Michigan ranks second on the list of US states that have the most water at 40,174.58 square miles of freshwater and has been called a “Water Wonderland.”
Everyone knows Michigan is cradled by the Great Lakes, but many would be surprised to learn it has 11,307 inland lakes. Wherever you are in Michigan, you are within 6 miles of a body of water!
Besides the obvious benefits of freshwater environments, like supplying drinking water and growing crops, it’s just downright beautiful. And in my opinion, way more enjoyable than the alternative; saltwater.
Sure, you can swim faster in saltwater due to its higher density, but you know what my response is to that? No sharks, no problem. When you’re in freshwater, what’s the rush?
2. Believe It or Not, the Weather
We have been living in California. Yes, there are many beautiful things in Cali – sadly, all of them are a minimum of two hours away in any direction from where we’ve been living; the valley.
Valley summers are grueling hot. There are hardly ever clouds in the sky, and virtually no rain.
I can not wait to have seasons again! To hear the rain, or a thunderstorm and see the foliage it brings. Experience a vibrant, crisp fall. Cherish a white Christmas!
Michigan has four seasons and each one offers all new sights and adventures. Go ahead, visit the same landmark in spring, summer, fall, and winter; its beauty will be anew each time.
Michigan and its seasons are a dream come true for bikers, hikers, campers, boaters, paddlers, golfers, skiers, fishers, and countless more “ers!” Needless to say, we’re ready for the variety of weather, and accompanying opportunities, only Michigan can offer.
3. The Coastline
I’d like to continue boasting about Michigan’s freshwater supply and what better way to do that than bringing up one of our GREATest assets; the Great Lakes.
At the very least, the Great Lakes are mostly warmer than northern Atlantic coast locations and the Pacific coast in summer making them more enjoyable for recreation. But they offer so much more than entertainment!
They recycle and purify the water we drink, help reduce flooding and erosion, absorb waste we produce, provide food, and fuel, and support the economy. After all, “[the Great Lakes] account for more than 50% of all US/Canadian bilateral border trade, seeing over 200 million tons of cargo shipped annually.”1
The list doesn’t stop there – this has just been the tip of a Lake Superior iceberg. People say that, don’t they?
4. Family Support
My husband and I were born and raised in Michigan. I never thought we would leave. However, long story short, my husband had a dream that took us away, he nailed it (I love that man!), and now we are homeward bound (now I love him even MORE!). While away, we expanded our family by two.
For those of you who may not know, parenting is hard. If you don’t believe me, ask your parents! To make things more challenging, I was raising my boys with little to no help. I am ready to go back to Michigan because I need the type of assistance only my family can provide; support that is unreserved and full of love.
5. GO GREEN!
All that freshwater and miles upon miles of coastline bring greenery! For the past seven years, I’ve flown from the dry, dusty Central Valley in California to Michigan each summer to beat the triple-digit heat. What a sight for sore eyes the Mitten State is when we are finally overhead!
And for those of you who thought number 5 would begin with a “GO WHITE!” – the next one is for you.
6. The Big Ten Universities
Michigan has TWO colleges in the Big Ten; Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Michigan (UM). Even I get excited about having double the opportunity to attend competitive sporting events!
It’s true, when people hear “Big Ten,” they think “sports.” However, it turns out there’s more to this respected title of being a Big Ten college.
In 1958, the Big Ten Conference members established an academic counterpart for the league that became known as the Big Ten Academic Alliance. This union is the nation’s finest model for successful collaboration between research universities.
The 2022 US News Best Colleges, school ratings based on athletics and academics, list both MSU and UM within the top 100 Best National Universities. As it were, Michigan has a double dose of brains and brawn.
Facts aside, Michigan’s team spirit for MSU or UM is next level and dare I say, contagious. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my boys to catch it and aspire to attend either/or!
7. Professional Sports Teams and the Little Caesars Arena
Detroit Michigan is home to four major sports teams making it one of twelve cities in the US to have teams from the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL. Cooler still, Detroit is one of only four US cities to have said teams play within the city of their namesake.
This is all thanks to the Little Caesars Arena (as in the Michigan-born, nationwide Little Caesars Pizza – no big deal or anything) which opened in 2017 making it possible for the Detroit Pistons to move from Auburn Hills, MI to Detroit.
My husband and I moved away in 2012 which was precisely when rumors began to fly regarding the new arena; a sports and entertainment district to impact Detroit’s economy for the better. I can’t wait to cheer on my home state teams once more and frequent the fancy-schmancy, 2018’s “Sports Facility of the Year;” Little Caesars Arena.
8. It’s America’s High Five
Most people know Michiganders can and often will use their hand as a map of Michigan to point out where they live.
However, I love the notion of Michigan being “America’s high five.” It makes sense because Michigan people are a positive, kind, encouraging, and passionate bunch; much like the act of offering a high five to someone in need.
Michigan, you rock. Air high five!
9. Exploring Michigan to the Fullest
The U.S. Navy has taken us many places… Oh, I didn’t mention we were a Navy family? Surprise! My husband’s dream was to fly fighter jets!
So, we’ve been a place or two and in each state, we’ve done our best to check off the quote-unquote, “bucket list” items. I am eager to do just that in our beautiful home state of Michigan.
We were a young married couple figuring out our careers when we left with insufficient time and funds. Many things have changed but our passion for new experiences has not.
We will be moving to the Kalamazoo area this summer and this will be our first of many bucket lists to fulfill: https://www.awesomemitten.com/summer-bucket-list-southwest-michigan/
You’re reading that right, I’ve listed family again. This time, I’m referring to my immediate family.
There are things from my childhood that I always thought I’d be able to recapture with my kids. Snowmen on school snow days followed by a toasty fireplace with cocoa and/or fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Visits to Mackinac Island, the Detroit Zoo, apple orchards, and football tailgates.
Since we started having kids nearly 6 years ago I’ve been beside myself, truly worried this would never be a reality. I’m thankful to God for finding a way back to Michigan for us, and I’m thankful for my husband’s receptivity in following His path.
We will live these traditions again and have the chance to create many new ones – we are Michigan bound.
1“The Great Lakes Economy: The Growth Engine of North America.” Council of the Great Lakes Region, www.councilgreatlakesregion.org/the-great-lakes-economy-the-growth-engine-of-north-america/