But what about the top five outdoors spots in Michigan?
The following list is the one I came up with:
5. Island Lake State Recreation Area/Kensington Metropark
|Sorry I brought up snow, I'll tell it to go away now.|
The sledding and tobogganing hills in Kensington are tall and steep, and make for a great afternoon of fun in the snow.
Now, let's stop talking about winter, and move on to the warmer spots, such as...
4. South Manitou Island
I've been fortunate enough to travel here three times, and have spent two nights sleeping at Weather Station campground. The island, park of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, takes about 90 minutes to get to, but is full of sights to keep you busy.
|This photo doesn't begin to capture how big these dunes|
really are off the island's coast.
The shipwreck of the Francisco Morazan, along with the grove of giant cedars makes this island worth the boat ride.
Speaking of boat rides...
3. Round Island
|(Flickr photo by hatchski)|
But once you make it, it doesn't get more rustic than that. When I went in 2003, we were the only ones on the island. No designated campsites, just wherever you could find a place to pitch camp. We (of course) chose the beach, facing Mackinac Island. I still remember sitting at the campfire at dusk, watching the fog and freighters roll in. One of the most vivid memories I have is seeing the row of lights from atop the Grand Hotel as the night got darker. Truly a beautiful sight.
Other places have unique views as well, including...
2. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
|The dunes, they speak|
The dunes especially have captured my imagination since I left. The view topped that of Sleeping Bear, which I didn't think possible. Loggers used to use the dunes to slide logs down them to Lake Superior, and it's clear why.
The trail, part of the North Country Trail, is windy, and includes beaches. It's a sight to see.
You get a great mix with Pictured Rocks, and you can choose how intense you want to be. You can hike the whole thing with a pack on your back, or you can camp in your RV and walk to the beach every day.
My No. 1 place, however, you can't do that so easily...
1. Isle Royale National Park
|It doesn't get any better than this.|
It lies 54 miles off the coast of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and takes more than 3 hours to get to. But the trip is unforgettable, which is why I featured recently in a Flashback Friday post in July.
It's what natural life is all about. Pump all your own water, carry all of your food, swim in the coldest lake I've ever been in. It's all about survival, and seeing an ecosystem recovering from copper mining.
Old mine shafts still dot the island, and one wrong step and you'll fall. Landmarks such as Daisy Farm, Chickenbone Lake and Moskey Basin make up the isle with the backbone of the Greenstone Ridge.
Wildlife is beautiful and unique. From loons to moose to wolves, you'll see animals you won't see on Michigan's mainland.
It truly is tops when it comes to the outdoors. The people I've spoken to that are outdoorsmen crave the island, and have waited years to travel there. I was lucky enough to go when I was 17, and I've never regretted it.
What do you think of my list? What locations would you include?