Michigan is a great state to visit for young and old alike. There is a lot to see and plenty to do. Home to 5 Great Lakes, Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State for good reason. Sit on the beaches of Lake Michigan and watch the sun set or travel north and take a step back in time as you visit Mackinaw Island. Besides the beaches, Michigan has a number of pro sports teams, magnificent lighthouses, ship wreck museums, and much more.
Visitors often refer to the Upper Peninsula as Northern Michigan. However, any Michigan native will be quick to point out that northern Michigan is actually part of the Lower Peninsula.
Northern Michigan includes places like Traverse City, known for their annual cherry festival, Charlotte (if you want to fit in with true Michiganders you will pronounce this as Shar-Lot), and Mackinaw City.
Mackinaw City serves as the gateway to the Upper Peninsula. Here is where the Mackinac Bridge sits, where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet, and where Fort Michilimackinac still stands. Visitors can stop by the fort that was built in the 1700s as an outpost for fur trappers and Native Americans. Actors dressed in period pieces still carry on as if it were a working fort.
Within view of the Mackinac Bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas sits Mackinac Island. It is like taking a step back in time as the ferry pulls up to the docks. No cars are on the island; only horses and bicycles. Walk around and visit the stores by the docks. There are gift shops and several places known for their Mackinac Island Fudge. I suggest stopping by Joann’s Fudge of Mackinac Island. It is the best around. Also on the island are wonderfully ornate homes, the Grand Hotel, another fort and a cemetery in the woods. Ferries are available from St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula or take of from Mackinaw City on the Lower Peninsula.
Southern Michigan is home to number of great travel destinations. Stop by Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, or Ann Arbor.
Battle Creek is home to the Kellogg’s. Stop by Kellogg’s Cereal City USA and check out the museum and factory tour that are all part of this theme attraction. Afterwards, stop by Binder Park Zoo. This zoo located on Division St. offers visitors a chance to see Wild Africa. Free range animals like giraffes, zebras and ostriches mingle together on an open range. The park also features a number of other unique animals. Check out the red panda. Though not actually bears, these red pandas are distant relatives of the panda and are closely related to raccoons.
Check out the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There you will undoubtedly find the university’s sports teams and the Charles Baird Carillon. This carillon is the third heaviest in the world and features 55 bells, each weighing 21 pounds to 12 tons.
Ann Arbor is also home to a number of wonderful shops, spas, and museums.
If you will be in West Michigan you definitely have to stop by the beach-side towns of Grand Haven and Holland.
Grand Haven offers spectacular beaches and lake views; not to mention a boardwalk, singing fountain, and a lighthouse all within a short distance of one another. Stop by Snug Harbor, a beach side restaurant feature excellent food. I suggest trying the Jerk Chicken Nachos. Also across the street from the state beach is a road that dead ends into an overlook of the city.
Holland, located just to the south of Grand Haven is home to a large Dutch population. Stop by in the spring time to see all the tulips in bloom at the annual Tulip Festival or go out and see the large traditional Dutch windmill. Holland is also home to a number of outlet stores and a mall.
Probably the best known part of East Michigan is Detroit and its suburbs. Stop in and see one of the pro sports teams play. Detroit is home to the Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons, and Lions. Visit Greek Town for some excellent food. Take in a concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. There is something for everyone in the Detroit area.
Sit along the shores of Lake Superior or go down in a copper mine on the Keewana Peninsula (the northern most point of Michigan). Catch a glimpse of the Presque Isle Light House near Marquette or head over towards Munising. Munising is home to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore- colorful 50-200 foot sandstone cliffs that line the lake. It is also home to the Shipwreck Museum. Visitors can even take a glass-bottom boat tour of the shipwrecks off the cost.