Those of us who were lucky enough to grow up in the Great Lakes State understand that there’s something absolutely wonderful about coming of age here in Michigan. While Michiganders who relocated here as adults are certainly capable of adoring our state, nothing compares to a Michigan childhood. Here are ten reasons why kiddos in Michigan have it made.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Two words: Great Lakes.
Michiganders of all ages adore the Great Lakes, but there’s nothing better than spending a day at the beach as a child. From building sand castles to splashing in the waves with loved ones, few things beat the joy of a summer spent along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, or Lake Superior. Of course, every great beach day is followed up with a stop at the local ice cream shop!
2. Michigan winters mean snow days… once every five years.
Every Michigan kid knows the pain of waking up in what appears to be a genuine blizzard, flipping on the TV to check for school closings, and realizing that they’ll still have to spend their day in class. That said, Michigan schools DO occasionally opt for snow days, and there’s nothing more magical than realizing that it’s time to head back to bed. Or stay up and watch "The Price is Right," followed by a full day of sledding, hot cocoa, and not doing homework.
3. Michigan kids get to bask in the best of all four seasons.
Sure, sometimes Michiganders long to live in a climate that remains warm all year long, but those of us who grew up here know that there’s something undeniably special about fully experiencing all four seasons. From jumping in leaf piles during autumn to building snowmen in the winter to watching flowers bloom in springtime to playing on soft-sand beaches during summer, Michigan kids have a true appreciation for nature in all its states.
4. Petoskey stone searches are like mini treasure hunts.
Hunting for Petoskey stones is a classic Michigan pastime, and there’s nothing more wonderful as a child than coming across one of these much sought-after rocks along the shores of Lake Michigan. In fact, some of us still have our Petoskey stone collection from childhood — and the timeless beauty of these finds are tough to beat!
5. Summer journeys up north create memories to last a lifetime.
When summer rolls around in Michigan, there are no words sweeter than "up north." For Michigan kids, the phrase "up north" conjures images of cottages on the lake, boating with family and friends, cooking out for dinner every night, and staying up late to make s’mores around the campfire. For a young Michigander, there’s nothing better than preparing for a journey northward.
6. Young Michiganders have incredible adventures on Mackinac Island.
Mackinac Island is a gem of the Great Lakes State, but there’s something especially wonderful about visiting it during childhood. A journey to the island truly feels like a trip back in time, as there are no cars to be found and horse-drawn carriages abound throughout. Of course, what kid doesn’t enjoy indulging in tasty fudge samples? Mackinac Island is the perfect place to satisfy a childlike sweet tooth, no matter what your age.
7. Michigan sports instill a deep sense of state pride.
If you grew up in Michigan, you likely have memories of rooting for the Tigers, Lions, Pistons, or Red Wings. Additionally, whether or not your parents attended the University of Michigan or Michigan State University, chances are good that you were brought up with a deep pride for one of the two schools. For kids, there's something endlessly magical about waking up on a "football Saturday" to watch the Wolverines or Spartans play — especially for those lucky enough to experience the game at an on-campus stadium!
8. Field trips across the state foster an appreciation for the Mitten in all its glory.
Michigan has some of the most unique and fun-filled field trip destinations imaginable. From stepping back in time at Greenfield Village to screaming with glee on roller coasters at Michigan’s Adventure, schoolchildren in the Great Lakes State have long been appreciating class excursions to attractions throughout the state. Other past and present favorites include Cereal City USA, Flint’s AutoWorld, and tours of Lansing’s Capitol Building.
9. Blue Moon and Superman ice cream. Enough said.
Every Michigan kid knows that there are really only two acceptable ice cream flavors to select from: Blue Moon and Superman! These colorful treats are the taste of childhood here in the Great Lakes State, and nothing — not even the most decadent chocolate option — can beat them.
10. All of life’s most wonderful memories have a home in Michigan.
For Michigan kids, the best part of an upbringing in the Great Lakes State is the proximity to loved ones and friends. Common experiences, from Christmas to Halloween to birthday parties, are all the more special because they take place in such a beloved place and among all of life’s most important people. No matter how far you stray from Michigan, your Great Lakes State childhood will keep your heart firmly rooted in the Mitten.
Alright, fellow Michiganders: it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite memories from growing up here in the Great Lakes State? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.