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Great Outdoors

Michigan Serves Up Nature, History In Its State Parks System

From the Great Lake it shares a name with to the legendary museums and studios of Motown in Detroit, there are more than enough unique activities to occupy visitors to the “Wolverine State.” Michigan visitors can explore Mackinac Island’s sandy beaches and take in a game at the Big House in Ann Arbor, where Saturdays are for hot dogs and rooting on the blue and maize. 

The area was long inhabited by Native Tribes, reaching back thousands of years. The territory that would become Michigan was later settled by French explorers in the 17th century and then ceded to the British following the French and Indian War. It remained under British control until the Revolutionary War. 

For decades now, the state, with its access to both Lake Michigan and the mighty Mississippi River, has long been a magnet for the wild at heart, seeking adventure in the great outdoors. 

Lucky for all who yearn for the tranquility and grandeur of nature, it has no shortage of locales, and many of those natural treasures are preserved for posterity with the State Parks system.

Below are some can’t-miss spots when visiting the “Mitten State”:

Hoffmaster State Park: This park, located near Muskegon, MI, offers visitors the chance to view and explore an upper midwestern oddity that might seem out of place at first glance. Sure, it provides over three miles of stunning preserved Lake Michigan shoreline and more than 10 miles of hiking trails, but its claim to fame is the towering sand dunes that would make the Mojave blush. A sight that must be seen to believe, these dunes draw thousands of visitors annually for the chance to hike to the top of the Dune Overlook Trail for an unmatched view of the surrounding natural beauty. This site is worth the trek on its own!

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Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park: A natural wonder of the almost exact sort awaits visitors to Sundell, MI. The park preserves one of the Upper Penisula’s most treasured natural wonders, the titular Laughing Whitefish Falls. A truly unique sight to behold, the cascading water down the rock through the pine and hemlock, can be seen up close and personal with just a short hike and then a quick climb up the steps to one of three overlooks. A true gem of the State Park system, this destination can’t be missed. 

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Mackinac Island and Fort Mackinac Historic Park: Beach lovers, history buffs, sailing enthusiasts, watersports heads, and art connoisseurs can find something to occupy the hours and days at this spot. Boasting the oldest building in the state, a historically vital old fort, and some of the best art museums and beaches in the region, Mackinac Island Historic Park should rank at the very top of the list for Michigan visitors. Peruse one of the diverse art galleries, stop in to learn more about Fort Mackinac’s place in building and defending the region, sail, snorkel, or swim. You can kick back with a good book on one of its many pristine beaches. The island offers a little bit of everything to a little bit of everyone and is a must-visit for outdoor and history lovers.

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