Michigan, affectionately known to all as the mitten shaped state, provides 3,200 miles of fresh water shoreline, 3.9 million acres of DNR managed land and dozens of cultured cities with museums, upscale restaurants and extraordinary shops. Michigan is a four-season state. Visitors have everything from fishing, boating, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing and much more. Michigan is most commonly known for its Upper and Lower Peninsula’s. Below are just a few places to visit throughout the state.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a nature-lover’s paradise. Visitors should plan plenty of time to visit the 384-mile-long peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is home to the highest mountains in the Midwest and to all but two of Michigan’s 152 waterfalls. Here are just few places you may want to make sure you visit during your stay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Mackinac Island – Take a beautiful ferry ride to the island of Mackinac. A place that will take you back in time to horse-drawn carriages, quaint shops, and historical exhibits. Fort Mackinac was built by the British in 1782 during the American Revolutionary War to control the strategic Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. During the summer months, you can transport yourself back in time with reenactments and tours of the historical buildings on the Island.
Pictured Rocks – An awe-inspiring sight of multicolored sandstone cliffs lining Lake Superior. This 15-mile stretch of shoreline received its name due to the pictures that seem to appear on the rocks from multicolored sandstone and mineral stains on the rock surface. This stretch is known for its hiking trails, beaches and glass bottom boat tours.
Isle Royale – Wander freely with the wolves and moose in this North Woods sanctuary. 99% of this land mass is federally designated as wilderness. This archipelago is composed of ridges resulting from lava flows, which were tilted and glaciated. Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails, excellent fishing, paddling, shipwrecks and plenty of places for observing wildlife.
Houghton/Copper Harbor – Observe fantastic views from Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline to the top of Brockway Mountains. Here you can take a scenic drive up the mountain (hopefully you’ll see a black bear in the woods), do some mountain biking, kayak the Keeweenaw Water Trail or just relax along the beach. If you are looking for a white covered, snowy retreat than Copper Harbor gives you great snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Drummond Island – Two-thirds of Drummond Island is state owned. The diverse topography ranges from cedar swamps to rock ledges, prairie meadows to groves of hardwoods, rocky shores to sandy beaches. The recreation available is as diverse as the terrain. Here you can hunt, fish, swim, hike, bike, stargaze and explore the area.
Paradise – Paradise, Michigan is a great little town on the shores of Lake Superior at the northeastern tip of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are a bird watcher, than this is the place to visit in the spring or fall to watch raptors, waterfowl, and smaller birds in their migration to and from Canada. If you love waterfalls, than be sure to visit The Tahquamanon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. You can take a short walk to the Observation Point, walk down to the bottom of the Falls, or hike on the extensive trail system that runs throughout the Park. Paradise, Michigan also offers wonderful beaches, hiking, canoeing, snowmobiling and many other outdoor recreation activities.
Northern Michigan – Lower Peninsula
Northern Michigan is an often-visited vacation spot offering its guests fishing, shopping, beaches, canoeing and much more.
Traverse City – Traverse City, is located on the west side of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at the base of the Leelanau Peninsula. Traverse City offers travelers world class wineries, fantastic water sports, golf, a great downtown with shopping and restaurants, and much more. Michigan produces 70 to 75 percent of the tart cherries grown in the United States and in recognition, Traverse City celebrates with their Cherry Festival in July. This is a big event and is one you shouldn’t miss. Make sure to make reservations well in advance, as this is a busy time.
Gaylord – Here, in Otsego County, you can kick back and take in the beauty that is Northern Michigan: shimmering lakes, flowing rivers, wildernesses, scenic trails and great golf. With an average annual snowfall of over 150 inches, the Gaylord area is blessed with some of the most reliable snow conditions in Northern Michigan. Three downhill ski resorts and nine cross-country ski areas provide facilities and groomed trails for a great winter vacation.
Manistee and Ludington – Hiking and fishing are the attractions that draw most to this these two cities. Be a part of The North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches through seven states. Michigan has the largest percentage of this trail and it stretches through the scenic Manistee National Forest. Ludington, Manistee’s neighbor, is known for it’s premier fishing. The waters between the Big Sable Point and the Little Sable Point offer some of the best fishing anywhere in the state. While the “big lake” fishing is definitely something to brag about, our inland lakes and rivers also offer the opportunity to reel in more than one “fish story.”
Western Michigan – Lower Peninsula
West Michigan has so much to see and do, you’ll start planning your next visit before you finish your first! If your sights are set on learning, you’ll love their museums and historic places. Experience the zoos. Explore the lighthouses. If it’s adventure you’re after, take a day cruise. Rent a dune buggy. Tame a wild water park. If culture is your pursuit, let West Michigan entertain you with festivals galore and performing arts year around.
Grand Haven – Visit the lakefront areas of Spring Lake and Ferrysburg or stroll along Grand Haven’s magnificent two and one-half mile boardwalk to the spectacular beaches. Here, near the water, you will find the restaurants, snack shops, marinas, charter fishing boats, boutiques & specialty shops, trolley rides and other attractions.
South Haven – South Haven is renowned for great swimming off five miles of white-sand beach that stretches south and north from both sides of the harbor pier heads. A paved walkway runs from the south pier through town and out to the north pier, around the entire harbor. Not all trails are paved. South Haven is a town that likes to party. It is host to a wealth of year-round festivals from fine art fairs, the Annual Blueberry Festival each August, antique boat exhibits and many more activities each weekend.
Saugatuck – It’s a trendy resort community, snuggled along the Kalamazoo River on the last leg of its journey to Lake Michigan. Saugatuck is a haven for fine art lovers, featuring more than 26 art galleries, studios and showrooms. Its streets are lined with upscale shops and restaurants, parks and gardens, outdoor tiki bars with live entertainment and waterfront dining. Pleasure yachts parade the river while seagulls cry overhead, soaring below the tips of sand dunes that rise like mountains to the west.
Southeast Michigan, a region of seven counties, revolves around metropolitan Detroit. Southeast Michigan is home to many of the large corporations and businesses throughout Michigan.
Detroit – Detroit, like other Downtowns, has great things to offer. From cool nightclubs, to great restaurants, to awe-inspiring museums, Detroit has something for everyone. Looking for a sporting event? Detroit has two brand new stadiums in the heart of downtown. How about catching a play? Detroit’s theatre district offers nightly shows you won’t want to miss. Feeling lucky? Try your hand at the black jack table at one of three downtown casinos.
Ann Arbor – Centered on the Big Ten College, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers all who visit great restaurants, shops, museums and plenty of outdoor activities. Spend your day hiking the Waterloo Recreation area, one of the largest state parks in the Lower Peninsula. Explore nine unique galleries containing more than 250 interactive exhibits at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.
Lexington and The Thumb – Gorgeous sunrises, rich landscapes, sandy shores and playful beaches are hallmarks of what makes Michigan’s “Thumb” area an excellent choice for vacations and day trip visits. Boating, beaching and fishing are the highlights of this wonderful area. Close to Metro-Detroit, it offers its visitors the ability to swim in the clear waters of Lake Huron and to spend your days catching fish like Salmon, Trout, and Perch. Don’t have your own boat? No problem, many charter-fishing companies are available in this area.
Michigan has so much to offer its visitors. This guide only touched on a few of the many wonderful cities throughout this grand state. From outdoor recreation, to fine restaurants, shops and museums, there is something for everyone.