The Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park

The Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park

In May 2011, Emmet County's Headlands property became the sixth International Dark Sky Park in the United States and only the ninth in the world. This 600-acre parcel of old-growth forest sits on more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline at the northwest tip of Michigan's lower peninsula, where the Straits of Mackinac sweep into the great lake. Here you will find the darkest of skies, undiluted by light pollution and preserved in perpetuity by Emmet County through the International Dark Sky Association. Monthly, free Dark Sky Park programs and special events tied to celestial phenomenon are held along the pristine and undeveloped shoreline. At present, a waterfront event and observatory center is being built, with a projected opening date of Spring 2017~stay tuned for exciting news of this development and visit our social media sites for the latest news! In the meantime, there is one large guest house available for rent, accommodating more than 20 overnight. Signs in the park direct visitors to designated Dark Sky Viewing areas. No camping, but the park is open 24/7 year 'round, with five miles of trails throughout the property. No entrance fee. Dazzling night sky for photographers, astronomers and dark-sky enthusiasts!

The Headlands Park of Emmet County is located on the Straits of Mackinac, 3.8 miles west of downtown Mackinaw City. Photo below courtesy of Robert de Jonge,

About the Dark Sky Park

Contact Information


15675 Headlands Road

Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Driving Directions

Reservations: (231) 436-4051

Phone: (231) 348-1704


Location of The Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park

Map of Michigan