When it comes to Michigan getaways, most people opt to visit one of our state’s stunning lake shores. But while our Great Lakes are undeniably gorgeous, most Michiganders know that there’s plenty of beauty to be found in inland areas as well. So when you’re plotting out your next big adventure in the Mitten State, add the Irish Hills region to your list. You certainly won’t be disappointed.
Michigan’s Irish Hills region covers the counties of Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee. For generations, it has been a popular tourist destination for Michiganders and out-of-state visitors alike.
The history of Michigan’s Irish Hills region is easy to guess: it is named for the slew of Irish immigrants who came to the region following the Potato Famine of 1846. The area’s combination of lakes and rolling green hills reminded them of their homeland, so they named their new settlements in honor of Ireland.
A trip to the Irish Hills will keep you occupied for days on end. There’s no shortage of fun and unique activities, from natural excursions to cultural events. If you’re looking for a combination of relaxation and adventure, you’ve come to the right place.
The region is home to over 50 stunning inland lakes, including Vineyard Lake, Sand Lake, and Wamplers Lake, three of the most popular waterfront areas in the Irish Hills. These lakes are attached to larger on-site parks that allow for everything from swimming to fishing to lakeside lounging.
If you’re a history buff, a trip to the Irish Hills will not disappoint. Take a tour of the Irish Hills Towers, which were originally constructed in 1924 as lookout points for the beautiful countryside that surrounds them. Today, visitors can admire that same view from the top of the towers — on a clear day, you’ll be able to see for approximately seven miles into the heart of the Irish Hills.
Check out Historic Walker Tavern, which has offered insight into the history of stagecoach travel since the 1920s. You’ll learn about the creation and use of US-12, more commonly known as the United States Heritage Trail.
The charming village of Brooklyn, affectionally known as “the heart of the Irish Hills,” is an ideal spot to stop and grab a bite to eat and peruse the town’s downtown area. The village is nestled among three of the region’s loveliest lakes, making it a great place to relax after a day of outdoor exploration.
Thrill-seekers will be pleased to know that the Irish Hills region is also home to Michigan International Speedway. If you’re a car-racing enthusiast, stop by this two-mile track to experience a high speed event in the summer sun.
But that’s not all: a trip to the Irish Hills also affords opportunities to golf, visit wineries (Cherry Creek Winery is a favorite), and further peruse the outdoors with a day at Walter J. Hayes State Park. The area truly offers something for everyone.
If you’re looking to experience an exciting region of Michigan that might be just a little less known than its Great Lakes counterparts, look no further than the Irish Hills. With its combination of cultural activities, natural marvels, and friendly faces, you might just call it your new favorite Michigan vacation destination.