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Reviewed on 17 Jan 2022
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Four Great Lakes surround two peninsulas, providing travel choices from big-city excitement to wilderness exploration.
Known as the Great Lake State, Michigan encompasses two peninsulas. Enjoy large cities and Big Ten university experiences in Lower Michigan. Visit numerous lakefront and inland parks in far-less-populated Upper Michigan.
Detroit was the “Car Capital of the World” for half a century. See the history of the auto industry at Henry Ford Museum. More recently, Detroit has invested in city infrastructure centered on the Detroit River. Enjoy shopping, dining or a pleasant promenade. Across the river, Windsor, Canada is an interesting daytrip.
Attend professional sports events in Detroit or see Big Ten college games in Ann Arbor and Lansing.
Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan border mitten-shaped Lower Michigan. Drive along the coast to see everything from sand dunes to cherry orchards. Learn about Michigan’s trading history at Fort Michilimackinac at Lower Michigan’s northern tip. Mackinac Island in Lake Huron is a popular vacation spot, reached only by ferry. No cars are allowed in the quaint town.
Cross the awe-inspiring Mackinac Bridge, a 5-mile (8-kilometer) structure connecting to Upper Michigan over the Straits of Mackinac.
The Upper Peninsula has a rabbit shape. The “tail” on the east is Sault Ste. Marie. Watch huge canal locks operate to allow ocean-going commercial boats to travel from Lake Superior to Lake Huron on their way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Travel west to appreciate the outdoors near Escanaba and Manistique on Lake Michigan or Marquette and Houghton on Lake Superior. Enjoy summer and winter sports on the areas’ rivers and lakes: swim, waterski, kayak, sail, snowmobile, iceboat, ice fish, hunt and more. Look for state parks and quiet campgrounds where you can sit around a fire and cook the day’s catch.
From Copper Harbor, on the rabbit’s “ear,” take a ferry to Isle Royale National Park in the middle of chilly Lake Superior. No cars are allowed in this wilderness. Hike the 46-mile-long (74-kilometer) park and look for moose and wolves in their natural habitat.
Michigan deserves its motto: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”