Michigan's best state park? National travel magazine names its favorite

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Michigan has more than 100 state parks and recreation areas, and picking a favorite might not come easy to most residents. But a national travel magazine has chosen its recommendation.

Mackinac Island State Park is Michigan's best state park, according to Condé Nast Traveler.

Last week, the luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published its list of best state parks in each of the country's 50 states. 

Mackinac Island State Park's Arch Rock is the island’s most famous geological formation, towering 146 feet above the water and spanning 50 feet at its widest point.

"Throughout the U.S., there are over 10,000 state parks, home to thundering herds of bison (like in South Dakota's Custer State Park), colorful thousand-foot-tall cliffs (found in Palo Duro Canyon in Texas), and some of the country's highest waterfalls (at Tennessee's Fall Creek Falls)," the magazine said. "Plus, state parks are generally less crowded, more affordable to visit, and, often, more pet-friendly than national park alternatives. ... We’ve selected the best state park in, you guessed it, every single state— what we consider the best state parks in the country."

The magazine selected Mackinac Island State Park as the Great Lake State's best.

"As the only park on this list that was once a national park, Mackinac Island has a lot of hype to contend with," according to the list. "Full of sacred Ojibwa and Odawa history, a 240-year-old former British and American military outpost, and miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, this car-free isle on the western edge of Lake Huron is nothing short of magical."

The park became Michigan's first state park in 1895. However, it was established in 1875 as the country's second national park. The first is Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, which was established in 1872.

Managed by the seven member Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the park covers 1,800 acres, or nearly 80 percent of Mackinac Island's 2,200 acres. Commissioners, who serve six-year terms, are appointed by the governor and are subject to confirmation by the state Senate. 

But a different state park was included in an online magazine's "30 best state parks in America." In February, Thrillist, a website that covers travel, food and entertainment, named Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon as among the best in the U.S. 

Michigan has 103 state parks and recreation areas, which are managed by the state's Department of Natural Resources.

Waterfront biking on Mackinac Island.