2020 Year in Review: Our 20 Most Popular Posts
As we get close to finishing up a 2020 that was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before, it’s time to take a look back at what posts got the most page views this year. In 2019, our three most popular posts were about the White Shoal Lighthouse, the Ultimate Upper Peninsula Brewery Tour, and the return of Vernors Michigan lighthouse cans. Looking at these numbers each year helps us know what kinds of posts are resonating with our readers and where we should continue to focus our time and energy. This year we definitely saw a shift to more readers looking for outdoor recreation opportunities. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, social distancing became very important and we tried to provide all of you with safe yet fun ways to explore the Great Lakes State. Our three most popular posts were very popular and there was quite a gap between them and the rest of the pack. What were our 20 most popular posts in 2020? Read our 2020 year in review below to find out:
20. 2020 Is A Big Year For Michigan’s Mission Point Lighthouse (February 27) – Early in the year we looked at celebration plans for Traverse City’s Mission Point Lighthouse, which turned 150 years old this year. The lighthouse was set to host the Michigan Lighthouse Festival and had plenty of fun events planned, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to everything. We were still able to visit the lighthouse grounds this summer, and look forward to a delayed celebration next year (hopefully).
19. Root Beer Falls on Planter Creek, Wakefield (July 11) – We managed to make it to a few new waterfalls this year, including the easy-to-visit Root Beer Falls in Wakefield. This six-foot drop can be seen from the road, and after years of being one road over and missing this waterfall we finally made the right turn and the short hike back to this picturesque drop.
18. Fall Color In Michigan: Covered Bridges (September 27) – In September and October we ramped up our fall color coverage like never before. This post featured 11 of Michigan’s scenic covered bridges, which serve as great backdrops for fall color photography.
17. The Famous Croswell Swinging Bridge (Michigan’s Longest Suspension Footbridge), Sanilac County (June 27) – A May trip to Port Huron and the Thumb region led to a visit to Croswell and its famous swinging bridge. A park here has picnic areas, a playground, a disc golf course, and access to the bridge that crosses the Black River. Not all visitors will love the way this 139 feet moves while they’re on it, but others will absolutely love it!
16. Michigan Civil War History: Out of State Historical Markers (April 5) – Michigan’s historical marker program covers more than 1,300 sites within the state, and a handful outside of Michigan as well. This post featured markers at Civil War battle sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maryland thanks to the help of our friend Matt Roth.
15. Even With 2020 Increase, Michigan Recreation Passport Still an Incredible Value (January 20) – If you search our site, you’ll find there are very few opinion pieces on it. One of the rare times where we felt strongly enough to post about something was seeing the early backlash after the Michigan Recreation Passport fee increased from $11 to $12 in 2020. This remains one of the best values in any Midwest state, and this post explored the small cost for year-long access to Michigan’s 100+ state parks against the fees in other states and at nearby national and county parks.
14. Chutes and Ladders Playground in Houghton is Fun for All Ages (August 16) – On our June trip to the Upper Peninsula we finally stopped by Houghton’s amazing Chutes and Ladders playground to see what all the hype was about. A network of stairs and slide combined with amazing views makes this place a must-visit for anyone traveling through the area with children.
13. Does Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Have the Best Fall Color in the Country? (August 13) – This year’s 10best.com Reader’s Choice poll for Best Fall Foliage saw the Upper Peninsula ready to defend the top spot after winning in 2019. Many of you read our post and many voted, and when the votes were all counted the Upper Peninsula once again emerged as the Best Fall Foliage destination in the country! We are definitely biased, but can’t argue with this year’s results.
12. Michiganders Get Unique Chance to Rent Hell Thanks to Airbnb (October 3) – For the Halloween season, Michigan residents had the opportunity to rent the “Mayor’s Lair” in Hell. The rental was only offered for three separate nights and only offered to Michigan residents.
11. Upper Hand Brewery Beer is Finally Headed to the Lower Peninsula! (July 11) – Craft beer fans got great news this summer, as Escanaba’s Upper Hand Brewery announced that it would finally begin shipping its beers to the Lower Peninsula in late 2020 and early 2021. Mainstay beers like Upper Hand IPA and Escanaba Black Beer had previously only been available north of the Mackinac Bridge but will now be found in stores closer to home for us!
10. Photo Gallery Friday: Kayak Trip to the Quincy Dredge (June 26) – The Quincy dredge is a recognizable landmark to anyone who has headed up to the Keweenaw Peninsula, and with access from land restricted we decided to finally get closer to this piece of mining history in kayaks. It was amazing to see just how large the reclamation dredge was up close and inside, and the photos in this post show just how amazing it is that the dredge continues to survive.
9. Two Michigan Kayak Trips Up For Best In Country (August 5) – Another 10best.com Reader’s Choice Poll was looking for the Favorite U.S. Kayaking Tour, and Michigan’s Great Turtle Kayak Tours (Mackinac Island) and Pictured Rocks Kayaking (Munising) were in the running. They both put up a fight, but ended up in sixth place (Pictured Rocks) and second place (Great Turtle). We recommend either trip to our readers!
8. 26 Things to See and Do on the Copper Country Trail National Byway (March 26) – We added guides for a few more of Michigan’s scenic byways this year, and our feature on the Copper Country Trail seemed to be the one that found the largest audience. Covering 47 miles from Houghton to Copper Harbor, this route takes visitors past mine tours, lighthouses, stunning Lake Superior shoreline, countless historic sites, and well-preserved natural areas.
7. Nonesuch Falls and Nonesuch Mine Ruins, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (June 15) – We made it to a few new waterfalls this year, including Nonesuch Falls in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The 3/4 mile hike back to this waterfall also goes by the ruins of an 1860 copper mine. This 15 foot tall slide waterfall is best seen in the spring or after a decent amount of rainfall.
6. The New Michigan Shipwreck Map and App Will Make You Want To Dive Into The Great Lakes (January 13) – The Michigan Shipwrecks Story App is a great tool for divers, kayakers, and history buffs in Michigan. Accessible Michigan shipwrecks are shown on a map along with their depth, difficulty, and information on what caused their wreck. I was able to use this to find two shipwrecks we could kayak over while on a Drummond Island vacation in September, be sure to check this out when you head to the Great Lakes next year!
5. Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, Lake Michigan (June 27) – We love Michigan’s lighthouses and are always happy to share more of them with you. While we had visited the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse many times we realized we had never posted about it. While touring the Upper Peninsula in June a quick visit got us some great pictures to add to what has been a very well-received post (and as you will see this wasn’t the only really popular post about Manistique…).
4. An A to Z Guide to Drummond Island Adventure (October 12) – My favorite vacation of the year, and possibly of the past few years, was a September trip to Drummond Island. Four friends and I spent a week in a rented cabin, kayaking the St. Mary’s River and Lake Huron, exploring natural formations like the Fossil Ledges and Marblehead, and riding the trails on the island in a pair of Jeeps. It seems a lot of our readers were also interested in this vacation paradise, because in just three months this post had enough views to be one of our top three for the entire year!
3. Michigan Trail Tuesday: Manistique Boardwalk (November 3) – For a late in the year post, this one got a lot of attention in a short amount of time. Our feature on this two-mile trail on the shore of Lake Michigan in Manistique was just a little more popular than our post about Manistique’s lighthouse.
2. Petoskey Stone Hunting: 10 Beaches Where You Can Find Michigan’s State Stone (June 16) – It turned out that many of our readers enjoyed our tips for finding Petoskey stones and a list of places that have been good for us to find them. We made sure to not give away all of our secrets, but hopefully we were able to help a few of you find some great-looking stones! I know we found plenty this year, and will be back out and hunting again in the spring.
1. 28 Great Michigan Kayak Trips (August 12) – The pandemic brought a need for activities that took place outdoors and allowed for social distancing. Stores had trouble keeping up with sales of kayaks and watersports accessories, and that was reflected in our page views as well. Our post about great kayak trips in Michigan did incredibly well, and as we continue to explore the rivers and lakes our state has to offer we hope you continue to read our posts about kayaking destinations.