No. 5 should be on everyone’s to-do list
Editor's note: I've decided to share the following travel tips, if you're heading North. Maybe you're traveling to the Mitten State for a vacation, considering it as a destination or you have family you'll be visiting in the future. I hope these tips help!
I might be biased, but I think Michigan makes the perfect summer vacation destination -- that is, if you don't like seeing palm trees or swimming in the ocean.
If you’ve haven't traveled to Michigan before, you're probably wondering why you should visit this Midwestern state at all. Isn't it usually cold? Don't the cloudy days outnumber the sunny ones?
Lucky for you, I spent 26 years in the Great Lake State, and I have put together a list of the best vacation spots in Michigan. Sure, a lot of these are best when it's warm out, but releasing our list in November gives you plenty of time to plan.
1. Sleeping Bear Dunes
Lace up your hiking shoes and bring plenty of water as you venture through miles of sand and trees to the sandy shore of Lake Michigan.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is home to 13 paths that equal about 100 miles of designated trails.
Not feeling adventurous? You can take a scenic drive, go hiking or cycle along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, or enjoy some easy dune climbing by conquering the first hill.
Planning a trip in the winter? The trails are maintained for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
2. Traverse City
Sticking with the "up north" feel, no trip to Michigan is complete without a stop in Traverse City.
Traverse City is a beautiful place to visit or stay, especially in the summer. Explore beaches, hike sand dunes or enjoy a glass of wine at one of the many wineries.
There is never a shortage of things to do here. If going wine tasting is on your list, think about visiting again in the winter. Nothing can top tasting wines with family and friends inside a modern wood cabin with a fireplace crackling in the background.
Known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, this city will make you feel as if you left the United States and landed in Germany. In the summer, you can see hot air balloons drifting over the streets during Balloons Over Bavaria or get your dog fix as thousands of canines take over the town for the Frankenmuth Dog Bowl.
Are you a fan of Christmas? Love the decorations? How about the music? Well, Frakenmuth celebrates Christmas year-round, so be sure to visit Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, a Christmas store that is open 361 days a year.
If you decide to come during the winter months, you won't want to miss out on Snow Fest, when sculptors from all over the world gather to carve larger-than-life objects in ice and snow.
No trip to Frankenmuth would be complete without a chicken dinner. No one does chicken dinners like Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. These mouthwatering dishes are all you can eat and served family-style. Need we say more?
4. Pictured Rocks
Travel way up north to see one of Michigan's most beautiful natural landscapes, Pictured Rocks. Located in the Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks has waterfalls, scenic shorelines and hundreds of miles of hiking trails.
The area offers opportunities for sightseeing, camping, hunting, fishing and boating. Want the real Michigander experience? Get a kayak and paddle around the towering sandstone cliffs. It doesn't get more relaxing than this.
5. Mackinac Island
Of course, we're going to save the best for last. Mackinac Island (pronounced "Mackinaw") is the perfect summer getaway. This island has been named the hottest summer destination spot by Trip Advisor, and we won't disagree.
Mackinac Island is an 8-mile-long island located between the upper and lower peninsulas.
The only way to get to the island is to take a ferry. When you step off the boat, you'll notice there are no cars; instead, everyone gets around by bikes and horses. The smell of fudge is in the air as the warm summer breeze comes off the Great Lakes.
You can visit the unique shops that line the streets and spend the day walking around the island. Be sure to stop by the Grand Hotel. You won't be disappointed.
Need another reason to visit the island? It's a part of movie history. Mackinac Island was made famous by the movie "Somewhere in Time" starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.
We know Michigan is full of other travel destinations, and we couldn’t possibly fit them all into one story.