Category Archives: Southwest Michigan

#30 Take a day to hit up LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE at Great Lakes Crossings

Legoland Detroit - #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Legoland Detroit.

#30 Take a day to hit up LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE in Great Lakes Crossings

Region: Southwest

Location: Auburn Hills

Tour a miniature Detroit at the Legoland Discovery Center in Auburn Hills! The ULTIMATE Indoor LEGO® Playground! Obviously, this is a great activity to do with kids, but if you’re just itching to feel like a kid again (or for those who never grow up), they’ve got Adult Nights too! The attraction includes a 4D cinema, two rides, Detroit landmark replicas in MINILAND, a LEGO® City play area and more. You can even learn to be a SPINJITZU master inside their newest play zone, Ninjago Training Camp! And while you’re at Great Lakes Crossings, hit up the SEA LIFE aquarium to see creatures from the lakes of Michigan to the ocean depths through 10 themed zones. They feature more than 250 different species of sea creatures, a huge ocean tank, an acrylic underwater viewing tunel, educational talks, and more! While you’re there go see Carr and Benson, their rescued green sea turtles and Octopus Hideout.

Related Articles: 

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room Gets Even Bigger In Auburn Hills

Clinton River Medical Tailwind

#37 Play Euchre around a fire pit

Photo by Lynsday Israel.

#37 Play Euchre around a fire pit

Location: All over Michigan

The game we all love and know, Euchre is a summer classic and perfect for bringing friends and family together after a day or exploring or relaxing. Don’t know how to play? A Michgander will surely teach you around a bonfire this summer.

Related Articles:

7 Ways To Become A Euchre Pro

#43 Stand up paddle along your favorite river or lake

Photo courtesy of @boatingindc on Instagram

#43 Stand up paddle along your favorite river or lake

Location: All over Michigan

Stand up paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports around the world and Michigan is the perfect place to practice. Buy, borrow or rent a board for the day and cruise down your favorite inland river or lake — or one of the Greats if you’re feeling confident!

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What’s Up With SUP? One Uncoordinated Girl’s Experience With Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga

Wet Mitten Surf Shop

#20 Explore a public library and read a book by a Michigan author

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

#20 Explore a public library and read a book by a Michigan author

Region: All over Michigan

Public libraries are just as an amazing of a resource as they used to be and the perfect place to enjoy a quiet morning or afternoon this summer. Check out some of the historic libraries like Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, or your basic local library for some quiet time surrounded by books. While your’e at it, check out Michigan writers like Gloria Whelan, Jim Harrison, or Bonnie Jo Campbell. Settle down with a good book from an amazing Mitten State author!

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Ferndale Area District Library Makes Libraries Fun Again

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Traverse Area District Library

Flint Cultural Center: The Art, Science, And History Of Genesee County #MittenTrip

Michigan Books For National Reading Month

2016: #32 Drive into History at the Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum - #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of The Gilmore Car Museum.

#32 Drive into History at the Gilmore Car Museum

Region: Southwest

Location: 6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Hickory Corners is a tiny speck on the map, just northwest of Battle Creek. The Gilmore Car Museum, however, is anything but tiny! In fact, it is now the nation’s largest auto museum with over 180,000 sq ft of exhibit space and over 400 automobiles on display! If you are planning to visit the Gilmore, be sure to allot an entire day. The 90-acre campus is actually home to eight separate museums (seven car museums and a dollhouse miniatures museum), as well as historic diner! They also have a small cafe in the main building. It’s also quite a cost-efficient option for families, as there is a discount for children under 17 and free admission for those 6 and under. Whether you are a car fanatic or not, you’ll surely be able to find something that sparks your interest.

Bonus: they also offer over a dozen Model T Driving School sessions every summer season, making it a truly remarkable Michigan experience like no other!

Related Articles:

Immersed in History at Gilmore Car Museum – Kalamazoo #MittenTrip

Top Staycations in Michigan

More than Just Cereal City: A #MittenTrip to Battle Creek

Family Fun: Gilmore Car Museum

2016: #16 Host a Michigan Backyard BBQ

Michigan Backyard BBQ - #MIAWESOMELIST
Photo courtesy of

#16 Host a Michigan Backyard BBQ

Region: All over

Location: Your backyard or a public park!

This one is pretty self-explanatory: invite some friends over to enjoy some delish Michigan food and beverages. Bonus points if you add in a late-night bonfire!

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Michigan Asparagus Recipes

Three Magical Recipes for your Michigan Strawberries

3 New Ways to Enjoy this Summer’s Zucchini Abundance!

Make the most out of juicy local Michigan tomatoes this summer

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The Great Michigan Food Experiment

Great Michigan Food Experiment: The Sequel

A Simple Evening: Harbor Springs, Michigan

2016: #29 Taste wine from one of Michigan’s 100+ wineries

Wine tasting - #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Rachell Genesky.

#29 Taste wine from one of Michigan’s 100+ wineries

Region: All over

Location: Michigan

Traverse City is known for their wine, have two peninsulas (Old Mission Peninsula & Leelanau Peninsula) full of it, but did you know that southwest Michigan has the Lakeshore Wine Trail? And in Irish Hills you can find the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail? Plus, if you’re not feeling up to the wine tasting adventure, and prefer to try something at home, stop by your local Meijer or wine shop to grab some Michigan vino.

Bonus: if you’re in the Metro-Detroit area, stop by and check out a Michigan By The Bottle location in Royal Oak, Shelby Township, and (coming soon) Auburn Hills. MBTB has eight partner wineries (2 Lads Winery, Bel Lago Winery, Chateau Aeronautique, Chateau de Leelanau, Domaine Berrien Cellars, Peninsula Cellars, Sandhill Crane Vineyards and Verterra Winery) that you can sample from. Plus, you can grab bottles to go or enjoy one of their fun events.

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Three Tips for Making the Most of Wine Tours

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Take Your Time at Pond Hill Farms and Harbor Springs Winery

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Longview Winery and Vineyard

The Leelanau Peninsula Winery That Will Make You LOVE Wine

2016: #25 Take a tour of one of Michigan’s 96 lighthouses that are open to the public

Michigan Lighthouses #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Shalee Blackmer

#25 Take a tour of one of Michigan’s 96 lighthouses that are open to the public

Region: All over!

Location: On the water.

Lighthouses in Michigan – where do we even begin with this category?! If you have never been to a lighthouse – now is a good time to go. If you’ve never toured the inside of a lighthouse – just do it. If you’ve never spent the night in a lighthouse – this is your chance. If you’ve never been on an epic roadtrip to visit as many lighthouses as you can – make it happen this summer.

Why the urgency? Because lighthouses are expensive to maintain, and each year we’re seeing fewer and fewer open to the public. But you can help save the lighthouses of Michigan by doing these things.

Related Articles:

6 Lighthouses Perfect for an Adventure

On Top of the World on Middle Island – Alpena #MittenTrip

Beginning With a Lighthouse: Lake Michigan Road Trip

A Summer Lake Michigan Road Trip, Ludington to Frankfort

Continuing a Winter Lighthouse Road Trip Along Lake Michigan

Beaver Island Bucket List from a Pro

An Upper Peninsula Road Trip – The Tahquamenon Scenic Byway

Continuing a Road Trip Up Michigan’s Sunrise Coast

A Must See List for Michigan State Park Camping Adventures

2016: #43 Ketchup or Gravy? Grab a pasty and sample both!

Eat a Pasty - #MIAwesomeList - Pasties
Photo by Beth Baerman.

#43 Ketchup or Gravy? Grab a pasty and sample both!

Region: Natively found in Upper Peninsula, but now all over the state

Location: too many to count!

One of our most popular series on The Awesome Mitten was called “Pretty Awesome Pasties”. Friends Beth and Julie selfless visited a number of pasty establishments, grading each one on a special KPI scale (pictures below). Check out their adventures below, and choose your destination! Or, feeling inclined to make your own? Julie and Beth have just the recipe!

Related Articles:

Michigan Cuisine: Enter the Pasty

Introducing Pretty Awesome Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: “The Pasty Place” on Michigan’s Sunrise Side

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Cousin Jenny’s Cornish Pasties of Traverse City

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Suzy’s Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Hermann’s Bakery

Pretty Awesome Pasties: With Lehto’s Pasties, It’s A Good Thing Our KPI Score Goes To 11!

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Hiawatha Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Our Place in Lincoln, Michigan

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Weldon’s Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Pasty Central

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Wildwood Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Hunt’s Mackinaw Pasty Shop, Mackinaw City

2016: #50 Enjoy a sunrise or sunset on a shore of one of the Great Lakes

Sunset on Lake Michigan - #MIAwesomeList
Sunset on Lake Michigan on South Haven. Photo Shannon Sakowski.

#50 Enjoy a sunrise or sunset on a shore of one of the Great Lakes

Region: All over.

You have four Great Lakes (Lake Ontario doesn’t touch the Michigan border) and 3,288 miles of shoreline to make this happen. NO EXCUSES!