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!

Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips

Guest blogger Jennifer Hamilton of the Awesome Mitten shares seven of the best destinations for paddling in Michigan. Read from her below and find more places to visit on michigan.org.

Summer may be rapidly coming to a close, but there is still plenty of time for a kayak trip in one of Michigan’s famous bodies of water. Whether you are seeking lakes or rivers, I have had the pleasure of polling fellow Awesome Mitten writers and compiling a list of Michigan’s favorite waterways.

1) Onekama to Arcadia via Lake Michigan – This is probably one of the most peaceful waterway treks in our Great Lakes State. Travelers have the opportunity to view Arcadia Bluffs from the water as they paddle by and scope out potential golfing opportunities. Since this area is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, there are great dune adventures to have at almost every point along the way if you want to stop and picnic.

2) The Backwaters at Tippy Dam – The Backwaters at Tippy Dam are for the adventurous hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife. Great fishing is available here if you are seeking walleye or small-mouthed bass. Experienced fishermen say that the panfish are abundant as well. Due to the wooded surroundings, there is a good chance that visitors will spot at least one eagle during their adventure. The peacefulness of these Backwaters is great for an escape from civilization and to truly get a Northern Michigan experience.

3) Canals of Detroit – While Detroit may not be the first place you think of to enjoy a water-filled experience; one particular Awesome Mitten-er offers a unique perspective on its waterways. Ms. Joanna Dueweke swears by touring Detroit’s canals via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. It’s a great way to enjoy the historical buildings and homes from a completely different point of view than the general public. Some of the best and most convenient places to launch are at Alter Road, St. Jean, or Belle Isle.

Turnip Rock, photographed by Lars Jensen

4) Turnip Rock Port Austin – If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Turnip Rock via Lake Huron, I insist that you head there immediately. This enormous rock received its turnip connotation from thousands of years of erosion from storm waves. Now, it is 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 waterway or trekking across a frozen Lake Huron in the winter. It is quite the comedic, awe-inspiring landmark, located at the tip of Michigan’s thumb.

5) The Platte River – The Platte River is a personal favorite and though it may not be a secret, it is worth a mention to remind you to traverse its calm, strangely warm waters. The Platte is a great place to take families as it is easy to navigate and always warm enough to tube if kayaks are not readily available. As part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, it is no surprise that the Platte River is absolutely stunning. Its ending pours out into Lake Michigan with a mini peninsula jutting out between the two, dividing the playful river and the wild waves.

6) Huron River near Ann Arbor – This is the only state-designated Country Scenic Natural River in Southeast Michigan. It is a huge river that covers five counties, with each portion being strikingly worthwhile. During various portions of the river, floaters can expect to come across an abundance of dams; there are 96 total, to be exact. Many of these dams were built for mill or hydroelectric power, making them fairly large. Due to the size of these dams, many new lakes have formed along the Huron River, making for exciting sites to see almost every portion of the way.

7) Two Hearted River, Eastern Upper Peninsula – Any river that has a beer named after it clearly needs to be traversed. It is a fairly short river that empties into Lake Superior, and it does a great job of capturing the Upper Peninsula’s natural beauty. At the mouth of the river, travelers can see a Michigan Historic Marker; formally known as the Two-Hearted Life Saving Station, which then became part of the United States Coast Guard in 1915. The Two-Hearted River is exceptionally famous for a great place to leisurely fish, probably while enjoying a nice Two-Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery.

Jennifer Hamilton is a feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Jennifer lives in Traverse City where she works for Addiction Treatment Services and is earning her Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

Do you have a favorite Michigan paddling trip that’s not on the list? Share with us below!

Detroit: Seeing is Believing

Detroit is a city on the comeback. Everywhere you look, there’s signs of revitalization and a new energy in the city that has the nation taking notice. Recently, Bedrock teamed up with local artist Big Sean to produce a video honoring the Motor City. Read more on a few other things you might not have known are happening in downtown Detroit, via Dan Mullen, EVP of Bedrock.

“Always make the next day better than the day before.” Those are the words delivered around the 30-second mark of Bedrock’s short film “Anthem of Us” narrated by Detroit native Sean Anderson, better known by his stage name, Big Sean. Anderson describes that lesson as something the city of Detroit instilled in him, and something that has stuck with him his entire life. But that mantra is not limited to Big Sean alone. If you take a look at downtown Detroit today, you will see a city living in the present, and building for the future. Next time you are in the city, focus on what is right in front of you, and take note of the exciting direction in which the city is headed.

The Detroit Riverfront is bustling with activity

Photo Courtesy of Bedrock

There are plenty of great reasons to visit Detroit, one of them being the thriving restaurant scene. Whether you’re looking to enjoy superior dishes in small-plate form in the beautifully designed Wright & Co., or want to experience exceptional mixology crafted with precise detail at Standby, Detroit’s restaurant and bar selection is a treasure the city takes the utmost pride in. In addition to an already impressive list of eateries, downtown will welcome New York-based restaurant, Calexico, and popular burger chain, Shake Shack, to its lineup this summer. The retail selection on Woodward Avenue continues to grow as well. Many of the companies opening downtown have a vested interest not only being a part of the excitement of downtown Detroit, but also a dedication to the community around them.  Stores like Nike, who recently opened a community store on Woodward Avenue, aims to offer grants to local non-profit groups as well as other community initiatives. Also, John Varvatos, the popular designer who is originally from the city, opened the company’s flagship location in the heart of the Central Business District.

Detroit's expansive restaurant scene is quickly becoming known on a national scale

Photo Courtesy of Bedrock

While dinner and shopping in the city may be the reason you come down to Detroit, there are plenty of reasons to stick around and explore. There is something for everyone here. It is where history and innovation blend together in harmony as 100-year-old buildings house one-year-old technology start-ups. It’s where everyday, seemingly routine areas such as parking garages and back alleys turn into captivating galleries featuring artists’ work from all over the world. Major corporations live amongst mom-and-pop shops while Wayne State students, street performers, and business executives alike all do their part to contribute to the city’s economy. Development of the new “Arena District,” scheduled for completion in 2017, will place three major professional sports teams within walking distance of each other, creating even more retail and entertainment growth in the downtown and surrounding areas.

Detroit's amazing architecture can be seen throughout the city

Photo Courtesy of Bedrock

The Central Business District of downtown Detroit has become the core of innovation and development for the city. The downtown area is now an expansive source for business development, venture capital, and boasts a rising art scene that is attracting artists and visitors from all over the world. Areas such as Corktown, Midtown, New Center, and Woodbridge are all experiencing the positive effects of a surging downtown area. New restaurants, housing, and retail continue to pop up and garner success due to the ever-growing excitement of the downtown area.

There's many positive things happening in Detroit's unique districts

Photo Courtesy of Bedrock

This is just some of what Detroit has to offer today. The residents, businesses, entrepreneurs, and leaders of the city know that opportunities for innovation exist around every corner of downtown and the connecting areas. The job is never complete, and we will continue its commitment toward the present while steadily building for tomorrow. I strongly encourage you, if you are looking for an experience that is unique and stimulating, to come visit the great city of Detroit. You may just discover something in the city that inspires you to “make the next day better than the day before.”

What is your favorite thing to do in the Motor City? Share with us by commenting below!