The Magic of Michigan in the Summer

The Magic of Michigan in the Summer

Growing up we visited Michigan every summer for a couple weeks because that’s where my mom’s family lives. We’d fly into Detroit then drive to the “thumb” of Michigan to a tiny town to visit our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and for many years even my great grandmothers and my great grandfather. I have full, beautiful memories of soaking in the luscious green Michigan backyards, visiting little lakeside towns, discovering the sand dunes on the other side of the state, enjoying the freezing water of the Great Lakes, and on one happy occasion, visiting Mackinac Island.

As an adult, our visits have been less frequent, but we still try to go every few years and got to spend ten full days in Michigan last month. I hadn’t been since 2019 so our trip was really sweet and full of lots of nostalgia. It also reminded me that Michigan is truly a wonderful summer vacation spot, especially for those of us in the south trying to escape the summer temps. While New Orleans was under an extreme heat warning, we were wearing sweatshirts at night around a fire pit and dipping our toes into cold, clear lake water.

The Great Lakes in Michigan

Michigan is known for its Great Lakes, which are absolutely stunning. We spent our recent trip at an adorable Airbnb cottage on Lake Huron. Every morning we woke to a glorious sunrise and many days we were outside from dawn till dusk. We grilled delicious dinners, played on the rocky beach, went kayaking, and overall thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were close to a tiny town called Lexington which is a lovely spot to visit. There are several great restaurants, ice cream spots, and an old fashioned General Store where our kids loved picking out candy and trinkets. We enjoyed walking out onto the pier which boasts a beautiful view of Lake Huron. This is a really special spot and fun vacation.

Outside the Lexington General Store

I’ve come to realize that many people don’t know that the state of Michigan is made up of an Upper and Lower Peninsula! As a kid, we didn’t often travel “up north” but the few times we did are seared in my memory because of how beautiful it is. I vividly remember going to the Sleeping Bear sand dunes on Lake Michigan and being completely swept away by the beauty. We spent hours climbing up and sliding down the dunes, an absolute blast!

On this most recent trip, we had a couple extra days on the backend and decided to spend it by driving four hours across the state to the Upper Peninsula so we could then ferry over to Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island. This is a magical little island that does not allow cars! We paid a fee to park our car overnight at the Shepler’s Ferry Line in St. Igance and took the 16 minute ferry ride over to Mackinac Island, passing the beautiful Mackinac Island bridge that we’d just driven over. We opted to spend the night at

Riding tandem bikes with the kids in Michigan.

the Lilac Inn right on main street. I’d done a bit of research to make the most of our twenty four hours on the island. I knew to put in an early reservation at The Pink Pony, and while we waited for dinner, we bought fudge from one of the many fudge shops and walked over to the beautiful Fort Mackinac hill to explore some of the historical spots. After dinner we settled into ourRiding tandem bikes with the kids in Michigan. cute room at the Lilac Inn. Saturday morning we took off early for breakfast at the Water Color Cafe, another adorable spot overlooking the water, and enjoyed their house made pop tarts. We then rented bikes — a tandem with a trailer and another adult bike with a tagalong, and set off on what was my highlight of our time: an eight mile ride around the island. This was an absolute blast! The scenery was gorgeous and we made lots of stops around island to soak it all in. Our last stop was at the Grand Hotel where we walked around the beautiful grounds including the massive porch and the secret garden. We ended our time on the island with some souvenir shopping and massive ice cream cones.

In addition to what I’ve mentioned so far, there are many other things to enjoy in Michigan: the wine tours in Traverse City, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, and the German town of Frankenmouth. Sharing some of my Michigan childhood memories with my husband and kids was really special and I can’t wait to go back. It’s such a beautiful state with tons to do and I look forward to exploring more the next time we go.Michigan is a great place to visit.


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