Michigan Great Lakes and Changing Seasons

Special thanks to Lindsay Wyskowski for sharing with us the things she misses the most about our state. Learn about the Great Lakes, seasonal activities, and more here on Pure Michigan Connect!

Oh, how I wish I was in Michigan!

Of all 50 states, there’s no doubt in my mind that if you really want to experience the four seasons throughout the year, Michigan is the place to be. True Michiganders may joke that there are seasons like construction, but winter, spring, summer and fall all have a place in the soul of the Great Lake State.

Winter might be some residents’ least favorite season, but even with cold temperatures and swirling snow, it is a true winter, with white snowy yards and hills for sledding. Michigan drivers are much better at driving in the snow than we would give each other credit for, that’s for sure!

Spring brings warmer weather, and the snow turns to rain. The birds return to their post in the trees and those same trees sprout leaves. A Michigan spring is green, with bright healthy grass and flowers in bloom. My personal favorite part of spring? A giant lilac bush in full bloom in the backyard, with blushing purple flowers against a sunny May sky.

Summer brings a season of adventure. If you head north on US-127, past the crowds at Houghton Lake, east of Grayling and southeast of the Mackinac Bridge, you’ll find another diamond in the rough. Lake Huron is less explored and less populated than Lake Michigan, but the charming Presque Isle lighthouses more than make up for it.

The old lighthouse is small but has tried to keep true to its past with historic relics in the one room building. Probably the most enjoyable aspects of the Old Presque Isle lighthouse are outside. You can ring the old bell that was once housed in the Lansing City Hall clock tower, or pose for a photo in the stocks. Sure, there may be opportunities for photos on Mackinac Island, but nestled in the trees on the coast of Lake Huron, things are a little calmer, a little slower.

The new lighthouse is just down the road from its older counterpart and was built in 1870. To this day it is the tallest lighthouse tower accessible to the public on the Great Lakes, and if you don’t believe me, try climbing the 130 steps yourself! There’s a fantastic museum if staying on the ground is more your style, and a quaint gift shop, if, like me, you can’t stand visiting one of the Great Lakes without a souvenir (be sure to say hello to Sue!). You can even walk out to the lake and watch the waves crash against the rocks.

The only part of summer better than boats or swimming in a lake might be the smell of mint, a summer staple for St. Johns, Michigan. Be sure to check out the Mint Festival in mid-August.

Fall in Michigan is cool and crisp, like the apples you’d find if you stopped at a true Michigan cider mill. It could be easy to drive past Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns, unless you are fully aware of those sweet donuts and cider waiting for you on the inside. Sometimes there are craft fairs or hay rides through the orchard, or a haunted house in October, but you’ve never tasted apple cider until you’ve visited Uncle Johns – nothing can compare to it.

There is a long list of places I enjoy visiting when I am able to make the trip back to Michigan, but when the seasons change and I am in Colorado, I realize – there is no better way to spend the year than in the wonder of Pure Michigan.

Lindsay Wyskowski is a Michigander living in Colorado. She graduated from Central Michigan University and is currently the content coordinator at USA Triathlon. Lindsay travels to Michigan as often as she can, and has a special spot in her heart for the Great Lakes, fall colors, cider mills and lighthouses.

  • http://www.jj-manning.com Jessica Manning

    I know the feeling! My husband and I both grew up in Southeastern Michigan. We are currently living in Southern California with our 1 year old son. My husband has lived in 5 different states since leaving Michigan and I have lived in 4 yet we both still think of Michigan as home. We definitely miss the seasons more than anything (other than family), not to mention the lakes, the cider mills, and summers Up North. We can’t wait to move back to the Mitten hopefully one day very soon!

  • Lakesound

    I love all Michigan’s seasons….well maybe not “Construction”

  • Sandy K.

    I love Michigan, and I love the seasons. I do leave for sunny warm climates in the winter but not before I get my first couple glimpses of winter snow. My favorite season is fall. You just can’t beat Michigan for the crisp fresh air, the colorful trees, the blue lakes, and the smell of sweet apples and cider.

  • Juanita Homan

    Though I visited Michigan many times as a young child, 30 plus years had gone by, until this past July, when I had the pleasure of spending time there, again. I had many fond memories of my days there in the 60′s, but had forgotten how incredibly beautiful the state really is, and now after returning for a short time, I am left hooked and wanting more!

    On the way back from Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, my husband and I spent some time on Mackinac island, which was beyond beautiful, buy I have to say that my favorite part of the entire trip was a road trip up to Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Whitefish Point. We only had a day to spend, so what we did see was too hurried for my taste. Standing on the shores of Lake Superior on a warm, sunny day with a slightly cool wind blowing brought me more peace than I have known in a long time. Now, my mind constantly returns to those few special moments walking along a quiet, wave-filled beach. I will return; I just know it. I will find a way.

  • Joan

    Moved up to northwestern side of the state, a yr ago, and love walking dn one lake, Portage Lake then along the channel and back the other lake, Lake Michigan every morning, can’t get any better than that for me
    The warm days are still here, and the color is fantastic, had a color tour today, 10-12-10, up #22 and down #31 to our home pasting Crystal Lake,Bear Lake and back to Portage Lake, so beautiful.
    The roadside stands are all up and down the roads with pumpkins,apples, and the wonderful smells of fall.

  • http://lndsay.blogspot.com Lindsay

    Jessica: I hope you are able to move back – it would be great for your son to experience what Michigan has to offer!

    Lakesound: I am sure no one really likes that season all that much! ;)

    Sandy: My favorite season is fall, too! You can’t beat a Michigan fall.

    Joan: Sounds like a great place to be! I’m a little envious!

  • http://lndsay.blogspot.com Lindsay

    Juanita: that sounds beautiful! I hope you make it back to Michigan soon. It’s definitely a great place to spend some time, even if it is just for a visit.

  • Stephanie Stanek

    Growing up in Dearborn I had access to all of Michigan’s great Lakes and four seasons. Autumn in Michigan is by far the best place to be on the entire planet. I live in San Francisco’s bay area now for 18 years and lived in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, but nothing beats the four seasons that Michigan offers. The ride up I -75 under the canopy of autumn leaves is a spiritual experience everyone should take. I love you Michigan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Fischer/100000214827144 David Fischer

    I got to Lumbermans Monument and Mackinac Island 6 times in 2010.Liked Grand Hotel and Mary’s Bistro.Was born in Bay City ,Michigan .Lived in Essexville until age 15.Return every year.

    David Fischer
    Villa Hills,Ky.

  • Diana Sluss

    Thank you for sharing everything the great state of Michigan has to offer. We live in Tennessee and the first trip we made to Michigan was in 2006 and that was it, no other place can compare to Michigan as a vacation spot. We tell everyone how wonderful it is but you have to visit it your self to see all the beauty, In 2009 after years of trying to see the Mackinaw Bridge, My dream came true. and what a great feeling to drive across the Mighty Mac. And the drive to Sault St. Marie was breath taking. After we spend acouple of days in Mackinaw City we took the drive on hwy 31 back down to Bear Lake to Bella Vista Inn, best place to stay in Bear Lake. We have now saw all the Great Lakes. And Lake Michigan is the BEST. Hoping for another trip up north in August. When the temp. here is around 100 you love the cool 70 temp at Bear Lake.