Best Seasons to Visit

Spring Summer Fall

Available Amenities and Activities

Restrooms Available Parking Available Trails Available


McGulpin Point offers spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac including the Mackinac Bridge and St. Helena Island. This is the best location for watching migrating waterbirds in the spring and fall and serves as the waterbird count location used by the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch. Redheads stage in the straits by the thousands and Long-tailed Ducks also stage in the area in large numbers. Both Common and Red-throated Loons often fly by, while all three Scoters species are regular, with White-winged being common. Observers can frequently see both Red-necked and Horned Grebes floating on the water or flying by. In addition to waterfowl, an observer can see many raptors flying over the water including: Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, and even the occasional Golden Eagle. Migrating songbirds such as American Pipits, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Bunting often use the beach during migration. The woods between the beach and the lighthouse feature a trail that during migration hosts warblers, finches, and kinglets. And while there, be sure to visit the historic lighthouse. During the warmer months, restrooms can be found at the parking lot at the top of the hill, just across the street from the lighthouse.

What’s Nearby

Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Colonial Michilimackinac, McGulpin Point Lighthouse, The Headlands Dark Sky Park (also a Sunset Coast Birding Trail Site)

Notable Birds

Readhead, Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, Red-necked Grebe, Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Double-crested Cormorant

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Recent Sightings

Species Quantity Observation Date Confirmed

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McGulpin Point Lighthouse

McGulpin Point Lighthouse

American Pipit

American Pipit on shore.

Immature Bald Eagle

Immature Bald Eagle crossing the straits during migration.

Adult Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle crossing the straits during migration.

Common Mergansers

Common Mergansers swimming off shore.

Common Goldeneyes

Common Goldeneyes passing through the straits during migration.

Mackinac Bridge

Thin sheets of ice being pushed over top of each other as they are pushed by the current and collide with shore. Mackinac Bridge in the background.


McGulpin Point offers spectacular sunrises.

Red-breasted Mergansers

Red-breasted Mergansers flying just offshore are a frequent sight.

Red-necked Grebes

Distant Red-necked Grebes flying through the straits during migration. The Upper Peninsula in the background.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawks are one of the most numerous raptors to see flying across the straits during the migration season.

Snow Buntings

Snow Buntings often fly down the shoreline and sometimes land to forage in small flocks on their annual migration.

Surf Scoters

Not as common as their White-winged cousins, Surf Scoters occasionally fly through the straits on their migration as well.