Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City


Headlands sign

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is one of the few Dark Sky certified sites in the United States.  If you can’t get here, this Light Pollution Map can help you find your local spot of darkness.  We just went to see it in the day on our visit.  It is open 24/7 365, free admission.  Donations are happily accepted!

Headlands Dark Sky Park entrance

Emmet County Self Guided Tour

Headlands Welcome sign

There are big things going on here, making this special park more accessible for workshops and events in the future.  We could not see the whole park due to the new Observatory under construction right now, a telescope will be housed there and rooms for groups to gather.

Headlands map

We walked down to the shore where the sky viewing is located.  To keep the skies dark, only red flashlights are allowed.  We got our red LED flashlights from Ebay.  Here is the Bortle Dark Sky Scale, the Headlands darkness levels can be found here.

red flashlightlight-pollution-levels_small

Now to the shoreline!

Dark Sky viewing by shore at Headlands

After passing though the gap in the trees, we see the new Observatory building under construction. I look forward to seeing it completed next year!

Headlands Telescope building in Mackinaw City

You can also see the St. Helena Island Lighthouse from here.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

A wider view of the shoreline, the water is so blue on this sunny day!

Dark sky viewing area in the daytime at Headlands

Even though we didn’t get back that night, it was worth the time to stop here.  A beautiful park any time of the year to visit.

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