Michigan travel guide

About Michigan

Sizzling beaches, sprawling forests, boutique vineyards and buzzing cities: think Michigan is one big car factory? Think again.

Bang in the heart of the Great Lakes, the state is split across two peninsulas, divided by Lake Michigan and linked by one of the world's longest suspension bridges across the Straits of Mackinac.

This Midwest state has more natural features than it knows what to do with. Once used by fur traders and loggers, Michigan’s 300-plus rivers are now perfect paddling territory. Then there are the 5,149km (3,200 miles) of shoreline and 11,000 inland lakes, where you can hook hefty trout and monster salmon or take a cruise. Oh, and did we mention the 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) of sand dunes?

Backcountry adventures await in Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, a craggy wilderness home to wolves and moose. And in winter, thousands of miles of forested cross-country trails bring skiers out in force across the state.

Michigan has its share of urban chic too. Cosmopolitan Grand Rapids is an ultra-cool city with a thriving arts scene, farm-to-fork dining, and more than a dozen craft breweries. It’s a handy half-hour jaunt to the sandy swimming beaches of Lake Michigan. And you can flip a coin for the designated driver role on the lakeshore wine trail.

On the opposite side of the Lower Peninsula, Detroit may conjure up images of urban decay, but the state’s biggest metropolis is Michigan’s comeback kid. The city’s downtown and inner-city neighbourhoods are being revitalised by creative entrepreneurs, who are opening up hip cafés, cocktail hangouts, techie start-ups and urban farms.

Key facts


250,493 sq km (96,716 sq miles).


9.9 million (2015).

Population density:

39.6 per sq km.