Outdoor experiences in Michigan
Michigan is ready to welcome visitors as soon as travel permits. Its two wildest national parks have plenty to offer lovers of the great outdoors.
National Geographic listed Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park as one of its ‘best in the world’ destinations for nature and wildlife this year, with wolf and moose among the 18 species living there. The remote 850-square-mile area encompasses Isle Royale and the smaller islands surrounding it on Lake Superior. On Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a swimming otter or beaver, a spawning salmon, or a hunting bald eagle are among the most memorable wildlife encounters.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore hugs the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, including the South and North Manitou islands, and has miles of hiking trails. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail runs for 22 miles through forests and the Port Oneida area, with its 19th-century farmsteads. There are several rugged hiking trails on Isle Royale, including the 43-mile Greenstone Ridge Trail which follows the spine of the island through forest, past lakes and swampland and up Mount Desor, the highest point of the island.
Take to the water
With numerous lakes, bays, and islands, Isle Royale National Park provides miles of waterways for experienced kayakers, while guided boat tours offer a chance to understand the park’s history, flora and fauna. In Sleeping Bear Dunes, outfitters offer kayak rentals on the Platte and Crystal rivers, where calm waters provide the perfect opportunity to spot birdlife and salmon heading upstream. Swap a kayak for a paddleboard and give your core muscles a workout.
Relax on the beach
Despite it being many miles from the sea, Michigan is home to some beautiful beaches. Isle Royale’s rugged shore has red sand beaches and rocky coves while Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore boasts miles of pale sand, lapped by clear water and backed by towering dunes and forest. Here, Platte River Point beach is a popular swimming spot where warmer water enters the lake, while quiet Peterson Beach has wide vistas of Empire Bluff’s maple forested outline.
Explore unique features
Remote Isle Royale has its own unique ecosystem, shaped by the hazardous waters and channels that surround it. There are many lakes on Isle Royale, but Siskiwit Lake is the most unique as it has its own island. Ryan Island is the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island on the largest lake! Meanwhile, Sleeping Bear Dunes has similarly impressive credentials. Its immense sand dunes are perched on top of the already towering headlands and are a spectacular 400 feet above Lake Michigan.
Discover a rich history
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is rich in history and its name comes from the stories told by the Anishinaabek Indigenous people. The Manitou Islands were a refuelling stop for steamers to pick up wood for their boilers and the shore and islands are home to several lighthouses and old logging villages, now fascinating ghost towns. Isle Royale also has Native American history along with shipwrecks, lighthouses and old copper mines.
The Pure Michigan Pledge
Over 600 hospitality, tourism attractions and businesses across Michigan have taken this pledge to ensure communities and visitors are protected COVID-19. The pledge is a mark of commitment to maintaining protocols around disinfecting and social distancing in restaurants, shops, attractions and outdoor spaces.
Book it with...
Vacations to America offers an 11-day Great Lakes Road trip which combines the city buzz of Chicago with the scenic shores of Lake Michigan and the exciting Grand Rapids. The trip is priced from £2,899pp.
A 13-night Pure Michigan Holiday Idea with America As You Like It starts from Detroit and travels through to Port Huron, stopping off at the Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Mackinac Island and Bay City. This self-drive trip is priced from £2,418pp.