The northern state of Michigan lies in the heart of the Great Lakes region, and is a unforgettable blend of natural wonders, lively cities and rich cultural experiences. Whether visitors are drawn to the glorious freshwater shoreline, which extends for 3,000 miles (4,828km), the lush forests of the Upper Peninsula or the dynamic urban landscapes of Detroit and Grand Rapids, the destination will give them a marvellous playground.

Michigan consists of two peninsulas that extend into the Great Lakes, with the state actually touching four out of these five magnificent bodies of water. The Lower and Upper Peninsulas are divided by Lake Michigan and linked by one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, which stretches across the straits of Mackinac. Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Erie help create a setting in which locals are never more than 85 miles (137km) from one of the Great Lakes, or more than six miles (10km) from a river or stream. Naturally, Michigan is popular with boaters.

Most of the destination is well forested and the Upper Peninsula has a variety of wildlife along with trout-fishing lodges and winter ski resorts. The southern part of the Lower Peninsula is mainly characterised by rural farmlands and industry, but the west coast offers several popular beach resorts.

With all this water and forest, hunting, fishing and sailing are major drawcards for sportsmen in Michigan. However, the other main attraction in the state is its large industrial city, Detroit, which is the birthplace of the motor car. The legendary names of the original manufacturers such as Ford and Chevrolet still resound loudly in Detroit, where many institutions and attractions paying homage to the automobile. This gritty, fascinating city has been hit hard by economic woes over the past decade but has a resilient character that keeps its population famously proud despite recent adversity.

Although it's the spot where the development of Michigan truly 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, which was chosen in 1879 for its position in the centre of the Lower Peninsula. This location made it less vulnerable to invasion by British forces from Canada. Back then Lansing was a simple sawmill settlement but, today, it's home to about 120,000 residents and vies with Detroit as a major motor manufacturing centre.