Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state and all of them have a unique look and story, making it the perfect place for a summer lighthouse tour. Today, guest blogger Kendra Higgins from Spring Lake gives us five helpful tips to keep in mind on a Lake Michigan lighthouse tour.
As the name implies the Great Lakes Circle Tour follows state highways around Lake Michigan, through Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan creating one of the most memorable road trips where you can see over 80 of the iconic lighthouses that lace the Lake Michigan shoreline. The trip was inspired by our annual Glowing for Grand Haven event that takes place in July to help raise funds to restore and maintain the Grand Haven Lighthouse. We wanted to explore, learn more maritime history, and further cultivate the meaning behind our event. What better way to do so than to hit the road and learn firsthand along the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. So what does it take to accomplish such a road trip? Well you’re just in luck, we’ve narrowed down the top 5 Michigan musts!
1. Patience. If you set out with a plan for your road trip, you better pack a lot of patience. Let us just remind you the joys of traffic and road construction as they are a usual hurdle in everyday life, let alone a week’s voyage. Your phone doesn’t always get a signal, your GPS will take you on some strange path because you mistyped one number when typing in the coordinates, and heaven forbid you have car trouble! So, whether the trip is to see lighthouses, national monuments, explore state parks, or just go off the beaten path, just remember, it’s supposed to be fun. Be patient and enjoy the ride!
2. Plan for more time than you anticipated. While it correlates with being patient, we also suggest if you’re in it for the adventure, to plan for a couple extra days. Not all small lakeshore towns are tourist traps. Some are rich with locals that have lived in the same town for generations who can’t wait to hold the door open for you to explore the best local breakfast joint, or the long dirt road that opens up to unsurpassed views of Lake Michigan. Their shared secrets just may become a tradition in your family.
3. Michigan Weather. While Michigan weather is unpredictable, make sure you enjoy the season(s) you set off in. We had the luxury of starting out and ending in the warmer spring climate along the Southwest Michigan coastline; an intense 50 degrees. Yet in the U.P. we personally witnessed the feet (yes, feet) of snow and ice caves left as reminders from the polar vortex. Whether you enjoy 70° and sunny sun bathing on the beach, or snowmobiling across miles of trails, pick your season…or in Michigan’s case you may just experience all four!
4. Avoid Being Hangry. We get that when traveling with kids they’re hungry, bored, have to pee, dropped their snacks, and then starts the screaming. However, don’t doubt that the same can’t and won’t happen with grown adults who begin to experience the symptoms of being “Hangry” (anger caused by hunger). We recommend throwing out the rules of the new trendy diet you’re on, and load up on the snacks, and then get a few more “just in case”. There’s nothing like driving along the circle tour curves, with the sun roof open (or gloves on, depending on your season), jamming to the greatest hits of all time sharing a bag of Better Made chips.
5. Collect. Take in everything you see and share it! We’re not suggesting you continuously post on Facebook or Twitter every second something happens, but share the newest hotspot you found to grab dinner or share about the fabulous staff you encountered at one of your overnight stays. Travelers today are more prone to go off the beaten path and take suggestions from family and friends on what direction to head. When you begin to share, you’ll start to realize the things that are most important to you, bettering your vacation or overnight staycation experiences.
Kendra Higgins, Director of Marketing and Social Media for Holiday Inn Spring Lake. Sprouting from Mid-Michigan farm country, Kendra has a new found love and appreciation for Michigan’s golden coast as an active community member and newly fashioned lighthouse enthusiast. She encourages you to visit the Grand Haven area and follow the hotel on Facebook, Instagram, and Blog to learn more about their lighthouse tour!