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Michigan Travel Tips

Proud Michiganders refer to their state as “The Mitten” because of its shape. Also known as The Great Lakes State, it’s no surprise that some of the best places to vacation are near Lake Michigan. Here are some of the most wonderful:

Northwest Michigan

Northwest Michigan is a great vacation spot with ample attractions for both families and couples. Check out these two wonderful towns for a relaxing getaway:

Charlevoix

Charlevoix is a beautiful lakeside town with a Cape Cod feel. Here are some of the best things to do and see here:

- Fisherman’s Island State Park has miles of trails and serene beaches.

- Castle Farms was built in 1918 and the gardens here provide a gorgeous place to simply stroll. There’s also a museum, an enchanted forest and a train for the kids to ride.

- Hit the links at Dunmaglas or Belvedere golf clubs, which have stunning lake views.

Traverse City

Traverse City is more crowded than Charlevoix because it’s very popular due to the excellent wineries, shopping and lakeside attractions. Better yet, it’s famous for its cherry production, so you’ll find a lot of treats made from the sweet fruit here. If you’re looking for excitement and relaxation, check out these hot spots:

- Get your fill of delightful locally produced wines with a tasting and tour at some excellent vineyards and wineries, including Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, Bowers Harbor Vineyard, Shady Lane Cellars and Left Foot Charley.

- Head to the only commercial organic tea farm in North America - Light of Day Organic Farm.

- Soar above the waters of Lake Michigan with a thrilling ride from Traverse Bay Parasail or a private balloon tour from Grand Traverse Balloons.

- Sample some cherries and cherry-based treats from Cherry Republic. Bring some gifts home to family and friends!

- Catch a film or opera at the historic State Theatre, which was completely renovated and reopened by famous director Michael Moore in 2007.

- Go shopping in Sutton’s Bay, a quaint little town just a short drive north.

- Check out the National Cherry Festival during the first week of July and the Traverse City Film Festival during the first week of August.

Southwest Michigan

Southwest Michigan is a popular vacation destination for other Michiganders and locals from around the Midwest. Here are the top things to do in the most well-known destinations:

Kalamazoo

This big city in south central Michigan is the home of Western Michigan University. Here are the best things to do in Kalamazoo:

- Head to the Air Zoo for sky-high fun, where you can hop in a flight simulator, steer your very own bi-plane on a cool vintage ride, ride a 26-foot indoor Ferris wheel and even experience weightlessness.

- See fine art and history at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

- Grab breakfast or lunch at popular cafe Crow’s Nest, get dinner at quirky farm-to-table spot Food Dance and don’t miss sweet treats at Confections with Convictions and Sweetwater’s Donut Mill, which are simply divine.

Saugatuck

- Bask in the sun on the pristine sand at Oval Beach

- Catch an outdoor concert and river views at Wicks Park.

- In the summer, take a jeep tour and lay out on the untouched beaches of Saugatuck Dunes State Park, which boasts 850 acres. In the winter, go cross-country skiing on the miles of trails.

- Shop in the boutiques and grab lunch on historic Butler Street.

South Haven

- Hit the beaches and go back to nature at Van Buren State Park, the Kal Haven Trail and the historic South Haven Lighthouses.

- Go apple-picking and wine-tasting at McIntosh Orchards.

- Take a sailboat tour or lessons on beautiful Lake Michigan with Cat’s Meow Cruises or Sailing South Haven.

- Take an art class at the South Haven Center for the Arts.

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