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fordmantpw

Must-See Sights in Michigan

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I know we've got several Michiganites (Michiganders? Michiganians?) on here, so thought I would pose the question. We're planning a trip to MI in late July and was wondering what are your must-see sights in the state? I would love to do the DTP tour/Henry Ford/Greenfield Village, but with 3 kids who won't really get much out of it, I don't want to spend the money and time at this point. That will be for a return trip in the future (by myself if necessary :)). We are still planning our trip, but I'm thinking we'll head up the main part of the state, maybe hit both Lake MI and Lake Huron before crossing the Mackinac bridge on up to Lake Superior and back down through Wisconsin. We've got 3 kids (8, 11, 14) and will be towing our fifth wheel, so any tips for great campsites or beautiful scenery to see along the way would be appreciated. I'm hoping to talk the wife into taking 2 weeks

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Makinac Island (and grab some fudge!) It is a day trip and you can't bring any vehicles on the island, but it is fun.

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Makinac Island (and grab some fudge!) It is a day trip and you can't bring any vehicles on the island, but it is fun.

 

There is a campground just SE of the bridge that we are hoping to stay at, and the ferry picks up right there. Where is there to do on the island?

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Depending on what age, your kids would probably get a lot out of Greenfield Village. Depending on the schedule it's like walking back in a certain time period with a lot of things for the youngsters to do (candle making, weaving, cooking, etc). There is a lot of history in SE Michigan with French settlers and their interactions with the native Americans. West side of the state is a totally different place. Think lots of pristine parks along the Lake Michigan. Sleeping Bear Sand dunes, Traverse City, Saugatuk, which are kinda summer touristy attractions if you go that way. Makinac Island is an experience in itself. I still remember biking around the island as a kid, dodging horse poop.

 

There are lots of great state parks that allow camper access. Pick a route and go but I would recommend making reservations at these sites, as they tend to fill up fast.

Edited by jcartwright99

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How old are the kids? There's plenty for a young one to get out of Geeenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum itself. I first did the factory tour when it first opened, I was middle school age. Younger kids should still get something out of it just for the coolness factor. Hell, Ive worked at MAP/FRAP for almost 4 years and I'm still fascinated by it. Detroit Zoo is one of the best zoos in the region, that's worth the cost of admission for the new penguinarium alone. It just opened last year and is world class. Get there between 10am and noon and you might be able to see them feed the penguins which is hilarious and the kids will love it.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes is gorgeous, I only just experienced that for myself last September. We didn't go on a dune hike on account of my wife being pregnant but she's always going on about how much fun it is (her family went up there every year until she hit high school). And if you're in Glenn Arbor (which is right by the dunes) check out Leelenaw Coffee if you enjoy good coffee, and Cherry Republic right around the corner which sells cherry products from candy to cherry wine. Bought a couple of bottles while we were there, I recommend it.

 

On the east side of the state outside of the Detroit area there's a lot of great rivers for camping and canoeing up near the West Branch area. My family used to have a place on the Rifle River and we saw canoers all the time.

 

I haven't been there since I was a kid but Frankenmuth is neat. Bavarian in has an indoor water park the kids will love, there's Bronners which is the (self proclaimed) worlds largest Christmas store (open year round), there's all kinds of German themed shops around town and be sure to stop at Zehnder's for an all you can eat fried chicken dinner. It's very good and "world famous". Near there there's Junction Vally Railroad which is a HUGE 1/4 size train park that you can ride on. I'm sure the kids will love it.

 

While you're in the area, check out nearby Tony's restaurant. It's been featured on the Food Network on several occasions for their BLTs with 2 pounds of Bacon on it. There's also a very large outlet mall in Birch Run which is probably something more for the Wife and kids but might be worth stopping by.

 

My wife suggested Turnip Rock near Port Austin up in the tip of the thumb, it's a place she's been wanting to go to for years. Kyaking through these massive rock formations. It looks gorgeous. Pictured Rocks is also a fun time, but I read within the last week or so that they're dealing with partial collapses on the trail. Might want to do more research if you're thinking of that.

 

Holland (near Grand Rapids) is neat little town. We took a weekend trip there last year. Stayed at one of the many Bed and Breakfasts in town. There's a TON of craft beer breweries around there (my favorite is New Holland. Their Dragon's Milk Stout is one of my favorite beers) and a trip to the add Zwehaan windmill (an actual Dutch windmill) is pretty cool. Sawgatuck is neat. Lots of shopping and restaurants.

 

Not a ton in the central part of the state for tourists that time of year. There's Soaring Eagle casino just outside of Mount Pleasant but I don't recommend going there, they've had issues with regulatory commissions regarding payouts and there's nothing for kids there.

 

Of course there's Mackinac Island. But I've never been there because my parents never wanted to drive that far and I haven't been able to squeeze a trip up there as an adult yet. I've never even seen the bridge in person. I'm a terrible Michigander, I know.

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Thanks fuzzy...great info! We may have to give Greenfield and Henry another thought. I know I'd want to do the DTP tour as well since I regret not getting to tour the Corvette plant in Bowling Green last year when we did the museum tour, but it's over $350 for the 5 of us for Greenfield/Museum/plant tour. Hmmm, I don't know, I just don't want to commit to it and then the kids be bored out of their minds. My kids like action and doing stuff, not so much looking at things. The National Corvette Museum was kind of a bust for them even though I really enjoyed it.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes is one that is definitely on the list.

 

The kids are 8, 11, and 14 (somebody really needs to read the full first post) ;) (I kid, I kid)

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Kids that age, especially the older 2, should be able to get something out of the DTP tour. Like I said, if nothing else the Village and Museum is worth it on its own.

 

Cool fact, the Henry Ford Museum has one of 2 remaining C&O 2-6-6-6 Allegheny locomotives in existence inside, and it's really a sight to be seen. It's still to this day as far as I know the most powerful class of locomotives ever built. Definitely the most powerful of the steamers, even more powerful than the infamous UP Big Boys.

 

That's the beauty of it, it's not just an automotive museum, it's more Americana. Thought next door is the automotive hall of fame which I've never checked out for myself but might bee cool for you being a car guy.

Edited by fuzzymoomoo

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Hi,

A very good place for camping would be Lakeport State Park.

It is just north of Port Huron right off of Mi. 25.

If I remember correctly there are even a decent number of pull through sites available.

It is right on Lake Huron with a good beach and lots to do right in the park itself.

Its location also allows you to backtrack to places like Detroit without heavy duty travelling.

I have always found this campground to be very handy to a lot of the places we wanted to go.

I hope this helps,

Morry

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Best sight is the "Welcome to Ohio" sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

J/k. I just couldn't resist.

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You know they actually have done a nice job of revitalizing downtown Detroit.

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