Why should you visit Michigan? Well, there are plenty of reasons, none more so than the fact it is the state known for being the home of the Great Lakes. Bordering four of these iconic lakes, Michigan is a haven for breathtaking scenery yet this state offers so much more than just a place to relax on the lake. Perhaps the more urbanized folks will think about Detroit and the famed auto industry that once thrived in this part of the nation.
We are not only intrigued by the top reasons for visiting Michigan but also some of the lesser known pull factors such as Mackinac Island and Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula. We are delighted to introduce Heather Raulerson from Raulerson Girls Travel who shares her thoughts on why Michigan should be on your radar in the near future.
Rather than focusing simply on the Great Lakes or Detroit, Heather highlights a couple of these aforementioned ‘hidden gems’ that we all love to discover when traveling. We hope that you are inspired to visit Michigan as much as we are after reading Heather’s recommendations. Following our short visit to Benton Harbor during a trip to Chicago, we are ready to head back and explore more of this iconic state.
According to Heather:
Michigan is a great state that has several aquatic destinations for the outdoor enthusiast to explore.
Let’s take a look at exactly what Heather is referring to with some of her favorite examples.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is one of my favorite places to visit in the Upper Peninsula. The Upper Tahquamenon Falls is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi and the largest in Michigan. It drops almost 50 feet and reaches 200 feet across allowing for 50,000 gallons of water each second to flow over it. There is a well-marked trail to the falls along with over 90 steps to get down to the edge of the Upper Falls.
Watch out, you might get a little wet from the mist rising up around you. There are even more waterfalls 4 miles down the road that you can drive or hike to. If you want a closer look at the Lower Falls, take a canoe over to the island.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Located right next to Lake Michigan, this National State Park is where you can slip off your shoes, submerge your toes in the sand, and sit back and enjoy amazing sunsets. If you are the athletic type, you can exert some energy running up and down the dunes all afternoon.
The dune pictured above is a 450 ft drop directly to Lake Michigan on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. My niece loved running down this dune but she didn’t realize that it was easier to get down than to get back up.
Experience the Soo Locks as the freighters do. A Soo Lock Boat Tour will take you through the locks between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. This is an amazing experience that does not compare with standing on the sidelines and watching the ships go through.
You can actually touch the side of the locks as you wait for the water to rise/lower. There are tons of sightseeing on this trip with going under the International Highway Bridge, sailing next to St. Mary Rapids, and watching the fishermen by the giant hydro-electric plants. It is definitely a nice way to spend an afternoon!
Alpena Shipwreck Tours
If you are interested in Michigan’s Great Lakes maritime history this is a must-see. The Shipwreck Tour is a two-hour ride in a glass-bottom boat through the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary which has over 50 shipwrecks for you to view.
You can see clearly through the glass bottom boat and on clear days you can even see from the top deck. You may see wood hulls, gears, ropes and steel cranes on the bottom of the bay. It is amazing how much detail is preserved in these shipwrecks.
Pictured Rocks Sunset Cruise
Munising is where you will find breathtaking views of nature while enjoying the sunset cruise of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You will be able to see all the amazing colors and rock formations of the Pictured Rocks and the colors are amplified with the sun setting over Lake Superior.
The multiple colors on the rocks (browns, greens, reds, white and black) remind me of abstract paintings where the water runs down the page taking the colors with it. Each trip will be different because Mother Nature never stops changing. It is a perfect way to end the day in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Visit Michigan – Our Thoughts
Although our only visit to Michigan was rather disappointing given that we only ventured as far as Benton Harbor, we are raring to go back and explore further. We did have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Lake Michigan and any state that is located on or around one of the Great Lakes is certainly going to offer plenty of amazing landscapes to attract visitors.
I am particularly intrigued to visit Detroit (rather than just passing through DTW airport) and learn everything there is to know about the US motor industry.
It’s the home of the automotive industry so I am sure there is plenty to learn. Along with cities such as Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to a number of urban gems.
But for those of you that don’t have similar urban interests, Michigan is spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing rural landscapes. Heather has shared a myriad of reasons to inspire us all to visit Michigan and certainly we can’t wait to head back and have a positive experience, unlike our previous trip. We received a lot of criticism on the post that we put together and we are excited to return to put a positive spin on the state of Michigan.
Long gone are the days where everything you hear about Michigan is related to the auto industry. Destinations such as Mackinac Island and Tahquamenon Falls are intriguing and will continue to inspire visitors to explore others parts of Michigan that perhaps are forgotten. We are excited about returning to Michigan in the near future and experiencing everything that Heather has recommended.
Thanks to Heather for sharing her thoughts on why you should visit Michigan. In addition to her website highlighted above, you can also follow Heather on her travels via her social media networks:
Have you visited Michigan before? Are you inspired to visit urban or rural Michigan or perhaps both?