The Michigan Times

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Top 10 Places to Vacation in Michigan

Hialey Andres

Hialey Andres

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While most people consider far away destinations when going on a vacation, often we overlook the beauty and versatility of Michigan. From downhill skiing to summer boating, this state truly has it all. Here are some top 10 Michigan destinations you should check out:

Detroit

The largest city in the state is often overlooked by crime statistics reported by the news. But since 2008, Detroit is experiencing what many are referring to as a renaissance. With jobs and businesses opening up on a regular basis, we are truly witnessing the rebirth of a great city. From Midtown and Corktown to the Eastern market, Detroit has much to offer and explore. Restaurants and bars line the streets and would be a great experience for those 21 and over. The recently opened Little Caesars Arena now places all the sports arenas in a central area. If you have never been, go experience all Detroit has to offer.

Mackinac Island

While technically a “tourist trap,” this small island offers a great weekend trip that every Michigander needs to experience. The car-free island acts as a step back in time for all visitors. From biking to sight-seeing, beaches and shopping, this 3.8-square-mile island is a staple in the state’s history.

Traverse City

Perched in the top left of the lower peninsula, this city is known as Michigan’s cherry capitol.  The city is famous for its breweries, but offers vineyards, a national lakeshore, winter and summer skiing, and numerous outdoor activities. With the Sleeping Bear Dunes and other nature staples nearby, this destination offers and equal amount of excitement and relaxation.

Leland

This old harbor town has wooden docks that makes tourists feel like they have stepped into a new culture and experience. The fish town vibe reflects one of an east coast village, and has been referred to as one of the best harbors in Michigan. With many food and drink festivals, the town comes alive during the summer.

Pictured Rocks

This national lakeshore offers some of the most beautiful views in the state. With several waterfalls to view, the multicolored rock formations are picturesque. Lighthouses and shipwrecks can be viewed around the area, as well. The best way to explore the rocks? By boat ride or kayak. Be aware, the beautiful water is as cold as ice, and can often turn violent. It is best to explore the waters with a guide.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

As previously referenced, the Sleeping Bear Dunes lakeshore spans around 35 miles of the northwest coast of the lower peninsula. The park features beaches, forests, dunes, and more. Formed by glaciers, visiting the dunes offers a great way to study Michigan’s geographical history and how the great lakes were formed. Rustic camps scattered thought the park provide a great rest and relaxation retreat.

Ann Arbor

Go Blue! Constantly voted the best place to live in Michigan, Ann Arbor is an art town, and everything about it speaks so. Home of the University of Michigan, the town is filled with shopping, restaurants, bars, gardens, museums, and hole-in-the-wall businesses that you won’t find anywhere else. The city is one of the most tourist friendly around, with activities for all ages.

Tahquamenon Falls

One of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, 3,000 gallons on average flow over the upper falls every second. Many do not realize that the falls consists of two parts, upper and lower. The upper is the large, well-known waterfall, but the lower is smaller and requires a walk and row to get to–and what I would consider more of an experience. Visitors at the lower falls are able to rowboat across to a small island that has a walking trail. It is a great trip and well-worth the drive.

Grand Maris

A personal favorite, Grand Maris is the epitome of a small town. My family has personal ties here, as we have visited every year for 22 years. The town is a straight shot north, all one would need to do is hop on the interstate and keep driving. The town features the typical one street length downtown, and is only 30 minutes east of Pictured Rocks. It is a huge snowmobiling town in the winter and has several piers known for great fishing. It is just north of Seney National Wildlife Refuge, a 95,000-square-mile wildlife refuge and park.

Isle Royal National Park

Michigan’s hidden gem, this island is in the most northern part of Michigan. The park is so scenic; you might feel as if you got dropped off in the middle of the wilderness. Wild wolves and moose are common sights. The park offers 165 miles of trails and 36 campgrounds. The rugged shores might make you feel like you were marooned in a shipwreck. There are three points of entry from the mainland of the state; Houghton, Copper Harbor, and Grand Portage, which is in Minnesota.

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