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Michigan Travel Guide

Michigan — Things to Do

Michigan has the most coastline in the entire domestic United States, bordered on three sides by the Great Lakes and containing more than 12,000 inland lakes. It’s no surprise that water recreation is a major activity in this outdoorsy state. From fishing and boating in the summer to ice skating, hockey, and ice fishing in winter, Michigan has plenty of things to do to enjoy their abundant water supply.

Another dimension to the state’s outdoor recreation can be found in the Upper Peninsula and the many state parks where over 3,000 miles of Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) trails let people explore the woods by ATV, dirt bike, or mountain bike. In summer, the beaches of the Great Lakes attract windsurfers, swimmers, and sunbathers. There are also 850 public golf courses in Michigan that keep the duffers happy while the snow is at bay.

The opportunities for boating and other water sports are endless in Michigan. Between the Great Lakes, rivers, and 12,000 or so inland lakes, there are plenty of spots to go sailing, windsurfing or waterskiing. With 1,300 public access points to Michigan’s waterways, outfitters like Sweetwater Sailing and Lake Superior Charters can arrange any kind of excursion.

The residents of Michigan love the outdoors and motorized vehicles. Lucky for them, there are 3,100 miles of official ORV trails in the state, where it’s legal to ride ATVs, quads, dirt bikes, dune buggies, or anything else with an engine. From the Silver Lake Sand Dunes to the Ogemaw Hills, Michigan is an off-roading haven. Companies like Wild Badger Tours and Copper Country Rentals offer equipment, as well as provide guides.

When the snow melts, the 850 public golf courses of Michigan turn emerald green so they don’t have to work hard to maintain beautiful, lush holes. The rolling topography and natural water hazards make for challenging and scenic golfing, with green fees that are among the lowest in the country. Forest Dunes Golf Club has been voted America’s top public course, while Thoroughbred Golf Course is one of the country’s top woman-friendly courses.

Whether it’s fly fishing or rod and reel, thousands of lakes and rivers have something special to cast for. The trout, salmon, and walleye that live in Michigan are famous for their feistiness, making the UP a hot spot for anglers who like a challenge. Riverside Charters covers Lake Michigan while Betts Guide Service leads fly fishing expeditions down the Muskegon River. There are hundreds of other outfitters which are local to specific fishing spots.

Even though the window of warmth is small (really only two months, July and August), the beaches of Michigan are as pretty as any in the northern half of America. During summertime, people flock to the 3,200 miles of shoreline and the many public arenas such as Silver Beach and Grand Haven. Whether you want to relax and work on your tan or have a craving for recreation, there’s plenty to do like windsurfing, jet-skiing, dune buggying, and boating.

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