Best of Travel the Mitten: Our 22 Most Popular 2022 Michigan Articles
Every year we like to look back and see which articles resonated with our readers. 2022 was an exceptionally good year for views and a few things we wrote about this year ended up among our most read pieces of all time. As always, we covered a wide range of topics including lighthouses, state parks, roadside attractions, historical sites, abandoned places, sports, wildlife, waterfalls, and more. This is a fun list to put together each as it reminds us of all the great things we covered during the year, gives us insight into the kinds of articles we need to keep publishing, and helps people find any of the big things they might have missed. Here we go, in reverse order counting down to the most popular article of the year – these are the 22 most popular 2022 Michigan articles on Travel the Mitten:
Michigan Roadside Attractions: Stand in Three States at the Tri State Marker (May) – We found one of the coolest Michigan roadside attractions in a farm field in southern Hillsdale County: “Many people have heard of the famous Four Corners Monument in the Southwest where you can stand in four states (Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah) at the same time. Few people know that Michigan has its own version of this where you can stand in three states (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio) at the same time. The Tri State Marker lets visitors know they have found this unique and unassuming location in the southwest corner of Hillsdale County.”
Mayfield Pond Park: Fishings, Trails, and History in Northern Michigan (May) – We always love finding new parks, and on our way to Traverse City we stopped and has Mayfield Pond Park all to ourselves for a bit. There are trails, a pond, wildlife, a Michigan Outdoor Writers Association plaque about the creation of the Adams Fly, a picnic area, and more at this very cool park in Northern Michigan.
World of Winter 2022 In Grand Rapids: Don’t Miss Year 5 of This Fun and Free Outdoor Art Celebration (January) – We made some early visits to downtown Grand Rapids so we could share some World of Winter excitement with everyone, then we updated it as more pieces were added. We loved the Massimals on the Blue Bridge, Bunnies of Intrude in Ah-Nab-Awen Park, the Light Maze at 555 Monroe, and Submergence of the Gillett Bridge. This event seems to get better every year and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2023!
Two of Our Favorite Michigan State Parks Are 100 Years Old in 2022 (January) – This year we got to celebrate two of our favorite Michigan state parks in the Upper Peninsula as they celebrated 100 years. Brimley State Park has a great campground and a beautiful beach on Whitefish Bay, and Baraga State Park is located on Keweenaw Bay and has a campground and day use area. We stayed at Baraga State Park in June, and will be back at Brimley State Park next June.
Michigan Roadside Attractions: The Island House, Elk Rapids (September) – We made a couple trips to the Elk Rapids and Charlevoix area this year, and on one of our visits we stopped at the Island House. This house was originally built in the 1860s as a private residence for local businessman Edwin Noble. Since the late 1940s it has served as the local library.
Michigan Trail Tuesday: Sanctuary Woods Preserve in Holland (September) – We continue to find new places to get out and go hiking here in West Michigan. Sanctuary Woods Preserve is tucked away on the south side of Lake Mactawa in Holland, and what its trail lacks in length it makes up for in scenery. “The trail starts out flat from the parking area, crosses Kelly Creek, then heads into the woods. After a few hundred yards you will find yourself at the base of the dune stairs. This is a challenging hike uphill so make sure to take your time and stay hydrated. The entire loop trail is around a mile if you cover the whole thing, but due to the frequent uphill and downhill changes on the dune it will feel like a bit more.”
Things To Do in Michigan Winter 2022: Our A to Z Guide (January) – We brought back an old favorite for the winter season, our A to Z guide to festivals and events in Michigan. We previewed everything from Alpenfrost in Gaylord to Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth, highlighting unique Michigan experiences like sled dog races, food and beer festivals, sports, winter carnivals, art exhibits, and more. While we’ve retired the A to Z guides for now, don’t be surprised if they make a comeback at some point in the future.
West Michigan Whitecaps Baseball 2022: 30 Games We’re Excited For (February) – Minor league baseball is just as much about the off-the-field experience as it is about the game itself, and we took a look at all the best theme nights, giveaways, and special guests that were happening during the West Michigan Whitecaps’ 2022 season. The High-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers play at LMCU Ballpark in Comstock Park, and continue to offer one of the best affordable family outings in the area.
Arcadia Dunes Is One Of Northern Michigan’s Most Rewarding Hikes (May) – My personal favorite hike of 2022 was the challenging Baldy Dune hike at the C.S. Mott Preserve in Arcadia. The Arcadia Dunes offer the same stunning scenery as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore but with none of the crowds. After walking through the woods then climbing a staircase we were greeted with a landscape that almost didn’t seem real, with dunes as far as the eye could see and some amazing views of Lake Michigan from high above. We look forward to getting back here and tackling more of the 15 miles of trails in the preserve.
Michigan Wildlife Watching: Nara Nature Trail Boardwalk, Houghton (July) – “The Nara Nature Trail Boardwalk is 4,500 feet long and follows both banks of the Pilgrim River. Despite the boardwalk starting just a few hundred feet from U.S. 41, it is fairly quiet and peaceful here. Add in abundant plant life and lots of water and it’s no surprise that local wildlife love this area. Located just a few blocks from the campus of Michigan Technological University and connected to a network of local trails, this is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.” We enjoyed seeing lots of different kinds of birds, some deer, and even a very active beaver during our visit.
New Michigan Birding Trail Puts Spotlight On Eastern Upper Peninsula and Three Great Lakes (September) – We highlighted the new Shore to Shore Birding Trail in a September post: “This new Michigan birding trail covers more than 40 locations and 400 miles on. a self-guided route through four counties. With shoreline on Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior this trail offers many birding hotspots and the chance to see many different species. The trail also covers forests, inland lakes, rivers, and wetlands. ”
Michigan Roadside Attractions: Quincy Dryhouse Ruins, Hancock (January) – Our first hint that everyone loves seeing abandoned places and ruins in Michigan came early in the year when we shared our photos from the easy-to-visit Quincy Dryhouse Ruins in Keweenaw National Historic Park. Located across the road from the historic Quincy Mine, the dryhouse ruins are all that remain from the building where miners used to change clothes before and after their shifts.
Here Are the Fee Free Days For Michigan National Park Sites in 2022 (January) – Every year the National Park Service offers a handful of “fee free” days where the entrance fee for visiting parks is waived. We always like to remind everyone what days fall under this program, and this year it was even more important since Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore now charges entrance fees as of 2022.
10 More Michigan Abandoned Places and Ruins Worth Checking Out (February) – Our second collection of abandoned places included the ruins of Camp Raco shown above, as well as locations in the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Porcupine Mountains. This list was heavy on Upper Peninsula locations, with many sites connecting to the rich history of mining in Michigan.
Photo Gallery: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Waterfalls in “Spring” (April) – I finally had the chance to check out the Upper Peninsula scenery with snow-covered ground and partially frozen waterfalls this year. This photo gallery showed off our visits to Alger Falls, Wagner Falls, Miners Falls, Yellow Dog Falls, Black River Falls and more as we covered a lot of ground in the Munising and Marquette areas.
Frankfort Beach: Enjoy the Lake Michigan Beach and Beautiful Views (July) – We love Lake Michigan beaches and this summer we spent more time exploring the beach and dunes at Frankfort. We’d been to the lighthouse many times and had marveled at the dunes from a distance, but looking up at them from lake level gave us a better idea just how tall and impressive they are.
10 Michigan Abandoned Places and Ruins Worth Checking Out (January) – The first collection of Michigan abandoned places we posted did so well that we made two more posts. The first collection included stops in Grand Ledge, Cheboygan, and the Upper Peninsula as we explored old factories, a stamp mill, lighthouse ruins, and even a ghost town.
Michigan’s Shortest Highway Leads to This Beautiful State Park (March) – This post took off and got a lot more views than we ever expected. M-212 a noteworthy Michigan highway for its incredibly short length, and it leads to a beautiful state park.
Michigan Roadside Attractions: Michigan’s Oldest Concrete Pavement, Calumet (March) – The most popular roadside attraction article of the year was one that focused on the oldest concrete pavement in the state. Calumet is home to this short stretch of road that dates back 120 years when copper mining was king in the area.
10 Michigan Abandoned Places and Ruins Worth Checking Out, Part 3 (February) – The most popular of the three abandoned places articles we published this year, this edition had stops at ghost towns, mining ruins, a NASA rocket launch site, a lighthouse, shipwrecks, and even a former Coast Guard life saving station.
The Ultimate Michigan State Park Tour (Upper Peninsula Edition) (February) – Our most-read article in 2022 was this guide to visiting every single state park in the Upper Peninsula. We started at Straits State Park in St. Igance then headed north to the Sault Ste. Marie area before following the Lake Superior shoreline to the west. From Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor to the stunning Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park at the western end of the U.P., we love highlighting everything our state parks have to offer. Waterfalls, mountains, trails, campgrounds, beaches, and more can be found at these 20-plus locations north of the Mackinac Bridge.
One thing we learned this year was that everyone enjoys reading about abandoned places and ruins in Michigan. We can’t wait to get out and find more this year and photograph them, look for a fourth set of 10 places to launch early in 2023. We also plan on working in more state park tour articles, focusing on Northern Michigan, The Lake Michigan and Lake Huron shorelines, and more. Thank you so much for reading what we write, it’s the biggest reason we keep doing it!