Seven Pure Michigan Travel Resolutions for 2016

After a great 2015, the New Year in Pure Michigan is well under way! As we look forward to the many events, fairs and festivals that will happen across Pure Michigan, we put together a list of seven travel ideas to put on your 2016 ‘bucket list’ for fun around the Great Lakes state. Read below for just a few suggestions and let us know which Pure Michigan destinations you plan to visit this year!

1.)  Cross the Mackinac Bridge. If you can believe it, 20 percent of Michiganders have never crossed the bridge! Though some might not realize it, winter is a great time to explore the Upper Peninsula and all of its glory. Arguably, the Tahquamenon Falls are just as beautiful in winter. With interesting cities like St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Houghton, Ironwood, and countless more, there’s so much to explore north of the Mighty Mac.

View from the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

Photo Courtesy of Tim Burke

2.) Go somewhere in the state that you’ve never visited before. Consider a trip to the Alpena-Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary and shipwreck tours by boat. Marquette is a cool university town with unique sandstone architecture and a beautiful waterfront with excellent trails for biking. The Keweenaw Peninsula is great for scenery, mine tours, history, kayak/canoe, biking, motorcycle tours and more. 3.) Do something that scares you…just a little bit. This winter, that could mean snowmobiling, ice climbing or even luge!  The Michigan Snowmobile Association website has a great list (available via the Michigan.org Snow Day page) of trails to explore. If you seek something a bit more tame, try Fat Tire biking.

Snowmobile trail in Pure Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @Mossemmallee

4.) Expand your horizons/loosen up: Try a spa. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “spa person”, relaxation is healthy for everyone. Give yourself a treat this winter and head to one of Michigan’s many resorts and take in the relaxing benefits of a massage or other spa treatment.  You’ll be happy you did. Some spas even offer couples massages and discounts, for you early Valentine’s Day planners! 5.) Bring your family and friends outside for a hike at one (or all!) of Michigan’s National Parks and Lakeshores.  These cost-effective trips offer spectacular beauty and are great for laying down a foundation of healthy habits for generations to come while enjoying the outdoors. Consider a trip to one of the 100+ free parks to choose from.

Isle Royale National Park, located in the northwest of Lake Superior.

Isle Royale, Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

6.) Visit Detroit-America’s Comeback City. Detroit is on the move and worthy of visitation for so many reasons. Explore the culture through the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Motown ‘Hitsville’ Historical Museum, Michigan Science Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Fox Theater and more. Cheer on Michigan’s favorite teams, the Lions, TigersRed Wings and Pistons (Auburn Hills), enjoy delectable restaurants (more than 80-new to choose from in the last year and half) and the gaming scene with three casinos.

"The Fist" in Detroit, America’s Comeback City

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @Regalt

7.) Give yourself a Pure Michigan Snow Day. Remember the thrill you felt as a kid when you found out you had a snow day?  Now, as an adult, it’s good for your heart and soul to take some time off work, and many vacation days often go unused throughout the year. Channel your inner child and take a grown up snow day of your own, or take the whole family on a Pure Michigan adventure! Already planning your Pure Michigan travel for 2016? Share the destinations you plan to visit below!

Falling for Michigan: Five Ways to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

Another fall color season in Pure Michigan is about to begin! When the days begin to get shorter and the crisp fall air arrives, Michigan’s 19 million acres of woods turn to shades of red, gold and orange.

The new season offers new vacation experiences, and whether you take a long weekend, or a short day trip, there is no better place to see the dynamic fall foliage colors than along Michigan’s highways, trails and coastlines.

Here are five great ways to “fall” for Pure Michigan this year.  

Take a Fall Color Tour

From the Keweenaw Peninsula to the Sunrise Coast to Southeast Michigan, there is no shortage of beautiful places to take in the fall foliage.  Starting in the Upper Peninsula in Mid-September to Michigan’s Sunrise and Sunset coasts in Mid to late October, let our fall colors report guide you toward the best time to take a Pure Michigan fall vacation.   For a listing of fall color tours, visit http://www.michigan.org/fall-color-tours/ or sign up for the Fall Color Update newsletter.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

By Land…or By Lake

During the summer, boat cruises take vacationers out onto Michigan’s lakes, but many of them offer color cruises or private charters for those wanting to enjoy the fall foliage from the nation’s longest freshwater coastline.  Check out cruises and charters near you here.

Want to get in some outdoor recreation?  Bundle up and take a fall paddling trip on one of Michigan’s lakes or rivers, enjoying the peace and quiet of a fall morning or afternoon.  Michigan is blessed with more paddling opportunities than any other state.  {Related:  Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips}

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Blaze Your Own Trail

Michigan has hundreds of miles of trails and pathways, and nothing beats a biking or hiking trip than one with a colorful backdrop of fall foliage and the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

Looking for something unique? Saddle up and enjoy the beauty of fall with a horse ride.  Michigan has several horse-friendly trails and stables perfect for an afternoon adventure.

Michigan Trails Week  is September 19 – 26, which is a weeklong celebration of Michigan’s extensive trail network.  Find your favorite trail.

Trails_Info_435083_7_Trail week infographic

A View from the Top

We are often times looking up to see the fall colors, but you can get a bird’s eye view of Michigan’s thousands of trees with orange, red and yellow leaves.

Take a scenic chairlift ride at participating ski resorts throughout the state such as Boyne Mountain Resort, Mount Bohemia,  Mont Ripley and Crystal Mountain, among others.

Feeling more adventurous?  Many of Michigan’s hot air balloon companies have fall schedules that will give you the view of a lifetime.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Fall “Fore” Michigan Golf

Michigan is consistently named among the best places in the country to play golf with more than 650 public courses throughout the state.   The fall season is a great time to enjoy a round of golf and the fall colors with many courses offering packages and deals.

Where is your favorite place in Pure Michigan for fall colors?

 

Ten Beautiful Pure Michigan Campsites like No Other

With summer in full swing and Independence Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take an idyllic Pure Michigan camping trip! Escape the hectic city life, spend quality time with family and develop a new found appreciation for Mother Nature at one of these beautiful and fun campsites.

Photo courtesy of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

Photo courtesy of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Take in the sights of one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The Upper Falls stretches 50 feet high and more than 200 feet wide, deservingly making it a must-see attraction. But with more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area, there’s more to love about the park than just its majestic waterfall.

Tahquamenon Falls – Photo courtesy of Michigan Nut Photography

Porcupine Mountains State Park – Be sure to bring a map when traveling in the “Porkies” to help navigate the state park which is the largest of its kind in Michigan, comprising 60,000 acres. Take your pick from a variety of campsites including modern, rustic and yurt lodging. Enjoy scenic waterfalls, trek across miles of hiking trails, or feel the sensation of stepping back in time as you explore the ancient Porcupine Mountains. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Explore the enormous sand dunes by taking a guided tour or wandering on your own. Swim at one of the park’s many beaches or take in the sweet smell of maple syrup while walking through a lush beech-maple forest. Adventurous kids can take part in a “rescue mission” of shipwreck survivors at the Maritime Museum.

SleepingBear

Sleeping Bear Dunes – Photo courtesy of Neal Weaver Photography

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Behold the beauty which lies in the park’s dramatic, multicolored sandstone cliffs. Hike alongside comely wildflowers and ride the waves of Lake Superior in a kayak. For another priceless view of the lake, travel atop the Au Sable Light Station towering 87 feet above ground. Wilderness State Park – Participate in a host of recreational activities including hiking, fishing and biking across 10,500 acres of campground. Enjoy 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and watch amazing sunsets over pristine water. The air is so clean here that breathing is a kind of luxury.

Wilderness State Park – Photo courtesy of Pearsons Cottages

Ludington State Park – Lace up your hiking boots or grab your bike and hit the camp’s 18 mile trail for personal encounters with wildlife. Set sail across the picturesque Lake Michigan or soak in the sun along the sandy shoreline of Hamlin Lake. You also can catch folk musical artist Mark Dvorak at the park’s Amphitheater this Fourth of July weekend.

Lakeport State Park – Take pleasure in a wide variety of outdoor activities. From canoeing to shooting hoops to tossing horseshoes – there’s something for everyone. Gaze into the unbridled waters of Lake Huron and take comfort in modern amenities offered at one of 250 campsites.

South Higgins Lake State Park – Take a swim in the crystal-clear Higgins Lake or grab a metal detector and try your luck searching for hidden treasures along the shoreline. Experience tranquility and observe wildlife while traveling the camp’s nature trail.

Sleepy Hollow State Park – Watch in quiet amazement the unspoiled beauty of the park’s natural habitat that’s home to more than 228 species including the Blue Jay and Bald Eagle. Walk along trails which take you through prairie grasses, hardwood forest and stands of pine trees.

Huron – Manistee National Forest – Get lost in the peacefulness of Jack Pine trees and fall in love with miles of sparkling rivers and streams. Have a quality canoeing experience along the Pere Marquette or catch fish from the Benton Lake. Take delight in examining the forest’s remarkable ecological features including dry sand prairie remnants, coastal marshlands, dunes, oak savannahs, fens, bogs and marshes.

What are you favorite campsites for a weekend getaway? Let us know below!