Lig lakes

  • Destination: Mackinaw City

    On the south shore of the Straits of Mackinac, the year is 1775.

    At the top of the Michigan mitten, a little village has seen a lot of action over the centuries. Then the continent's longest suspension bridge went up, a link to the Upper Peninsula and an attraction in itself.

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  • Michigan's Pictured Rocks

    There's a lot of scenery crammed into one stretch of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

    Along Michigan's Pictured Rocks, there's no such thing as a bad view. White sandstone cliffs line nearly 40 miles of national lakeshore, the nation's first when it was created in 1966. Named for the colorful swishes and whorls painted by mineral-laden water oozing through cracks, Pictured Rocks draws tourists from around the world.

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  • Tales of Tahquamenon

    On Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a state park is a playground for waterfall-lovers.

    At most waterfalls, people mainly sit, look and take pictures. Not at Tahquamenon Falls.

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  • Marquette's double appeal

    With its shops, restaurants and prime spot on the lake, Marquette is both sophisticated and outdoorsy.

    The first time I visited Marquette, I saw mostly Yooper Land. I chuckled at a 10-foot mosquito, a giant chainsaw and packages of Roadkill Helper. I noted the best-sellers in the bookstore window: "A Look at Life From a Deer Stand'' and "Leap of Faith 2: God Loves Packer Fans.'' This is the Marquette that's sports-crazy, hunting-happy and tough as nails, with a population descended from Cornish, Finnish and Italian immigrants who could put up with the rigors of iron mines and, later, their closings.

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  • Touring Mackinac Island

    From a scenic web of bicycle trails, visitors see another side of a celebrated vacation spot.

    In the straits between lakes Michigan and Huron, you can find more than one Mackinac Island. The best-known first was advertised as "the Fairy Isle of Mackinac," and it's not quite rooted in reality. It has a tuxedo shop but no hardware store, a Victorian house called Brigadoon and a fan club that gathers every October in vintage clothing to revere the year 1912. You get to that island in a horse-drawn surrey, driven by a liveryman in a top hat.

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  • Lake Michigan's greatest hits

    Here's a nine-day itinerary that includes the best sights and attractions around Lake Michigan.

    It's America's freshwater Riviera, and everyone competes for a little piece of that beautiful sand: beach bums, lighthouse buffs, campers on a budget.

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  • Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Michigan

    For a summer road trip, follow the shores of this Midwestern Riviera through Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

    If sun, sand and water are your favorite things, the Circle Tour of Lake Michigan is the vacation for you. The 1,100-mile drive along this Third Coast is an easygoing road trip that appeals to beach bums, lighthouse lovers, boating buffs and anyone who likes to wander in and out of wineries and fudge shops. It's a great family trip because there's a beach every few miles, almost always with a playground. On the northwest side of the lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one big sandbox.

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  • Circling Lake Michigan

    On a drive around this inland sea, you'll find vineyards, lighthouses, a famous island and fabulous beaches.

    If Lake Superior is the drama queen of the Great Lakes, then Lake Michigan is president of the pep club. It’s beautiful, popular and a lot easier to get along with than its tempestuous sister. Its shores are lined with sand, not jagged cliffs, and its beaches attract festive crowds every summer. It’s the only Great Lake you can circle without a passport, and if you don’t want to drive around the whole thing, you can take a short cut on a car ferry.

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  • Dunes of Grand Marais

    At the end of the road, this quirky beach town is the eastern gateway to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

    The village of Grand Marais, Mich., feels as if it's at the end of the world, sitting in a front-row seat. Beyond it lies Lake Superior, filling the horizon and plunging to its deepest point, 1,333 feet, not far away. Behind it is the vast wilderness of Lake Superior State Forest and the solitary road that cuts through it. And on its western flank loom the Grand Sable Dunes, which would look impressively bleak if not for their wavy toupees of marras grass, beach pea and hoary yellow puccoon.

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  • Graveyard of the Great Lakes

    For 200 years, a bottleneck on the east end of Lake Superior has claimed ships and lives.

    The Invincible wreck was the first of hundreds along what become known as the Shipwreck Coast. The last — we hope — was the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down in 1975 with 29 lives lost.

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  • Locking through the Soo

    At the shipping entrance to Lake Superior, heavy traffic thrills boat watchers.

    In Sault Ste. Marie, tourists find out what floats their boats. What really floats a boat, however, is 22 million gallons of water, which is what it takes to lift a boat through the Poe Lock, a liquid escalator between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

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