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Colonial Michilimackinac Accessibility

The historic and natural environments of the Straits of Mackinac sometimes present impediments to accessibility. Blowing sand, natural trails and steep grades can make traveling difficult. Many 18th and 19th century buildings have entrance steps, narrow doorways and other physical barriers. The sites are mainly outside, feature loud noises, various smells, and people in period costumes. 

Continuous effort is made to make all aspects of Mackinac State Historic Parks accessible. Where possible, physical changes have removed barriers. Alternate programs or services provide additional access opportunities and future projects will continue to improve access.

Museum and Park Services

  • Accessible parking spaces are located at the Colonial Michilimackinac Visitor’s Center. 
  • Wheelchairs are available for loan at the Visitor’s Center and in the Hearthside Museum Store on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Motorized scooters are available for loan at the Visitor’s Center. 
  • Guides to Access are available at admission sites. 
  • Captioning is provided for movies at all sites. 
  • Service animals are permitted at all sites and in all buildings.
The numbers correspond to the numbers on the site map. Click here for a PDF of the Colonial Michilimackinac site map. Click here for a PDF of the Mackinaw City Guide to Access. 


Outdoor surfaces are gravel, grass, and sand.

Difficult Access

Five to eight entrance steps to these buildings may make access for visitors with mobility impairments:

  • Stairs lead to the Powder Magazine* (19). Entrance is from the South Southeast Rowhouse. 
  • Interior stairs in the Northwest Rowhouse (7) lead to the archaeology exhibit*.
* Alternate program provided.
Moderate Access Locations

Access may be limited for some visitors with mobility impairments in these buildings:

  • The South Southeast Rowhouse (18) has one entrance step.
  • The Southwest Rowhouse (11), which includes the Merchant’s and Soldier’s Houses, the Slavery at the Straits exhibit, as well as the Attack! at Michilimackinac theater, has doors that are 29.5″ wide.
  • The Priest’s House (8) has two sets of entrance steps and a 3″ level change in the building.
  • Artillery Demonstrations (2) (3) are located on a packed gravel surface that is sometimes covered with a layer of sand.
  • The path leading to the Native American Encampment (22) is packed gravel. Areas of the encampment are on grass. 

Path to the Fort from the Visitor’s Center

  • A 500 foot path leads from the Visitor’s Center to the fort. A layer of sand sometimes covers the hard-packed trail. The inland route to the Land Gate (22) is recommended. 

Alternate Programs and Entrances

  • A video of the underground exhibit Treasures from the Sand is available at the entrance in the Northwest Rowhouse (7).
  • The north church door (10) is not accessible; use the main south entrance.
  • A video of the Powder Magazine (19) is available in the South Southeast Rowhouse.

Sensory Considerations

There is a schedule of programs available by clicking here, posted at the admissions location, and provided when purchasing a ticket. Below are some things to consider during your visit:
  • General
    • Visiting Colonial Michilimackinac is a mostly outdoor experience. The weather can change quickly in northern Michigan, ranging from hot to cold, calm to very windy, and dry to humid and rainy. The Treasures from the Sand exhibit beneath the Northwest Rowhouse is air conditioned.
    • While usually not too bad, a variety of insects may be present while visiting the fort. In spring and early summer, non-biting/non-stinging flies will be found along the lakeshore in large numbers.
    • Snacks and drinks can be enjoyed throughout Colonial Michilimackinac.
    • Some spaces, including the catwalks around the fort, may become crowded.
  • Sights
    • Museum staff wearing military uniforms and other historical clothing are stationed throughout the site.
    • There are realistic mannequins in the Treasures from the Sand exhibit beneath the Northwest Rowhouse, the Priest’s House, and the Barracks.
    • Some exhibit spaces are purposefully kept dark. Others are brightly lit.
    • Artillery and musket firing demonstrations will produce sparks and smoke.
  • Sounds
    • Museum staff will loudly announce the beginning of all programs.
    • Artillery and musket demonstrations include firings of these weapons, which will be loud. Museum staff will warn visitors about the noise prior to all firings. The Treasures from the Sand exhibit beneath the Northwest Rowhouse is the best place to avoid the noise of firing demonstrations.
    • Traffic noises from the Mackinac Bridge can be heard throughout the site.
  • Smells
    • The fort’s buildings may smell musty.
    • The smoke from artillery and musket demonstrations will smell, but will dissipate quickly following firings.
    • Fireplaces are used throughout the site, producing wood smoke. Cooking demonstrations using these fireplaces will also produce a variety of food aromas.

Social Story Guide

Click here for a PDF social story for a visit to Colonial Michilimackinac.

All Accessibility at Mackinac State Historic Parks

Click here for access concerns at all Mackinac State Historic Parks sites.