10 Michigan Destinations to Visit This Veterans Day

This Nov. 11, veterans, families and friends will come together in Michigan, and across the nation, to honor those who served and remember those who lost their lives in ceremonies as part of Veterans Day.

In anticipation of this annual day of remembrance, we put together a list of 10 veterans monuments and events in Michigan.

1. Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial – Traverse City

Located at Eleventh Street and Elmwood Avenue in Traverse City, the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial was dedicated Sept. 18, 2011. It’s overseen by the Grand Traverse Area Veteran Coalition. Come visit the space to pay your respects to our veterans.

Photo Courtesy of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial

Photo Courtesy of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial

2. Fort Custer National Cemetery – Augusta

One of two national shrines in Michigan, the Fort Custer National Cemetery is located on Dickman Road in Augusta and open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Originally Camp Custer, it was named after Michigan native Gen. George Armstrong Custer in 1917 for soldiers in World War I. It was designated as a national cemetery in 1981. This year, there will be a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. For more information, call (269) 731-4164.

3. Veterans Memorial Park – Grand Rapids

Dedicated in 1926, the park includes several pillars that were erected in honor of those who served in multiple conflicts. The memorial is located at 101 E. Fulton in Grand Rapids. For more information, contact Grand Rapids City Hall at (616) 456-3000.

4. Plainwell Veterans Memorial

Located in Sherwood Park in Plainwell, the memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in 2009. The murmur of the Kalamazoo River in the background provides the ideal backdrop for quiet reflection and respect. For more information, call Plainwell City Hall at (269) 685-6821.

5. Veteran’s Memorial Park – Muskegon

Located on the M. Causeway of M-120 in Muskegon, Veteran’s Memorial Park is located on the Muskegon River. The memorial includes a walkway for visitors to observe memorials and plaques in honor of area veterans. For more information, contact Muskegon City Hall at (231) 724-6724.

6. Brighton Veterans Memorial

Including a plaque honoring veterans that was installed in Brighton in the 1950s, the memorial has been redesigned in recent years. It is located on Main Street in Brighton. There will be a Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 12, starting at 10 a.m. For more information, go to www.brightonveteransmemorial.info.

Photo Courtesy of the Brighton Veterans Memorial

Photo Courtesy of the Brighton Veterans Memorial

7. Great Lakes National Cemetery – Holly

Veterans, families and the general public are invited to attend a Veterans Day ceremony at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly. The cemetery is home to one of two national shrines in Michigan. The Veterans Day ceremony starts at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11. The cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Road in Holly.

8. Escanaba Park – Grand Haven

Owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to Grand Haven, the park is home to a memorial for the U.S. Coast Guard. The park was originally known as Kelly Park, but was renamed in 1949 to Escanaba Memorial Park in commemoration of the loss of the USCGC Escanaba and 101 men when the ship sank in 1943.

9. Korean Memorial and Vietnam Memorial at Island Park – Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant, like many other communities, is home to many veterans. Of particular note is the Vietnam Memorial at Island Park, which was the first in the state to honor those who fought in Vietnam. These two memorials are a great way to honor veterans when visiting Mid-Michigan.

10. Withington Park – Jackson

Featuring the sculpture Defense of the Flag, Withington Park in Jackson is named after Gen. William H. Withington. The sculpture honors the 3,282 men of the Michigan Volunteer Infantry regiments who he commanded. The sculpture is also known as Jackson County Soldiers or Sailors Monument.

Many other Michigan communities pay tribute to our nation’s veterans and fallen soldiers. Consider a visit to the veteran’s park in Charlevoix, veterans statue in Port Huron, unknown soldier sculpture in Alpena, Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ypsilanti or one of the numerous monuments on the State Capitol lawn in Lansing.

Which of these destinations will you visit this Veterans Day? 

4 Ways To Enjoy Fall in the Grand Haven Area

Grand Haven may be one of Michigan’s most popular beachtowns, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do once the sun sets on summer! Here are 4 ways to enjoy fall in the Grand Haven area, courtesy of Stephanie Herder of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Grand Haven might be known as a summer beach destination, but there's so much to do in the fall

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

1. By Water
The Grand Haven area is surrounded by water including Lake Michigan, Spring Lake, Pigeon Creek, and the mighty Grand River. So naturally, we highly suggest taking in the fall colors from the water. There are many areas to launch your own kayak including Eastmanville Bayou, Hemlock Crossing and Mill Point Park. If you have never paddled or don’t own your own, Lakeshore Kayak Rental offers kayak lessons as well as kayak, canoe, and stand up paddle board rentals. While out on the water, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles!

Fall is the perfect time to hit the water in and around Grand Haven

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

2. By Bike
Did you know that the Grand Haven area has over 100 miles of bike trails? It’s true! The Lakeshore Trail is a 20-mile bike trail between downtown Grand Haven and Holland. Along the way you can stop at Rosy Mound Natural Area, Kirk Park, and grab a bite to eat at Sandy Point Beach House. The 15-mile Lakeside Trail encircles Spring Lake through the communities of Ferrysburg, Fruitport, and the Village of Spring Lake. If you looking for something more off-road, Pigeon Creek Park and Bass River Recreation Area offers mountain biking trails through the woods and along the Grand River. Fat Tire biking is welcome throughout the area including local beaches. Rock ‘N’ Road in Grand Haven offers bike rentals for all ages. You can pick up local bike maps at Rock ‘N’ Road, at the Visitors Center, or download them online at visitgrandhaven.com.

Biking is an excellent way to view the fall colors in the Grand Haven area

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

3. By Foot
The Grand Haven area is blessed with an amazing system of parks that offer trails through forests, along the rivers, over dunes, and with stunning views of Lake Michigan. North Ottawa Dunes is home to 513 acres of wooded dunes – some that exceed 750 in height. Rosy Mound Natural Area is a favorite stop with its arrangement of trails, stairs, dune boardwalk trail, and Lake Michigan beach. Hemlock Crossing has over 6 miles of trails that meander through the forest, old pine plantations, and along the Pigeon River. This is also the home of the Ottawa County Nature Education Center (NEC) which has exhibits, a wildlife den with critters and activities, and a wildlife viewing area. The NEC also offers a variety of programs including guided hikes, kayaking trips, and nighttime astronomy programs.

Look at those views!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

4. By Car
If you are looking to cover a larger area during your fall color tour of the Grand Haven area, then by car is the way to go. Our favorite route to take is the stretch of road from Grand Haven to Eastmanville Bayou and back – known as the Historic River Road. Using the handy guide found on our website or at our Visitors Center, this self-guided auto tour brings you along the original River Road which is oldest byway in Ottawa County and one of the oldest in the state. Numbered signs along the way indicate stops and points of interest that mesh local history with our beautiful riverside and park system. Some must-stops along the way include Vander Mill Cider mill and Winery, Odd Side Ales, Turk’s Tavern, Connor Bayou and countless farm side stands.

What’s your favorite way to see the fall colors in the Grand Haven area? Let us know in the comments below!

HerderAbout the author: Stefanie Herder, Marketing & Communications Manager of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Born and raised in the Grand Haven area, Stefanie has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over fifteen years where she has done everything from scooping ice cream to destination marketing. Now as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, she loves seeing the area through the eyes of a visitor and sharing it with the world. 

Here Are Michigan’s Top Instagram-Worthy Spots

Here in Michigan, we have countless destinations to visit, which all provide a great opportunity for you to take that perfect Instagram photo. And while we think every Pure Michigan destination is spectacular, there are a few that truly stand out.

Read below for 7 Instagram-worthy destinations across Pure Michigan and remember to follow us on Instagram!

1. Empire Bluffs

Empire, located on the coast of Lake Michigan in Northwest Michigan, defines the term hidden gem. With its soaring bluffs and breathtaking views, Empire is the gateway to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where you’ll find helpful rangers who can help you find all there is to know about the formation of the dunes as well as point you in the right direction for hiking trails, beaches and scenic drives. Empire Bluffs offer an unbeatable view of Lake Michigan, and is a favorite picture-taking spot for Michigan residents and visitors alike. Click here to read more on Empire.

EmpireBluffs3

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @sarahmurfy

 2. Porcupine Mountains

If you’re looking for an unforgettable camping trip, venture to the western region of the Upper Peninsula. Towering virgin timbers, secluded lakes and miles of wild rivers are what you can expect to find in the rugged Porcupine Mountains. Here, you can camp on the shores of Lake Superior and enjoy sunsets from your site after exploring more than 90 miles of foot trails. During the winter, the area is perfect for Alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.  For animal lovers, the ‘Porkies’ are designated as an official Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area and offer a pet-friendly shoreline.

It's hard to find a sight more spectacular than the Porcupine Mountains in Fall

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @catchupandrelish

 3. Turnip Rock

If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Turnip Rock via Lake Huron, we insist that you head there immediately. This enormous rock received its turnip connotation from thousands of years of erosion from storm waves. Now, it’s an island with a few trees and little other vegetation. The land nearby is all privately owned, so the only way to view it is by kayak or trekking across frozen Lake Huron in the winter. While in the Port Austin area, be sure to check out Port Crescent State Park, one of three dark sky preserves in Michigan, where you can catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Read more on what it’s like kayaking to Turnip Rock here.

Turnip Rock, located on the shores of Lake Huron, is as iconic as any location in Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @forehand67

 4. Silver Lake Sand Dunes

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are a beach-lover’s paradise. Nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, you’ll find massive sand dunes, beach buggies—with the only sand dunes in Michigan where you can drive your own ORV—and miles of pristine shoreline beaches designed for family fun. Encompassing the towns of Hart, Mears, and Pentwater, Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area is the perfect spot for a family vacation with miles of tree-lined bike trails, historic towns, a lighthouse and more. Spend the morning on the dunes, the afternoon in the water and finish your day in one of our charming villages for a relaxing dinner at a locally owned restaurant. Ready to plan your trip? Read more about the Silver Lake Sand Dunes here.

Rev up your engines and head to the iconic Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @Izzca

 5. Tahquamenon Falls

One of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, the Upper Falls has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. If you travel a little farther in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, you’ll discover  the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island.  The State Park offers for four campgrounds with modern & rustic campsites and more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area. Winter offers opportunity for snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing with miles of marked trails.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a must-see for residents and visitors alike

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @kammtheguy

 6. Mackinac Bridge

The Mighty Mack. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere with 7,400 feet of roadway suspended in the air over the straits of Mackinac and unites Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. Total length of the bridge, including its approaches, is approximately five miles. Crossing the Mackinac Bridge should be on everyone’s Pure Michigan bucket list. Want to see some truly breathtaking views from atop the bridge? Click here.

The mighty Mackinac Bridge is the perfect place to snap a photo

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @MikeConnick

7. Detroit Skyline

Detroit is truly on a comeback. Everywhere you look, there are new restaurants, retail and businesses rejuvenating the downtown. Come to Detroit to experience the eclectic nightlife and theater scenes and the high-energy streets with year-round festivals.

The Detroit skyline is beautiful no matter the weather or season

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @AndrewJones111

When in the metro Detroit area, you can take a step back in time and explore the world-famous cultural attraction that is the Henry Ford, the western hemisphere’s largest polar bear exhibit and world’s largest penguin conservation center at the Detroit Zoo or find the kid in you at Lego Land and the Sea Life Michigan aquarium at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, which features thousands of aquatic, creates and interactive touch pools. Read more on the revitalization of the Motor City here.

Honorable mention: The Blue Water Bridge, Michigan Theater, Keweenaw Peninsula and the Michigan Capitol Building (and many, many others!).

Where have you taken an awe-inspiring photo in Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!