My Heart Belongs to Michigan

Kim Traud shares her “Pure Michigan Moment,” fond memories of vacationing with her parents and her plans to carry on that tradition.


Flickr photo credit: Sandra Pruden

Mackinac Bridge

Other than the few years I lived out of state, I was born in Michigan and have raised my family here. I love Michigan for all of its timeless beauty. The places I enjoyed are still there for my kids to enjoy and hopefully will be there for generations to come! Michigan is home and will always hold my heart.


I couldn’t name just one trip as my most memorable; they are all woven together to form my fondest memories. My dad has always had a deep love for the Upper Peninsula. Every summer, we would spend two weeks traveling, camping along the way. My parents moved to the UP (Brevort Lake) when they retired about nine years ago, and we spend a lot of time visiting them there. I think their love for the UP has rubbed off, because there is no other place that I’d rather spend my vacations and hopefully, my retirement years.

Some of my best memories include splashing in the waves and camping along Lake Michigan, riding the ferry to Mackinac Island, taking cruises under the bridge at sunset, admiring the springs at Kitch-iti-kipi, watching ships navigate the St. Mary’s River and the Soo Locks, and visiting all of the great antique shops. I track every antique shop that I’ve visited on a large laminated map. There are still quite a few shops that I plan to visit, mostly on the west side of the state. It looks like I have lots of opportunities for fun Michigan adventures for the next couple of summers.

Flickr photo credit: Dale Niesen

We have enjoyed many snowmobiling trips on all of the fantastic groomed trails and countless hours marveling at Tahquamenon Falls in their summer splendor and in winter when they are frozen. I could go on for days touting all the beautiful sights Upper Peninsula has to offer!

This summer, Kim plans to spend a couple of weeks in the UP with visits to Marquette, Ishpeming, Eagle Harbor, Ontonagon, and Ironwood. “Last summer, my mom and I took a little trip to the west to check out some antiques shops, and we had so much fun that we are planning another trip this summer! I think it will be fun to revisit the places of my childhood summer vacations.” Kim Traud wrote about her “Pure Michigan Moment” for Michigan Travel Ideas.

21 thoughts on “My Heart Belongs to Michigan

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  3. I miss Michigan very much. Your articles remind me of that. I was born and raised in Traverse city. I graduated in 1974 and entered the Air Force 8 days later. I spent 21 years in the Air force. 3 years at Kinchloe Air Base by Sault Ste Marie and 8 years at KI Sawyer Air Base by Marquette. The upper Peninsula is absolutely for a person who loves the outdoors. A summer’s day did not pass without a swim in either of the Grand Traverse two Bays. I am actually going to relocate back to Michigan in a few years. I feel like then I will be truely in a place I will call home.

  4. After leaving “home” (Michigan) in 1973; I have only had opportunities to visit. My most recent visit was to Whitefish Point on the Big Lake (Superior) which completely took my breath away. The Shipwreck Museum and the U.P. visit only made me long to return home for good in the near future. Still got to finish the government job until retirement though. I love my home state of Michigan and I continue to make friends (ha ha) by rooting my Red Wings!! I am still a devoted Tigers, Lions and Pistons fan no matter the current geography and especially so since I now have to contend with these so-called Avalanche hockey novices. A final note of good wishes to all the Yoopers; wish I was up there right now. To close, go Wolverines and Spartans in the NCAA basketball tournament!

  5. I Love Michigan lived here alll my life.Remebering going to the the ferry market with family every saturday.And when I got married taking the boys camping up north such a beautiful state.

  6. Reading these comments makes me smile – but very envious of all those that I read who can go back each year to visit Michigan. I was born and raised in Michigan and have lived many places in the US since leaving in 1977. i got my first real visit back 2 years ago, when my husband and I made the trip from middle Kentucky to the UP, camping in Munising, and then back down the western shore. The absolute best moments came when we reached my beloved Orchard Beach State Park which I had not seen in over 35 years – it was stunning!! The photos that I took (which were many!) turned out so beautifully for every place in Michigan that we stopped…but then, how could they be otherwise?

  7. I was born and raised in Michigan. I have traveled to all 50 states, 5 provinces in Canada, a little bit in Mexico, Japan, lived in China for four years, Wisconsin for 5 years and have returned to live in South Haven. I love Michigan. Teh only thing that would make me move is the idiculous treatmet I ahve recieved on several occaisions from teh Michigan Department ofTreasury. They are liars and crooks. i don’t mind paying my taxes but when I am told by a MDT employe that, “You are right but we cannot change our ruling,” I get a little upset.

  8. I was born here in Michigan and after lving in a coupel of other places while serving in the US Navy I returned to my home in Michigan. It is Pure Michigan, this state has more to offer than many other places I have traveled. The problem is the majority of people don’t see it or support it. Our state gets in the news for the bad things that happen, and it’s dweeled on and the poor economy does not help. But those of us who live here can help even in tough times by taking advantage of all those place that what really makes Michigan a Pure Michigan. Many things are low cost or even free to see and do. By setting the example others will follow. The best coastlines, waterfalls, parks, autumn colors, lakes, streams, trails, and animals and many off beaten, hidden paths to take. Enjoy our state it’s one of natures best.

  9. ………….and the most lighthouses (working or not), are found here in Michigan. And, hundreds of waterfalls. Lots of back woods to explore. Come see us………Pure Michigan.

  10. Born in Michigan, (did live in Az. for about 7 yrs). I think of how lucky we are to have the deep piney woods, the backroads, and the miles & miles of beaches…….crowning it w/the Sleeping Bear Dunes. So much to see is right! Mackinac Island, a jewel my sister & I travel to every fall, since early 90′s. The Leleenau Peninsula w/it’s Sleeping Bear Dunes shoreline, Keweenaw Peninsula w/rugged rocky beaches along Lake Superior & over 10,000 inland lakes. The wilderness of the U.P., bears, wolves, deer, elk and moose………..and the spectacular beauty of the falls in Michigan…..Maine has nothing on us. Who could ask for anything more. We love the four distinctive seasons and the beauty in all of them. Pure, pure Michigan!

  11. I used to camp near Paradice back in the late sixty’s with my Grandparents. I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, But left many years ago. My children live in the UP and I love to come and visit. There is a chance I may get to return to the UP for work, If not, I will spend all my vacation time there. Im looking to plan a snowmobile trip this next Christmas, Im already looking forward way too much. Texas is just too far…Loved all of your stories…

  12. I was also born & raised in Michigan~we would always take our summer vacations to the UP~so beautiful~About 8 yrs ago we moved to Florida but…there is not A day that goes by that I dont’t think about Michigan and the people we love back home~I also would love someday to move back to Michigan~Every July we do take A trip back to visit but….just is not the same as living there~I always cry when we leave & can’t wait to come back again~I so miss all the seasons (even all the *s*n*o*w*) that is up there now~Love you all up there in my beautiful home~Michigan <3 <3 ~

  13. I’m entirely with you on the UP! There is no place I would rather be on this earth ( and I’ve been around! ) and every year at this time, I begin a kind of interior turn “north” waiting for the first of my several trips there that will begin in May; thank you for the lovely picture of the “bridge” that gets us all safely there and back again.

  14. I wasn’t born in Michigan, but my husband was and we were married on the the banks of Wampler’s Lake in the Irish Hills of Michigan almost 26 years ago.
    The first time he brought me up to his beautiful Michigan home 30 years ago, i fell instantly in love with this state.
    We’re now lucky enough to own a lake home right around the bend in the road from the spot we were married, where I am able to spend half the year and escape the Texas heat and enjoy the winter wonderland over the holidays.
    No, I wasn’t born in Michigan, I was born in Texas, but if I were able to claim this fabulous state as my dual birthright, I would be proud to. I’m just grateful that I’m in love with a Michigan man and the Michigan land and our grandkids are also falling as equally in love with it all!
    Viva Michigan!

  15. I to was born and raised in michigan. The summers and the winters were great. I do miss them. I moved 2 and a half years ago to tennessee. I miss michigan all the time. Whenever I get vacation days from work we will be traveling to michigan. You can never get bored with the so many places to see there. I hope to someday when I start a family get to show them the wonderful places to see there. Just to show them the wonderful place I grew up in. And if the time is right and the good lord sees fit, maybe I will move back and raise my family there.

  16. Oh I so enjoyed your post! It was as if you were writing down the thoughts of my heart for this wonderful state.
    I too, was born and raised here and there were about ten years that we had to move around the country for jobs, but eighteen years ago came back ‘home’ and boy did it ever feel good.

    We camped as kids in the U.P. also and it’s my favorite place to take a vacation. When others are wanting to go to Florida, I’m always shouting for the U.P. :D

    Have fun with your antiquing this summer! That’s always so much fun to do. Lots of great places in this wonderfully magnificent state!!

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