8 Travel Resolutions to Check Off Your Michigan Bucket List

New Year’s Day brings with it a clean slate, and a year full of possibilities. What will you resolve to accomplish in the coming year? And where will your travels take you?

The rocky shore of Isle Royale on Lake Superior
Isle Royale | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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As you look ahead to the New Year (and New Year resolutions), consider adding a few of these Pure Michigan Travel Resolutions.

1. Explore a New Destination

Explore the dozens of shipwrecks on the Lake Huron floor in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, whether with diving gear, a snorkel or a glass-bottom boat. Learn about the Keweenaw Peninsula’s mining history or rediscover Detroit, a city that has so transformed itself in the past few years as to become unrecognizable in places. Nothing beats discovering a new corner of Michigan, one that may become your next favorite getaway.

2. Go Someplace You’ve Been Before…and See it With New Eyes

There’s something special about taking a new perspective on a long-time favorite. The familiar span of the Mackinac Bridge becomes spectacularly new when viewed through the eyes of a young child for the first time. Grand Haven’s quaint Musical Fountain gains new charm after years away…and accompanied by a contemporary soundtrack. And warm-weather getaways like Mackinac Island take on a special allure blanketed in winter’s snow.

3. Get Active

Join the millions of Americans committed to getting more exercise in the New Year…and resolve to meet your goals in one of over 100 Michigan state parks. The wooded trails leading to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park’s Lake of the Clouds rewards a strenuous hike with heavenly views. Snowshoeing enthusiasts relish winter at Hartwick Pines State Park, and bicyclists pedal the broad, paved pathways of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. Whatever your sport, there’s a Michigan state park perfectly suited for you.

4. Unplug for a While 

Put the rest of the world on hold for a few hours—or a long weekend—and make the most of the peace and quiet. Stress disappears at luxurious destination spas like Solace at Boyne Mountain Resort, the Spa at Harbor Shores or Crystal Spa at Crystal Mountain. And after a relaxing massage or pedicure, you can schedule a round of golf in the afternoon. Michigan’s national parks are custom-made for reconnecting with nature. Isle Royale National Park features a landscape of unparalleled Lake Superior beauty, world-class hiking and paddling, moose, otters…and virtually no cell phone service.

5. Travel the Backroads

Sometimes the journey really is as important as the destination. Leave the expressway behind in favor of Michigan’s scenic routes, like the Blue Star Highway. Located in southwest Michigan, the rural route twists and turns from Holland to Benton Harbor, past tidy blueberry fields and over ancient dunes on a trip ideal for leisure travelers and motorcyclists. In northwest Michigan, the two-lane M-22 highway snakes its way along the Lake Michigan shore from Manistee to Northport and Traverse City. Along the way, glimpses of the sparkling Big Lake break through tunnels of lovely hardwood trees. It’s a route positively bursting with color in autumn.

6. Enjoy the Moment

Forget your travel itinerary and relish time spent with family and friends. Rent a cottage on Gun Lake Park (Allegan County) and while away the days swimming and fishing for lake trout. Spend an entire afternoon on Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel porch, the world’s longest, absorbed in a good book. Or reserve a weekend at Double JJ Resort and simply let the grandkids play, racing through the woods, riding horse-back and whooshing down the resort’s gigantic tobogganing hill. Life is made of these special moments. Savor them.

7. Taste Different Flavors 

Whether your journey takes you along a wine trail on the Old Mission Peninsula or in southeastern Michigan, along Grand Rapids’ Beer Trail or through the Middle Eastern neighborhoods around Dearborn, you’ll discover that the flavors of Michigan truly are like no place else.

8. Use All of Your Vacation Days 

The years fly by quickly. Determine not to leave a single vacation day unused in the coming year. And commit to spending that precious time off exploring the beauty of Pure Michigan.