Known as the Great Lake State, Michigan is famous all over the world for its lakes and waters. In fact, the state actually has the longest freshwater coastline of any state in the entire US, having borders with four of the five Great Lakes of North America. As well as the Great Lakes, Michigan boasts almost 65,000 additional lakes and ponds, meaning that every person in the state is never more than a few miles away from some kind of freshwater source. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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With all that water, it's no surprise that outdoor activities like fishing and kayaking are very popular in the state of Michigan. Fishing charter boats run all around the state, offering fishing tours for salmon, trout, perch, and other species, and many tourists flock to the state to enjoy its unique fishing locations and opportunities. Normally, everyone needs a license to fish, but in order to allow everyone to have a taste of Michigan fishing, the state runs its own Free Fishing Weekends twice a year.

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2.Details of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekends

Details of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekends
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Two times each year - once in the summer and once in the winter - anyone in the Michigan area can enjoy fully free fishing for a two-day period. All fishing licenses are waived during these days, allowing residents, visitors, and tourists to enjoy fishing at both the Great Lakes and inland waters locations. Fishing rules and regulations still apply, but anyone can grab a rod and take to the waters in search of a big catch without needing to worry about a license.

All species of fish are allowed to be caught during these weekends, in line with regular fishing rules, and anglers of all ages are able to release or take their catches home, depending on their personal preferences. In 2019, the Michigan Free Fishing Weekends are scheduled for February 16 and 17 in the winter and June 8 and 9 in the summer. Out of state visitors will not need a Recreation Passport to take part. Instead, all you'll need is your own fishing equipment, accessories, and a love of the water.

Another interesting part of these Free Fishing Weekends is that many locations will run special events and fun activities at the same time, allowing you to really enjoy a fun-filled day with family, friends, or by yourself. These weekends are a fun annual tradition for Michigan residents and visitors, allowing everyone to enjoy one of the state's most popular pastimes and learn a lot along the way.

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3.What Kind of Fish Can You Catch in Michigan

What Kind of Fish Can You Catch in Michigan
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If you've never done any fishing in Michigan before, you might not know about the huge variety of fish that live all around the various freshwater sources of the state. Both small and large fish can be caught in Michigan's lakes, and here are some examples of the species you should be looking out for when the Free Fishing Weekends roll around:

- Pink Salmon

- Rainbow Trout

- Brook Trout

- Catfish

- Lake Trout

- Common Carp

- Herring,

- Whitefish

- Yellow Perch

- White Bass

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4.Best Fishing Locations in Michigan

Best Fishing Locations in Michigan
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In order to make the most of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekends, you need to head to the best spots. With so many lakes and locations to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming for inexperienced anglers to find the top fishing spots in the state. Here are some of the most popular fishing locations in Michigan:

1.Hubbard Lake - This seven-mile long lake in Northern Michigan is absolutely filled with pike, perch, bass, and others. It's a very well-stocked lake, almost guaranteeing great catches every time.

2.Gun Lake - This all-sports lake measures up at 2,680 acres in size and is very popular with experienced Michigan anglers. It's a great spot if you're looking to catch some walleye, smallmouth bass, perch, sunfish, and muskie.

3.Lake Superior - The biggest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior is a visually stunning natural monument as one of the biggest freshwater lakes on the entire planet. More than 80 different fish species have been identified in this lake, and it's a great spot for sturgeon, pike, bass, whitefish, perch, salmon, trout, and more.

4.Lake Huron - Another of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron has a maximum depth of 750 feet and provides a beautiful backdrop to any fishing expedition. Some of the top fish you can hope to find in this lake include salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, and steelhead.

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Best Fishing in Michigan

More Ideas in Michigan: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, Michigan

One of the country's oldest and grandest hotels is located at on Mackinac Island. For many people, visiting the Grand Hotel and the island itself is like taking a step back in time when hospitality and charm were at their finest. Every aspect of the hotel goes beyond the imagination, including the lavish accommodations, daytime and evening activities, fabulous dining experiences, and luxurious spa treatments. For more than 100 years, the Grand Hotel has been the place preferred most by the distinguished of guests.

Steeped in rich history, the Grand Hotel allows guests to enjoy original late 19th-century architecture and impeccable service coupled with modern day amenities. What makes staying at this hotel so special is that all of Mackinac Island is relaxing yet exciting. Adding to the allure, guests will have to depend on bicycles and horse and carriage rides since cars are prohibited.

For families, couples, friends, honeymooners, and business travelers alike, the Grand Hotel remains a top destination choice. This 390-room estate is breathtakingly beautiful, further enhanced by the lush and well-maintained gardens, lawns, and landscaping. With the perfect combination of exquisite accommodations and an abundance of fun activities, the Grand Hotel has been the recipient of numerous awards.

Back in 1886, Mackinac Island was a top summer getaway. However, as there were no viable accommodations, the Mackinac Island Hotel Company was established. After land was purchased, construction began in 1887.

Early on, the front porch, which measures 660-feet long and ranks as the longest in the world, was the primary place for meetings, but it also became known as the “Flirtation Walk" for couples looking for a romantic place to meet. This hotel has become so popular that today, it caters to more than 130,000 overnight guests each year.

Next read: Best Time to Visit Mackinac Island and 25 Best Things to Do on Mackinac Island.

No other resort in North America compares to the Grand Hotel. Among the 390 guestrooms, over three-dozen are theme-named, and all gorgeous and unique. Guestrooms and suites are tastefully furnished and decorated thanks to Carleton Varney, the famous New York Designer. In addition to fine linens and furnishings, the accommodations feature mini-bars, cable television, a coffee maker, an iron and ironing board, individually controlled air conditioning, a room safe, complimentary lotion, hand and body soap, and geranium-scented shampoo and conditioner, which is based on the type of flower that thrives on the island.

As is evident throughout the Grand Hotel, Varney has a very distinct flavor that consists of bright colors, bold contrasts, and floral patterns, thereby creating spaces for guests that are comfortable, practical, and vibrant.

Standard Guestrooms

Guests have a nice selection of more traditional guestrooms, including: smaller guestrooms with interior views and lake views; Larger guestrooms with interior views; Deluxe lake view guestrooms complete with a balcony; Themed Suites; and Masco Cottage.

The themed rooms are beautifully designed to commemorate important people and places. In true Carleton Varney style, the suites boast individual designs, furnishings, and an appropriate ambience according to the theme. Some examples of suites available at the Grand Hotel include the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Suite, First Lady Bird Johnson Suite, First Lady Nancy Reagan Suite, Napoleon Suite, Eisenhower Suite, Stockbridge Suite, Dolly Madison Suite, Esther Williams Suite, China Suite, Hollywood Suite, Versailles Suite, and Somewhere in Time Suite, among many others.

Suites range in size from one to two bedrooms. Two examples are the Musser Suite, which is in honor of R.D. Musser, Jr., and the Cupola Suite, which was recently added in 2015.

The Musser Suite has a gorgeous bedroom with a king-sized bed, separate parlor, wet bar, and unbelievable views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. The Cupola Suite also has a king-sized bed and separate parlor, but what makes it different is the option of a connecting bedroom complete with two queen-sized beds.

The most luxurious of all accommodations at the Grand Hotel is the Masco Cottage. This four-bedroom cottage provides privacy and an abundance of amenities to make guests feel at home. Connecting to the east end of the hotel via a private walkway, the cottage has two bedrooms downstairs as well as private bathrooms, two bedrooms and a single bathroom upstairs, a media parlor, a living and dining room area, a kitchen, and a private outdoor hot tub.

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Guest can enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prior to dining in the cottage for dinner with all cuisine skillfully prepared by a personal chef. The cottage also comes with a fully stocked bar and refrigerator, nightly turndown service, special discounts on ferry boats and air service, and when staying one month, round-trip airfare is included.

The dining experience while staying at the Grand Hotel is unrivalled. From the time the hotel first opened its doors to today, dining has been one of the highlights. In addition to the exceptional cuisine, the service and ambience are unbeatable. Guests can choose from a variety of dining experiences, which range from casual to semi-formal.

While the Sushi Grandserves fresh sushi for dine-in or carry out, the Main Dining Room, Jockey Club at the Grand Stand, and Woods provide mouth-watering lunches and dinners. To cool down, guests can head to Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor where they will find 24 incredible flavors. Additional places for dining, sipping on tea, and adult beverages include the Gate House, Cawthorne's Village Inn, Carleton's Tea Store, and the Fort Mackinac Tea Room.

As expected from a hotel of this caliber, guests are pampered with specialty spa treatments. Along with traditional hair services, manicures, and pedicures, the spa offers body treatments that both refresh and restore. Facial enhancements, skin resurfacing, hot stone treatments, and massages provided by licensed professionals are available.

There is no shortage of activities for guests of the Grand Hotel to enjoy. One example is Fort Mackinac. This National Historic Landmark has been the sentinel of the Straits for 224 years. It is just a quick walk or bike ride away, and guests can watch rifle firing demonstrations and explore fourteen of the original buildings that feature exhibits, videos, and period settings.

The historic downtown area of the island is definitely worth seeing. There, hotel guests will find quaint retail shops, wonderful restaurants, fur trade era homes, and Victorian cottages. Butterfly Houses is another option. When visiting these two conservatories, guests are given the chance to get up close to native and exotic species of butterflies. Taking atrip to the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum is another excellent option. On display are Native American baskets alongside modern-day paintings of the island created by people who live there.

Hotel guests can visit the Old Mackinac Lighthouse, which helped guide ships through the Mackinac Straits from 1892 to 1957. If preferred, they can venture off the island by taking a number of different day trips. There are also island exploration opportunities with geocaching.

For guests who love the game of golf, the Jewel is without question one of the unique courses in the country. Amongst natural beauty and lush landscaping, you will find perfectly manicured tees, greens, and fairways. After finishing the Grand nine, a horse-drawn carriage will take guests, along with their golf equipment, to the Woods nine.

There are many other things to do at the Grand Hotel such as tennis, Pickleball, and fitness activities. While tennis is played on Har Tur-based clay courts with stunning views of the Straits, Pickleball is played on the only clay court in the state of Michigan. For fitness, the hotel provides exercise facilities complete with state-of-the-art equipment.

Hotel guests can go biking, take horse and carriage tours, participate in lawn games, and go for a swim in the famous Esther Williams swimming pool. The heated pool is220-feet long, making your swim truly an experience of a lifetime. Guests also have access to two whirlpools and a sauna. For something special, there is a full-time staff of professional musicians who provide nightly entertainment.

For important meetings of all sizes, the Grand Hotel offers several different options. For all meeting spaces, a personal convention manager is assigned to help with stage settings, audiovisual equipment, special meals, and other needs.

The Woodfill Conference Center is in a league of its own. This two-story facility offers 16,000 square feet of space that are the perfect blend of Victorian-era ambience and elegance coupled with cutting-edge technology. Featuring six meeting rooms, the center is commonly used for board meetings, private luncheons, cocktail receptions, and more. In addition to the center, the Grand Hotel offers many additional spaces.

The Grand Hotel is a gorgeous venue for weddings and other special events. Whether exchanging I Do's or hosting a retirement party, rehearsal dinner, anniversary party, or some other event, the Grand Hotel goes above and beyond. For weddings, a highly trained wedding coordinator is provided to work out all details, including music, overnight accommodations, food and drinks, floral arrangements, and everything else required for a gorgeous wedding ceremony.

The Grand Hotel has been a preferred wedding and honeymoon destination for decades. Trained staff will help with preparations for hosting weddings with up to 450 guests. Weddings can be held at the legendary Grand Hotel porch or the Tea Garden, both magnificent locations with spectacular views of the island.

Back to: Best Things to Do on Mackinac Island, Michigan and Family Weekend Getaways in the U.S., All inclusive resorts in USA

286 Grand Avenue, Mackinac Island, Michigan 49757, Phone: 800-334-7263

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More Ideas in Michigan: Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

Located in Mackinaw City, Michigan, the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum preserves the historic United States Coast Guard vessel Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83, constructed for World War II for the transportation of war materials on the Great Lakes in winter months.


The Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83 was commissioned for construction in 1941 y the United States Congress 10 days after the Japanese attack on Hawai’i’s Pearl Harbor. Funds were allocated from a special Presidential Fund for the vessel’s construction, which was commissioned as part of increasing industry demands for war materials such as coal, limestone, and iron ore from regional steel mills. Due to freezing conditions, transportation of materials across the Great Lakes in winter months required the construction of an icebreaker vessel, a special-purpose ship fortified with a strengthened hull for pushing through frozen waters.

The Mackinaw WAGB-83 was constructed in Toledo, Ohio for a cost of over $10 million and was built at the Toledo Shipbuilding Company in 1943. Several logistical obstacles delayed the ship’s construction, including penalties placed on the corporation that eventually forced its bankruptcy. After the project was taken over by the American Shipbuilding and Dry-Dock Company, the Mackinaw was completed in March of 1944 and was commissioned for service that December. It resided at the port of Cheboygan during its service in World War II and the later part of the 20th century. Following its decommissioning in 2006, the ship was docked in Mackinaw City for public tours as a living history museum vessel.

Attractions and Tours

Today, the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum preserves the Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83 United States Coast Guard vessel as a living history museum vessel open to the public for guided tours and public educational events. The ship is docked along the eastern end of Mackinaw City’s former railroad dock, accessible via street entrance near Bell’s Fishery and Shelper’s Marine Service. Free visitor parking is offered along the dock’s north side for Icebreaker tour visitors.

A variety of informative displays are offered aboard the Mackinaw, viewable as part of docent-led public guided tours. Tours explore the vessel’s mess deck, engine room, captain’s quarters, sick bay, and ward room, with tour docents offering anecdotes and information about the ship’s service and life on board the vessel. A Ship’s Store is also offered on board the vessel, selling a wide variety of nautical and military-themed souvenirs. Tours last approximately 45 minutes, with open exploration of the ship allowed for visitors after tours finish. Visitors should be advised that no restroom facilities are offered aboard the ship, though portable restroom facilities are offered on the dock near the vessel. Due to its historic condition, the vessel is not handicap accessible, and visitors are advised to wear closed-toed shoes to protect feet from dock ropes and on ship ladders.

The vessel is open to the public from May through October, with tour hours offered in the morning and afternoon hours. Final tours embark 45 minutes prior to daily closing time. Ticket rates are available for adults and children, with current and former United States Coast Guard members and children under five admitted free. Other military personnel visiting the vessel receive reduced admission rates with proper military identification.

Ongoing Programs and Education

In addition to standard visitor tours, group tours of the Mackinaw are offered for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for elementary, secondary, and scouting groups. Hands-on activities for students are offered at a variety of educational stations on board the ship, including icebreaking, signal flag, knot tying, and maritime history activities. Tours are constructed for groups of 20 or more participants and may be customized to fit groups’ educational needs. Standard educational tours last approximately 90 minutes, though tours may be tailored for length for younger visitors. All groups must reserve tours in advance to ensure desired tour date, and complimentary tickets are offered for teachers and tour leaders.

An overnight program is offered for student and scouting groups, allowing visitors to spend a night aboard the ship in its berthing area. Group activity stations are offered during overnight programs, though meals are not provided as part of the program. Groups also participate in community service projects helping to restore and maintain the ship and dock’s condition, including painting and landscaping activities.

Several fundraising endeavors are facilitated by the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, including a membership donation drive that offers tax-deductible donations to the vessel’s educational programming and facilities. A flag-flying program allows visitors to choose a 3’x5’ American flag to be flown aboard the vessel, with all participants receiving a Certificate of Authenticity and information on the date that their flag will be flown on board. A #PaintTheMac ship-painting volunteer program also enlists area volunteers to aid with ship restoration projects and receive complimentary t-shirts.

131 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, Phone: 231-436-9825

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