Hello travellers! My name is Felicia Fullwood and I grew up about 30 minutes north of Detroit, the largest city in Michigan. Sports (hockey in particular) was my entire life until I graduated high school. It was only five years ago that I first got into photography and purchased my first camera.
I was working a 9-5 job and started documenting Detroit with my iPhone. It was something that hooked me instantly. I bought a camera shortly after and took my first road trip out west. After that my entire life changed. I realized how beautiful the world was and how little we get to see of it.
Two years later I quit my job to pursue photography full time. Luckily being in Michigan gave me plenty of amazing places to capture. Michigan is an outdoor adventure playground – hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, fishing, snowboarding, the list goes on and changes by the season.
This might be an unpopular opinion but I love the four seasons. As much as I don’t like shoveling or driving in the snow, winters here are breathtaking and there is something magical about the start of a new season where everything changes and it makes me so excited to get out exploring again.
By far the best thing about living in Michigan is being surrounded by lakes that resemble oceans – but without the saltwater and sharks! We have the longest freshwater coastline of any state lined with amazing beaches.
I’ve traveled the coast of the Lower Peninsula and most of the Upper Peninsula but I built my career in Detroit over the past 4-5 years. One place that I haven’t been to yet is the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northernmost point in the Upper Peninsula. I hope to make it up there in a few weeks!
Favourite Place in Michigan: Empire
There are so many incredible places to explore in Michigan that it’s hard to pick a favourite. If I had to choose I would say the western coast of Northern Michigan takes the cake for me. The water is so crystal clear that you could be in the Caribbean. You have sand dunes, bluffs and the scenic M-22 road.
This is our new favourite spot to camp in a small town named Empire, just outside of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We’ve been back three times this summer already. I swear that some of these beaches, Empire Beach in particular, remind me of being on the California coast.
It’s similar to Cali in regards to the sunsets, bluff views, white sand and the waves of Lake Michigan crashing on the beach. I love this spot!
Ultimate Michigan Travel Itinerary
For those people looking to visit Michigan I would recommend coming for at least a week. You can see it all from exploring the Upper Peninsula making your way down to Detroit. Although, if you only have a weekend, then exploring the western coast of Northern Michigan is your best bet.
Starting from each region, here are the best places to visit and things to do:
- Hike the Porcupine Mountains and see the “Lake of the Clouds”.
- Live off the grid and try remote camping in Copper Harbour along the coast of Lake Superior.
- Chase over 300 waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula. Some of my favourites include: Bond Falls, Munising Falls, Miners Falls, Sable Falls and Spray Falls.
- Go on a kayaking tour of Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior.
- Trek Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette.
- Spend a day on Mackinac Island and experience the beauty of an island that doesn’t allow cars – walking or bikes only!
- Take the scenic drive up M-22 along Lake Michigan.
- Hike the Empire Bluff Trail.
- Watch a sunset along Lake Michigan.
- Go Kayaking or tubing down one of our many rivers – the Crystal River is perfect for a calm and beautiful paddle.
- Watch a sunset at Belle Isle.
- Check out Hart Plaza and walk the Detroit Riverfront.
- Eat an iconic Coney Island Hot Dog from either Lafayette Coney Island or National Coney Island.
- Spend a Saturday morning at the Eastern Market and buy from vendors.
- Spend an afternoon at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The best way to experience Michigan is to rent a car so you can see as much as possible. It would probably take more than a week to experience the activities mentioned above – but I’m sure you could do it in 10 days! Obviously, you can pick and choose which experiences best suit you.
People, Culture & Food of Michigan
The culture in Michigan, Detroit in particular, is very diverse and I’m grateful to have grown up in such a diverse culture and landscape. But the truth is that Michigan doesn’t differ too much to the rest of the USA.
Food is one thing that unites everyone in Michigan. Northern Michigan is built more off family-owned local restaurants and diners and Detroit has a booming food scene that is constantly changing with restaurants and eateries popping up left and right in the Downtown area.
In my opinion, the two most important things you can try when you visit Michigan are a Coney Dog and a Pasty. My suggestion is to get your Coney Dog from either Lafayette Coney Island or National Coney Island (as mentioned before) and your Pasty from Lawry’s Pasty Shop or Ishpeming.
Best Places to Stay in Michigan
I’m more of a camper when it comes to accommodation, so anytime I can encourage someone to get outdoors for a few nights to camp – I’m going to do that. Michigan is absolutely perfect for camping with well over 1000 campgrounds and over 3 millions acres of National Forest land.