Best of Northeast Michigan
Colonial Michilimackinac State Historic Park: Just south of the Mackinac Bridge lies this reconstruction of the original Fort Michilimackinac, a French fur-trading village and military outpost established in 1715. Visitors can tour over a dozen historic buildings, where costumed soldiers, traders, and colonial ladies demonstrate skills of the late 18th century.
Grand Hotel: Opened in 1887, this gorgeous hotel is a timeless piece of American history, boasting the world’s longest porch and a guest list that’s included at least five U.S. presidents. Nonguests can stroll amid the flower-filled grounds or enjoy a meal in the stylish main dining room.
Diving in Thunder Bay: Scuba divers will discover a wealth of artifacts in the 448-square-mile Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, east of Alpena. Fog banks, sudden gales, and rocky shoals made this region, known as “Shipwreck Alley,” the unfortunate resting place of more than 100 historic vessels.
Canoeing on the Au Sable River: Home to North America’s longest nonstop canoe marathon, the Au Sable is one of the most picturesque rivers in Michigan, stretching from Grayling to Oscoda. Several resorts offer canoe rentals for visitors during the spring and summer months.
Houghton and Higgins Lakes: Between West Branch and Grayling, these sizable inland lakes, two of the state’s largest, offer five swimming beaches, a dozen access sites for boaters and anglers in summer, and the possibility of ice fishing for walleye, pike, bass, and bluegill.
Hartwick Pines State Park: The largest state park in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula also preserves the largest stand of virgin white pines remaining in the L.P. Visitors can view forestry exhibits, experience a former logging camp, explore several hiking and skiing trails, and observe a variety of wildlife, from woodpeckers to black bears.
Golfing in Gaylord: Golfers will find a wide assortment of options in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula, especially in the area around Gaylord, which offers a high concentration of championship golf courses, with challenging holes, scenic views, and fine lodgings.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel