Mackinac Island: Board any of the three ferry lines and quickly arrive at the Island's main business district. You realize that you truly are in a different time and place when you hear the clip-clop of horse hooves. Mackinac Island has numerous restaurants, hotels, bars, shops and activities. Bike and horse rentals are available, or take the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour and let someone else do the driving. Top sights to see include Fort Mackinac, Arch Rock, British Landing, and the world-famous Grand Hotel (fee for non-guests). Some of the Island's best geographic features can be found while biking around its eight-mile perimeter and throughout the hilly interior sections. The Mackinac Island State Park Commission operates 80 percent of the island, which means there are miles of trails and open space preserved for visitors. For more information about Mackinac Island, go to www.mackinacisland.org or call 1-800-4-LILACS.
St. Ignace: Just five miles north of Mackinaw City across the Mackinac Bridge is St. Ignace, America's third oldest city. Here you will enjoy browsing shops, visiting museums and sightseeing. The largest and most famous event in St. Ignace is the St. Ignace Auto Show, held during the last weekend of June. With over 3,000 automobiles on display, thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors arrive to celebrate America's fascination with cars. For more information about St. Ignace, go to www.saintignace.org or contact the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-338-6660.
Carp Lake: There's a local saying in Carp Lake, "You will find paradise in Carp Lake, but you won't find any Carp in Paradise Lake." Located a short drive south on US-31 is the Village of Carp Lake. Well known by families for generations, great fishing is to be had on Paradise Lake where there are many resorts along the lakeshore, some of which are open year round. Buy fresh vegetables at the local farms, and gifts from area retail stores. Enjoy a cold drink and pizza from the local pub, or enjoy lakeside dining. Rent a boat and get your bait at the local marina where you can register your entry in the Winterfest ice fishing tournament in January or the Summer-long fishing contests for both young and old. If you're here to ride the winter trails, you can rent a snowmobile, too. Paradise Lake was the first lake in Michigan to introduce the Water Milfoil Weevil which was so successful in reducing this pesky plant that we celebrate with a festival over the Fourth of July weekend. On Memorial Day take a moment to remember those who gave their lives to keep us free. A service is held at the Carp Lake Cemetery. For additional information, request a brochure from the Paradise Lake Association, PO Box 2, Carp Lake, MI 49718.
Eastern Upper Peninsula: After crossing the bridge into the Upper Peninsula, there are many sights to see. Start with the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, and view this engineering marvel as huge ships are raised or lowered to pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Then head west to Tahquamenon Falls. The Upper Falls, dropping 48 feet, and the Lower Fall's series of five smaller plunges are a must-see. Forest pathways and stairs take you to a close-up view of the Upper Falls. Rowboat rentals are available at the Lower Falls. About 15 miles north of the Falls is Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum; its featured attraction is the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial. Next to the Museum is the Whitefish Point Light.
Petoskey and Harbor Springs: Beach lovers will find it worth the trip to stop at Petoskey State Park on Little Traverse Bay. While there, take the time to hunt along the shoreline for your very own Petoskey Stone or you can buy these fossilized stones in shops in jewelry and other fun creations all over town. The Little Traverse Bay offers opportunities for water sport of every kind including kayaking, sailing, and more. Petoskey's Gaslight District features art galleries, distinctive shops, cafes and Northern Michigan souvenir shops. For more information, call 231-347-4150 for Petoskey and for Harbor Springs, call 231-526-7999.