When people think of Michigan, they don't think of a vacation destination. They think of Flint's water contamination and the failing auto industry. But Michigan is so much more than that.
It has the longest freshwater shore in the world. and it has more shoreline than any other state besides Alaska. You're never more than eighty-five miles from a Great Lake at any point in the state.
It's one of the top five states for breweries. The oldest ginger ale hails from Michigan and it's the birthplace of cornflakes. And you can't forget about the Coney, the hot dog covered in ground beef sauce.
Oh, and Iggy Pop is from Michigan.
Beer is big business in Michigan, especially Grand Rapids, Michigan, Beer City USA. I drank excellent brews at Brewery Vivant, Mitten Brewery, and Elk Brewing.
Walk through the Woods at Kalamazoo Nature Center
Did you know Kalamazoo Nature Center is one of the first of its kind in the United States? It's a wonderful place to enjoy the deciduous forests of Michigan, especially during the verdant summer months.
Go Back in Time at Grand Rapids Public Museum
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a family-friendly museum located in downtown Grand Rapids. You can go back to 19th-century Michigan, explore space at the planetarium, or ride on the carousel.
Drink Cafe Miel
I had never heard of cafe miel, or honey latte, until I went to Michigan. I fell in love with the mixture of earthy sweetness with smooth milk and rich, bitter espresso. I order it whenever I see it on a cafe menu.
Get Endless Views at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is considered one of the most beautiful places in the United States. With its cerulean blue waters and towering dunes, I can definitely agree with that! It's a great place for a day visit or to explore for a few days.
Celebrate Christmas Year Round in Frankenmuth
Do you love Christmas or kitsch? Then you should head over to the world's largest Christmas store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. You can find just about any kind of Christmas ornament or decoration here. I even found an adorable hedgehog ornament.
Explore Flowers and Sculptures at Meijer Gardens
Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a lovely place to visit year round. In the winter, snow covers the gardens creating a winter wonderland. Greenhouses keep tropical and desert plants growing all throughout the year. And sculptures never die.
Ride the Ferry under the Mackinac Bridge
The Mackinac Bridge connecting the two peninsulas of Michigan is the world's 19th longest main span and the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the western hemisphere. The ferry leaves from Mackinaw City, on the lower peninsula, and St. Ignace, on the upper peninsula. Not all ferries go under the bridge so make sure to ask before purchasing tickets.
View World Class Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts
Built in 1927, the Detroit Institute of Arts continues to thrive as its surrounding neighborhood decays. Home to a large collection of African-American art, the Diego Rivera Detroit Industry frescoes, and over 100 galleries. It's home to one of my favorite paintings, The Nightmare.
Eat Great Food
Michigan is home to a number of good eats. I've had delicious classic American breakfasts, pupusas, fantastic sausage, traditional Cornish pasties, coneys (a Michigan hot dog), and excellent Lebanese food from Al-Ameer in Dearborn, Michigan.
Visit Adorable Mackinac Island
The natural arch at Mackinac Island is one of many tourist attractions on this adorable island in Lake Huron. Visitors can enjoy riding bikes without car traffic (no cars on the island), eating fudge, exploring history at the fort, and kayaking around the island. While it is crowded in the summer and hotel prices on the island are steep, I still found it a relaxing day trip. From the number of families I saw, I think it would be a great destination for people with small children.