Welcome to Michigan
The northern state of Michigan consists of two peninsulas that
extend into the Great Lakes, actually touching four out of five of
the magnificent bodies of water that contain 80 percent of the
United States' fresh water. Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas
are divided by Lake Michigan and linked by one of the longest
suspension bridges in the world, stretching across the Straits of
Mackinac. The long freshwater shoreline, extending for 3,000 miles
(4,828km), is also made up of Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake
Erie. In Michigan you're never more than six miles (10km) from a
river or stream, and never more than 85 miles (137km) from one of
the Great Lakes. Most of the state is well forested, with the Upper
Peninsula home to a variety of wildlife, and boasting trout fishing
lodges and winter ski resorts. The southern part of the Lower
Peninsula is mainly characterised by rural farmlands and
industrialisation, but the west coast offers several popular beach
With all this water and forest, hunting and fishing are major
drawcards for sportsmen to Michigan, but the other main attraction
in the state is its large industrial city, Detroit, birthplace of
the motor car: the city that put the world on wheels. The legendary
names of the original automobile manufacturers like Ford and
Chevrolet still resound loudly in Detroit, which offers numerous
institutions and attractions paying homage to the car.
Despite being the spot where the development of Michigan began
back in 1701, when it was founded as a trading post, Detroit is not
the capital. The attractive Victorian State Capitol stands in
Lansing, chosen in 1879 for its location in the centre of the Lower
Peninsula, which made it less vulnerable to invasion by British
forces from Canada. Back then Lansing was but a sawmill settlement,
but today it is home to about 128,000 residents and vies with
Detroit as a major motor manufacturing centre.
Information & Facts
The Great Lakes influence the climate by generally warming the
winters and cooling the summers, creating more moderate
temperatures in relation to other areas. The lakes also create more
humidity and moisture throughout the year. Snowfall is heavy in
winter and Lake Erie is often iced over. The north generally
experiences cooler weather compared to the south, but the climate
in Michigan is unpredictable and changes rapidly particularly
during the spring and autumn months.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).