Michigan is a state in the USA’s Midwest, which borders four of the Great Lakes and is mostly covered by dense forest. The lake coast of this state has more beaches than the Atlantic seaboard, and is dotted with islands which attract both local and international visitors on holiday to Michigan. Detroit is the capital city of Michigan, and its gritty urbanism is an interesting counterpoint to the fresh wilderness that characterises most of the state. Michigan’s unusual geography comprises two distinct pieces of land; Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. Lower Peninsula is where most of Michigan’s population live and the wilder Upper Peninsula is mainly home to wildlife and adventurous visitors.
The raw, frenetic energy of Detroit makes it unlike any other city in the USA. Young artists and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the low rents and no-go areas to create new and innovative enterprises. Urban farms and co-operatives are a common sight amid the abandoned buildings. Don’t expect a polished tourist infrastructure in Detroit, as this is not the main attraction of Michigan holidays. However, it does have plenty to offer for enthusiastic, DIY visitors, including the vibrant Eastern Market and the arty Heidelberg Project.
One of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is a popular destination for beach-lovers and watersports enthusiasts. The lake coast of Michigan is known as the Gold Coast for its unspoilt stretches of sand. Inland from the beach you’ll find wineries and orchards; testament to Michigan’s widespread growing of every fruit imaginable. The small towns that dot the coast make great destinations for relaxed Michigan holidays. Fill your days with fishing and boating, or swimming if you’re feeling brave enough to take the cold.
Upper Peninsula has a definite ruggedness about it. Dense hardwood forest covers 90 percent of Upper Peninsula and the towns are few and far between. The largest town is Marquette, which is reached via a scenic road trip along Highway 28, following the coast of the aptly-named Lake Superior. Marquette is an ideal base for enjoying the best of Upper Peninsula’s outdoor activities, with walking tracks such as the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail and Hogsback Mountain Trail starting close to the town. The biking and kayaking in this area are legendary and in winter there is cross-country skiing.
Joining the two peninsulas of Michigan is the gigantic Mackinac Bridge. At over eight kilometres long, this is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Mackinaw City is perched on the Lower Peninsula and from there you can hop on a ferry to Mackinac Island. The old-world feel of the island is mainly due to the ban on cars which has been in place since 1898. All travel is made on foot, horse or bicycle. Explore the imposing Fort Mackinac, built by the British in 1780, or the Native American art on display at the Mackinac Art Museum.