Dive into Pure Michigan Shipwrecks at These 5 Preserves

Since Michigan is surrounded by large bodies of water, it is one of the best places to explore shipwrecks. Experience history firsthand by visiting one of the sites this summer! Even if you aren’t a diver, there are options for charter tours with glass bottoms perfect for making memories while staying dry! To get you started, here are five water preserves that offer many shipwreck dives and tours. 

Thunder Bay Shipwreck Dive

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Located on Lake Huron, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary holds nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the bay. The cold, fresh water preserves the wrecks intact and frozen in time. There are several ranging depths, from a few inches to 200 feet, so it’s perfect for both diving beginners and experts or even snorkelers. Visit the headquarters at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center to learn more about the wrecks before getting into the water. A few of the sites to visit include the Monohansett, the Grecian, the schooner Defiance and the brig John J. Audubon.

If you don’t want to get wet but still want to explore, look into Alpena Shipwreck Tours. Take off from Alpena into Lake Huron’s Shipwreck Alley. With “glass-bottom” viewing wells, these cruises are the perfect option for non-divers or for families with children. While cruising and checking out the wrecks, you’ll hear about the history and legends of Thunder Bay.

Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve

Head over to the Traverse City area for some great sites. Grand Traverse Bay is strategically located, which means many ships have sailed through for commerce activities. The Bay holds several lost ships near the shorelines making it a great destination for diving. The Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve has worked hard to keep these wrecks intact for your viewing and learning pleasure. Check out Metropolis, a schooner that was lost in a snow storm in 1886. Some of the debris is only in eight feet of water, but there are deeper portions in 120 feet of water. Another schooner, the Yuba is only in 15 feet of water, making it a viable option for beginning divers. A third option, out of many, is the A.J. Rogers, built in 1862 that sank in 1898 while attempting to reach Old Mission Point. This schooner is located 53 feet under water.

If you’re looking to learn how to scuba dive or go with a group, check out Scuba North. A full service diving center, Scuba North has several options for charters, group travel and training.

shipwreck

Alger Underwater Preserve

For another Michigan location to explore, go further north to Munising. The Alger Underwater Preserve is located on the south shore of Lake Superior which includes Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island. In addition to shipwrecks, there are “sea caves” and underwater interpretative trails. A couple of the popular sites are the Smith Moore, resting at 70 to 105 feet of water, and the Bermuda, popular with sport divers at a depth of 12 feet.

For a great tour, go with Exploring the North for narrated tours of the Lake Superior Shipwrecks with glass-bottom viewing panes perfect for observing the wrecks. They also offer diving for any type of diver, from beginner to expert.

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

Visit the Thumb and check out the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve in Lake Huron. There are several family fun activities as well, like the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, Sanilac Petroglyphs and the Lake Huron Shipwreck Museum. This Preserve is popular with sport divers as there are several options within recreational diving limits and at least 16 shipwrecks are above 120 feet. Visit Sport, the first steel tug on the Great Lakes. Sport has an abundance of relics and tools scattered throughout the site. Undiscovered until 1986, Regina is another great option with cargo scattered along the lake floor.

Go through Rec & Tec Dive Charters for an easier way of getting to the wrecks. Take a look at their website for more information on schedules and the area.

shipwreck 2

Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve

The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve is another great location on Lake Michigan to find fantastic shipwrecks. Visit the wreck Havana, a schooner that sunk in 1887, for great viewing of the ship’s construction. The hull, keelson, centerboard, hanging knees and more can be observed by divers. Another wreck is the Rockaway, lost in a storm in 1891 while sailing from Ludington to Benton Harbor. Make sure you stop in at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven for some cool information surrounding the wrecks.

Shipwreck Explorers is one company you can go through for scheduling your diving tours. In the southeast region of Lake Michigan, the company can take you to the wrecks Hennepin, S.S. Michigan, Hamilton, and H.C. Ackley off the shores of Saugatuck and South Haven.

Be sure to check out our website for more trip ideas if you visit one of these locations!

What shipwrecks are your favorite to dive or view? Share with us in the comments!

Five Ways to Enjoy Michigan Golf This summer

Memorial Day Weekend is the annual kick-off to summer in Michigan and June 1 is the official beginning to Michigan Golf Month, which celebrates the game and its impact on the state’s tourism and economy. With over 650 public golf courses and a variety of golf resort destinations around the state, there are plenty of golfing options to take advantage of this summer. Read more on five fun golfing experiences to try this season:

1. Tee-it-up where the professionals play.

It’s not very often that golfers can play the same golf courses that the pros play, but at Harbor Shores Golf Club, site of the recent Sr. PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, you can drive the same fairways and hit the same shots into the greens on this public Jack Nicklaus designed layout. Also checkout the new Inn at Harbor Shores and make it a golf package.

Sand traps at Harbor Shores Golf Club

Sand and water traps present skill challenges at Harbor Shores

2. Play a golf course forwards and then backwards in reverse.

Inspired by the Old Course at St. Andrews, where over 200-years ago the course was designed to be played in reverse during the winter to help with maintenance, world-renowned golf course architect, Tom Doak, has designed the first reversible golf course of its kind in the U.S. The Loop at Forest Dunes in Grayling is a reversible routing that will alternate directions on a daily basis allowing golfers to play it clockwise (Black) one day, then counter-clockwise (Red) the next day. Combine the original Forest Dunes course and this will be a one of a kind 54-hole golf package experience.

The Loop at Forest Dunes in Grayling

World-renowned golf course architect Tom Doak designed The Loop, a reversible course

3. Play nine holes or a short course

With golf looking for ways to grow the game and get more people to participate, playing nine-holes or shorter courses has become a popular thing to do. Below are ten fun 9-hole and shorter courses around Michigan to experience.

  1. The Miners Short Course at The MinesGrand Rapids
  2. Threetops – Par 3 Course at TreetopsGaylord
  3. Mountain FlowersHomestead ResortGlen Arbor
  4. Woodside Golf Course – East Lansing
  5. Wawashkamo Golf ClubMackinac Island
  6. St. Ignace Golf & Country ClubSt. Ignace
  7. Elk Rapids Golf ClubElk Rapids
  8. Strategic Fox at Fox HillsPlymouth
  9. Les Cheneaux Golf ClubCedarville
  10. Charlevoix Golf ClubCharlevoix
  11. Shadow RidgeIonia

4. Take a lesson or visit a golf school.

Golfers looking to improve their game have plenty of options for golf instruction in Michigan. Golfers in metro Detroit, make sure to check out Carl’s Golfland and its Performance Center for both lessons and club-fitting. Golfers will find a similar experience in Ann Arbor at Miles of Golf. Other top instructors and academy’s in southern Michigan include Jason Guss at Hawk Hollow, one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers, Steve Brady at Oakland Hills and the Rick Smith Golf Academy at Oakland University.

Golfers looking to combine some golf instruction with a golf trip can check out some of the resorts in northern Michigan like the Dave Pelz Short Game School at the Homestead, Crystal Mountain Golf Academy, Boyne Golf Academy, as well as the golf schools at Grand Traverse Resort and Treetops.

The Treetops Golf Course in Grayling

Treetops Golf Course in Gaylord is immaculate all season long

5. Make golf part of your family vacation this summer.

Golf is a great family activity to get outside and do together and there are some great resorts that offer great family golf experiences. Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville offers family golf scramble events this summer and Boyne Mountain provides special pricing for junior golfers, as does Treetops with juniors playing free on overnight golf packages.

What is your favorite course to play in Pure Michigan? Let us know by commenting below!

Explore Sun, Water and Fun in Benzie County This Summer

They say water is life and we couldn’t agree more!  With over 57 inland lakes, over 20 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 200 miles of rivers, Benzie County Michigan is a water wonderland.

Benzie County is located in the heart of Northwest Michigan’s Lower Peninsula along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and home to some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the state.  The sapphire waters of Crystal Lake offer recreation of all types from fishing to water skiing.  The Betsie and Platte Rivers are among the best kayaking, canoeing and tubing, or maybe a smaller lake is more to your liking, if so, we have over 50 others to choose from.

Explore Lake Michigan fishing in Benzie County

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

The Sleeping Bear Dunes, which begins in Benzie County and continues into Leelanau County, was named The Most Beautiful Place in America by the viewers of Good Morning America in 2011. The Dune climb or the Pierce Stocking scenic drive should be on everyone’s bucket list.  The park also offers many other beach and trail options along with a variety of educational programs throughout the year.

Benzie County is also known as “the Best Place in Michigan for Outdoor Sports & Recreation.” Outdoor activities cater to a wide variety of sports and recreational interests including biking, hiking, running, golf, fishing, kite boarding, surfing and more. Championship level to intermediate and beginning golfers have plenty choices at area courses which boast natural beauty and magnificent scenic views.  There are locations for renting golf clubs, bikes, kayaks and other recreational equipment, as well.

An aerial shot of the Benzie County coast

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

So after a day on the water or exploring a trail, Benzie County has great shopping and dining choices.  Many of the local dining establishments offer farm-to-table options on their menus.  If a winery, brewery or distillery is more to your liking, we have those too!  Our option of overnight lodging has something for everyone.  From our world class resort, Crystal Mountain to small mom & pop resorts, motels, cabins and homes that fit every need, you will find a great place to lay your head at the end of the day.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse stands tall

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

Explore the Benzie Treasure Trove package this summer

Photo Courtesy of the Benzie County CVB

Looking to add some value to your vacation to Benzie County?  Our 2016 Benzie Treasure Trove promotion is an excellent way to put some real bang in your vacation bucks.  Come stay two or more consecutive nights at one of our 24 participating lodging properties and we’ll load you up with “booty” valued to nearly $300 from over 20 local businesses!  The package includes freebies, two-for-ones, discounts and a prize from the Benzie County Visitors Bureau by pulling a jewel from our Treasure Chest.  Just a few of the items included are a free slice of cherry pie from the Cherry Hut, a free root beer float from the A&W, two-for-one golf at Betsie Valley Golf Courses, a free dessert with your dinner purchase at Cold Creek Inn and so much more. Details and requirements for this promotion can be found on the Benzie County Visitor Bureau’s website, www.visitbenzie.com .

For more information on visiting Benzie County, Northern Michigan Preserved®, you can call our office at 800-882-5801 or explore our website, www.visitbenzie.com and be sure to like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/benziecounty.cvb

Mary Carroll is the President of the Benzie County Visitors Bureau and Benzie County Chamber of Commerce overseeing both organizations for the past eight years.  A born and bred Michigander, Mary love her state and appreciates the fact that she gets to work in and promote one of the best area in Michigan.