Dive into Pure Michigan Shipwrecks at These 5 Preserves

Since Michigan is surrounded by large bodies of water, it is one of the best places to explore shipwrecks. Experience history firsthand by visiting one of the sites this summer! Even if you aren’t a diver, there are options for charter tours with glass bottoms perfect for making memories while staying dry! To get you started, here are five water preserves that offer many shipwreck dives and tours. 

Thunder Bay Shipwreck Dive

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Located on Lake Huron, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary holds nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the bay. The cold, fresh water preserves the wrecks intact and frozen in time. There are several ranging depths, from a few inches to 200 feet, so it’s perfect for both diving beginners and experts or even snorkelers. Visit the headquarters at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center to learn more about the wrecks before getting into the water. A few of the sites to visit include the Monohansett, the Grecian, the schooner Defiance and the brig John J. Audubon.

If you don’t want to get wet but still want to explore, look into Alpena Shipwreck Tours. Take off from Alpena into Lake Huron’s Shipwreck Alley. With “glass-bottom” viewing wells, these cruises are the perfect option for non-divers or for families with children. While cruising and checking out the wrecks, you’ll hear about the history and legends of Thunder Bay.

Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve

Head over to the Traverse City area for some great sites. Grand Traverse Bay is strategically located, which means many ships have sailed through for commerce activities. The Bay holds several lost ships near the shorelines making it a great destination for diving. The Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve has worked hard to keep these wrecks intact for your viewing and learning pleasure. Check out Metropolis, a schooner that was lost in a snow storm in 1886. Some of the debris is only in eight feet of water, but there are deeper portions in 120 feet of water. Another schooner, the Yuba is only in 15 feet of water, making it a viable option for beginning divers. A third option, out of many, is the A.J. Rogers, built in 1862 that sank in 1898 while attempting to reach Old Mission Point. This schooner is located 53 feet under water.

If you’re looking to learn how to scuba dive or go with a group, check out Scuba North. A full service diving center, Scuba North has several options for charters, group travel and training.

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Alger Underwater Preserve

For another Michigan location to explore, go further north to Munising. The Alger Underwater Preserve is located on the south shore of Lake Superior which includes Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island. In addition to shipwrecks, there are “sea caves” and underwater interpretative trails. A couple of the popular sites are the Smith Moore, resting at 70 to 105 feet of water, and the Bermuda, popular with sport divers at a depth of 12 feet.

For a great tour, go with Exploring the North for narrated tours of the Lake Superior Shipwrecks with glass-bottom viewing panes perfect for observing the wrecks. They also offer diving for any type of diver, from beginner to expert.

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

Visit the Thumb and check out the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve in Lake Huron. There are several family fun activities as well, like the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, Sanilac Petroglyphs and the Lake Huron Shipwreck Museum. This Preserve is popular with sport divers as there are several options within recreational diving limits and at least 16 shipwrecks are above 120 feet. Visit Sport, the first steel tug on the Great Lakes. Sport has an abundance of relics and tools scattered throughout the site. Undiscovered until 1986, Regina is another great option with cargo scattered along the lake floor.

Go through Rec & Tec Dive Charters for an easier way of getting to the wrecks. Take a look at their website for more information on schedules and the area.

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Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve

The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve is another great location on Lake Michigan to find fantastic shipwrecks. Visit the wreck Havana, a schooner that sunk in 1887, for great viewing of the ship’s construction. The hull, keelson, centerboard, hanging knees and more can be observed by divers. Another wreck is the Rockaway, lost in a storm in 1891 while sailing from Ludington to Benton Harbor. Make sure you stop in at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven for some cool information surrounding the wrecks.

Shipwreck Explorers is one company you can go through for scheduling your diving tours. In the southeast region of Lake Michigan, the company can take you to the wrecks Hennepin, S.S. Michigan, Hamilton, and H.C. Ackley off the shores of Saugatuck and South Haven.

Be sure to check out our website for more trip ideas if you visit one of these locations!

What shipwrecks are your favorite to dive or view? Share with us in the comments!

Planning (And Planting!) Your Perfect Pure Michigan-Inspired Garden

Nothing soothes a winter-weary soul quite like the languid lure of gardening. Green thumbs know well the joy of poring over seed catalogs, daydreaming of bountiful blooms and homegrown goodness. But you don’t need to be a green thumb to enjoy the fruits of this labor! A garden-inspired getaway to the Great Lakes Bay Region - ripe and ready with tips, tricks and inspiration – will prepare you for planning and planting your perfect Pure Michigan garden! Grab your gardening gloves… it’s time to go and grow!

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Beautiful Learning

The 110-acre landscape at Dow Gardens will both excite your eye and calm your mind as you stroll through diverse gardens including the “Pollinator”, “Herb”, “Stream Walk”, “Color”, “Pineside”, “Rose”, and “Children’s Garden”. (Psst! The Children’s Garden is a must for the young and young-at-heart, complete with forts and gigantic bubble-making opportunities!)

- Admission is just $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 – 17, and free for children ages 5 and younger.

Private Garden Tour: Take time for private pleasures. Enjoy a two-hour, in-depth, guided walk (for five adults or more) for $20 plus admission.

- Mark Your Calendar: May 10 and June 14 are Dow Garden’s Tuesday Evening Tours - evening strolls with Senior Horticulturist Chuck Martin! (Just imagine what you’ll learn here; you may want to bring a notebook!) Admission is just $5.

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Insider Tip: Dow Gardens is, indeed, spectacular, but don’t leave without perusing the gift shop located inside. Gardening decor to daily essentials, signs to seeds – this place is filled with unique garden discoveries!  

Know, Then Grow

Just like gardens themselves, no two gardeners are alike! While some aim to grow delicious flavors, others long for bounty of the beautiful kind. Chippewa Nature Center is 1,200 acres of a little something for everyone, and simply walking about the nature preserve may inspire new interests! Admission is free. (Yes, free!)

Heads up! Once a year, Chippewa Nature Center holds their Native Plant Sale, a.k.a. the time to stock up on yard plants that are both easy on the budget and beneficial to the planet! Your chance to bulk up: May 27 – 28! (Hint: Make sure you clear out your trunk; you’re going to want the space to bring home your finds!)

Discover The Hill

 

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Dahlia Hill, that is! Eight terraces, 3,000-plus dahlias (with over 250 varieties), and a working art studio and museum – this gem in Midland is mesmerizing, memorable, and designed to inspire.  What’s it like to be engulfed in dahlias? Often referred to as the quintessential cut flower, English plantsman Christopher Lloyd said it best: “Dahlias spell excitement and we can do with some of that in our lives.”

- Open to the public from dawn to dusk, seven days a week from April to November; free admission.

- Considering gardening with these “sassy, but elegant” flowers? The Dahlia Hill Society Tuber Sale is the place to be: May 21 & 28, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Hundreds of varieties will be available at or below cost (think $2 each and 6/$10) and expert volunteers will be on hand to answer questions.

Disclaimer: Planting bright and beautiful dahlias may cause your neighbors extreme jealousy; proceed with caution!

Dig This Gardening Décor

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Some gardeners are dazzled by soil composition; others relish every rose species imaginable. And still others … enjoy digging for deals and gardening décor nearly as much as (or maybe more than) hands-on growing!

- Find something for every kind of gardener at Warmbier Farms, an absolute mecca of home and gardening supplies! For decorative statues and fountains to rubber gardening boots and wide-brimmed hats, too, make it a point to visit May 12 – 15 for “Best of the Garden”. With live demonstrations and specials galore, you’ll nab knowledge, gardening items  and ideas.

- Or head into Tumble Weed Farms, the outdoor garden center with lawn and garden décor (and one of seven shops and over 40,000 square feet) at Pride and Country Village of Unique Shops. (Psst! Gardeners might “dig” the attire in the Schoolhouse Fashion Boutique, too!)

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

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Jen Wainwright O’Deay is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Mich. She specializes in creating effective connection through marketing communications copy, feature articles and content/blog posts. You can find her camping with her family, reading Thoreau, or at: www.feelthesewords.com

Pack Up Your Pets and Hit the Road with These Dog-Friendly Michigan Destinations

Going on a trip wouldn’t be the same without the entire family – especially your furry family members! In celebration of warm weather arriving for spring, we put together a list of just a few pet-friendly destinations in Michigan. So, pack up Fido and Fluffy and hit the road.

Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula

Photo courtesy of Sharon Hubbard at Porcupine Mountains

Photo courtesy of Sharon Hubbard at Porcupine Mountains

Take a weekend trip to Traverse City, where you can climb mountains of sand, play on dog-friendly beaches and spend quality time with your furry friend. Spend the day in their Victorian downtown district, home to more than 150 shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Treat your furry friend to a special treat at D.O.G Bakery with a variety of treats, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest pooch.

A trip with your pets wouldn’t be complete without going to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Miles of sand, bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, and unique flora and fauna make up the natural world of Sleeping Bear Dunes. The high dunes afford spectacular views across the lake, something you and your pooch are both sure to enjoy.

Don’t want your pooch to feel left out? Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has put a new twist on accommodating the entire family. Dog Dreams Inn is located on the property and all about pampering your pooch. Access to your dog provides the ultimate in flexibility, cage-free social environment encouraging dog interaction and activity, fully trained, professional staff gives each dog the attention and assistance they need, daily exercise and fenced in outdoor play area, and separate potty/play areas to help support the overall wellness of dogs.

Heading farther north? The Upper Peninsula has a number of great dog-friendly hotels, resorts, cabins and campgrounds so you and your furry family members can get a good night’s rest before exploring the magnificent U.P. scenery.

West Michigan

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Peterson

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Peterson

Well-known for its strong Dutch history, Holland is historic yet hip and the perfect place to take your furry companion. Browse downtown’s trendy boutiques or stroll the tree-shaded campus of Hope College. Hike Holland’s soaring Lake Michigan sand dunes or simply relax on our soft sandy beach at Kirk Park. Urban excitement and homespun simplicity. A sophisticated city wrapped up in small-town charm. Do ALL of this with your furry family member by your side. Here’s a list of pet-friendly places in Holland. 

If a stop at a Michigan winery is on your summer to-do list, bring your pup to Round Barn Winery in Baroda. In addition to a variety of hand-crafted wines, this brewery and distillery also produces microbrews, vodka, and fruit brandies. Dogs are allowed on the grounds to explore with you, though they are not allowed in the buildings.

Take your dog for a walk on over 1,000 acres of beautiful undeveloped woods and sand dunes at Grand Mere State Park. With 985 acres of hiking trails, over 1 mile of Lake Michigan beach for sunbathing and swimming. Your pup can enjoy the day with you while on a leash within the beach and swimming area. Norman F. Kruse State Park in Muskegon is another option for a day at the beach with your furry best friend.

Metro Detroit

Start the morning with a walk along the scenic Detroit Riverfront, which is a beautiful place to walk dogs and meet with other dog owners. Stop in at a local bakery so Fido can fuel up with some homemade tasty treats. For example, the Bow Wow Bake Shoppe in Grosse Pointe Woods offers healthy and scrumptious cupcakes, biscuits, cakes and more all freshly baked daily just for dogs.

Photo courtesy of Anton Ochss

Head up the pet-friendly Dequindre Cut toward Eastern Market to shop around for the latest and greatest in pet supplies at Detroit’s newest urban pet supply store, 3 Dogs 1 Cat 4 Detroit. The store offers trendy, stylish and quality merchandise, from food and treats to popular accessories.

Several Detroit-area hotels and motels welcome pets including the Holiday Inn Express Detroit, the Westin Southfield and the Quality Inn – Troy. Click for a full list of pet-friendly hotels in metro Detroit.

These are just a few places that cater to pampered pets on vacation. Use the list to find more dog-friendly attractions and accommodations in Michigan.

Do you know any other pet-friendly attractions in Michigan? Tell us!