The inspiration from this blog came from the Pure Michigan ad campaign. Several years ago I was driving to Florida with my family. We stopped at the Welcome Center where we struck up a conversation with a young couple from Georgia.

"Michigan," the man said, "you have a lot of mountains there don't you?" Even the large rolling hills known as the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula don't compare to the Appalachians that dip down into Georgia. Where could this impressionable young man have gotten the idea that Michigan was so mountainous?

Then the image of a kayaker paddling past the layered multi-colored cliffs and rock formations of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore came to mind. I had seen this image on a billboard many times while traveling north in Michigan-driving past industrial complexes, suburban centers and flat farm lands. Besides the nature loving kayaker in the ads, I also saw other amazing vistas that I did not know even existed in Michigan. I started to wonder, did everyone out of of state picture Michigan as  a mountainous, waterfall covered, mini Grand Canyon-like wonderland? 

Whenever my family enters Michigan from the south up I-75, I try to imagine that Georgia couple expecting to see mountains but finding flat swampy land against giant power lines and billboard after billboard crowding the roadsides. 

I also think of my own family looking for adventure out of state on the "road less travelled" and finding a dumpy hotel or tree-less campground in an area marketed for its beauty or for being culturally rich. 

No, not all of Michigan is mountainous, or a natural wonderland, but if you know where to look, there is natural beauty, quaint towns, city centers with interesting cultural experiences. With this blog I intend to give vacationers an honest account of what they will find in Michigan. From the well-known vacation hot spots to gems off the beaten path

To those, like the Georgia couple, entering Michigan on I-75 from Toledo, don't be deterred by the factories, run down farms with rusted tractors, or brand new subdivisions backing up to the interstate. Keep going! 

About three hours north the urban sprawl will give way to the pines, oaks, birch and poplars of the Huron National Forest and the natural beauty of Northern Michigan. Or head west on I-96 to Lake Michigan coast dotted with quaint tourist towns and gorgeous beaches. 

When you know where to go, Michigan is a beautiful state-honestly. 

Written by Jenny