Nature March 29, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Michigan’s Natural Beauty – Waterfalls, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Nature lovers flock to Michigan for a million good reasons. If you’re a fan of fun on the water, you’re in luck. Nearly half of Michigan is made up of the wet stuff so you’re never more than 6 miles from a river, lake, or waterfall. The state boasts the most freshwater coastline
in the world, with 11,000 inland lakes, 1,200 public beaches, and nearly 100 islands. Crisscrossing through all these watering holes are tens of thousands of miles’ worth of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails. In winter, Michigan is a wonderland, with 50 ski areas, 1,000 ski runs across the state, and more fresh powder than Grandma’s apron. But enough about the numbers. Let’s dive into all the natural wonders that Michigan has to offer.
The Best Little Known Park In Michigan
For-Mar Nature Preserve/Facebook
For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum is a little-known gem in Burton. Once a dairy farm, this 383-acre preserve features white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrels, chipmunks, bullfrogs, owls, hawks, bluebirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, and many species of fish in its three ponds. The arboretum features 157 species of trees that provide food and shelter for all the critters that live here. There's also an apiary and you can buy some honey made by the For-Mar bees. The sugar bush maple trees are tapped in the spring to make maple syrup. The treehouse built by master builder Pete Nelson plays host to classes for kids and adults about ecology and nature conservation.
Whether you love critters that fly, float or crawl, come visit and be sure to bring your camera!
The Most Pristine Beach In Michigan
Michigan's North Beach near South Haven is Michiganders' go-to destination for fun in the sun. The immaculately maintained beach is very wide so there's plenty of room when families start packing the sand in summer. There's a nearby concession stand that sells Sherman's Freshest ice cream, a local South Haven favorite that you'll definitely want to try on a hot day. If you want to take in the sunset there's nothing better than a stroll along the pier that juts into Lake Michigan.
Are you starting to feel the sand between your toes?
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake In Michigan
With three of the Great Lakes on its shores and 11,000 inland lakes in its interior, Michigan has more than its fair share of beautiful water destinations. Even so, Crystal Lake near the village of Beulah should be on every nature lover's bucket list. Crystal Lake gets its name from the unbelievably clear crystal-blue waters that will make you think you're in the Caribbean. The white sand beach is the perfect spot to relax or launch a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Although Crystal Lake doesn't have quite as many amenities as Michigan's more popular lakes, the nearby village of Beulah is a delightfully charming destination in its own right and has everything visitors could need. Plus, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is just a short drive away in case you get restless.
Hurry up so you don't miss the sun go down over these stunning waters.
The Most Beautiful Island In Michigan
Isle Royale is perhaps the most scenic and secluded island in Lake Superior. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, this 45-mile long island has kept its natural beauty intact. Together, the main island and the 400 much smaller islands in the surrounding waters make up the Isle Royale National Park. Despite its incredible beauty, it is one of the least-visited national parks in the country. Once there, you can canoe, kayak, or hike your way to an isolated camping spot. Or, if you prefer a roof over your head, stay at the Rock Harbor Lodge on the shore. No matter where you stay, be sure to bring your camera as Isle Royale is home to many moose and just a few wolves.
Getting there is a challenge, but will you ever want to leave?
The Best Trail To Hike In Michigan
Located on Michigan's Upper Peninsula just between Ottawa National Forest and Lake Superior, Escarpment Trail runs along the ridge of the Porcupine Mountains. It's rated as a hard trail but well worth the effort. Although there is a gain of about 1,500 feet in elevation along the way, the slope is relatively gentle so much of the effort required is just plain-old endurance. The 8-mile trek will take you through lush greenery to an overlook that gives stunning views of Lake of the Clouds and the surrounding woodlands. Bring your binoculars because along the way you can spot plenty of native bird species.
Ready for a trip to the clouds?
The Most Beautiful River In Michigan
Michigan's very own Niagara, Bond Falls is a hidden gem in the state's Upper Peninsula. It's not the most traveled destination, but it's worth the trip. You follow waterfall after gorgeous waterfall flowing through luscious green forest. The trail along the river is easily walkable. But if you want to get an up-close look at the falls be sure to bring hiking boots and a walking stick. Natural erosion of the huge granite rocks has created plenty of little swimming holes. If you're bold enough to brave the cold, visit in the wintertime to see the magnificent natural ice sculptures made of frozen rushing water.
Whip out your walking sticks because this magical spot is waiting for you!
The Most Scenic Mountain In Michigan
Like many upper Midwest states, the last Ice Age's glaciation didn't leave Michigan with many mountains or towering rock formations. But there is one exception that's just too picturesque not to mention: the Porkies. Located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Porcupines are a modest mountain range that offer 87 miles of hiking trails and incredible views at the end of every trek. Watch your step, however, because the Porkies are home to black bears, moose, bobcats, otters, and — of course — the spiky little critters from which the mountains get their name.
Strap on your hiking boots and get ready to enjoy the incredible mountain views.
The Most Unique Garden In Michigan
Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve/Facebook
Michigan's very own "secret garden" is Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles. This 102-acre preserve blends the natural and the handmade in a way that's sure to enchant visitors of all ages. There's a Fern Observatory, a Winter House, and a Japanese garden. Fernwood often hosts lectures, yoga classes, weddings, and other special events that benefit from a touch of whimsical natural beauty.
Ready to lose yourself in the wildflowers?