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Spring into the Michigander Lifestyle: 30 Reasons to Visit the Mitten

Spring is in the air, and we are able to get outdoors and enjoy the sights, smells, and air. Looking for something special to do? Why not spend it in Michigan to explore our great state? The diverse landscape, history, and culture of our awesome Mitten are so unique that we’d like to take time to reflect on how incredible the Great Lakes state is! We chose to bring you 30 unforgettable facts that will make you long to be a Michigander. There are thousands of reasons to love the Great Lakes State, but these highlight some of the most uniquely incredible ways Michigan is the most awesome state to explore!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Polasek.

Here are 30 facts about Michigan that make you fall in love with this state all over again:

  1. On January 26, 1837, we were the 26th state to join the union. Today, we have close to 10 million Michiganders who call the Great Lakes State home!
  2. Our state’s name comes from the word “Michigama” which is an Ojibwa term meaning a “large lake”. The Ojibwa have many more names we still use today including “Huron”, which was named after a prominent Saginaw Valley Indian chief,  and “Oscoda”, a combination of “ossin” (stone) and “muskoda” (prairie).
  3. Our state stones, Petoskey stones, are made from fossilized coral polyps. They are notoriously difficult to find because the fossil only becomes apparent when wet. The most popular hunting ground for this stone is on the beaches of Lake Michigan. The rarest type of Petoskey has a pink hue which indicates iron had permeated the now fossilized coral as it is calcified.
  4. Hell really does freeze over in Michigan! Hell, or Hillard Lake, is a town located in Livingston County. It is a small community that enjoys celebrating when their little town reaches zero degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Michigan is vast. It includes 56,954 square miles of land area, 1,194 square miles of inland waters, and 38,575 square miles of Great Lakes water area. Our beautiful state encompasses adventures throughout the season with some of the most beautiful beaches, hiking and biking trails, national forest parks, and mountainous regions.
  6. No matter where you stand in Michigan, you will be no further than six miles from a body of water and no more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes.
    South Haven, Michigan
    South Haven, MI. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Polasek.
  7. Mackinac Island (pronounced “Mac-in-aw”) is somewhat of an unlikely tourist destination. Its claim to fame first sparked in 1979 when parts of the island, including the Grand Hotel, were used to film Somewhere in Time. This fantasy-romance film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour is still celebrated at an annual convention for fans on the island.
  8. The Mackinac Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It spans 5 miles over the Straits of Mackinac, connecting the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, and took 3 years to complete. It was opened to traffic in 1957.
  9. Michiganders know that it is possible to drive south to Canada. Michigan is home to the first three tunnels in the world that connect two different countries: the St. Clair Tunnel, Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, and the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. In fact, if you take the Detroit Windsor Tunnel south out of Detroit you’ll instantly hit Windsor, Ontario.
  10. The largest inland lake, Lake Gogebic, resides in the Upper Peninsula. Tucked away in Ottawa National Forest, it covers 13,380 acres. It’s fourteen miles long and two and a half miles wide.
  11. Michigan has around 150 lighthouses, the most of any state. Some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the Mitten include Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Grand Haven State Park Lighthouse, and Tawas Point Lighthouse. Michigan lighthouses in winter are even more beautiful!
  12. Similar to the Bermuda Triangle, there is a mysterious Michigan Triangle. It is the site of many ship and plane disappearances over Lake Michigan.
  13. The Great Lakes contain more than 35,000 islands. The largest island is Manitoulin in Lake Huron. It is 1,068 square miles and has a population of around 12,600.
  14. You can take a 6,500-mile drive to visit all five of our Great Lakes. It is called the Circle Tour and it is a scenic drive through eight states to thoroughly explore all five of our beautiful freshwater lakes.
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Polasek.
  15. Crystal blue meets copper-colored cliffs at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The park offers spectacular scenery of rock formations including natural archways, waterfalls, and sand dunes. Stretching 15 miles northeast of Munising, these colorful cliffs are one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the nation.
  16. Isle Royale Park shelters one of the largest moose herds remaining in the United States. This is one of the most isolated parks in the nation, but it’s also one of the most unique.
  17. Detroit’s 987 acre Belle Isle Park is the largest island park in the United States. It boasts a beautiful golf course, museum, basketball courts, and baseball fields.
  18. It’s always Christmas in Michigan thanks to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. It’s the world’s largest Christmas store covering a total of 27 acres. It is open all year round so Christmas lovers all over the state can get their holiday fix, no matter the season.
  19. Michigan is a winter wonderland. When it snows, which it does for nearly half the year, we have more than 4,000 miles of snowmobile trails. Michigan ranks first in the nation for the sheer number of registered snowmobiles. We also have approximately 40 ski resorts. Some of the most popular include Crystal Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and Mount Bohemia.
  20. The Upper Peninsula is home to the largest man-made ski slide in the nation. Pine Mountain Ski Jump was built in the early 1930s and holds the North American distance record of 459 feet on 140 meters.
  21. The food here is unforgettable. A great day may include one of your favorite cereals from Cereal City, Battle Creek, grab a Detroit Coney Dog, or a hearty Northern Michigan Pasty. Don’t forget to try our world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge for dessert.
  22. Traverse City, Michigan is the “Cherry Capital of the World” growing about 70-75% of the tart cherries produced in the United States. It is also known for hosting the annual National Cherry Festival and making the world’s largest cherry pie.
    Tahquamenon Falls Trail
    Tahquamenon Falls Trail. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Polasek.
  23. Michigan has the largest State Forest system in the nation covering more than 52% of the state at 18.5 million acres. With more than 200 miles to hike or ride between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron on Shore-to-Shore Trail and more than 1,300 miles of bike trails, you can get lost in the immense beauty of our lush forests.
  24. Michiganders are brand loyal. To this day we give the stink eye to any vehicle that isn’t Detroit manufactured. We are also the top consumers of Blue Moon and Superman ice cream and Vernors, the Michigander cure-all and the oldest surviving ginger ale.
  25. Some of music’s most influential artists are from Detroit’s Motown Records such as Diana Ross, the Temptations, Smoky Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, and countless others.
  26. Most of us don’t realize it but Michiganders have an accent. We are culprits of talking too fast which causes us to run our words together and clip all our hard consonants. For example, “Grand Rapids” is pronounced “Gran-rapids”, “Okemos” is “Oak-eh-mus”, “Charlotte” is “Shar-lott”, and “Detroit” is “Di-troi”.
  27. Michiganders also think differently. We grow up measuring distance by minutes, not miles. It take us thirty minutes to get to town, not 25 miles. We also tell time differently. We know it as “a quarter TO three” not a “quarter OF three”. However, with our accent, it comes out sounding like “uh quarta’ tuh three”.
    Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes
    Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Polasek.
  28. Grand Rapids is home to the 24-foot Leonardo da Vinci horse, called The American Horse, and it is the largest equestrian bronze sculpture in the Western Hemisphere.
  29. There’s a Michigan nickname for everyone. If you’re a survivalist choosing to live in the Upper Peninsula, you’re a “Yooper”. If you live in the Lower Peninsula, under the Mackinac Bridge, you’re a “Troll”. If you spend most of your vacation scoping Northern Michigan for our prized fudge, well then, you’re a “Fudgie”.
  30. We are home to the Most Beautiful Place in America. In 2011, Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes won Good Morning America’s Most Beautiful Place in America. Come experience the Native American lore, the 4-mile scenic drive, and the adventurous hiking, biking, and sand buggy trails available at the dunes. Are you brave enough to make the 110-foot climb to the top of these sand mountains? The breathtaking views of Lake Michigan will be more than worth the trek.

The State of Michigan’s motto sums it up the best when it says, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

What amazes you the most about Michigan? Let me know in the comments below! 

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