180 Things We Love About Michigan!

Happiest of birthdays to the very best state! Since Michigan turns the big 180 today, our staff at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine shares 180 things we adore about our beautiful mitten state.

All photos by Taylor Brown

  1. We have the coolest shaped state
  2. And the most awesome, nicest people
  3. Two peninsulas. One state.
  4. 11,000 inland lakes larger than 5 acres
  5. The greatest number of different foods grown of any state except California
  6. Bike riding on Mackinac Island (video)
  7. Longest freshwater shoreline in the US & more shoreline than any other state in the lower 48 (yes, more than California)!
  8. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (video)
  9. You don’t have to pay money to go to the beach
  10. Yoopers and Trolls
  11. Sea Shells City’s Giant Clam
  12. Cherry pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company and The Cherry Hut
  13. Christmas time in Frankenmuth
  14. The handy map, of course
  15. Surfing the Great Lakes
  16. 3,177 miles of Great Lakes shoreline (and no sharks or stinging eyes!)
  17. Rollerblading the TART Trail, Traverse City
  18. Fresh water fishing. There is no bad fishing season.
  19. Four seasons, each with its own allure
  20. Cherry blossoms (video)

  21. Trilliums
  22. Michigan barns have their own styles
  23. Bonfires on the beach
  24. Ernest Hemingway
  25. Empire Asparagus Festival
  26. Beaches and skiing both in the same state
  27. Sunsets in Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee, Onekama, Frankfort, Empire, Glen Arbor, Leland, Elk Rapids, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs … pretty much everywhere
  28. Sunrises on Lake Huron
  29. Ancient copper mines
  30. Elmore Leonard
  31. Village Cheese Shanty
  32. Walking over the Mackinac Bridge
  33. 20,000 miles of quality trout streams
  34. The Accidentals
  35. Vasa Trail
  36. Small towns
  37. Pyramid Point
  38. Award-winning wine
  39. Trout Unlimited founded on Au Sable River
  40. Rick and Marty Lagina

  41. Jim Harrison
  42. The 45th Parallel
  43. Uncle John’s Cider Mill
  44. 40 of the state’s 83 counties adjoin at least one of the Great Lakes
  45. Morel mushrooms
  46. Empire Beach (video)
  47. The Northern Lights
  48. Vernors
  49. Petoskey Stones (video here!)
  50. White Pine Village
  51. Madonna (Born in Bay City)
  52. Adams Fly invented on Boardman River
  53. Stormy Kromer
  54. Blueberries
  55. Cheeseburger Festival in Caseville
  56. ‘Up North’ is anywhere north of Bay City
  57. Faygo
  58. “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock (you’ve gotta admit it’s catchy)
  59. Turquoise waters of Glen Lake
  60. North Country Trail

  61. Detroit-style pizza
  62. Craft beer great’s like Bell’s, Founders, Stormcloud, Short’s and so many more
  63. Cruising state highways (especially M-22, M-119, M-185!)
  64. S.S. Badger
  65. Moose in the Upper Peninsula
  66. Wilderness State Park
  67. Longest-running wolf study in the world: wolves on Isle Royale
  68. Horses on Mackinac Island
  69. Christopher Paul Curtis, author of Bud, Not Buddy (born in Flint)
  70. Leelanau Conservancy
  71. Better Made and Great Lakes Potato Chips
  72. Motown (Aretha, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations)
  73. Watching boats going through the Soo Locks
  74. Farmers Markets
  75. Pasties
  76. Lighthouses. And lots of them. (116 to be more precise)
  77. Beach volleyball after work
  78. Fayette Historic State Park (video)
  79. Ice Cream (Moomers, Hudsonville, Michigan State University Dairy Store, Jones Homemade Ice Cream, House of Flavors)
  80. Black squirrels (and red and gray!)

  81. Jerry Dennis
  82. Tom Brady (played at University of Michigan)
  83. Straits of Mackinac
  84. Winter sports: tubing, snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, fat tire biking
  85. Sandy beaches
  86. Water skiing
  87. Cheesy potatoes. We could eat them every single day.
  88. Apple orchards
  89. Arch Rock
  90. Summer picnics
  91. Ironton Ferry (video)
  92. Loons
  93. Michigan round white potatoes—they make the best mashed taters!
  94. Joshua Davis
  95. North and South Manitou Islands (and Mackinac, Beaver, Hog, Garden, Bois Blanc)
  96. Fort Mackinac, Fort Holmes, Colonial Michilimackinac
  97. Holland Tulip Festival
  98. National Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming
  99. Tahquamenon Falls State Park (video!)
  100. Leland Blue (coolest rocks ever)

  101. Our neighbors in Canada
  102. Greenfield Village
  103. Mario Batali vacations here (and his recipes are amazing)
  104. Traverse City Film Festival & Fresh Coast Film Festival
  105. Grand Traverse Conservancy
  106. Two-tracking
  107. Ice wine
  108. Panfish fishing inland lakes
  109. Motor City
  110. May Erlewine
  111. National Cherry Festival and U.S. Navy Blue Angels (video)
  112. Strawberries
  113. Tunnel of Trees fall color tours (video)
  114. S’mores
  115. Ice skating in downtown Grand Rapids
  116. Birch trees
  117. We’re in the snow belt
  118. Interlochen Center for the Arts
  119. Kiteboarding

  120. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
  121. Hunting in the largest state forest system in the nation
  122. Sugar Loaf Mountain, near Marquette, and Sugar Loaf in Cedar
  123. Paddle boarding on Lake Michigan
  124. Pierce Stocking Drive
  125. Spring buds (much overlooked)
  126. Canoeing the Manistee River
  127. Porcupine Mountains State Park
  128. Cherry Republic. Everything here!
  129. World’s Longest Breakfast Table at Battle Creek CerealFest
  130. Traverse City Microbrew Festival—winter and summer! (video)
  131. Ice boating. Yes, this is a thing (video).
  132. White-tailed deer
  133. Harbor Beach, the world’s largest man-made fresh water harbor
  134. The Lions, and Tigers and Red Wings, oh my! And the Pistons
  135. Brockway Mountain Drive, Copper Harbor
  136. Gallagher’s
  137. Booming craft distilleries (Grand Traverse Whiskey, Northern Latitudes, Iron Fish, Coppercraft and more!)
  138. Bayview Mackinac Race (Port Huron to Mackinac Island sailboat race)
  139. Gordie Howe International Bridge

  140. Sandhill cranes
  141. Torch Lake
  142. Little Traverse Conservancy
  143. Kellogg’s
  144. Bavarian Festival in Frankenmuth
  145. Shinola watches
  146. Kayaking the Sleeping Bear shore (gorgeous views)
  147. Hiking Manistee National Forest
  148. Grand Hotel
  149. Cycling Leelanau Peninsula
  150. White pines
  151. Great Lakes Charter Fishing
  152. Cherry sausage
  153. Mackinac Island fudge
  154. Zingerman’s
  155. Whitefish (best restaurants to get it at)
  156. Trout: brook, brown and rainbow
  157. Greektown, Detroit
  158. Jeff Daniels
  159. Classic cars

  160. Henry Ford Museum
  161. Maple syrup (video: how to make your own at home!)
  162. Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island
  163. Arcadia Bluffs
  164. Ice climbing at Pictured Rocks
  165. Michigan’s Adventure
  166. Grand Island
  167. Painted turtles
  168. Long summer days; sunsets at 9:30
  169. Meijer
  170. Michigan auto industry. So there!
  171. Crooked Tree Center for the Arts
  172. Fox Theatre
  173. Hops
  174. Winter steelhead fishing
  175. Crystal-clear ice (it looks like you’re walking on water! Photo proof)
  176. Leelanau Cheese Company (just included in world’s 66 best cheeses!)
  177. Art Prize
  178. International Auto Show
  179. The Mystery Spot
  180. Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine (humblebrag)

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