The Headlands

An Emmet County Park on the Straits of Mackinac


International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands, Emmet County Michigan

The Headlands, Emmet County Michigan

15675 Headlands Road
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Click here for a Google map

Hours: Open all day, every day

Park Information/Reservations:
Jamie Westfall, Park Manager, (231) 427-1001
[email protected]

Admission: Entrance into the park is free. However, during special programming and certain sky events (i.e. – meteor showers, visible Northern Lights, etc.) which produce busier-than-usual traffic, some fees are assessed. Please refer to our programming schedule for more information about particular events and the fees charged for those events.

Headlands Trail Map

The Headlands was established in the late 1950s when Roger McCormick hired a helicopter and dropped 50lb. sacks of flour to mark the boundaries of a property he desired to purchase.

The Park contains approximately 550 acres of pristine woodlands, more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline and many species of rare and endangered plant life. Visitors to the Headlands may experience sightings of the many wild animals native to the area including: bald eagles, osprey, white tail deer, wild turkeys, coyotes and occasionally a black bear. Marked nature trails guide hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, and nature photographers to experience the park throughout the changing seasons.

The Headlands offers two facilities for rental by the public. The Guest House provides accommodations for 22 people in four bedrooms on three levels. There are 3 floors with 3 full baths (one per floor), a complete kitchen and a conference area. Linens are provided. the Waterfront Event Center is available for rent as well, with information available on the “About” tab.

The vision and cooperation of the following organizations and government units made this property available to the public: The McCormick Foundation, The Village of Mackinaw City, Emmet County, The Schott Foundation, The Little Traverse Conservancy, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Becoming an International Dark Sky Park

The Headlands became one of the first 10 International Dark Sky Parks in the world in 2011, a prestigious designation bestowed by the International Dark Sky Association in Tucson, Arizona, after a rigorous application and review process. What it means in a nutshell? The Headlands will stay dark and protected, forever, thanks to a commitment by the Emmet County Board of Commissioners.