1. Detroit

Detroit has been known for violence, despair, abandonment, drugs, and a failing economy for years. It hasn’t really been the best place to hang out, and even though it’s turning around, it’s easy for us locals to see what it has to offer and forget to ever return.

Detroit is constantly changing. We forget that. And currently, it’s a city filled with opportunities, especially for young people. The average college graduate with a full-time job can afford to buy a home, or rent a fancy apartment in the city. Detroit is a place to open a new business, hang out with friends, and it’s constantly changing for the better.

2. The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are massive and require a lot of extra driving just to get around them. They’re also one of the main reasons our winters are so snowy, and most Michiganders don’t visit them nearly as often as we should.

However, most people who are stuck in the middle of a continent, hundreds of miles from the ocean, don’t have an even better version available to them like we do. Four of the world’s 13 largest lakes (by surface area) surround Michigan – they have islands, Lake Superior has tides, they have waves, and they’re so big, we can’t even see across them at most points. It’s like having our own private ocean, without the salt.

3. Our proximity to Canada

So many Americans have never left the country, but in Michigan, Canada is right next door. Yes, it may be where many of us had our first legal drink, but Canada has so much to offer, even in Ontario. We have access to Toronto and Niagara Falls, Point Pelee National Park, Stratford’s Shakespeare Festival, London, the Bruce Peninsula…

4. The changing of the seasons

As much as most Michiganders complain about the weather, Michigan is a truly beautiful place to live, in part because it has all four seasons.

Spring is rainy and full of blooming flora, summers are perfect for going to the beach, camping, and being outdoors, fall is full of gorgeous colors and some of the best apples around, and when winter arrives, it may be cold but it’s sparkly and white.

Unfortunately, sometimes all four seasons may arrive in one day, out of order, and make it difficult to get around or dress for the weather. But we Michiganders have learned to be prepared and adaptable. With each season comes a change in wardrobe, seasonal traditions, and something to look forward to.

5. Living so close to nature

It can be easy to get sucked into the suburbs in Michigan — especially since they’ve expanded as most of our major cities like Detroit, Lansing, and Flint, have not been great places to spend time in within recent decades.

That being said, we still know that our state is one of the country’s best kept secrets. Surrounded by the Great Lakes and filled with numerous smaller lakes, it’s not accessible enough to be a drive-through state, so most people who end up in Michigan are there intentionally.

Vacationers from Chicago fill up the towns in the southwest corner during the summer, but the rest of the state, especially the Upper Peninsula, is a well-kept secret. It’s full of untouched forests, serene lakes, gorgeous coastlines (more than any other state except for Alaska) and if you’re willing to escape the city, it will amaze you.

6. The auto industry

It’s true: pretty much everyone in Michigan, especially Southeast Michigan, has family who works in the auto industry. But that means that we all get discounts on new cars, which is perfect for exploring the many corners of gorgeous Michigan, where public transportation is virtually nonexistent.

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