Step Outside - Michigan WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Michigan 144 144 Fri, 21 Jun 2024 12:34:15 -0500 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 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Michigan Michigan’s dirt biking scene is world-class. From the state’s pristine trails to its muddy wide-open spaces, the acreage for dirt biking is sure to impress any off-road junkie. Here are the best dirt biking trails in Michigan.

The Battle Creek Motorcycle Club in Battle Creek represents one of the oldest bike clubs in the state, and nothing gets to be that old without offering significant value to its users. The Battle Creek Motorcycle Club boasts 40 acres of sandy ground and trees, and offers a complete motocross track and a smaller mini track for the younger riders. Throw in a concession stand available for race days and indoor restroom facilities and this will offer one of the better dirt bike tours you'll find in the state.

Baja Acres near Millington offers a rather massive patch of ground in which to ride. Measuring 80 acres, this park offers a lot of opportunity to all levels of dirt biker. Dirt bikers will have access to a variety of trails to tour, and ATV riders are actually encouraged to join in, too. Better yet, those who want to stick around after a day of riding fun can do so with camping permitted on the grounds and some further amenities like a swimming pond and playground included. There is a small fee for use, but camping comes without fees.

Northern Michigan—though not quite in the Upper Peninsula—will offer some impressive dirt bike tour opportunities, and one of the leaders in the field is the Twisted Trails Off Road Park. Home to over 200 acres, and a wide array of trails at various levels of difficulty from the Mall Crawler to the Holy Moly, you’ll be coming back again and again.

The largest privately-owned off-road park in Southern Michigan, Bundy Hill measures in at an impressive 300 total acres. With four different ratings of track, Bundy Hill can accommodate everything from simple tours to the most thrilling of off-roading adventures. Throw in camping available for visitors and even a few special events—not to mention some discounts for the serious rider—and you'll have opportunities aplenty to tour a large portion of Michigan at your leisure.

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Not far from Rose City, Ambrose Lake State Forest Campground will offer dirt bike trail access through some of Michigan's best forested campground. Featuring a number of campgrounds and access to Ambrose Lake—like the name suggests—this tour comes with a few limitations built in. Requiring spark arrestors, helmets, and a maximum noise limit of 94 decibels, Ambrose Lake will still offer an impressive tour through some of Michigan's most exciting trails.

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10 Best Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Michigan! You and your furry four-legged best friend can explore the great outdoors together in Michigan. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll or a rugged adventure, the state's trails have something to offer every pup and their pawrent. These 10 hikes below offer some of the best spots to explore with your canine companion.

Take your pup on a 21-acre journey of discovery through the enclosed fenced areas for large and small breeds. Located in Jenison, you and your pup will both have a chance to take a break and stretch their legs with the off-leash walking trails. Whether you’re looking for a quick outdoor adventure or a longer expedition, this Jenison spot has it all.

For an outdoor excursion that’s second to none, you and your doggo can adventure along the 1,000-acre state park in Holland. Running through the meadows, forests, or around the dunes, your pups will have plenty of fun! Be safe as the park requires that all dogs remain on a leash.

Just outside of the metropolitan area in Northville, you and your pup can explore the 944 acres of rolling terrain, open meadow, and mature forests offered at the Maybury State Park. Let your furry friend sniff their way through the dog-friendly trails and if they need a break, you can set up a picnic spot and make a day of it.

Take the family pup on a 46-acre journey through the trails of Provin Trails in Grand Rapids. The park's network of interconnected loops offers a variety of hiking options and allows you to take your dog off-leash. Just make sure to keep a close eye and call them back if they tend to wander. 

The Brighton State Recreation Area offers over 4,947 acres of outdoor recreation, nestled between fields and forests. Let your canine companion off-leash on the 39 miles of trails to hike, mountain bike, ski, and horse-ride. And if you need a break, there are plenty of camping sites you can set up for a pawsitively fun night.

Treat your doggo for a lakeside retreat in West Olive's Kirk Park. Enjoy the view from the picnic sites, go for a swim, or take a stroll on the trails. And after all the outdoor fun, let your pup rest up at the dog beach.

You and your four legged friend can explore the pristine forest and meadows at the Hofma Preserve in Grand Haven. Enjoy 4.5 miles of trails, a 885-foot floating bridge, and picnic areas, all while keeping your pup on a leash. Choose your canine adventure!

Head out to the remote Prudenville and explore the 3.4-mile loop at Lost Twin Lakes. The path was made drier and the bridges and boardwalk were added to make the trail more accessible for visitors of all kinds, especially your furry family members. Just remember to keep your pup leashed for the entire hike.

Ada's Seidman Park will provide a truly unique experience for you and your pup. This 400-acre park gives you and your dog the chance to explore wood, fields, and wetlands, with plenty of hiking trails to choose from. Don’t pass up this hidden gem!

Surround yourself and your furry friend with 2,600 acres of scenery and forests at the Sleepy Hollow State Park. With over 5 miles of trails, you and your pup can create your own adventure in the great outdoors to your heart's content. Make memories and leave only paw prints.

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5 Energizing Hikes in Michigan When the beginner hike is too easy, it’s time to try a new challenge. Don't worry, Michigan's got you covered. There are more physically-demanding hikes across the state that will get your muscles moving and leave you feeling accomplished at the end of the day. Lace up your boots and grab your water bottle before you tackle these five energizing hikes in Michigan. 

Not far from Brethren, the Manistee River Loop Trail is considered a moderate-difficulty hike running 23 miles. Traffic is comparatively light due to its length, mainly, and is considered both kid-friendly and dog-accessible, though dogs will need to be on a leash. The scenery out here is impressive, including the Manistee River for which the trail is named. A waterfall, a creek, suspension bridge, huge amounts of forest, and staggering availability of camping spots along the trail makes this one a highly-versatile winner for an intermediate hike. 

This 1.5-mile hike roundtrip has terrain described as hilly, which makes it a bit more of a challenge than your average hike. Once you reach the end of the trail, you will be treated to high-up views from the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Proceed with caution—do no descend the bluff because it can be very dangerous. 

The Porcupine Mountains near Ontonagon represent a perfect opportunity for hikers thanks to one main reason: an abundance of hiking trails, all of which are interconnected. Thanks to this, hiking through the Porcupine Mountains can be about as easy or as difficult as you want it to be, and can incorporate just about any kind of scenery you could ask for. Commonly regarded as a moderate challenge, though, is the Porcupine Mountains’ Escarpment Trail, running roughly four miles in length—eight miles roundtrip—which offers peaks, lakes, and some impressive 400-foot cliffs.

A national wildlife refuge near Saginaw, Shiawassee contains three trails within its purview: The Woodland Trail, the Ferguson Bayou Trail, and the Wildlife Drive, a seasonal trail that's accessible by car. The Woodland Trail and Ferguson Bayou Trail should provide a more challenging experience that won't tax hikers too greatly. Both trails run about 4.5 miles worth of walking, and the Woodland Trail is somewhat more primitive. The Ferguson Bayou Trail features graveled roads and several beautiful views. While your definition of “moderate difficulty” may be fluid, the variety of choice seen here should accommodate it, whatever it may be.

Paint Creek Trail, near Rochester in Oakland County, is something of a rarity in Michigan trails: A trail both owned and managed not by the state, but by a private entity, the Paint Creek Trailways Commission. The first “non-motorized rail-to-trail” in Michigan, it runs 8.9 miles, and was formerly part of the Penn Central Railroad. Now a hiking, biking and walking trail of moderate difficulty due mainly to its length, it will offer a smooth, eight-foot-wide trail that goes through several towns and provides plenty of sights to see along the way. 

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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 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in Michigan The jet ski is perhaps the ultimate assertion of speed and water fun in Michigan. With so much water readily available, there's no shortage of places around to hit the water and enjoy the exhilaration of jet skis. Some places are better than others, of course, so it's worth doing some advance research to see which places are the best for the run. So, fill up your gas cans, hitch up your trailer, and get ready for some excitement on the water with five great places for jet skiing in Michigan!

Houghton Lake, a little north of the middle of Michigan, represents the largest inland lake in Michigan at last report. In a state famous for its lakes, that's saying something—it's been estimated that a 20-30 mph cruise would take better than two hours to completely navigate the lake. Houghton Lake will offer plenty of room for cruising at good speeds, and the lake is almost never smooth except for the calmest days. So you’re in for an exciting ride! 

The third largest lake in Michigan, which has been called the second-best lake in the United States according to USA Today, offers some terrific options in jet skiing. Coming in second only to Lake Tahoe, Lake Charlevoix offers “...several small, tourist-adored towns” along with “...some of the world's finest sunsets, beaches, boating and gastronomy.” Sounds impressive, but reports from jet skiers in the area suggest Lake Charlevoix will offer opportunities for experienced riders to “catch some nice air.” With several boat launches and large boats putting out impressive wakes, a day of fun is right at your fingertips.   

Burt Lake near Cheboygan is said to offer some excellent opportunities for jet skiing. It stays comparatively warm throughout the summer, reports note, and scarab beetles are a routine presence on the lake. The presence of scarabs has likely perked up some jet skier ears, as these bugs commonly mean big wakes and big waves. With very little in the way of obstructions—much of the lake is deep except for sandbars—and very few days in which the lake stays smooth, it’s no surprise Burt Lake is a well-loved destination for riders. 

Cass Lake in Oakland County is actually part of a closely-connected range of lakes. Affording two square-miles of surface area, it also immediately connects to the Clinton River, to nearby Loon Lake which is upstream, and downstream is Sylvan Lake. Elizabeth Lake also connects to Cass Lake, which means Cass Lake can be an effective destination by virtue of its sheer variety. One truly unusual feature distinguishes this lake from many others: there's an in-water gas station on hand that allows for rapid refueling even in the middle of a session on the water. The roughness of the water varies, so check out what the conditions are like before you head out!  

Kalamazoo County’s Long Lake is a popular jet skiing destination, making it a highly-populated area on beautiful days. Thanks to its solid conditions and comparative excellence in the immediate area, plan to show up early to this spot if you’re looking for a fun-filled day on the water. There are no refueling capabilities in the area so riders, come prepared! Every moment on the glistening waters of this 575-acre lake will be a special one.    

Sergey Sukhorukov/ Sun, 09 Jun 2024 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Michigan Michigan's state motto is, in the original Latin, "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice." Translated to English this means, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you." Essentially, you don’t have to look very far to see something beautiful here in the Great Lake State. Michigan is home to a wide array of natural beauty that can best be absorbed on a beautiful, scenic hike. Here are five great trails to soak in the stunning nature of the state. 

The Escarpment Trail, part of the Porcupine Mountains near Ontonagon, is a comparatively short track with a four-mile pace but a surprisingly steep elevation change. This combination makes it considered moderate in difficulty, but the views are amazing. Between views of Lake Superior, Lake of the Clouds, and the Carp River Valley, one of Michigan's comparatively few mountains will provide some of its best hiking.

Want to see what just over 18,300 acres of woods looks like? Take a step into the Sylvania Wilderness near Watersmeet. Formerly a private hunting preserve until its purchase by the US Forest Service in 1967, Sylvania features some of the most extensive forest in North America. Home to a host of tree species and wildlife, as well as a variety of lakes, you'll have just about any kind of view you could ask for waiting for you here.

Not all the great hikes can be found in the Upper Peninsula. The Jordan River Pathway near Mancelona is regarded as one of the more popular weekend backpacking options the Lower Peninsula can offer. Featuring cedar trees, a trout stream, and plenty of shade, it's a great look at not only woods and water, but also some excellent wildflower growth as well. Since it's a loop, it makes transportation a comparatively easy venture, and a built-in campground at the halfway point makes it a perfect weekend hike with the kids. 

One of the southernmost hikes in Michigan, and part of Warren Dunes State Park near Sawyer, the Mt. Randal Loop is a four-mile hike over sand dunes. With an amazing view of Lake Michigan, some bits through local woodland, and even a chance to check out pretty much every different kind of sand dune there is—and yes, there's more than one kind of sand dune—you'll have an exciting time afoot running the Mt. Randal Loop. It's heavily visited in summer months, though, so it's suggested to come in April when the wildflowers are starting to bloom. October, when the leaves change color in the region, is also recommended.

Described on its website as a, “sanctuary for hikers,” the Bird Hills Nature Area is the largest park in Ann Arbor. Covering approximately 160 acres, Bird Hills is comprised of marsh areas, wet forest, mesic forest, among other ecosystems. You will find five trailheads here, all of which are easily accessible: Down Up Circle, Bird Road, Beechwood Drive, and two near the Newport Road parking area. These trails are unpaved, and they twist through magnificent forestry affording views of beautiful oaks, hickory, and spring wildflowers. 

Alexey Stiop/ Sun, 09 Jun 2024 00:00:00 -0500
5 Great Hiking Trails in Michigan Michigan is a state packed full to the brim with natural beauty, from the bottom of the mitten to the northernmost peak of the Upper Peninsula. Hiking trails abound in Michigan, and offer a great place to stretch the legs, check out some of nature's greatest wonders, and spend some time together as a family in the midst of it all. So lace up those hiking boots and check out five of Michigan's greatest hiking trails. 

Head to Watersmeet to check out the Sylvania Wilderness, a massive 18,237-acre affair that's part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Featuring 50 campsites, hikers can come for a day or stay for a while. With 34 named lakes, and everything from rivers to waterfalls to massive amounts of forest, the result is a package of natural beauty so sweeping, intense, and awe-inspiring that it's practically tailor-made for families. The area has even been home to a set of Ojibwa artifacts, so it's entirely possible your hike may turn up exciting new insight into Michigan's past.

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“Nourish your spirit with the simple things in life.” ~ unknown 📷 Jason Schultz

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Not far from Bessemer is the North Country Trail, home to the Porcupine Mountains waterfall hike. It's called that for the obvious reason: there's a lot of waterfalls located on this trail. How many waterfalls? Try one every mile. Naturally, there's more here than just a whole lot of waterfalls, so for anyone wants forests, mountain views, or just several different lengths of hiking trail, North Country Trail will have just what you need.

A trail measuring four and a half miles one way, hikers will be able to follow said trail from the Upper Falls all the way to the Lower Falls along the Tahquamenon River. While walking the trail, hikers will be treated to a rolling path that actually changes elevation over the course of the route several times, ensuring not only variety in the scenery, but also variety in the topography as well.

Hiked some places. Got bit by mosquitoes. Saw some stuff. Great weekend 🏕👍🏼

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It's been called the “crown jewel of Lake Superior,” and with a comment like that to recommend it, it's easy to see why some might consider this the best hike around. For those who want a little more substance, the high points of this hike might be too good to pass up. A combination of dune, swale, and forest covering 430 acres and an 8.6-acre island, there's most everything here from rocky cliffs to sandy beach to wilderness timber. There's a little bit of everything at Little Presque Isle, and that makes this hiking destination one for the books.

Isle Royale National Park, found on an island in Lake Superior itself, represents one of the biggest chunks of pure, uninterrupted wilderness that Michigan can offer. Surrounded by water, it's a great place for a swim in the hotter months—typically, Superior is the last lake to fully melt—but there's a lot more than that here. Featuring some of the most impressive views around, Isle Royale is home to not only wolves, but also moose, both of which roam the island freely. Reports suggest it's also the single least-visited national park in the lower 48 states thanks to the fact it can only be reached by seaplane or by boat, which—for those who want to see true wilderness untrammeled by man—makes this a natural winner.

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5 Cool Rock Climbing Spots in Michigan While Michigan might not be famous for its mountains, there are still ample, high-quality climbing experiences waiting to be explored. Whether you’re experienced or just finding your footing, there’s a place in Michigan for all levels of experience. Here are five of our favorite climbs in the state.  

Not far from Baraga, Silver Mountain managed to land a slot on Shape Magazine's roster of 12 places to go rock climbing before you die. It features, according to Down Wind Sports' Bill Thompson, “...some of the longest, most challenging climbs in Upper Michigan.” Throw in the fact that it's surrounded by forest and you'll not only have some amazing views from within on your hike to the climb—especially if you go in fall—but you'll have even better views on the climb up.

Another of Shape Magazine's 12 must-hit climbs before you die, the Pinnacle isn't far from cosmopolitan Marquette. Yet out here, it's all about the roughest of nature, and since it's right on Lake Superior, you'll have all the lake views you could ask for. This is another climb Bill Thompson preferred, and he had high praise for the sunrise views coming off Lake Superior. Anyone who's seen a sunrise on Lake Superior is likely already nodding in agreement. A climb on the Pinnacle will let you see this already magnificent sight all the better with the elevation.

The AAA Walls, near Teal Lake over in the Marquette area, offers up not only an impressive rock climb but also one with a dose of history. A former mining area, the AAA Walls offer up several different rock climbs for varying skill levels. For example, those just getting started might want to start with the Greg's Sonic Boom route or perhaps the Cheese and Crackers run, considered a “warm up” route. Those looking for a challenge, meanwhile, will want to tackle Unnamed Crack with its loose rock and wet conditions, or perhaps the Flying Gumbies run with an overhang that just starts the challenge. Regardless of your skill level, however, there will be something here to amuse or challenge you, and that makes the AAA Walls a stop worth making. 

Not all of Michigan's great rock climbs are in the Upper Peninsula, though quite a few of them are. One of the exceptions goes to the Ledges, not far from the state's capital, Lansing. Grand Ledge represents the only natural vertical relief in the Lower Peninsula, so it's a fairly simple climb, about 30 feet up. Since it's Ionia sandstone, lead climbing won't be a possibility here, so you'll be working with either top-ropes or boulder problems. However, the Ledges work around this in a thoroughly Michigan friendly fashion by in many cases leaving ropes behind. Using someone else's rope is permitted if you ask in advance.

Not far from Negaunee, the Suicide Bowl offers more than a few different trails with colorful nicknames. Colorful as in you probably wouldn't want your children around to hear about them. However, it's not all that colorful; try the Turbo Midget, a short route regarded as “fun and deadly,” or the Berke's Kitchen, offering three different ways to reach the summit with varying levels of challenge therein.

My Good Images/ Wed, 01 May 2024 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in Michigan With longer, warmer days comes thoughts of family camping trips. Packing up the kids for a weekend and heading out into nature makes for a memorable experience. And in Michigan, there is plenty of natural beauty to explore. From comfortable family campgrounds, to fun RV parks, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at these five awesome family-friendly campgrounds in Michigan. 

Silver Lake's Dunes Harbor Family Camp focuses very closely on providing experiences for the family. Featuring not only a string of amenities ranging from the full-on RV camper to the most basic tent camper—including a full ice cream shop as part of the camp's store—Dunes Harbor covers the waterfront nicely. The fact that it's only a few minutes from the actual waterfront of Lake Michigan doesn't hurt either, and with a wide variety of community activities, young families will love this spot.

Head for Glen Arbor to try out D.H. Day Campground. Geared toward the more primitive camping experience, this campground is a stone's throw from the Sleeping Bear Dunes, one of the greatest natural wonders Michigan can offer. Whether enjoying the beach, hunting for the official Michigan stone—the Petoskey stone—or just enjoying a campground steeped in tradition, D.H. Day Campground will offer a wonderfully family-friendly experience for campers.

One beautiful place to spend the weekend!

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Lake Leelanau not only provides an excellent space for RV campers, but it can also support regular tent campers as well, offering a playground, a clubhouse, laundry facilities, and more. Oh, and don't forget it's right there on Lake Leelanau, and the entirety of the Leelanau Peninsula is open to you as well. Traverse City isn't even that far, and that means a lot of exciting options.

Family-owned and operated, Logan Hills Campground not far from Hale offers an incredible natural setting, complete with a lake for fishing, boating, and all around fun. Offering tent sites—with either “primitive” or with water and electric options—as well as your choice of three cabin types and RV parking, you'll have plenty of options for a place to lay your family's collective head down when all that fun comes to an end for the day.

Out in Hopkins lies Sandy Pines, a campground whose biggest focus is fun. Activities aplenty pack this campground, starting with a complete water park. No really, a water park. That's just the start—there's a complete 18-hole golf course on hand here as well, so you can camp not more than several hundred feet from a golf course. Throw in several different ball games—from tennis to basketball to the comparatively new gaga ball—and a complete ropes course along with readily-accessible beach, and family fun will be the name of the game at the accessible Sandy Pines.

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5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Michigan Join in on the paddleboarding craze. With so much water around, it's easy to find places to paddleboard in Michigan. You'll need flat, relatively calm water to paddle on, but there's plenty of that around here! So grab your paddle and get ready for a slow, scenic trip down some great natural territory with five great paddleboarding spots in Michigan!

Easily accessible from Detroit, but closest to Milford, the Huron River offers plenty of public land surrounding it. Connected to a wide range of parks, and offering a moderate current—there are Class II rapids near Delhi Rapids, so watch out for that—along with a comparative lack of obstacles and plenty of natural scenery, the Huron River will be one of the simplest and nicest paddleboard trips you can get.

Northern Michigan is falling in love with stand-up paddleboarding, and Sleeping Bear Point represents an excellent location for it. Not only is it likely familiar territory for many thanks to its Lake Michigan connection, but it's also been voted one of America's best beaches. It's also not readily reached by foot, so you'll get a look at sights not commonly seen by beachgoers. Throw in the proximity to Traverse City and all that entails, and you'll have a great time paddleboarding and beyond out at Sleeping Bear Point.

The Pere Marquette River near Baldwin offers both intense natural beauty and great accessibility. Excellent for beginners—the greatest challenge will come from a Class I rapids segment—and offering the sights provided by the Manistee National Forest, the Pere Marquette River will provide a wide range of things to see with very little challenge. Some of the best sights will come toward the end of the season as the colors change in Michigan trees.

This one's almost a no-brainer, but for anyone who wants a new look at a familiar Michigan landmark, you're going to have a real winner afoot with Mackinac Island. Several options are on hand for this one. Try a sunrise run just before breakfast to check out the wonder of a non-mechanized island in the early morning sun, or look into a two-hour guided tour to take you around and introduce you to some of the most noteworthy points to check out in person later.

Grand Rapids is one of Michigan's biggest cities, and it's also got one of its greatest paddleboarding excursions too. The Rogue River—which really isn't that rogue at all—is regarded as a beginner course of primary flat water that runs 21 miles. With two dams nearby, there's quite a bit to see. Once you get past Sparta, the river gets extra force from several nearby tributaries—that could be worth exploring in their own right—to make this trip fun and worthwhile.

zeljkodan/ Wed, 01 May 2024 00:00:00 -0500
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. 

Aleksey Stemmer/ Sat, 27 Apr 2024 00:00:00 -0500
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 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Michigan Kayaking can be a difficult sport for those without experience, but Michigan is a kayaker’s paradise. Surrounded by the Great Lakes, you can expect to find some seriously stunning spots to get your feet wet. The state offers not only opportunities for those experienced, but plenty of places to get started. Before heading out for the first time, try taking some lessons or bringing along a guide. Here are five awesome spots for beginners to kayak in Michigan.  

Quiet World is considered to be one of the best kayak schools in the state of Michigan. With kayak classes running from beginner to intermediate, private instruction available, and instruction in several other sports also on hand, Quiet World Sports will develop skills and give new kayakers the ability to better enjoy the sport. Once your classes are done, apply your newfound knowledge with five lakes and the Grand River that connects all five, allowing for a thoroughly unique experience.

Liquid Therapy in Three Rivers offers its kayaking focus on several major area rivers, the St. Joseph, the Rocky, the Prairie, the Portage and the Fawn River. With several rivers to choose from, it's a safe bet that beginners will be able to find something appropriate for their skill level right here. That's good news for anyone who's planning to get started in kayaking. The St. Joseph is suggested particularly for beginners, and those confident enough can step up to rivers with some whitewater portions as well. Since all boats are required to be off the water by 6 p.m., there's a much greater chance of not getting lost.

we sunk 3 times 🚣... Not therapeutic lol

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Fennville’s Velocity Adventures gives first-time paddlers access to kayaks, and some seriously great kayaking territory. Beginners will be able to go out with a much more experienced kayaker in a bid to not only get better acquainted with the craft, but also to see what's in the area. Tours are available in three or six-hour variants. Be sure to stick around for the sunset on the nearby Kalamazoo River—it’s breathtaking!

Up in the Upper Peninsula is one of Michigan's great rivers: the Tahquamenon. Not far from Newberry, meanwhile, is the Woods Canoe Rental, or Tahquamenon River Canoe and Kayak Rental. It's not just a rental operation, of course, but also a great starting point for beginners and even small children. They offer what's called a “Short Trip,” which comes complete with delivery of equipment and shuttle service to and from the base. Featuring good fishing, excellent variety of wildlife—everything from birds to bears and beyond is right here—and varying levels of difficulty, kayakers from beginners to experts should be able to find a challenge worthy of their skills. 

Out in Tecumseh, which isn't far from Detroit, Ann Arbor, and several other major Michigan cities, there's the Tecumseh Paddling Company. Located right along the River Raisin, the company can start users out as simply as short hops around their own internal kayaking area known as “The Ponds” to access to the river itself. Options are the key to producing the best kayaking experience for beginners, and there will be plenty of those at the Tecumseh Paddling Company.


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Stas Volik/ Mon, 01 Apr 2024 00:00:00 -0500
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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