Waterfront Event Center


For questions concerning reservations, call (231) 427-1001


Waterfront Event Center

What is the Waterfront Event Center

  • The facility at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City opened June 2017.
  • The facility includes rentable interior and patio space for private events and programs. A fully-licensed kitchen and ADA restrooms are available, along with a stunning indoor/outdoor fireplace and a captivating open beam ceiling.
  • An outdoor seating area is located on the Lake Michigan side of the building, and remains open to the public at all times.
  • The green roof is planted with flora to add to the natural ambiance and environmental sensitivity of the setting.

Interior details

  • Capacity for comfortable tables-and-chairs seating is 120 inside and 80 on the covered patio. Rectangle tables (8-foot long), round tables (5-foot wide) and chairs are available.
  • Square footage: Assembly area, 2,482; kitchen, 470; lobby, 908.

Site details

  • 67 parking spots are available.
  • On non-program nights, the facility is open during gift shop hours. However, the ADA restrooms located on the shoreline side of the building (under the observatory tower) are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Rental details

  • The building is available for rental from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, year round.
  • Rates includes the use of indoor space, outdoor patio space only, restrooms and kitchen.
  • All events must end promptly at 10 p.m.
  • Renter is responsible for set up and tear down of chairs, tables, and equipment.
  • Reservations can be made 18 months in advance.
  • No partial rentals on Saturday
  • The User Agreement Form is required to be completed prior to event.
 Full Day Rental  $2,000.00
 Partial Day Rental (4-hour max, Sunday-Friday)  $1,000.00
 3-hour meeting block (Monday-Thursday) $400.00
 1-hour meeting block (2 hours max, Monday-Thursday) $100.00/hour
 Security Deposit  $300.00

It is important to note that the Waterfront Event Center is located within a public county park, which means the public will have access to the grounds during your event. When you reserve the building for an event, you are reserving the interior space of the facility and the covered patio, not the amphitheater-style seating area or the surrounding grounds, shoreline, forested acreage, or 24-hour ADA restrooms.

There are three on-site rental houses available for minimum two-night rentals. The Guest House (sleeps up to 20) and Stargazing House (sleeps up to 8) are within the park boundaries. Approximately one mile down the road the county also maintains McGulpin Point Lighthouse. The on-site rental house there, the Lighthouse Cottage (sleeps up to 4), is also available for rent.


To reserve the Waterfront Event Center, the Guest House, or the Stargazing House, please visit the online reservation system for Emmet County Parks & Recreation.