Top 10 Reasons to Ride Michigan Rail-Trails this Summer

Looking for a unique way to explore Pure Michigan this summer? You might be able to go farther than you think just by moving your own two feet! Throughout the state, there are amazing bicycle trails to enjoy while helping you to stay in shape.

To offer some insight on just how incredible Michigan’s bike trail system really is, Josh DeBruyn from the Michigan Department of Transportation shares 10 reasons to trap on a helmet and ride.

1. You can ride for miles and miles – Michigan has the most rail-trails in America, with more than 2,700 miles. Find out where they are with the Michigan Trail Map Directory.

2. Flat as a pancake – As former railroad corridors, these trails are nearly level – making traveling longer distances enjoyable and effortless. Perfect for anyone.

Photo courtesy of MDOT Photo Unit

The I-275 Metro Trail in Wayne County, Photo Courtesy of MDOT Photo Unit

3. Woodlands, farmland, and lakeshores – Access Pure Michigan beauty in places not accessible by automobile. Michigan’s trails offer a variety of sights, sounds and smells for great well-rounded sensory experiences.

4. Multi-season fun – Whether you are on a road bike in the summer or a fat-tire snow bike in the winter, there are a variety of trails and surface types to enjoy regardless of the season.

5. Old-time whistle stops – Many trails run right through downtowns, making it easy to stop and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. MDOT’s Road and Trail Bicycle Guides will help you plan your route.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Krupiarz

The Betsie Valley Trail in Benzie County, Photo Courtesy of Nancy Krupiarz

6. Wildlife abounds – Traveling rail-trails by bicycle affords many opportunities to view wildlife, including deer, turkey, beaver, turtles and other fun furry and feathered creatures.

7. Ride part of a National System - 141 Miles of Michigan rail-trail are officially recognized by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as part of an official U.S. Bicycle Route System.

8. Snapshot of history – Travel over historical bridges, through pasturelands, and feel the history as you travel along the path of our forefathers.

Photo courtesy of Trail Genius

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County, Photo Courtesy of Trail Genius

9. Clear your head, improve your health – Get away from it all and surround yourself with nature by traveling miles without seeing another car, bike or train. De-stress and burn calories all while having fun!

10. Family fun – With their off-road location and few road crossings, rail-trails are great places to ride with the entire family at any skill level.

What are your favorite trails to explore in Pure Michigan?

Five Reasons That Will Inspire You To Visit Grand Hotel This Summer

Every year since 1887, Grand Hotel has welcomed countless guests to historic Mackinac Island, where cars are not allowed and bikes and horse-drawn carriages are the favored modes of transportation. Thanks to its picturesque location, beautiful accommodations and various activities and dining options, Grand Hotel has been named as one of the Travel+Leisure 500 “World’s Best Hotels”. Here are the top five reasons to visit America’s Summer Place this summer:

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#1 Getting there is just part of the fun

Mackinac Island is located just a quick ferry ride away from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace. When approaching the island by ferry, Grand Hotel’s famous 660-foot front porch is visible high on a bluff above town. After arriving to the island, luggage is transported directly to the hotel. Enjoy a scenic walk through downtown Mackinac or a horse-drawn carriage ride up Grand Hill to Grand Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#2 Grand family activities

Grand Hotel’s activities make it a perfect destination for families. Guests of all ages can enjoy swimming in the heated pool, bocci ball and croquet in the Tea Garden, delicious treats at Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor and golf on The Jewel. The complimentary children’s programs entertain younger guests with butterfly conservatory visits and arts and crafts. Or tour the Grand Stables for an up-close visit with the Grand Hotel horses and over 20 antique carriages.

#3 Dining and dressing up

Dining has always been an exceptional feature of the Grand Hotel experience. Evening wear is required for dinner and in all areas of the hotel after 6:30 p.m. Most guest room rates include a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily. In addition to the legendary Main Dining Room overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, other casual options are located around the island, including The Gate House, Cawthorne’s Village Inn, Woods Restaurant and The Jockey Club at the Grandstand.

Grand Hotel has the longest porch in the world.

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#4 Every room is different

At Grand Hotel, no two of the 390 guest rooms are alike. Each guest room has been tastefully decorated by renowned designer Carleton Varney and features its own special character and style. The new Cupola Suites offer more flexibility for families, with the option of creating one- or two-bedroom suites.

#5 Live music and nightly dancing

Live music and dancing are Grand Hotel traditions. The full-time musical staff includes skilled veterans who are some of the finest in the country. Every evening guests are treated to a jazz quartet during dinner, a harpist at demitasse and later, dancing to the Grand Hotel Orchestra as it plays classics and requests.

So come and enjoy the grand family experience for yourselves. Call 1-800-33GRAND or visit GrandHotel.com to learn more. What are some of your favorite memories from your trip to Grand Hotel?

 

13 Reasons to Bicycle Tour in Michigan this Summer

Beach Bike

Photo courtesy of Josh DeBruyn

Bicycle travel offers a unique way to see Michigan. No matter if you’re north, south, east or west, there’s endless opportunities to revel in the natural splendor of the Great Lakes state. Besides being a great way to see the beauty of Pure Michigan, taking a bicycle tour is also a fun and easy way to stay in shape!

To celebrate Michigan in offering some of the most unique biking trails in the nation, Josh DeBruyn from the Michigan Department of Transportation shares 13 reasons to strap on your helmet and ride.

1) Michigan Routes – Michigan has the most signed U.S. Bicycle Routes of any state. Easy navigation and ready-made maps make your trip a slam dunk.

2) Food – Eat local and eat it a lot. Raspberries, ice cream, blueberries, craft beer, ice cream, coffee, wine, and oh yeah, ice cream; Michigan’s towns have it all.

3) It’s easy to cool your jets – with 3,126 miles of Great Lakes coastline and over 11,000 inland lakes you are never far from fresh water. Take a break from the bicycle saddle and cool off!

4) Michigan has connections – major hubs with airports and multi-modal connections, including Amtrak’s Blue Water Line roll-on bicycle service.

Bike photo-op

Photo courtesy of Josh DeBruyn

5) Michigan is Bicycle Friendly – Ranked 14th by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) in 2014 and home to 41 different LAB recognized bicycle friendly businesses, universities and cities.

6) From Sunrise to Sunset – Morning people can enjoy the relaxing calm of the sunrise over Lake Huron; while night owls can experience splendid sunsets over Lake Michigan. Not many other states can offer such opportunities!

7) Michigan has the infrastructure you’re looking for – With more improved rail-trails than any other state, thousands of miles of wide paved shoulders and growing networks of urban bike lanes, Michigan has it all.

8) Touring in Michigan is Simple – hundreds of great bicycle tours are already planned and only a few clicks away

9) Look Mom, No Cars! – take car free to the extreme with a stop on Mackinac Island and spend a few days bicycling in a car free paradise.

Boarding Train

Photo courtesy of Josh DeBruyn

10) More time for bicycling in Michigan – Located on the extreme western edge of the Eastern Time zone, at the peak of summer, it can be light until 10 p.m. (even later in the Upper Peninsula).

11) Seasonal variety – If you can’t make it in the summer, come later in the year for leaf-peeping and apple picking. Or we’ll see you next spring, when the flowering trees are in bloom.

12) The new B & B – with nearly 200 local breweries and thousands of miles of great bicycle infrastructure; Michigan is the ideal destination for B & B (Breweries and Bicycling).

13) Enjoy the falling water – No we’re not talking about bicycling in the rain but bicycling to the nearly 200 named waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula. Most are quite small, but there are still a good number of impressive accessible by bicycle.

Where is your favorite place to bike in Pure Michigan? Let us know by commenting below!