Description - Michigan is located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States touching four of the five Great Lakes - Superior, Huron, Erie and Michigan. With 3,288 miles of shoreline, Alaska is the only state with more shoreline. Michigan is comprised of two major landmasses, the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula connected by the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge. It is the only state in the nation with such large sections separated by water. In the Upper Peninsula, Mount Curwood flaunts the highest elevation at 1,980 feet above sea level. The lowest elevation, 572 feet, is found in Southeast Michigan along the banks of Lake Erie.
Copyright: National Park Service
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- Michigan is best known for automobile manufacturing in Detroit, its largest city. The southern portion of the state, where Detroit lies along with the other large communities of Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, contains a smattering of small state parks and recreation areas. This region is the base of the Lower Michigan Peninsula and contained by Lake Michigan on the west and Lakes Erie and St. Clair on the east. Other smaller lakes pervade the region and provide an outlet for recreational pursuits.
Traveling northward from Lansing, the state capital, you'll find a quieter, less populated Michigan. The northern portion of the Lower Peninsula is surrounded by Lakes Michigan (west) and Huron (east). Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a popular attraction on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Huron National Forest occupies nearly 500,000 acres on the eastern side of the state, amidst lands of the Au Sable and Mackinaw State Forests. Manistee National Forest occupies 520,000 acres of land on the northwestern side of the Lower Peninsula. The highlands of the state lie in the northern reaches of the Lower Peninsula and several ski resorts are open during winters in this region.
The Upper Peninsula is mostly natural areas protected by the state and federal governments. The western portion of this region contains Ottawa National Forest. This forest is comprised of nearly one million acres of dense forest and intricate waterways. Isle Royale National Park lies north of the mainland as the largest island on Lake Superior. The island is administered as a remote wilderness with various facilities for recreation.
The central portion of the Upper Peninsula contains both national and state forests. Several lakes, rivers and streams are present in this region and support a variety of water-oriented sports. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore lies on the northern shore of the Upper Peninsula, protecting and preserving waterfalls, dense forests and inland waterways. The Seney National Wildlife Refuge lies in this area of the state and occupies over 95,000 acres of wetland.
Recreation - Michigan is well known for water-oriented sports. It boasts over 3,000 acres of shoreline and 11,000 inland lakes. Many national forests in northern Michigan support canoeing, camping, hiking and mountain biking opportunities. Winter sports occupy the time of residents and visitors. Many facilities throughout the state provide cross-country ski trails, downhill skiing facilities and snowshoeing routes.
Climate - This state normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures near 70 to 80 degrees F. Nights can be cool in the northern reaches of the state with lows dipping near 50 degrees F. August and September are the wettest months on average. Fall temperatures begin to cool in mid September, which brings a spectacular fall foliage color change. Days are crisp and nights chilly during this time of year. Winters can be brutal in Michigan with lake-effect snows bringing 200 inches of snow to some areas in the Upper Peninsula. Spring reaches the southern regions of the state in late March and a few weeks later in the north. This time of year is also very wet with snow melt and spring rains.
Michigan is located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States neighboring Canada, and the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.