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!

Use These Mobile Apps To Plan Your Perfect Pure Michigan Road Trip

To make the most of your Pure Michigan vacation, whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, it helps to know what the great finds in the area are. With these travel apps, you can find exactly what you’re searching for with one download!

Crisp Point Lighthouse

Crisp Point Lighthouse

Michigan Lighthouses

View, learn and visit over 120 Michigan lighthouses on 3,126 miles of coastline! For each lighthouse you’ll see photos, historical descriptions, which lighthouses you can visit, towers you can climb, museums to enjoy, lighthouse locations, phone numbers, times to visit, links to national parks, additional sites, and more. Click here for the Android version.

Michigan Road Trips

Venture away from the everyday norm and into the beauty of Michigan. Find a restaurant whose cherry pie is from fruit grown just down the road or where the chef finds local produce to serve. Discover kayaking along a fast moving river, snowboarding down a Michigan mountain, spending the night in a charming bed and breakfast, or peer through glass bottom boats at shipwrecks from the 19th century. The app takes you on 12 road trips covering 128 destinations each loaded with 5-10 recommendations. Click here for the Android version.

MI Art Tours

Discover the nearest public art to you, information about each piece, the artist, and directions to get there. The app from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs also has built-in tours highlighting multiple works. Tours can be local or statewide – with over 658 art works and 42 built-in tours. Click here for the Apple version.

The Wilds of Michigan

This app is a one-stop shop for travelers to find all they need to know about Ontonagon and Gogebic Counties in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan -from hikes and waterfalls to hotels and campsites. With in-depth information at your fingertips, the Wilds of Michigan app will be your guide. Click here for the Android version.

Visit Manistee County

Explore self-guided tours with turn-by-turn directions to over 500 Manistee County outdoor spots. Take advantage of a list of area events, shopping, dining and lodging – this app is a must when visiting Manistee County! Click here for the Android version.

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

Michigan By The Bottle

Explore 70+ wineries, one bottle at a time. From the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsula of the north to the rural Lake Michigan Shore and Pioneer wine trails of the west, Michigan truly is wine country. These bloggers will guide you through opportunities available to wine lovers traveling to Michigan, or new spots for locals to check out. Get a glimpse into winery histories, specialties, tasting room atmospheres and more. With a variety of tours and wines to choose from, you’re sure to find a new favorite. Click here for the Android version.

Leelanau Club

Leelanau Club

Traverse Traveler

Traverse Traveler will help you plan, discover and navigate your way around the Traverse City, Michigan area. Whether you’re a foodie, wine lover, adventurer, history buff, or you are looking for family fun – Traverse City has it all. Find wine tasting, craft beer and spirits, restaurants and bars, attractions, accommodations, shopping, events and more. With geo-location enabled, you can find near-by dining, lodging and activities. Click here for the Apple version.

Greater Lansing Michigan

Discover hundreds of things to do in the Lansing area with this app. Plan a customized tour and use the “Nearby Me” feature to see listings of things to do, current events, dining, shopping and more, closest to your location. You can also share your experiences to your social networks through the app. Click here for the Android version.

Experience Alpena, Michigan

Located in Northeast Lower Michigan, Alpena is the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes, a place to relax, unwind, and refresh. Making the most of your trip to Alpena is made easy with this app – find libraries, parking, events, interactive tours, utilize a near me function and more. Click here for the Apple version.

Explore Frankenmuth

Find self-guided tours that provide suggested stops to make your experience in Frankenmuth unforgettable. Discover things to do depending on your specific interests – from family-fun to foodie stops to adventure. A historical perspective on familiar attractions along with hidden treasures you’ve yet to discover, offer great new ways to enjoy this fun town! With excitement year round, anytime is the perfect time to visit Frankenmuth, “Michigan’s Little Bavaria!” Click here for the Android version.

Michigan Mitt Maps Road Trip

Plan your road trip adventure, draw your route and place decals on the locations as you explore, discover and experience the ultimate Michigan road trip. This is a free Android app that lets you share your adventure with your family and friends through social media, email and more. Click here for the Android version.

For more ways to take full advantage of your Pure Michigan vacation visit michigan.org.

There are plenty of other great Michigan travel apps – Coldwater. Keweenaw Peninsula, and Pure Ludingtonfor example – to check out. What is your favorite Michigan travel app?  

10 Grand Things You Might Not Know

Since 1887, Grand Hotel has been a defining feature of historic Mackinac Island, where horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the preferred modes of transportation. Here are 10 things you never knew about Grand Hotel that make it a true American icon.

1. No two guest rooms are alike

Every one of Grand Hotel’s 390 guest rooms has its own unique character, artfully decorated by Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc. in New York City. Varney is also known for his design consultancy at the White House.

Hotel Room

2. Five U.S. Presidents have visited Grand Hotel

Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all experienced the elegance and unique atmosphere of Grand Hotel.

3. Grand Hotel is a third-generation family business

Taking over for his father, R. D. Musser Jr., President Dan Musser III currently handles all-day-to-day operations of the world’s largest summer resort.

4. The world’s longest front porch

At 660 feet long, no other hotel in the world can match it. That includes relaxing in a rocking chair while enjoying stunning views of the Straits of Mackinac.

Porch

5. Grand Hotel maintains over 125,000 flowers

More than one ton of flower bulbs are planted each fall to create the many gardens on Grand Hotel grounds. Varieties include 25,000 tulips, 15,000 daffodils and more than 5,200 geraniums, the hotel’s signature flower.

Garden

6. You can find Grand Hotel Somewhere in Time

This 1980 classic film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was filmed on location at Grand Enthusiasts of the film meet every year in October to celebrate the cinematic secrets of the timeless classic and meet cast members. In fact, Jane Seymour is planning on attending this year.

7. A pool named for a star

The Esther Williams swimming pool at Grand Hotel was named for actress Esther Williams, star of the 1947 movie This Time For Keeps, filmed at Grand Hotel.

Architecture Photography by Michigan Photographer Don Johnston

8. The legacy of Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor

Scottish Terrier Sadie, owned by hotel proprietors Amelia and R.D. Musser, Jr., was awarded Best in Show at the 2010 Westminster Dog Show. Named for this much-loved dog, Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor features Grand Hotel Pecan Ball Ice Cream, inspired by the hotel’s signature dessert and made using Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream.

Ice Cream

9. More than 6,000 pounds of pecans are used annually

Fresh pecans are a necessity for Grand Hotel’s signature dessert. Made with vanilla ice cream and Grand Hotel’s original fudge sauce, more than 60,000 balls are served each season.

10. A grand way to golf

Grand Hotel’s award-winning golf course, The Jewel, is the only course in the world where players are transported between the front and back nine via horse-drawn carriage.

Learn more or make reservations at grandhotel.com or call 1-800-33GRAND.

What is your favorite thing about the Grand Hotel?