Choose the upper or the lower of the two huge peninsulas, point your car in any direction, and you can hardly go wrong in Michigan's vast and diverse vacationland.
Michigan has almost everything: out-door recreation of all kinds in scores of national and state parks and forests; 3,000 miles of shoreline on four of the five Great Lakes; 11,000 inland lakes with hundreds of good resorts; big-city entertainment and culture, and Greenfield Village and Ford Museum, two of the nation's very best. Here's a sampling of what to choose from:
South Haven, Miles of Lake Michigan beaches and many inland lakes make this close-in area popular for families, boaters and fishermen. There are dozens of resorts, inns and motels as well as marinas and charter service for Lake Michigan fishing. A popular resort is Fidelman's, an 80-acre setup that offers all sorts of recreational facilities, including a golf course.
Marshall. Off the road and east quite a piece (near Interstate 94) is Win Schuler's restaurant and worth the trip. If you're a history buff, give yourself time at Marshall for a tour of the National House Inn, Circa 1835 (it also sleeps guests), the Governor's Mansion (1839), now a museum, and the Capitol Hill School, an 1860 Gothic revival school-house (educational artifacts.)
Saugatuck. Another favorite is this lakeshore art colony and resort center. There are side-wheeler cruises on the Kalamazoo River; charter fishing for lake trout, salmon and steelhead, and picnicking, camping and fishing in Allegan State Game Preserve.
Douglas. Next door to Saugatuck, this town offers a popular eatery -- the Iara Restaurant, a reincarnation of the 1937 establishment destoyed by fire.
Grand Haven. See the world's largest musical foundation.
Traverse City. This is cherry country, blanketed with orchards and blessed with fine resorts, excellent beaches, boating, fishing, golf courses, horseback riding, pack trips and scenic drives.
Interlochen has the National Music Camp with nightly concerts for visitors in season and adjacent Interlochen State Park, with campgrounds, picnicking, playgrounds, boating and fishing.
Petoskey. This is a popular resort town along little Traverse Bay. Women in the know head right for the apparel and gift shops that are outposts of boutiques in Florida and Arizona. Don't miss the shore drive along Michigan 131. There's an Indian powwow in August.
Five wineries in western Michigan's vineyard country offer tours and tasting. Vendramino Winery at Paw Paw also invites you to use its picnic grounds.
Ethnic celebrations are great fun for visitors (if you love those crowds) and also for the local burghers who get to dress up and show off.
Upcoming May 16-19 -- and you'd better reserve accomodations quickly if you're going -- is the 50th anniversary of Tulip Time at Holland. Set amid the color of more blooming tulips than you'll ever see this side of Amsterdam, the festival is a mix of klompen dancing and square dancing, all verieties of music, costume parades, flower shows and ethnic eating.
Other places to kick up your heels with the locals are Greenville and its Danish Festival, third week in August; Hancock and its Finn Fest; Frankenmuth, where there'll be a full week of Bavarian Festival beginning the second Sunday in June; Alma's Highland Festival, Memorial Day weekend, and Gaylord's Alpenfest the third week in July.
Not to overlook Detroit, which offers a whole summer of ethnic festivals -- Greek, Afro-American, Slovak, Indian, Irish and Far Eastern. Late May to mid-September.
Here's bonus for travelers in all parts of the state, but especially among the orchards, vineyards and truck farms along the Michigan lakeshore. You can buy asparagus (About May 1), strawberries (June 1), sweet cherries (June 20), blueberries and currants (mid July), peaches and cantaloupe (Aug. 1), pears (Aug. 1), grapes (Aug. 25) and apples (midsummer and fall).
Greenfield Village and Ford Museum
Every family owes itself a visit to Michigan's top historical and sightseeing attraction, the legacy of the man who put America on wheels. A million and a half visitors every years can't be wrong. The village includes 100 historical structures moved to Dearborn from all parts of the country and meticulously restored. Among them are the Illinois courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law, the Wright Brothers cycle shop and Thomas Edison's Menlo Park (N.J.) laboratory.
Adajacent is Suwanee Park, a Victorian-era amusement center and the Village Craft Center, an 1840s group of shops with craftsmen at work.
The 14-acre Ford Museum contains an unparalleled collection of vintage autos, locomotives, planes, furniture and decorative art objects, early American shops and Henry Ford's personal history rooms. An addity: a bicycle built for 10 that was not successful because it had trouble making it around corners.
In recent years, big cities with their entertainment and clutural facilities have pushed into the family-vacation pasture. Detroit, in the throes of a revival, is no exception. The newest face lift is the stunning Civic Center in a 75-acre setting that includes Renaissance Center and its 1,400-room Plaza luxury hotel.
Things to see and do in Detroit: The Cultural Center that includes, in separate buildings, the historical museum, public library, science center (an extraordinary place where you can experience first-hand the wonders of science and technology), childen's museum and the international institute. Six city recreation areas include Isle Park in the Detroit River, a great place for the kids. Also notable are the Institute of Arts and the Afro-American Museum.
Detroit is also the gateway for a quickie trip into Canada via tunnel or bridge. Across the river is the interesting city of Windsor, Ontario.
This is a delightful vacation destination or a stop for a day or two on a motor trip around Lake Michigan. You can park you car at Mackinaw City and take the ferry over to the islanc, which bars motor vehicles. Explore the scenic and historic island by horsedrawn carriage, horseback, shank's mare, bicycle or on foot.
To get the most out of your visit, put up at the Grand Hotel, the landmark with turn-of-the-century elegance, good food and a front proch (the longest in the world) that overlooks the Straits of Mackinac.
The spectacular bridge over the straits from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace will take you into the scenic and rugged forest land of the Upper Peninsula. There are stunning scenic drives along Lake Michigan on the south and Lake Superior on the north, with small resorts and campsites along the way. It's a paradise for nature lovers: 50 kinds of trees, 300 varieties of wildflowers, 230 species of birds. Rockhounds will find 30 varieties of gems and minerals.
Sights to see: There are 150 waterfalls (you can take a Toonerville Trolley and boat trip to beautiful Tahquamen Falls from Soo Junction); abandoned coppermining towns; restored forts Mackinc, Brady, Drummond and Wilkins; the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, the world's busiest; a trip to Isle Royale, the national park in Lake Superior, and Drummond Island, reached by ferry from the village of De Tour.
Need held for vacation planning? Among the booklets available are an accommodations directory; Country Carousel, a guide to pick-you-own farms and roadside markets; a Michigan fishing guide; Detroit's Cultural Center, tours of five wineries; Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum calender of events; canoeing in Michigan, and "Carefree Days." All are available by writing to the West Michigan Tourist Association, 136 Fulton East, Grand Rapids, Mich, 49503.