"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
April 28th, 2014
I just spent the last hour reminiscing about the 6-months I lived in northern Michigan and I honestly feel kind of heart-sick. As the weather warms up, and as northern Michigan finally begins to thaw from this harsh winter, I know it is becoming overwhelmingly beautiful. The farms, forests, lakes, dunes, hills, islands; Petoskey stones, camp grounds, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the moose of the Upper Peninsula… it’s a special place. There’s nothing quite like this part of the country. Now, it is spectacular in the winter, don’t get me wrong… but having all those feet of snow gets tiresome in the winter. I got tired of it pretty quick. When summer emerges, though, it is glorious.
There are three places in northern Michigan, though, that I cannot recommend enough because of the site of them alone.
3) Isle Royale
This one is probably the most challenging but, in my humble opinion, the most gratifying. This island is part of Michigan but is actually closer to Ontario and Minnesota. Though there were once miners, fish factories, and a sense of community on this island, today it is a national park. Ferries to the island only run half of the year and only 12 families have cabins on the island, but there are no permanent inhabitants of Isle Royale. Much of the island is only accessible by boat, and hiking is necessary for the trip to this island. But visiting Isle Royale is perfect for anybody who loves camping, hiking, fishing, and the great outdoors.And there are moose and plenty of interior lakes.
2) Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is on Lake Superior, and is probably one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Michigan. The waterfalls, caves, and dunes are remarkable, but the sandstone cliffs are the most noteworthy aspect of Pictured Rocks. Boating, hiking, fishing, swimming, and camping are common activities for those visiting the Lakeshore, but being able to see the cliffs–or the Pictured Rocks–is enough reason to make a trip. I recommend a Pictured Rocks cruise to be able to soak up the sun and see the cliffs [fairly] up-close.
1) Sleeping Bear Dunes
I’ve mentioned ‘the Dunes’ before in a blog post last year, “How to Enjoy a Peaceful, Affordable Day in Traverse City“, and visiting this lakeshore was probably the sweetest trip I have ever made. The area around the lakeshore is cute, with little shops and houses on the lake. And the lake is beautiful, to say the least. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been dubbed ‘The Most Beautiful Place in America’ by Good Morning America. This 35-mile long park is incredible, with the different outlooks on to Lake Glen and campgrounds throughout the park. The sand dunes are a work out, but are also extremely fun. The ‘Dune Climb’ is probably the most popular, where thousands of people throughout the summer run, walk, and roll down the dune to the beach, and slowly but surely make their way back up.
And of course there is a ton more to do throughout Northern Michigan, with their hundreds of campgrounds, farms to go berry-picking, festivals (such as Michael Moore’s very own film festival in Traverse City), but these three places provide the whole family with not just exercise but also time to be in awe of the beauty of nature.