Travel the Mitten – Our 22 Travel Goals For 2022
In 2021 we published out first-ever travel goals for the year list. We started the year with great optimism and got off to a strong start, but struggled in the second half of the year. Rather than be deterred by a poor showing this year, we are going to try again in 2022. Let’s first take a look at last year’s goals against our end results:
1. Find 35 more Michigan historical markers (complete)
2. Investigate 2 more shallow water shipwrecks (0 f 2)
3. Kayak 3 more Michigan rivers (0 of 3)
4. Hike 25 more miles of the North Country Trail in Michigan (10 of 25)
5. Make it back to the Detroit Zoo (we did not)
6. Visit 2 of the Michigan lighthouse we have not yet seen (2 of 2)
7. Find 5 more Michigan waterfalls that we haven’t been to (0 of 5)
8. Visit 4 more Michigan Legal Milestones sites (0 of 4)
9. See a Michigan moose (we did not)
10. See the Northern Lights (we did not)
11. Finish visiting all the Kent County Parks (complete)
12. Strengthen our coverage in Southeast Michigan (partially complete)
13. Explore 4 “new to us” trails” in Michigan (complete)
14. Make it out to Turnip Rock (we did not)
15. Visit 2 new Michigan museums (1 of 2)
16. Find 5 more Michigan roadside attractions (complete)
17. Finish visiting all the Ottawa County Parks (60% complete)
18. Visit Midland (we did!)
19. Make it to 10 more Michigan State Parks (2 of 10)
20. Check out 2 more quilt barn trails (1 of 2)
21. Visit 7 more Michigan breweries (complete)
At year’s end, we can only take credit for completing seven of our 21 goals. As we look ahead to 2022 we once again hope to strengthen our coverage of this great state by working hard on the list below. Here are our 2022 Michigan travel goals:
Meet a Michigan Moose – This has been a goal for more than 10 years now, so at some point we have to get lucky right? We have seen moose in Ontario and Minnesota, but have yet to see one of these elusive mammals in our home state. With a few trips planned to the Western Upper Peninsula, let’s hope 2022 is the year that this finally happens.
See the Northern Lights – This is another carryover from last year, and like the Michigan moose it is one that is left completely up to chance. Not only do you have to be far enough north to have a good chance at seeing this natural phenomenon, but weather conditions have to be perfect as well. We’ll be up early putting in the effort if the chance presents itself on trips to the Upper Peninsula in 2022.
Explore the other four former POW camps in the Upper Peninsula – In September of 2020 we finally made it to the ruins of Camp Raco, where little remains of a former CCC and POW camp except a chimney and a few building foundations. A little bit of internet research revealed that there were four other POW camps in the Upper Peninsula, and we’d like to spend a little bit of time looking for them and exploring them in 2022.
Find 35 more Michigan historical markers – Close to 2000 of these green and gold plaques cover the state, pointing out historic sites, buildings, people, events, and more. We had a fairly easy time finding a handful of them this year and we look forward to hunting more of them down in 2022!
Visit 2 more Michigan lighthouses that we haven’t been to – Here’s a goal that gets a little bit tougher each year. Of the more than 125 lighthouse in Michigan the list of ones we haven’t been to sits around 20. We were fortunate to see two new ones in 2021 (Lansing Shoal and Squaw Island) thanks to a Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruise. We would need to book a boat trip or two to check this goal off the list, and we just might!
Find 5 more Michigan roadside attractions – We love finding new and unique roadside attractions. This year we visited some new historic attractions, works of art, and quirky roadside stops that were fun to share. There’s still plenty more to discover and we will keep our eyes peeled on our travels in 2022.
Finish visiting every Michigan state park – We fell short of our goal of 10 last year so in 2022 we’ll tackle a bigger challenge and try and make it to all fo the 21 parks we haven’t visited yet. All of these parks are in the Lower Peninsula, and most are in the southeast portion of the state.
Visit 10 more Michigan parks – Most Michigan cities/towns have at least one great park worth visiting. We realized this year there were plenty of parks located close to home that we hadn’t yet visited, and we found some real good ones in Spring Grove Park and Hager Park. In 2022 we hope to visit at least 10 new parks and check out the wildlife, trails, history, and adventure.
Hike and explore 10 more Michigan trails – As Michigan continues to cement its reputation as the “Great Trails State,” the opportunities to get out and hike are outstanding. We started off 2021 with a bang, putting in some winter hikes on several trails. By the time fall hit, we were well behind on our goals and we only logged 125 miles of Michigan trails for the year. A side goal of trying to do 365 miles in 365 days in 2022 should help us get moving on 10 Michigan trails that we haven’t been to before.
Explore a couple Michigan art trails – We definitely still need to visit the Michigan Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville, but why stop there? More and more public art keeps popping up in Michigan, like the Muskegon stuff we recently profiled and a new collection of art along the Falling Waters Trail in Jackson. In 2021 we enjoyed checking out the Mason County Sculpture Trail as well as the art of Tom Moran at Awakon Park in Onaway. We should be able to visit at least a couple of these awesome art trails in 2022!
Make it back to the Detroit Zoo – It has been way, way, way too long (20+ years) since we visited the Detroit Zoo. Many things have changed there since our last visit, as the zoo is now home to one of North America’s largest polar bear habitats and the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Red pandas, river otters, tigers, lions, and giraffes are just a few of the other animals we are excited to see. We didn’t make it to this great zoo in 2021, but will do our best to get there in 2022!
Investigate 2 more shallow water shipwrecks – Here’s another one we will carry over from last year. One of the highlight of 2020’s Drummond Island vacation was the chance to kayak over two of the shallow water shipwrecks in Scammon Cove. We had previously only paddled over shipwrecks at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore while on our way to Au Sable Light Station, and seeing a few different kinds of vessels made us want to keep exploring. The new Michigan Shipwreck App will be helpful as we plan to check out more sites, as some are better than others for viewing from a kayak. Some great spots we can head to next year for other shipwrecks include Harbor Beach, Alpena, or South Manitou Island if the ferry service is back up and running.
Kayak 3 more Michigan rivers – After a 2020 that saw us paddle all over the state we had high hopes of doing a lot more exploring in 2021. We ended up only doing short trips close to home and a couple paddles on Lake Michigamme at Van Riper State Park. This is a big focus for 2022 and our kayaks will be joining us on a lot more vacations and weekend trips.
Go To Hell – A trip to Livingston County and one of Michigan’s more uniquely named communities definitely needs to happen in 2022. Our last visit was in the early 2000s when Jon participated in the 8 mile road race known as the Run Thru Hell, so it’s time we return to check out the photo ops and roadside attractions. Maybe there will even be a chance to rent the “Mayor’s Lair” again?
Visit Jackson – The time has come to go check out Cacade Falls, the Falling Waters Trail, breweries, parks and more in Jackson. Of course we will also have to stop at Under the Oaks Park to see where Republican Party started, and we’re sure to find some more historical sites and roadside attractions in the area!
Fish Michigan – It has been too long since we spent time fishing the waters of Michigan’s lakes and rivers. Jon had a blast landing some lake trout with Sand Point Charters back in 2016 and it’s time we looked in to chartering a trip again. Perhaps a September vacation to Drummond Island will give us a chance to try out the waters of Lake Huron? Kayaking should also present us with some great opportunities to land some bass, pike, or trout.
Visit 5 more Michigan breweries – Last year’s goal was seven new Michigan breweries, and it was a great milestone for Jon to hit 200 total. Why not try and visit a few more in 2022? A Lake Superior trip in June might give the opportunity to cross some U.P. breweries off the list (Cold Iron, 51st State, ByGeorge, DRIFA Brewing Company) and there continue to be local options we have yet to explore (Adesanya Mead, Archival Brewing, Lost Art Brewhouse). Day trips to the eastern side of the state should also give us the chance to try many more great Michigan beers!
Find Michigan’s Giant Sequoia Trees – In November we learned that there are sequoia trees in Michigan! Jon visited the General Sherman and the other towering trees of the Sequoia National Forest in college, so finding Michigan’s sequoias immediately became a goal. They are located in the Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary near Manistee and we can’t wait to go visit.
Photograph 5 more historical Michigan bridges – We love finding unique and historic Michigan bridges that we haven’t visited before. This year we made it to the Pine Island Drive Bridge, finished visiting the bridges in Portland, and saw the Tridge and the Currie Parkway Bridge in Midland. This year we will focus some efforts on the east side of the state and try and find more bridges to photograph and share with our readers. Be sure to check out the Historic Bridges of Michigan landing page for quick links to all of our bridge posts.
Explore 3 more abandoned/ruins sites – Over the past few years we’ve enjoyed exploring historic ruins at Lincoln Brick Park, Freda, Fiborn Quarry, Cheboygan State Park, and other sites. The combination of visiting a site that is full of history as well as great opportunities for photography is hard to pass up, and in 2022 we will set our sights on a few new places. We’ve started researching Johannesburg, Marlborough, Bell, Pere Cheney, and others for possible trips.
Take a drive on the Allegan County Heritage Tour – One day trip we will be tackling come spring is a self-guided tour of the Allegan County Heritage Trail. “The tour is a loop that runs from Saugatuck east across the farmlands of northern Allegan County and on through the towns of Hopkins, Wayland and Martin down to Plainwell. From there, the trail heads back along the Kalamazoo River through Otsego and Allegan, then past Lake Allegan and through the Allegan State Game Area. The tour continues past orchards and vineyards in the Fennville area to Lake Michigan, and then up the lakefront back to Saugatuck and Douglas.”
Find the Tri-State marker in Hillsdale County – Significantly less famous than the Four Corners site where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet, Michigan’s Tri-State Marker (Michigan, Indian, Ohio) in Hillsdale County is just the kind of unique site we are always looking for. We hope to make a trip there soon, those also interested can find out more from the Hillsdale Historical Society.