA
St. Ignace MI
Tiki RV Park & Campground
St. Ignace MI
Waterways Campground
Cheboygan MI
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