Michigan Green Travel Guide

A dip in the unspoiled nature of Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes of North America: a trip to a land full of surprises!

On the east coast, surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes of the United States, there is the State of Michigan. Probably this name, which in Chipewa language means "big water", comes from the homonymous lake that surrounds and divides the territory into two large peninsulas, connected by the charming Mackinac Bridge. Lakes and long beaches, make this State a very popular destination for tourists and travelers, especially by those who want to escape in nature. 

2. Michigan and its nature

Green woods with high trees and a path
Forest of the Upper Peninsula - Shankar Arul via Flickr

The two peninsulas in which the region is divided are both rich in places to visit, even if they have very different characteristics. In the north, summers are mild and short while winters are cold, in the south instead the temperatures are higher throughout the year.

The Upper Peninsula is still the most popular destination, with its long, unspoilt beaches, small seaside villages, pine forests and orchards, but also forests and rolling hills. Here are the Porcupine Mountains, the oldest in North America and therefore with modest heights. The highest peak is Mount Arvon, with its 603m.

the bridge between the two peninsulas
Mackinac Bridge -  Always Shooting via Flickr

The Lower Peninsula, has a very particular shape, reminding a glove. Here there are large flat areas and hills that smoothly slope toward the side of Lake Michigan. Here are also the major population centers of the state, including Detroit and Lansing, the capital city.

Not far from the channel dividing the two peninsulas, surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan and of the Great Lake, you will find Mackinac Island, where to enjoy the unspoilt nature and beautiful sunsets on the lake. Furthermore, the island is closed to car traffic, people can only move on foot, by bicycle or on horseback!

2. Detroit and other cities in Michigan

the city seen from the top with its skyscrapers and buildings
Detroit - James via Flickr

The city of Detroit is certainly the best known of the state; with its 4 million inhabitants it is also the most populated. The city was once home of the automotive industry, now in decline. Wandering the neighborhoods the apparent contradiction surprises: next to large buildings and skyscrapers, there are decadent places, that testifying the problems of the city.

a building can be seen behind a tree
Lansing - Mike Boening Photography via Flickr

The state capital is the small town of Lansing, in the heart of the Lower Peninsula, hosting the renowned University of Michigan. The Grand River, the largest of the State, flows through the city center and the University campus. On this river sails the Michigan Princess, a boat on which annual festivals and entertainment events are held.

Another lovely city worth visiting is Traverse City, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Despite its modest size, it is an important commercial area. It is also famous for the production of cherries, so that the citizen airport has earned the nickname of "Cherry Capital Airport".

3. National Natural Parks in Michigan

Michigan is a state rich in natural parks all to visit. We suggest you a few, definetly not to be missed!

animals in the forest
 j van cise photos via Flickr

Near the border with Canada, in the middle of Lake Superior, the largest of the five Great Lakes, you can reach the Isle Royal National Park, a protected natural area, a wonderful island where to take excursions, surrounded by many species of plants, inhabited by foxes, beavers, moose, eagles and wolves.

a colored rocky cave on the lake
Pictured Rock National Lakeshore - www.nps.gov

Along the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula, extends the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. With its 24km of colored cliffs with multiple forms, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes and forests, the park offers many opportunities for those who love outdoor activities. There are also cozy campings, from which to discover the park, on foot or by kayak.

 a snowy landsace with trees
Rachel Kramer via Flickr

Even the Lower Penisnula offers the possibility to visit untouched nature reas. The National Forests of Huron and Manistee, located one on the east and the other in the west part of the peninsula, covered with dense coniferous forests, are home to many animal species. There are many activities for visitors, such as hiking, organized guides and fishing in the streams.

4. Where to sleep


a lighthouse on the shore with waves
Michigan lighthouse - Tom Gill St. Joseph via Flickr


In Michigan you will find many solutions, for a eco-friendly stay, in harmony with nature!

Discover all eco-friendly accommodation in Lansing and surroundings


You may also be interested in:

Carfree cities, where you can enjoy your route!


Cover image: Kevin Dooley via Flickr

Author: Anita Cason