For those living in Michigan, there is no denying that the Mitten has some of the most scenic views in the country.
And what better excuse to check out all the state has to offer than during National Park Week?
The charity week kicked off Saturday, April 16, when admission to national parks was free for the day. While national parks are still charging admission fees for the rest of National Park Week, all proceeds earned will go to the National Park Foundation, which helps protect and preserve the parks.
Michigan is home to five national parks: Isle Royale park, Keweenaw park, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks national lakeshore and River Raisin park. These five gems are rich in both history and scenery.
Michigan’s national parks
An outdoorsman paradise. This national park offers many adventures like backpacking and kayaking. On Saturday, the park opened back up for the season and will remain open until October 31. The National Park Service (NPS) notes that cell phone service is unreliable, so be wary when depending on using it for emergencies.
This national historic park played a significant role in the copper mining industry for thousands of years, according to the NPS. As early as 7,000 years ago, the earliest known metalworking in the Americas started on the Keweenaw Peninsula.
There are several mining museums and historical sites on the peninsula, and also mine tours. The NPS writes that many investors and immigrants arrived in the 1800s due to the influx of minerals. Although the mining industry is not as prominent in this area anymore, it has greatly contributed to Keweenaw County’s history.
With nearly 100 miles of trails, this Lake Superior national park is America’s first national lakeshore, according to the NPS. The park offers “pristine” beaches and a “unique landscapes” to explore.
The River Raisin is located in Southeast Michigan. Known for the fall of the Michigan territory in 1812, this historic national park has a lot of war history.
NPS notes that this national park is home to Pottawatomi and Wyandot Tribes. Following the French and Indian Wars, British and frontier settlers populated the area, contributing to the westward expansion. Here, visitors can find a war monument and the Macon reserve.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is a popular spot for those who enjoy camping and Lake Michigan. Many like to bring their furry friends and family as they enjoy the state’s west coast.
The views of the lake from the top of the dunes will remind you how beautiful our state is.
For those who like to be a little more active, the national park offers over 20 miles of biking trails, over 100 miles of hiking trails and at least 65 miles of lakeshore. Stone connoisseurs can enjoy the shores as they search for Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey stone.
The NPS reminds Michiganders and out-of-state visitors that it is illegal to remove stones from a national lakeshore under federal law.
Free admission days
If you’re bummed about missing out on Saturday’s free national park admission, don’t worry! Here are some other dates where admission will be free at national parks this year: