The Great Lakes are huge like inland seas and enjoy the longest freshwater shoreline in the world. The lakes are also well known for soft sandy beaches, and dune-packed thoroughfares. Michigan is divided into two regions – the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, each with its own unique character.
Orchards and farmsteads blanket the region with over 200 varieties of food grown and raised on family farms which means fresh pies and one-of-a-kind recipes passed down by generations. Try Detroit’s crispy crust pizza full of cheese, Mackinac Island fudge, or locally grown cherries, apples and blueberries. Whether you are an urban adventurer or an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie or a thrill-seeker, traveling with your family or making memories with friends - all are welcome in Michigan!
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Detroit is a city with a very interesting history. It's the largest city in Michigan and also the largest U.S. city on the United States – Canada border. Detroit is also a major port on the Detroit River, one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It’s the historic home of America’s automobile industry, in fact, it put Detroit on the map and gave way to the nickname ‘Motor City.
Car buffs will want to visit the Ford Museum for the full story.
And, of course, no Detroit story is complete without a little music. Hitsville USA - Motown Museum was the unassuming home where Berry Gordy lived and recorded. The museum is home to an extensive array of authentic artefacts, photographs, costumes and other valued memorabilia. Visitors will delight standing in Studio A where their favorite artists and groups recorded.
Distance: 289 miles
You're off to the northern-most point in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula - Mackinaw City. The main street is packed with unique stores and restaurants, it’s a great place to stop for some lunch before heading over Mackinaw’s suspension bridge, affectionately referred to as Mighty Mac - one of the world's longest suspension bridges. As you cross the bridge, you’ll get your first glimpse of Lake Huron before arriving in quaint and historical St Ignace. Serving as the gateway to the state’s Upper Peninsula and the Great Lakes connection to Mackinac Island.
Mackinac Island is a unique national landmark. No cars, no chain hotels and all transportation is by horse and buggy, bicycle, or foot. Start with a carriage tour around the island – then rent bicycles and enjoy the trails. In the heart of downtown, you’ll find plenty of places to eat and shop and be sure to visit the Haunted Theatre. Stay at the famous Victorian Grand, with its popular front porch rocking chairs and amazing views. And don’t forget to try their world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge.
Distance: 102 miles
Enjoy a late breakfast on the Grand veranda before catching the afternoon ferry back to the mainland. Take the scenic drive along Lake Michigan with a stop at Petoskey State Park. Stretch your legs and try finding some on its namesake stone. The fossilized, ancient coral appears a dull grey when dry, but its intricate hexagonal pattern pops into view when the stone is wet.
Hug the Lake Michigan coast all the way to Traverse City a favourite with the locals for its craft microbreweries and waterfront dining. The fruit orchards that surround the city contribute to the breweries’ unique flavours such as cherry beer…. yes, please!
Distance: 142 miles
This morning, continue to travel along Lake Michigan’s spectacular shoreline and be sure to take in the 7-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Uncover some of the state’s most beautiful freshwater beaches such as Good Harbor Bay. Explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; the constantly shifting dunes rise to 400 feet and range in colour from the palest champagne to vibrant sienna.
And for those who are more energetic, take a hike through beech-maple forests up to glacially formed bluffs, or paddle in the crystal-clear waters.
Your base for the next few nights is Grand Haven, a unique resort community with a history dating back 300 years. Stroll along the boardwalk and the two lighthouses that have guided ships for years. This part of the USA is famous for its soft-sand beaches and Grand Haven has its own unique phenomenon- singing sands! Take a walk and listen for yourself.
Distance: 99 miles
A popular vacation destination for nearby Chicagoans since the 1920s, Lakeside is a sleepy community full of antique shops and one-off boutiques. One of our favourite places to stay is the Lakeside Inn. There's a path to Lake Michigan right across the street and you can walk the beach for miles. Be on the lookout for sea glass – this is a popular spot for it. Our recommendation for dinner – is Red Arrow Roadhouse. There's always a great vibe and the food is delicious.
Distance: 75 miles
As cosmopolitan as New York, but with Midwest charm. One of the best ways to gather your bearings is a Chicago city tour. And another of our favourites is the city’s architectural river cruise. The official start of Route 66 is where Adams Street crosses Michigan Avenue, and makes for the perfect photo op with the official start of route sign.
Exploring the city is bound to stir up a hunger and Chicago is home to every type of cuisine imaginable. Chicago’s signature food is the deep pan pizza which is worth a try. Walk off lunch at Navy Pier, the perfect place for a mooch around the lake.