Step Outside - Michigan WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Michigan 144 144 Tue, 26 Mar 2019 15:32:25 -0500 9 Best Ski Destinations for Families in Michigan It’s just about that time of year: Family ski vacation time. As the temperatures begin to drop and the ski areas prepare their slopes, it’s time to start planning. Across Michigan, you’ll find a variety of wonderful ski resorts and areas that can accommodate all members of the family, and all levels of skill. Here are the best in the state. 

With over 60 different runs, Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls offers a level of challenge for the experienced and the brand-new-to-skiing alike. That makes it a great family choice, but it only gets better from there. A variety of dining options from pizzas to steaks to a taco truck make this place even better, and considering that there's an indoor waterpark right on the property, well, that takes care of pretty much everyone in the family! 

Ski Brule in Iron River bills itself as the number one family resort not only in Michigan, but in the entire Midwest. It also claims to have the best kids' program in Michigan skiing. Those are some pretty big claims, but they sure can back them up. Start with some excellent prices on equipment rental and overall ticket prices—there's free tubing and a kids' lunch on Sundays for “Friends & Neighbors” members—and throw in the kids' teaching program uses a series of games to teach kids how to ski, and you'll see why Ski Brule is so awesome. 

Flashback... Sleigh Ride to Homestead! #tbt #skibrule #homestead #skiing #snowboarding #travel #familyfun

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Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is one of Michigan's leaders in ski resorts, and works quite well for families as well. It was actually named to the Conde Nast Traveler Top 12 Best Family Ski Resort listings for the U.S. and Canada for 2017. With skiing and a variety of winter sports—including fat tire snow biking—along with lessons for both adults and kids, there's plenty of reason to count this one among the best. Throw in a complete spa and dining options from a fast slice of pizza to a complete, high-end dinner for two and you've got everything well in hand here.

Harbor Springs' Nub's Nob is geared specifically toward families thanks to multi-tiered age-appropriate ski lessons, and even a daycare program for those who are simply too young to ski. With racing, race clinics, and a whole range of skiing options beyond that, it's a complete ski experience. 


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Iron Mountain's Pine Mountain boasts the best-groomed slopes the Midwest can offer. There’s a lot to speak to Pine Mountain's claims, especially as it hosts an annual ski jump competition featuring some of the best jumpers around. The world record was set there, and at last report, remains standing. An on-premises restaurant offers nightly specials ranging from an endless pasta bar to slow-roasted prime rib, so come on out for skiing and some pretty impressive dinner options.

Wakefield's Big Snow Resort has two separate mountains for skiers, which opens up quite a bit of opportunity for all skill levels to enjoy time on the slopes. That makes it a good choice for families, since families often have skiers of varying skill levels. There are also some unexpected activities for the kids, like the Yeti Snow Forts, a massive conglomeration of straight-up snow forts featuring blocks, stairs, tunnels, and slides, which is tailor-made for the kids. Throw in the Kinder Country kids' care program that even comes with ski lessons and indoor play and that makes this a choice stop for those with kids.

ESSS - KAH - PEH β›°πŸš πŸ†“ #takemeaway #asweetescape #ski #snow #optoutside

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Mount Bohemia in Lac La Belle offers a staggering array of experiences. You'll not only find the Midwest's longest vertical—900 feet worth of vertical—but you'll also find some of the most challenging skiing around thanks to ungroomed trails. Yes, not the best for young skiers, but if your kids want a challenging run, this might be it. Throw in the fact that you've got your choice of lodging—including a log cabin and a full-on yurt that sleeps 10—and you've got the kind of thing the kids will likely tell their friends about when they get home.

Skiing in southern Michigan isn't always easy to find, but even here, we've got some skiing, and skiing that's good for families. Alpine Valley in White Lake is actually not that far from Detroit, and offers several different runs across 118 total acres of skiable terrain. Featuring lessons for all ages as well as an after-school program to get the kids better acquainted with skiing for larger-scale ski trips, this might well be the first stop for more than a few families.

Between the towns of Bessemer and Ironwood lies Big Powderhorn Mountain, commonly considered a “family favorite” for skiers. With 33 runs across over 250 acres, it's easy to see why. With lessons for all ages, runs separated in terms of difficulty from easiest to toughest and two terrain parks on hand, you'll have a panoply of experience to make sure the newcomers aren't too taxed and the experienced aren't too bored.

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10 Best Apres Ski Activities in Michigan After you’ve spent a few hours on the slopes, it’s time to enjoy some apres ski. There’s no limit of snowy fun-filled activities at Treetops Resort in Gaylord or Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, so take advantage of other wintery fun that will make your visit memorable. If you’re not too sore after a full day of skiing, you’ll want to try the 10 best apres ski activities in the area. 

Don’t let the adventure end. Trade the ski trails for some snowmobiling trails and get ready for an action-packed ride! Gaylord is known for being home to “sweetest snowmobiling in the state.” Plot your trek and wind through all the trails that await! For snowmobile rentals head to DerMiners Parkside Market, where these amazing people will set you up with all the equipment and knowledge that you need!

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This all-in-one winter playground is turning up the heat with its extreme tubing. Sold by the hour, their tube slopes are right next to the tow rope so you can get in as many rides down as possible without the struggle of climbing back up the mountain. Reservations aren’t mandatory but spaces are limited and fill up fast. 

Treetops also offers old-fashioned sleigh rides for the whole family. Hop aboard and be transported into a magical winter wonderland you thought only existed in dreams and Hollywood. They also have a few fancy sleigh ride dinners if you want to make a whole evening of your excursion.

This Party of the Snow Gods is an ancient tradition that is held in hopes of gaining abundant snowfall for the season. A huge bonfire, entertainment, hot chocolate, s’mores, a tube-pulling contest, music, and more are just a few of the highlights. 

Fresh pizzas and frosty cold beer are just what you need to recuperate from a day of skiing. Extended happy hour times give you a longer chance to fill up for less. They also have late night hours so you can grab a snack just about whenever hunger strikes. 

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You’ll want to get an early start with this one, and my gosh is it worth it. After shredding the mountain, what better way to unwind than on a trusty stead trekking through the beautiful winter wonderland that unfolds. You’ll be in awe going through “some of the resort's most remote, beautiful terrain.” With hour-long trail rides and shorter pony rides for the kids, there is something to please everyone. 

Rejuvenate yourself after a long day on the slopes with a relaxing spa visit. Warm up in a cedar sauna or steam room, book a massage to soothe tired muscles, or any of their many relaxation amenities or treatments offered. Their day passes give you full access to spa amenities, fitness centers, and group exercise classes. 

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Their outdoor ice rink is one of the best in the state. The rink is free for resort guests, so you can skate ‘til your heart’s content. One of the best parts is that if you don’t have a pair of skates with you, they are available free of charge (first-come, first-served). With a gorgeous and festive backdrop to skate to, you certainly won’t want to leave!

If you want another way to get in those gorgeous mountainous sites, head to the zip line strap up for another exhilarating experience! A series of 10 zip lines top out at 25 mph and give you sweeping views of the mountain. Best of all, you can relax and enjoy the ride while you recover from your day of skiing.

Equal parts food and spirits, this exciting watering hole is THE social scene of Boyne Mountain. The place gets its name from its origins—it was the first 40 acres that would later become Boyne Mountain and was purchased for just $1! With elevated food and plenty of beer to go ‘round, you can warm up with a hot meal that will leave you full and satisfied. 

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7 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Michigan If the thought of camping in winter in Michigan sounds crazy, don't worry—you're not alone. However, there's one breed of camping that does quite well even in winter, and that's cabin camping. Some of these excursions can be downright cozy, and we're going to check out seven of the coziest such cabin camps Michigan can offer!

Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta is something of a double-sided experience. It's a year-round experience, and in mid-October to April, it becomes a "semi-modern experience." The water is shut off, but the power continues to run. That works out well for those looking for a quiet cabin camping experience, because Fort Custer also includes options for hikers, cross-country skiers, and dogsledders, making it a rustic but still cozy cabin camp experience.

It doesn't get much northerly than Lac La Belle Lakeside Cabin, an A-frame cabin for rent in Lac La Belle. Not only will you have modern amenities like Wi-Fi and a TV to watch all those favorite movies, you'll have access to a snowmobile trail, and only three miles away will be the Mount Bohemia Ski Area. For the perfect cabin escape, you'll have it right here at Lac La Belle.

If Lac La Belle appeals, but you'd rather be even closer to the Mount Bohemia Ski Area, you can check out the Aqua Log Cabin setup. Featuring your choice of complete log cabin or a stone-sided half-log cabin, the Mt. Bohemia Aqua Log Cabin will provide several different options for you to make as cozy an excursion as you might like. Throw in the fact that's just half a mile from the ski area—it's a conceivable walk for most—and comes with dinner and breakfast in the winter months, and it's a great value alongside being cozy. Best of all, if you're able to go through the week, staying on Tuesday or Thursday will get you Wednesday at no extra charge.

For a bit of something spooky with your camping experience, check out Sleepy Hollow State Park, in Laingsburg. Yes, Michigan has its own Sleepy Hollow, in the grandest Ichabod Crane tradition. But here, you'll find a modern cabin campsite, complete with a bathroom and shower. You'll need to bring your own cooking supplies and bedding, but aside from that, the cabin is about as rustic and comfortable as you could ask for. Throw in a hiking trail system and fishing opportunities and you’ll have one memorable experience. 

With a name like Paradise Peninsula, you've got to be looking at something a little special. Indeed, you are, this cabin near Hope features three bedrooms, which is room enough for 10, but you can easily dial that figure down. A large sun room, a slate of board games, and even a pair of DVD towers along with other great amenities makes sure that, whatever you call fun, it's accommodated right here. Throw in the fact that every single window in the cabin has a lake view—not hard when you're talking peninsula—and you'll have fun, relaxation, and enough coziness for anyone.

One of Michigan's unquestioned leaders in winter fun, Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls offers some absolutely amazing cabin camping. Not only do you get access to all the fun that Boyne Mountain can offer, but when you're done for the day you can come back to a phenomenal cabin experience. A wood-burning fireplace, a four-person outdoor hot tub—which is an experience you must try in winter—and plenty more awaits you at some of the most comfortable cabin camping you've ever seen.

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This highly-rated KOA will offer a getaway the whole family will fall in love with! The cabin options include one four-person cabin and one six-person cabin. The six-person accommodation features a cozy sleeping loft, a full sleeper sofa, full bathroom, and a partial kitchen. This cabin is quaint and delightful, making for a classic cabin camping experience. 

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10 Best Ski and Snowboard Stores in Michigan Winter sports are a big deal in Michigan. Some winter sports—skiing and snowboarding in particular—require a certain amount of gear to be done right. That's why Michigan has plenty of ski and snowboard stores to choose from, and with that in mind, we're going to look at 10 of the greatest the state can offer! 

Dearborn's Nichols Ski and Snowboard has plenty of the kind of hardware you'd hope for from a ski and snowboard shop, including ski pants and goggles, among other high-quality products. But Nichols Ski and Snowboard has plenty else to bring to the table, like history. The store got its start when a son asked his father for 10 feet of wall space in the family hardware store to sell ski equipment. It went on from there, and now the store even includes not only tuning in advance of the season, but also a junior buy-back program so that young skiers and boarders can grow into the sport.

Billing itself as “your one-stop specialty ski shop for over 60 years,” Cadillac's Sun 'n Snow clearly has history on its side. But it's not just a place that's been open for two generations, it's also a place that stocks the newest in material as well as the necessary side gear. This includes winter clothing and racing accessories, along with a full-service repair shop and even custom boot-fitting.

2016 Anon M series available at Sun N Snow! #anon #anonoptics #sunnsnow

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Shumaker's, in Flint, also has claim to history on its side, in operation since 1947. It goes on from there, offering not only winter gear and ski racing hardware, but also footwear and assorted apparel and accessories. It covers skiing and snowboarding well, and can even provide supplies for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, too. A complete service bay rounds out the offerings, and from time to time, Shumaker's even has special events designed to get more people interested in skiing and snowboarding. 

Since 1991, Portage's the Edge has been helping the skiing and snowboarding community in Michigan. Throw in parts and service capabilities along with a slate of special events—one event featured a gift bag for the first 50 people to show up—and you've got just about everything you need right in Portage.

Summit Sports has a range of locations in Michigan—it's even got a few in Texas—and regardless of which you hit, you'll find plenty available. You'll be able to shop both online and off, allowing you to take full advantage of convenience options, and you'll be able to get hands on gear for men, women, and kids alike. Throw in some additional gear like camping and water sports material—even travel gear to help get you to your destination and stay for a while—and you'll have the full range of options on hand.

The Ski Company in Rochester handles a wide array of ski and snowboard materials, including ski racing tools. Good by itself, but it gets better when you introduce the seasonal rental program for the kids, allowing parents to better introduce their children without having to buy a succession of new products to keep up with their kids growing. With a complete online shop, repair facilities, and a family-owned history going back to 1982, the Ski Company should fit your needs nicely.

Saginaw's the Stable has a clear goal toward being one of the best ski and snowboard shops in the Saginaw Bay area, if not the whole Thumb of Michigan. Start out with 45 years of continuous operation and expand into a wide range of options from skis to snowboards to accessories therein. It gets better from there—the Stable has repair services, rental options, and even sponsors a slate of special events geared toward getting snowboarders and skiers together to enjoy their sport of choice.

People Skate and Snowboard in Keego Harbor focuses mainly on the board part of winter sports, primarily snowboarding. Since it's “rider-owned and operated,” as it puts it, it focuses on carrying only the brands that the shop and its employees would actually use themselves. 

Did you know there's a line of snowboards made right in Michigan? That's Marhar Snowboards' stock in trade. Found in Grandville, and with a wide array of retailers throughout Michigan and beyond, Marhar Snowboards works to satisfy a variety of tastes. From the “all-terrain weapon” that is the Lumberjack snowboard to the “powder hunter” of the Woodsman, Marhar Snowboards runs the complete gamut, and even allows customization at the individual user level.

Holland's Reliable Ski Haus’ slogan is, “All we sell is fun!” Naturally, such a store has to be well-stocked with the latest in ski and snowboard gear, and the Reliable Ski Haus proves reliable on that front. This store has a slate of online exclusives, private sales, and even maintains an email list to inform customers of new arrivals. Throw in repair and maintenance and you've got the complete roster ready to go.

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10 Best Winter Hikes in Michigan It's winter in Michigan, and for some people that may mean hibernation. For others, however, it means an opportunity to get out in the snow and cold air for some invigorating outdoor recreation. Walking in a wintery landscape is a thrill for many. So, here are 10 great winter hikes in Michigan, enough to make even a diehard couch potato think twice! 

Marquette's Noquemanon Trail Network is easily one of the best winter hikes Michigan can offer thanks to one key point: its sheer variety. Not only will you have a short trail to hike in Baby Lake Trail, but you'll have a longer trail—around two miles—in Teal Lake Trail. Trails with lights, trails with rough terrain, and more await those who take on the Noquemanon Trail Network, a system of trails that delivers no matter your interest.

Drummond Island's Heritage Trail is one of the most impressive winter hikes Michigan can offer. Set on an island—which is by itself a feat—and offering two separate trails, you'll be able to catch scenery from the Potagannissing Bay shoreline to an array of caves and limestone outcroppings. With plenty of wildlife to see as well—it's often regarded as a great trail for birdwatching—Heritage Trail offers a full range of sights to see on foot.

Not too far from Rapid City, the Seven Bridges Natural Area was spared from ending up as a subdivision by narrow chance. Now a natural area with some incredible sights, a walk through here in winter will be an experience to remember. Featuring the ruins of a sawmill, trail and boardwalk going through cedar trees and a host of rivers to see—as well as four of the original seven bridges still active—you'll see things on a winter hike here you won't see anywhere else.

The Grand Rivers Edge Trail offers a unique experience because of its location: downtown Grand Rapids. Yes, there's an actual trail running through one of Michigan's biggest cities. Running 5.4 miles and completely paved, you'll be able to get what amounts to a complete walking tour of Grand Rapids—or at least a large swath of it—as seen from the banks of the Grand River. So, for a trail that even the most rustic of Upper Peninsula trails can't match, Grand Rivers Edge is waiting for you.

Sometimes known simply as the White Pine Trail, this trail runs from Grand Rapids all the way up to Cadillac. Moreover, it has stops in a variety of communities in between, so you can make the trail as long or as short as you wish. Since it was formerly a rail line, it's got a bit of history thrown in with it too, so whether you want a short hop, an all-day excursion, or just a brief brush with Michigan's economic history, you'll find everything you need to make a great hike happen right here.

The North Country National Scenic Trail is another thoroughly unique experience: the single largest trail the United States can offer, running 4,600 miles from end to end. Yes, that's more mileage than any part of Michigan can boast, and that's because Michigan is one of seven states that has elements of the trail contained within. Michigan's part is heavy on the water features, including lakes, waterfalls, and plenty more.

It may sound like a park, but it's a park that contains one of Michigan's greatest winter hikes. Found in Marquette, the Presque Isle Park—Presque actually translates to English as “almost,” so it's “almost an island”—offers 323 acres of land to see. Featuring a two mile stretch along Lake Superior—which by itself is a magnificent sight of frozen glory in winter—you'll have the great natural beauty of the area augmented by the crystalline magnificence of snow to make it about as complete as it can be.

Iron Ore Heritage Trail is so thoroughly steeped in Michigan history that it's actually been referred to as “the outdoor linear museum.” A 47-mile trail, visitors can get a look at large portions of the Upper Peninsula. There are trailheads in Ishpeming, Negaunee, Marquette and Harvey, just to name a few. Since the trail is actually comprised of several materials—there's asphalt and crushed limestone involved in paving, and some plain dirt trail as well—you'll be able to start and stop most anywhere you like and carry on accordingly.

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Milford is home to this fine Michigan winter hike, an operation covering 4,486 total acres of Michigan forest and hills. The best part about this is that, while it offers an excellent set of hikes, it's also got more than that going on. If you want a simple, short hike, you can do that, and you can follow it up with a variety of other activities. This is especially welcome if you're hiking with young children. 

Michigan's Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore—which also represents the United States' first National Lakeshore—is easily one of Michigan's most picturesque and natural wonder-laden sights the state can offer. All those factors make it a winner in winter too, thanks to a huge range of trail to consider. With almost 100 miles of trails to consider all told, and some of Michigan's most amazing sights found therein, you'll have just about everything you could ask for right here.

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Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Deemed one of the most beautiful places in America, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is not all sand and surf. As plant life recoils for the winter, this sprawling landscape welcomes in an entirely new persona. A place for sledding, ice fishing, and hunting, Sleeping Bear Dunes comes to life in a whole new way. Follow this itinerary for the ultimate winter weekend getaway.  

In summer, the Dune Climb represents a long walk up to the top of a massive hill in exchange for a magnificent view of Lake Michigan. In winter, however, it gets even better...once you add a sled. The Dune Climb is the only place sledding is permitted in the park, and they saved the best place of all for that. It's a 110-foot wall of sand, so you know you're going to have one monster of a ride down a snow-slicked slope. 

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Winter hiking can represent either some exciting new scenery or a significant challenge. Done with or without snowshoes—your call on that one—the Empire Bluff Trail is one of Sleeping Bear's most popular hiking trails. A 1.5-mile round trip with hilly terrain, you'd normally be able to check out a wide range of Michigan plant life. Without the plants around—a common case in winter—you'll get to see wide flat expanses of glistening white. At the end, you'll run into a bluff overlooking the lake, which itself is a thrilling new sight in winter.

Winter camping is available at Sleeping Bear, giving you easy access to this fantastic weekend. The Platte River Campground is the only Sleeping Bear campground that allows winter camping; so if you choose to brave the winter terrain, Platte River Campground has you covered! All manners of camping are accommodated here, from RV to tent, even a backcountry campground is on hand. Camp sinks and hot showers are available here, so you'll be able to warm up properly before a night out in a Michigan winter, which is a serious proposition by any standard.

If you want a good fishing destination for your winter excursion, there are plenty of fishing spots at your finger tips—you are in Michigan after all. If you think you’ll have to travel far, fear not; there are plenty of lakes within the park's boundaries, so you'll have a ton of choices around here. What kind of fish are on hand? Try bass, panfish, perch, pike, and many more—depending on the lake. Recommended spots include Crystal Lake and Little Platte Lake. You'll need to make sure you have proper permits and are well aware of the state’s fishing laws and regulations. Leave it to the fine folks at Sport Fish Michigan if you want a stress-free ice fishing trip guided by some of the area’s best fisherman. They are sure to provide you with a top-notch experience, as they always do!

Given that winter has an effect on hunting conditions, the majority of Sleeping Bear Dunes are open and ready for hunters. Whitetail deer, cottontail and snowshoe rabbits, ruffled grouse, weasel, skunks, woodchucks, and many more are available for hunting during the winter. Be sure that you have obtained all required permits and are aware of Michigan’s seasonal hunting laws and regulations before venturing off. Head about two hours east to the city of Evart, where you’ll find Meemo’s Farm. This highly recommended hunting preserve not only offers excellent guided hunting trips, but also shooting ranges, snowmobiling, ice fishing, fat-tire biking, and more. While you’re off “bracing temperatures and hearty appetites” as you hunt, you can also enjoy what the lodge has to offer!

On the way back to Sleepy Bear Dunes, stop in LeRoy to indulge in local Michigan wine made at the Cadillac Winery. This winery offers a perfect break from the day with their chic tasting room and their lush vineyard. Their variety of wines ranges from their takes on classic flavors, like the spiced pinot noir called Velvet Blue, to flavored ones like lemon, green apple, and the famous blueberry wine made from entirely blueberries. Your tasted buds will be in overdrive when you taste the crisp offerings that they serve. A tour of the vineyard is always a must, so make sure to put on your warm clothing. Cadillac Winery makes for the perfect afternoon activity to round out your day of hunting.

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Some will be able to make a whole weekend out of the outdoor activities, but in winter, “getting in out of the cold” is a Michigan pastime. Fairly nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes in Interlochen is one of Michigan's greatest art installations: Interlochen Center for the Arts. Scheduled performances, concerts, and exhibitions routinely take place therein, so if you want to inject some culture into your winter weekend getaway, Interlochen Center for the Arts will provide in grand style.

Naturally, you can't spend a weekend in a Michigan winter without the right gear, and one of the best places to get that gear is at Backcountry North in Traverse City. Traverse City has a lot of options—even a Gander Outdoors at last report—but Backcountry North has 40 years' experience in outfitting hunters, campers, fishermen and more. From backpacking gear to the warmest socks around, you'll find it waiting for you at Backcountry North.

For many, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of winter activities is skiing and snowboarding. If you’re a snow sport enthusiast, you’ll be in your prime with Michigan’s ideal winter weather. Why not check out the local trails at Hickory Hills Ski Area while you’re in Traverse City? These trails provide excellent conditions for intermediate skiers and beginners alike. If you are in need of equipment, rentals are available at very reasonable rates. Get ready to cruise through the eight runs and various cross-country trails. At the end of a long day of exerting all your energy on the trails, there’s nothing better than sitting by the fireplace the lodge with a cup of steaming hot cocoa.

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While in Traverse City, be sure to stop at 7 Monks Taproom for a bite or some drinks. With a vast beer selection to make even the biggest beer snob in awe, you’ll be in your prime. The menu offers a wide variety of plates with local ingredients, the burgers being a popular choice. The taproom is ideal to fuel up on a big meal, pick at a bunch of appetizers as you socialize, or check out their drink menu. The atmosphere is urban and sleek, which offers the ideal environment to be in after skiing and traveling through the city. Check out their menu for daily specials, there’s always something at 7 Monks Taproom pulling you in!

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Yankee Springs Recreation Area Did you know that 20 percent of Michigan's forested land is state forest? Throw in the assortment of non-forest state parks and you've got a recipe for finding great state parks all over. We're going to take a look at one excellent location in particular—Yankee Springs Recreation Area—and run down not only what to do when you're there, but what you can do in the immediate area to make a full day, or longer, of your trip. Let’s get started. 

Middleville's Yankee Springs Recreation Area comes with a wide array of options. Not only is there a kettle formation that was carved glacially—known as the Devil's Soupbowl—but there's also fishing, horseback trails, 12 miles of mountain bike trails, 30 miles of hiking trails, and nine separate lakes contained within its bounds that makes for a host of summer fun activities as well as some winter ones. With over 5,200 acres total to its credit, you'll have plenty to do here. Since it's situated almost halfway between both Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, there will be even more awaiting once you've enjoyed your time at the park.

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If you were the type to hit the park early, breakfast likely came to mind. On the Grand Rapids side, stop into Real Food Cafe for some of the best such breakfast you'll find in town. Featuring mouthwatering options such as the hearty Monster Omelet (bacon, sausage, ham, green onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and Monterey jack cheese) and the Bananas Foster waffles made with a carmelized brown sugar-butter sauce, it will be easy to recover from your hike. 

If you decide to travel south of the park, breakfast is best personified with Portage’s Cafe Meli. Featuring huge omelets and heaps of fresh fruit—along with more diverse choices like crepes, waffles and French toast—you'll have a breakfast here that will keep you happy well toward lunch, and potentially even beyond. 

Smoked salmon Benedict 🍳 photo credit: @tina.poon

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Grand Rapids' public museum of the same name delivers some absolutely amazing exhibits, great for when you're in the mood for a more indoor hike. Featuring exhibits related to dragons and fantasy creatures, the human brain, a puzzle room, and an exhibit involving two live lake sturgeon, you'll be able to experience a host of disciplines and learn much about not only Michigan proper, but about the wider world beyond as well.

If you're looking for something more competitive to the north of the park, then try Clique Lanes in Grand Rapids. An old-fashioned 16-lane affair on two levels, Clique Lanes offers a bowling experience of the kind that might have been engaged in years prior. But it's not just old fashioned fun—it's also got some updates to it. A complete roster of menu options and craft beers also accompanies the experience, and provides a way to keep going even when you've been bowling for some time.

#cliquelanes #bowling #grandrapids #michigan

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You've just had one big day in Grand Rapids, so it's a great time for some dinner. One of the best such dinners in the entire city comes from the Electric Cheetah, a restaurant that will pursue eclecticism with such fervor that you'll barely know if you're coming or going. Whether you're looking for something small like the hot goat dip—featuring goat cheese and cream cheese together in a dip—or to compete for a shot to win a free Yahtzee sandwich—roll a Yahtzee in three rolls or less, yell Yahtzee, and get a sandwich featuring turkey, pork belly, cheddar and Granny Smith apple—you'll have most anything to satisfy your tastes here.

Zazio's, for dinner on the Kalamazoo side, takes one unique concept—the “open kitchen” format—and applies it to the Italian restaurant. Pasta of all types are on hand—from Pappardelle to Agnolotti—to dishes of chicken and shrimp. There's even a chef's table for up to 36 people where you can watch the meal prepared in an even more interactive fashion. So, no matter what you've got a hankering for, you can watch it prepared in front of you, and potentially even sit mere feet from the chef engaged in such activity himself.

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Michigan Michigan has a long-standing reputation as the center of motoring in the United States, and with good reason. Michigan is pretty much where the car got started. Smaller motors, of course, took a major role in Michigan's overall economy and lifestyle as well. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are a big deal around Michigan, and for families looking for a great ATV experience, there will be some great options here. Here are five cool spots to start your off-roading adventure in Michigan. 

Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville offers a wide variety of outdoor and indoor adventures for folks to enjoy, but ATV riding is one of the big draws. While drivers are required to have an operator's license, children as young as four can ride comfortably on the journey. Featuring a one-hour tour of Benzie County, the tours run daily and offer a look at all the great scenery the area has to offer. Those who want a little less structure can rent ATVs, double ATVs, and UTVs at varying rates for times ranging all the way up to eight hours.

Bundy Hill in Jerome makes it clear that it's a family-friendly park, though it reminds riders that they ride at their own risk. A privately-owned park that doesn't fall under Department of Natural Resources regulations, it offers trails, dunes, and gravel pits, which makes for a variety of conditions to ride. There are even specific rules for those bringing children to the park, which augments its family-friendly nature.

Baldwin's Wolf Lake Motel and Resort offers the complete package, which makes it an excellent option for families. Start with a location in the midst of the Manistee National Forest, and one that's home to 156 lakes and 46 trout streams, and you'll have options aplenty. But you came here for the ATV experience, and you'll actually be able to ride those ATVs—along with dirt bikes and even snowmobiles in the right weather—right up to your room. With over 300 miles of ORV and ATV trails to experience, there will be no end to the options awaiting at Wolf Lake.

Try out Sleepy Eyed Goose Resort for plenty of ATV and ORV action! Not only can visitors drive around the trails, but it's actually possible to drive said ATVs into the town itself, reports note, where a variety of dining and shopping experiences are all on hand. Throw in the trails in the surrounding area, as well as a slate of ATV-specific amenities like a power washing system to clean the mud and dust off that ATV when you're done with the ride, and the whole experience comes together quite well.

Beaver Trail Campground in West Branch offers miles of ATV trails to enjoy, that double handily act as snowmobile trails in the winter. Whether you're looking for some calm, quiet camping fun broken up by ATV riding or the opportunity to do a whole lot of riding capped off with hot dogs and s’mores at a campfire before bed, you'll have the full range of opportunities. Throw in an array of additional options, including a nature center, an all-sport lake, or even a slate of golf courses on hand, and the ATV fan is sure to not only get a fill of riding, but a host of other activities to enjoy.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Michigan Michigan is tops when it comes to stunning fall foliage. When the leaves start to change and float to the ground from the tree branches, the best way to experience it is by hiking. So strap on your hiking boots and head outside to truly immerse yourself in nature with these five stunning foliage hikes in Michigan! 

Port Crescent State Park offers a foliage hike that's rated easy, a simple hike that's a great day trip for anyone wanting to check out the leaf action in Michigan. Over near the Saginaw Bay portion of Lake Huron, Port Crescent offers seven miles of hiking trails, including a loop and a specifically-established nature trail. Throw in birding, canoeing, and fishing and you'll be able to see not only foliage but also plenty of the local fauna, making for a complete experience. 

It's one of Michigan's greatest hikes, and those who hit this trail around late September into early October will be greeted with some of Michigan's first bursts of color change. Home to a wide array of different trees, from maple to hemlock to beech, you'll see plenty of foliage around here and often a lot earlier than most other places can offer due to its extreme northern location. Of course, there's also the falls and the river to check out here. This 4.5-mile trail will give you the opportunity to check out a whole lot of natural beauty in one place.

Mackinac Island is famous as a tourist destination, and known for its unspoiled natural beauty. That means a whole lot of walking, and the entire island will offer up 140 miles—yes, 140 miles, about half the distance from Detroit to Chicago—of trails to cover. There's a complete perimeter trail on hand here allowing visitors to circumnavigate the island, and those who go inland will be treated to a host of natural wonders from caves to rocks to some of the most amazing fall foliage you'll see in the state.

One of Michigan's few mountains, the Porcupine Mountains near Silver City offer a staggering spread of options. This area boasts the third-highest point in the state. It’s one of the best spots to check out a wide array of colorful Michigan foliage presented before you like a magnificent patchwork leaf carpet. Try out the popular Escarpment Trail while you’re here. Hiking the Porcupine Mountains will let you explore high-up views and stunning foliage, all in the same area.  

Greenstone Ridge Trail is one of Michigan's hardest hikes. It's the kind of thing that only experienced hikers should undertake, but those who do will get access to an impressive 40-mile trail. The island itself can only be reached by boat or plane, and you'll need to set aside at least a couple days to get the full view. You'll have a staggering amount of foliage to check out here thanks to forests of incredible density. You'll also have a look at exposed bedrock, miles of shorelines, and even potentially some wildlife as Isle Royale is home to both moose and wolves.

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Cedar Creek Motorsport Trail Michigan has an incredible off-roading tradition, and there are plenty of places to enjoy some motorized action in natural environments. Today, we're heading out to Cedar Creek Motorsport Trail. This trail is tops when it comes to off-roading exploration, and with its proximity to great nearby restaurants and other attractions, you can make a whole trip of it! Here’s how to have the ultimate ATV off-roading adventure near Cedar Creek. 

Pancakes are the order of the day at Mr. B's Pancake House, which features all-day breakfast every day. There's a lunch menu for those who show up a little late, but Mr. B's will offer one of the best pancake experiences that Muskegon can offer. Check out the Crab Cake Benedict for a taste of something unusual, or the Big Taster for a taste of absolutely everything. It features one slice of French toast, one pancake, two eggs, potatoes, two slices of bacon, two sausage links and toast.

This 24-mile single track trail with hilly sections runs alongside Cedar Creek. The course permits OHVs 50 inches or less in width. It will be difficult to leave this beautiful landscape, as the trail crosses two bridges and features stunning, rolling terrain. This could easily become your new favorite off-roading destination. 

If your ATV experience calls for something a little more relaxing—and educational—afterward, stop in at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum. A host of exhibits await your perusal here, including a tour of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter McLane, a Prohibition-era cutter. You'll be able to get in on a series of lectures depending on when you go, and it's even possible to book a stay on board a World War II submarine with a little notice in advance.

By now, you're probably getting hungry, and one of the best dinners Muskegon can offer is found at the Hearthstone Bistro. In operation for the last 40 years, Hearthstone has learned a lot about the best tastes of Michigan. The menu boasts a staggering array of options ranging from escargot de bourgogne—in a puff pastry cap, no less—to a three-soup sampler known as the Soup Trilogy. Try the Chicken Milanese or lake perch featuring an almond and butter brioche. There are even sandwiches and burgers for the smaller appetite.  

One of the best overnight accommodations around is the Shoreline Inn. The only waterfront hotel in Muskegon, it's got a 4.4 out of five on Expedia, which gives it some real credibility. Check out the rooms with full-wall atrium windows, French balconies, and even covered terraces to get the full effect of that water view. Free Wi-Fi, same-day dry cleaning, a 24-hour indoor pool, and even a game room will provide most every experience you could ask for.

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5 Best Fishing Spots in Michigan Ask a fisherman or woman in Michigan where the best place to catch fish is, and they’ll tell you...absolutely nothing. That’s how coveted these spots are. That’s where we come in. Some spots in Michigan have reached a certain vital primacy, and become some of the best Michigan can offer. Whether you’re looking to snag walleye in the bay or bass on the lake, you’ll find it at the best fishing spots in Michigan. 

Wamplers Lake near Brooklyn has recently landed itself some notoriety as a spot to land both bass and panfish in substantial numbers. Word from the Michigan DNR is that bass are flying to grab bait in depths between six and 17 feet, as well as in the weed beds toward the center of the 796-acre lake. This is a popular destination for not only fishermen and women but for vacationers, so plan your trip accordingly.

For anyone looking for a truly unique fishing experience, word from Game and Fish Magazine says that Lake Michigan is your location of choice. Describing the fishing as “chaotic,” there are over 185 exotic species of marine wildlife currently making a home in the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet. Chinook salmon and lake trout are said to be big, particularly around the areas near rivers. 

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If you head for the Upper Peninsula, you'll find ample fishing activity in play. One of the real winners in the field is the Tahquamenon River, with a mouth on Lake Superior. This 89-mile slip of water offers rock bass and perch, for those who use worm bait, and pike strike on both red and white lures.

Out at Cranberry Lake in Marcellus, there's some terrific fishing on hand. Stop in at the Cranberry Lake Campground to rent a boat and get supplies, or bring your own as circumstances allow. Once there, you'll have a staggering variety of fish to pursue, including bluegill, bass, northern pike, perch, crappie and several other species. The combination of great fishing and great camping makes for excellent opportunities.

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At Saginaw Bay, walleye can be caught on nightcrawler harness with just 17 feet of water, regardless of what color spinner you're using. Naturally, there's plenty more to see and do out that way, but for those with a taste for walleye—and walleye is a tasty fish—set your course for Saginaw.

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in Michigan Everyone knows that camping can be a great way to escape back to our roots—closer to nature. For those who miss their creature comforts and want something a little less rustic, try out RV camping! The recreational vehicle is one great option to avoid mosquitos, get a good night of sleep, and access all the amenities you might need on your trip. In Michigan, you’ll find plenty of excellent places to park your RV. Here are five awesome spots. 

Ludington State Park near Ludington is regarded as one of the most popular parks in Michigan. So much so, in fact, that it's commonly advised you plan to reserve one of the over 300 campsites at least six months in advance. Featuring fishing, boating, swimming, a lighthouse—the Big Sable Point lighthouse—and a host of other activities, it's not surprising that campgrounds here fill up so fast. 

An all-ages resort—great for the family—that features not only themed weekends but its own arcade, along with fishing, a pool, fitness rooms, shuffleboard, pickleball courts and more, Hidden Ridge RV Resort will give you a variety of options readily accessible from your RV. Throw in the town of Hopkins itself nearby—and the fact that it's between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids—and you'll have plenty to see and do.

Talk about your no-brainer: an RV park that's part of a casino resort in Michigan means plenty to see and do. Little River Casino Resort RV Park in Manistee will offer that in spades, including access to an indoor and an outdoor pool. Go swimming regardless of the weather outside! Better yet, there's a free shuttle running to the casino itself, and all the park's sites include access to water, electric, and cable television hook-ups. Some will even boast sewer hook-ups, though there's a full restroom with shower facility available in the park itself. Just to top it off, the RV park even offers coffee, tea, and hot chocolate at no extra charge, so for those needing a bit of a jolt before setting out, stop on in.

Out near Lake St. Clair, a recent addition to the RV campground slate has opened up, and it's Northpointe Shores RV Resort. You’ll find the RV resort is conveniently located in close proximity to Port Huron. There are bathhouses on-site as well as pet facilities, and full hook-ups. One thing to note: Northpointe prefers newer RVs only, and will only accept RVs no older than 20 years on its grounds. 

Head up to Irons to check out the Irons RV Park & Campground, regarded by many who've been there as one of Michigan's best. The basics are well in hand here, including 45 by 65 pull-through sites complete with full hook-ups. Those who want back-in electric and water, meanwhile, will get those here as well. With several nearby attractions from the Blessing of the Bikes in May to July's Trout-o-Rama, and plenty of activities from kayaking to golf and hunting to check out, there's plenty on hand to see and do. 

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5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Michigan Fall in Michigan is a wonderful thing. A relief from heat and humidity, coupled with incredible displays of color-changing trees, makes for a great time outdoors. With all that in mind, pack up your tents and come check out five terrific Michigan campsites with all the joy of fall!

Out near Allegan, TriPonds Family Camp Resort offers a lot of exciting attractions for campers. Not only is there a complete miniature golf course on site but there are plenty of options whether you like tent camping, RV camping, or cottage camping. There's an ice cream shop on premises with coffee and other items as well, and an annual fall festival featuring costumes, decorations—all of it kid-friendly—crafts, inflatables, and even a pumpkin carving contest. Those looking for a weekend outdoors will find just about everything they could want at TriPonds.

Michigan's largest state park, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park near Silver City, features around 60,000 acres of territory. By way of comparison, the city of Lansing measures in at about 23,475 acres. That means there's a lot going on here in the way of natural beauty. You'll have forests that extend outward for days, rivers, streams, and waterfalls running through it all—even parts of the Lake Superior shoreline get involved—and of course, the mountains. Whether you want to see fall's colors from the ground up or from the sky down, the Porkies, as they're known, will accommodate, making this one of Michigan's great fall camping adventures.

Tawas Point State Park, near East Tawas, has been called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” and not without reason. A bay, complete with Victorian-era-style lighthouse, allows visitors to comfortably evoke those feelings without needing to travel that distance. Comparatively shallow and often warm, Tawas Bay can make for a good end-of-summer swim. Those not interested in taking that chance, meanwhile, can get in on the fall bird watching, as well as the fall color tour that runs along Lake Huron. With plenty of wildlife and plant life to check out, Tawas Point makes a great place to visit for fall camping.

Of course, there are those who'd rather not camp in canvas, but would prefer camping in fiberglass. RV camping is a big part of the camping lifestyle, and for those who'd rather do so, Traverse Bay RV Resort in Williamsburg is waiting for you. The resort itself offers complimentary Wi-Fi and cable television hookups, as well as laundry facilities, card rooms, and more. Throw in the surrounding area, from the natural beauty and fall foliage of the Traverse Bay area, to the nearby attractions not far off, and you've got a fall camping destination to match the greats.

While camping at a fairground may seem unusual, you'll be amazed to find that's just what's going on at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds every October. Right in the midst of fall, the fairgrounds run what's known as the Halloween Camping Extravaganza, where people can actually camp on the fairgrounds. A slate of special events are also on hand, from wagon rides to apple bobbing to a chili cook-off. Throw in an all-ages costume contest and it's a perfect recipe for fun and the most unique fall campout you've probably ever seen.

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Michigan Archery is a serious practice in Michigan. Whether it’s bow hunting or simply target practice, Michigan folk have a passion for the sport. But if your bow is in need of some repairs before the start of the season, or if you need to pick up some new gear, head to one of these excellent local archery outfitters in the state! 

Compounds and Crossbows in Lansing is exactly what the label says it is—a place for compound bows and crossbows. PSE is its primary stock in trade, and it goes beyond that into other items, including those available by special order. It's not just about sales, either, as it's got a complete service department—free inspections and tune-ups for $34.99—along with a wide variety of parts and components to keep your archery gear in its prime condition.

PSE and Darton compound bows!

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Northern Michigan knows plenty about archery, as demonstrated by a stop in Ossineke's Hunter's Shack Archery. Featuring several varieties of bows along with arrows in both pre-fletched and raw shaft, you'll be able to get in on most anything you need for archery or bow hunting. Plus, Hunter's Shack Archery offers a 20-yard indoor range and even a PGA golf simulator assuming you want to do something besides archery. That makes it about as full-service as it comes.

With locations in Clinton Township and Royal Oak, MJC Archery works to cover all the archery needs of the Southeast Lower Michigan area. Featuring not only a range of bows—compound, crossbow and traditional are all represented here—but also custom-built arrows, a range of additional supplies, league competition where you can match skill against a variety of other archers in the vicinity, you've got just about everything you could ask for here. There's even a 20-yard indoor range just to try out your hardware.

Shooting some spots at MJC Archery!

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Gauthier's Archery in Traverse City is currently celebrating its 37th year of operation, which is something of a feat for most any retail store these days. With a wide array of bows, crossbows and arrows, you'll be able to find just what you need to get started or resupply your shooting aspirations. Two separate indoor ranges provide the means to test out your hardware, and there are even winter leagues to keep your skills sharp and private lessons where you need improvement.

An unlikely archery supplier awaits you in Sturgis with Lost Nation Archery. Focused not on the very latest in shooting technology, but rather on “traditional archery,” Lost Nation Archery still stocks plenty of choices in shooting systems, but more on the old-fashioned longbow than the modern composites and the like. That's not to say there still won't be plenty of options, but the options are more commonly focused on the simpler material. You'll also find gear specifically for children, as well as a slate of books and DVDs about the craft.

Grand Rapids' Archery Unlimited looks to live up to its name as much as possible, by offering not only a complete range of bows, but also arrows and other accessories. Whether it's arrows for hunting, arrows in carbon or aluminum, or any of a range of other options, you'll find all you could ask for right here. Best of all, Archery Unlimited is the only dealer of “Totally Titanium” broadheads around, making it worth a look for that reason alone.

SideCar company archery outing! #workhardplayhard #bullseye #sidecarstudios

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It's no surprise that the Upper Peninsula has a fondness for archery, and that's demonstrated in Ishpeming's Straight Line Archery. It's recently moved into the old Miracle Lounge bowling alley, and in the process added several new options for users. A 28-target seasonal range, an indoor range, and a 3D range all combine to offer plenty of options for recreational shooting at any time of year, and throwing in the sheer range of options available in terms of purchase and after-sales service only improves things further.

Ed's Archery in Clio provides a wide array of hardware options for its shoppers, not only in compound bows by also in crossbows. Crossbows are actually a pretty big part of Ed's Archery, as it's not only the home but one of the sponsors of the Michigan Crossbow Federation. Best of all, it also features not only indoor and outdoor ranges, but also a complete service facility to keep your hardware in prime condition.

Hale's not only offers the best in bows and arrows, but also services what it sells, and even boasts an indoor range with private lessons to help keep you in proper shooting shape. This classic hardware and sporting goods stores combination is unbeatable for top-quality gear! 

In Essexville—not far from Bay City—Bay Archery Sales looks to be one of the Bay Area's leaders in archery services. We already know there's plenty of competition up that way, so what separates Bay Archery? How about a staff of archery professionals, for one, including some directly involved in product development? How about a background of sales and service for tens of thousands of different bows? How about a product line ranging from bows to crossbows and most everything to keep both kept and fed? How about a complimentary packet of passes to local bow clubs with purchase and even a loaner bow when service is needed? That's a pretty telling line of services, and makes it clear that Bay Archery is ready to provide.

Can't wait to pick this baby up #mathews #halon

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Michigan In a state so full of lakes and rivers as Michigan is, it's no surprise that fishing is a very big deal. From salmon to trout to the good old Michigan bluegill, you'll find plenty of places to fish and plenty of kinds of fish to pursue. But you won't get far with the wrong gear—you'll need the right equipment to go fishing in Michigan. From top-of-the-line rods and reels to live bait, here are the 10 best bait and tackle shops in the state. 

Ostensibly the sequel to Captain Chuck's, Captain Chuck's II in Ludington won't skimp on its offerings. It's not only got rods and reels from some of the biggest names in fishing, but it's also got a wide range of “Made in Michigan” hardware to consider, allowing you to support the same state that brought you the great fishing to begin with. Throw in referrals to fishing charter services, regular fishing reports, and updates on new tackle, and you'll have a complete one-stop shop for where to find them and how to get them.

Cold day to install!

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Benton Harbor's Tackle Haven offers about all the gear an angler could need, from rods to reels to outerwear for taking on the wet environment and well beyond. But any store can offer hardware—Tackle Haven distinguishes itself with its extras. It not only offers information about area charter fishing operations, but offers regular fishing reports on area activity. Throw in a regular fishing tournament sponsored annually, and boat storage services—great for those winter months when all the fishing is ice-based—and you've got the total package.

Welcome to Curtis, Michigan, an Upper Peninsula destination that's home to Mick's Bait Shop. Mick's bills itself as “...your Upper Peninsula source for live bait, fishing tackle...” and plenty more. This includes a line of custom rods and custom tackle, including a set of patent-pending spinner baits under the Hooked on Tackle Co. brand name. It's additionally part of the Manistique Lakes Area, which puts it within an easy hop of some of the Upper Peninsula's best fishing spots, and will provide fishing reports to keep anglers apprised of the latest doings.

Frankfort Tackle Box, found not at all surprisingly in Frankfort, boasts a sound array of lures, rods and reels to keep anglers well-supplied. Frankfort Tackle Box goes the extra mile by bringing together a slate of links about the Michigan area, including resources (ever wonder how to avoid commercial fishing nets on the Great Lakes? They'll tell you.), local accommodations, and even weather reports.

With a wide range of options for gear—including a slate of discounted clearance items—Lakeside will have pretty much everything you need on hand. It goes on from there to present a daily fishing report from its own Captain Dan, a measure which is always welcome for those not wanting to waste a day on the water. There's even word about area tournaments and even area hotels for those who want to stick around the area more than a day.

Kalkaska is home to Jack's Sport Shop, an operation that's been running for over 50 years now. Named one of Michigan's top three sporting goods stores in Northern Michigan by the Detroit Free Press, the store is home to not only a wide array of hardware but plenty of expertise on the area and its hunting and fishing operations. Jack's is also home to a substantial array of ice tackle as well, meaning it's ready for fishing whether the water is solid or liquid. Check out the regular fishing reports as well as the store's blog for all the latest on fishing in the area.

While it's got a sizable lineup of fishing products, Anderson's Probait features something a little new and different: a complete message board system online. Not only can you shop for material at Anderson's, but you can also discuss all the latest developments in fishing technology and plenty of other topics with fellow members of the fishing community! 

Check out Nunica to find Fish On, a shop that distinguishes itself by offering actual fishing seminars. No, really—seminars about fishing topics, ranging from general knowledge issues to discussion of new techniques in the field. Last year's seminar event even came with door prizes and a catered lunch for a $25 entry fee. Throw in several services on site—line spooling and repair for starters—as well as the latest in fishing technologies and you're ready to go fishing.

Bear Lake's Osborn Sports Shop won't just offer the full range of live bait—a staple of most any tackle and bait shop—but it will also offer the means to get at the fish. Osborn Sports Shop offers kayaks for rent, just $15 gets one for the day. You'll need a credit card and driver's license, but you can still rent a kayak quite inexpensively. It also offers archery and trapping supplies as well as swimming and camping gear, so you'll be covered no matter when or where you fish and may want other material on hand as well for the ancillary sports.

Over in Rockford, Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company is waiting for all the fly fishers out there. That's especially important as Great Lakes specializes in fly fishing. Naturally, it's got all the supplies and assorted gear one could ask for, and it also boasts both new and used equipment. It's even got some vintage estate gear for those who think that they just don't make 'em like that anymore. Throw in a complete line of educational products and lessons and you'll have the fullest fishing experience right here.

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