Michigan — Overview
The home of Motown and motorcars has plenty to offer visitors outside the main urban hub of Detroit. Michigan’s state slogan is Water Wonderland, and with more shoreline than any other state in America besides Alaska, it certainly is fitting. Everywhere you go; lakes and rivers are within reach. From the mighty Great Lakes to 12,000 inland bodies of water, Michigan is an outdoor heaven.
The stars of Michigan’s water world are its beaches that ring the western shores of the state. The sand is surprisingly soft and white, with miles of towering dunes open for play, with the Great Lakes creating the illusion of being at the sea. Midwesterners love wide open spaces, and the state has allocated most of the land to off-road vehicles, hikers, and bikers. The waterways are filled with boaters, fishermen, and windsurfers in the summer months.
You have to be a tough individual to enjoy living in the extreme climates of Michigan, but the locals are very friendly. Outside of the big cities, the smiles beam brightly, even in the dead of winter. From hotels to tasty Midwest meals, your travel budget will stretch very far in this underappreciated state.
With few urban attractions on the menu, most visitors come to Michigan for its natural scenery and outdoor recreation. The Upper Peninsula (UP) is a vast wilderness with some of America’s best hiking, exploring, and hunting. Mackinac Island is another gem well worth discovering. Its Victorian homes and complete absence of motorized vehicles is a rare treat in modern times. Even Detroit has its share of attractions that keep getting better with each passing year as its urban Renaissance continues.
The only way to really see all of Michigan is to drive through it. Without a car, you are extremely limited in what you can do, as most of the attractions are located well outside of the towns. From May until November, the state really pops in terms of natural scenery and the rural country roads are a joy to experience.
- Abandon your vehicle on the mainland for a few days to spend some time on car-free Mackinac Island where the fudge is fresh and the atmosphere tranquil
- Get wild in the rugged remote Upper Peninsula where natural marvels like Pictured Rocks await to shock and awe
- Indulge your gear head side at the Henry Ford Museum, a veritable treasure house of vintage cars, planes, and other great machines
- Plan some summer time on the western shore beaches where the towns are quaint and the sand sugary soft
- Go dune bashing along the Great Lakes in an off-road buggy for the adventure of a lifetime
- Catch some live jazz in Motown, or Detroit as it’s officially known
- See what the kids are learning (or not learning) in Ann Arbor, a college town with one of Michigan’s most pleasant city centers