Try to Pronounce the Names of These 12 Michigan Destinations (#7 is a Tongue Twister!)

Have you ever wondered how Michigan was named Michigan? Before colonization, the now Great Lakes State was home to at least eight Native American tribes throughout the land, one of which being the Ojibwe Indians. The Ojibwe were the first people to openly interact with the French in Michigan, trading furs and knowledge of the area for guns and goods. Through translation, the state of Michigan was named after the Ojibwe Indian word “Michigama,” which means “great lake” or “land surrounded by water.”

With this in mind, we invite you to take a look at some other uniquely-named destinations found across the Great Lakes State.

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1. Mackinac Island. This is an easy one. If you’re a native Michigander, you know that this popular Northern Michigan destination is correctly pronounced “Mackinaw Island”. Tourists have visited Mackinac Island in the summers to escape the heat of the cities for hundreds of years. Condé Nast Traveler magazine added Mackinac Island to its “World’s Best” list as one of the top 10 islands in the world. In December 2007 National Geographic Traveler magazine named Mackinac Island as the top island destination in the United States and 8th in the world. Don’t forget the fudge!

2. Tahquamenon. One of Michigan’s most popular waterfalls, Tahquamenon Falls, can be found in the Upper Peninsula in appropriately named Paradise, MI. If you’ve ever wondered how to correctly pronounce the falls, it rhymes with “phenomenon.”

3. Ypsilanti. Ip-sill-ann-tee, or Ypsi to those who know it well, is located just down the road from Ann Arbor. Home to Eastern Michigan University, the city was originally a trading post set up in 1809 and called Woodruff’s Grove after Major Thomas Woodruff. The name was later changed to Ypsilanti in 1829 in honor of Demetrius Ypsilanti. Ypsilanti was a hero in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire.

4. Menominee.  Menominee (Men-om-in-e) is located at the gateway between the Upper Peninsula and Northeastern Wisconsin. This Pure Michigan destination gets its name from a regional Native American tribe known as the Menominee, which translates into “Wild Rice.” The area was originally the home of the Menominee Indian Tribe, who now have a reservation along Wolf River in Northern Wisconsin. Visitors can enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking and much more.

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 5. Sault Ste. Marie. The Soo! If you’ve traveled north of the Mackinac Bridge, you’ve probably passed through the town of Soo-Saynt-Ma-Ree. The Soo is home to many Michigan treasures, such as the Soo Locks and Lake Superior State University. If you do venture north, you’ll discover the rushing waterfalls that give way to majestic forests, rocky coastlines leading to picturesque lighthouses and engineering feats of man stand side-by-side with small fishing skiffs and buckets of bait.

 6. Hamtramck. Hamtramck (Ham-tram-ick) grew into a Polish enclave between 1910 and 1920 when large number of Polish laborers arrived seeking employment. Today, Hamtramck includes many different ethnic groups, but maintains its Polish identify as can be found in the shops, restaurants and bakeries in the area with a pierogi and a paczki.

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 7. Kitch-iti-kipi. Pronounced Kitch-i-tee-ki-pee (say that five times fast!) is another U.P. gem located in scenic Palms Book State Park. Known as “The Big Spring”, Michigan’s largest freshwater spring is two hundred feet across and 40 feet deep. Over 10,000 gallons a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone as the flow continues throughout the year at a constant 45 degree Fahrenheit. By means of a self-operated observation raft, visitors are guided to vantage points overlooking fascinating underwater features and fantasies.

8. Dowagiac. The Grand Old City of southwestern Michigan. Dowagiac, pronounced doe-wah-jack, is nestled within the Fruit Belt, the city is surrounded by rolling farmlands and abundant orchards.  Enjoy fishing, canoeing, boating, water skiing and ice fishing.  Be sure to tour the historic train depot, too

9. Charlotte. If you’ve been pronouncing Charlotte like the city in North Carolina, guess again! Shar-lot (Not Char-lit) is located southwest of Lansing and home to some of the most beautiful historical buildings in Michigan. Charlotte annually welcomes visitors to experience the Eaton County Fair in mid-July and the pioneer spirit of the ever-popular Frontier Days in early September.

10. Bete Grise. Beet grease, you say? Not quite! Bay-dee-gree can be found southwest of Copper Harbor on Keweenaw County’s south shore. Bete Grise (French for “Grey Beast”) has a beautiful white sand beach as well as a wetland preserve stretching along Lake Superior.

11. Baraga. Bare-uh-gah is named after Bishop Frederick Baraga, located in Baraga County in the Western Upper Peninsula. Check out the statue of Bishop Baraga, which stands 35 feet tall and weighs four tons, holding a cross (7 feet high) and snowshoes (26 feet long.)  It floats on a cloud of stainless steel, supported by five laminated wood beams representing Baraga’s five major missions.

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12. Isle Royale. Last but not least, Isle Royal (Not roy-ale!) Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, ever-changing weather and a cool climate, and the crystal clear waters and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior characterize Isle Royale’s National Park.  Roadless Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane.  This is a Pure Michigan destination fit for royalty – if you love the outdoors!

Do you have any Michigan tongue-twisters to add to our list? Tell us below!

Top 5 Day Trips To Take From Detroit

Detroit is known for putting the world on wheels and introducing us to Motownmusic , but did you know that there are great day trips just a short drive away from the city? Read more on these quick Pure Michigan getaways, authored by The Awesome Mitten’s Jennifer Bowman.

Detroit is a phenomenal hub for entertainment: sporting events, concerts, burgeoning restaurants, and more–if it’s at the forefront of urban renaissance, the Motor City’s got it. When visiting or living in an area with so many things to do, however, it can be easy to miss some the other great places that surround us! Whether you’re in Detroit or the metro area, there are numerous day trip options out there for people of all ages and walks of life. Get away for the day with one of these top five picks, all within  a 90-minute drive of Detroit.

1. For History Buffs: Lansing

If you’re looking for somewhere to learn about Michigan’s history, there’s no better place to start than our state capital! Less than an hour and a half from Detroit, Lansing is home to the Michigan Historical Museum, a collection of artifacts and exhibits that range from our state’s first settlers through 20th century wartime efforts, pop culture influences, and more. After browsing everything the museum has to offer (and there’s a lot, so set aside at least a couple of hours), head next door to the adjoining state library and archives (Michigan’s most comprehensive resource for studying government history and personal genealogy!). Follow up with a trip downtown to the architecturally beautiful State Capitol Building for a lesson in Michigan legislature, then cap off your visit in historic REO Town to see the birthplace of the commercial automobile.

The Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing, Courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

2. For Creative Types: Ann Arbor
When it comes to an artistic community with a flair for all things creative, Ann Arbor is the place to go. Spend time admiring the work of others at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, get hands-on with a class or art party at the Ann Arbor Art Center, or head to town each summer for the widely-popular Ann Arbor Art Fair. There are also countless resources available for makers, including art and stationery supply shops, resale and thrift stores, and other unique finds like The Scrap Box, which allows artists and teachers to give new life to discarded materials. At the end of your day, stop by Zingerman’s for some local, artisanal food and get your dose of artistic performance with an indie flick or film festival at the Michigan Theater or State Theatre. With a multitude of unique options, Ann Arbor brings together several opportunities that will entertain and inspire.

Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater, Courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

3. For Those Who Like To Play Tourist: Frankenmuth
You don’t have to venture out of the country (or state, for that matter) to experience a little slice of Bavarian life! German-inspired Frankenmuth allows you to play tourist without the hassle of a passport. Visit downtown for tons of unique shops–clocks, cheese, fudge, and other souvenirs await–and stop by Zehnder’s or the Bavarian Inn Restaurant for authentic German dishes or a famous fried chicken dinner.

Of course, no visit to Frankenmuth would be complete without a trip to Bronner’s, the self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Christmas Store.” Finish your holiday shopping early with a few ornaments for family and friends, or pick up a trinket or two for yourself! On the way out of town, stop by one of the local antique stores for an amazing selection of treasures, followed by a trip to Birch Run Outlets for some great deals before hopping back on the interstate.

Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn, Courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

4. For Nature Lovers: Milford
In addition to a beautiful downtown, Milford provides access to plenty of outdoor trails and water activities. See the best of what this area has to offer at Kensington Metropark, where visitors can explore over 4,400 acres of recreational area by bike, foot, boat, kayak, or canoe. Nature lovers will appreciate fishing, camping, and bird-watching opportunities, while moderate enthusiasts are sure to enjoy picnic and swimming areas, seasonal concerts, paved paths, disc golf, and much more. The best thing about Kensington Metropark, however, is that it’s open all year! In the winter, take part in sledding and cross-country skiing or make the most of frozen water season with ice skating and ice fishing. There’s also a year-round farm center for viewing a slew of cute animals, and educational events such as maple tree tapping tours (complete with live syrup-making demonstrations).

Milford’s Kensington Metropark, Courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

5. For Your Great Lakes Fix: Lexington
When you’re traveling the Great Lakes State–why not visit a Great Lake? Situated on the shores of Lake Huron, Lexington is an adorable beach town that’s perfect for a day of scenic views and leisure activities. Browse one of several charming shops, grab lunch or dinner at a local eatery, then make your way to one of three public beaches to play in the water. Other attractions include Lexington Park (complete with pavilions, swimming and beach access, restrooms, and playground areas), and Lexington State Harbor, your front seat to boat watching and fantastic sunset viewing. An impressive combination of small town living and the Great Lake “wow” factor, Lexington is a delightful getaway for city and suburban dwellers who need a brief disconnect from the busyness of everyday life.

Calm Waters at Lexington State Harbor, Courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

What’s your favorite go-to day trip from the Detroit area? Share in the comments!

JenniferBowman

Jennifer Bowman is a southwest Virginia native who moved to Michigan in 2011 and has been exploring the state ever since. A marketer and online community manager by day, Jennifer is fascinated with discovering new places and spends her free time traveling and writing about her experiences. To learn more about her adventures, you can follow her on Twitter at @JHBowman or on her blog, Wading in Big Shoes.

Don’t want to leave Spot at home? No problem at these dog-friendly Michigan destinations

When it comes to road trips, Michigan is a dog owner’s best friend. Bring the pooch to an array of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and hiking trails. Below are some dog-friendly things to do and see in Michigan.

On the ferry to Mackinac  Island!

On the ferry to Mackinac Island! Photo by Sarah Cunning.

Upper Peninsula

Mackinac Island State Park – a landscape characterized by high limestone bluffs, beautiful vistas of sparkling water and vibrant forests – is a family friendly destination (Spot included). Visit Fort Mackinac and visit the state historic parks with your dog by your side. Pet-friendly lodging is available on the island at Mission Point Resort.

Marquette's North Beach is Bella Mae's favorite dog friendly spot!

Marquette’s North Beach is Bella Mae’s favorite dog friendly spot! Photo by Sharon Matulewicz.

With trails all throughout the Upper Peninsula, there are plenty of places to walk or run with your dog. There’s plenty of room to walk on the 24 miles of Lake Superior shore at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The park near Ontonagon contains more than 25 trails, from flat and smooth to hilly and rugged. Westmore Landing in Marquette offers scenic hiking trails for you and your pup to adventure. The Upper Peninsula has numerous pet-friendly motels, cabins, cottages and resorts.

Lake-loving owners and their canines are welcome aboard the Isle Royal Queen IV ferry for sunset cruises in Copper Harbor. Motor past Great Lakes freighters and lighthouses while listening to stories about the Keweenaw as the sun dips below the Lake Superior horizon.

Northern Michigan

On your way to the U.P., stop at Ruff Life Pet Outfitters in Petoskey to find your dog gear for the outdoor lifestyle in Northern Michigan. If you’re heading to Charlevoix, visit Mt. McSauba beach which includes a short wooded trail that leads to the sand dunes and is a locals favorite.

The same natural attractions that make Traverse City such a popular place for outdoor recreation – miles of forest trails, wide open spaces and long beaches, make it a popular destination for dogs and the people who love them. Many local hotels and resorts (and even a few restaurants) are dog-friendly, although it’s always smart to check ahead and understand the rules and conditions that can sometimes apply. Other pets may require special consideration and stronger restriction. But if you’re a dog owner, you’ll find Traverse City a very welcoming place. Here is a list of more than fourteen friendly places in Traverse City.

West Michigan

Take a trip to Grand Rapids – fur-babies welcomed! With plenty of pet-friendly places to stay, there are no worries finding the perfect one for your needs. Stop by Hillcrest Dog Park , an off-leash park, to let loose. With two fenced in areas for large and small dogs, the park is perfect for everyone. When it’s time to grab some chow, you and your dog are both welcome at One Trick Pony. While you enjoy your meal, your dog can relax with a water bowl and a special marrow bone to snack on.

Norman F. Kruse Park in Muskegon is a win-win when traveling with your pooch. With a section of beach designated to man’s best friend, it is a great spot to soak in the sun at Lake Michigan – including picnic areas for the family and space for your pup to swim.

 

Teddy on the Kruse Park dog beach in Muskegon

Teddy on the Kruse Park dog beach in Muskegon. Photo by Stephanie Branam.

Another option is one of the many pet-friendly parks in Grand Haven. Pups are welcome to run freely on the southern beach area at Kirk Park. The park features acres of dunes, woods and hiking trails with scenic dune overlooks. Dogs are also welcome at East Grand River Park and Mulligan’s Hollow. Venture just outside Grand Haven to Coast Guard Park in Ferrysburg for off leash fun. On leash options abound, with bike paths, the boardwalk and North Ottawa Dunes. Grand Haven offers many pet-friendly lodging options for the family as well.

East Michigan

Head to Frankenmuth, Michigan’s little Bavaria, for a welcoming vacation. Visit Hund Platz Dog Park, designed for dogs, includes dog agility equipment your furry friend is sure to love! You’ll find great toys for your pet at Hello Cats and Dogs, complete with a “Barkery.” Frankenmuth has a variety of dog-friendly lodging options available.

From the Riverfront and pet-friendly shops, to welcoming lodging, Metro Detroit is an ideal destination. You’ll find everything you need to have a successful trip with the pup. Your canine pal can loll at your feet while you dive into seared salmon or a hanger steak sandwich on the patio of Detroit’s Fountain Bistro in Campus Martius Park. During warm months, the south lawn of the downtown park gets covered with sand, so pups can roll around while masters sip cocktails at the adjacent Beach Bar and Grille.

These are just a few of the many places to bring man’s best friend on your trip to Michigan. Click here to find more dog-friendly destinations in Michigan. Check out our past pet-friendly blogs for more travel ideas. Where is your favorite place in Michigan to take your dog?