I can remember riding in the backseat of my parents’ car, on a back country road, listening to my dad repeat (for the eighth or ninth time), “Listen kids, there’s plenty of things to see and do right here in Michigan!” My kid is only 6 months old right now, so I haven’t had the opportunity to introduce him to all of the things that I love about my home state quite yet. But now that I am a parent myself, I’m definitely thrilled that we decided to raise our little one here. Michigan is a great place to raise a child, and I totally get what my dad was talking about.
While politically, Michigan leaves something to be desired (it tends to skew a little conservative for my tastes, which can be a real problem for LGBT families like mine), there are plenty of things to love about being here. We have two whole peninsulas to explore! I look forward to the future, when my son is old enough to appreciate all that Michigan has to do. We'll explore, take in the city and the plains alike, and get to know our home state through a whole new set of eyes.
Here are just a few of the reasons I think raising children in Michigan is awesome.
I’m a summer baby, I was born in the summer and I love the summer. We have proper summers, with most places having average July temperatures in the lower 80s, or upper 70s for points further North and on the water. And while Michigan is not known for being particularly sunny, we do get a good amount of sun during those steamy summer months.
.... And Winters!
As an adult who has to schlep to work and the grocery store, I do not always appreciate the beautiful miracle that is freshly fallen snow. But as a kid? You can bet I was out there sledding, building snow people, make snow angels, having snowball fights, and also just feeding handfuls of snow to my dog. We typically get pretty good snowfall around these parts, which means more winter fun for kids.
If there isn’t much snow in your area, you can always just drive North!
No matter what season, Michigan is full of things to do outside. We have some gorgeous outdoor attractions such as The Sleeping Bear Dunes and The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, as well as the Porcupine Mountains (these are technically mountains, but may feel more like hills if you come from a place with really real mountains). We’ve got swimming, skiing, boating, hiking, fishing, hunting, and of course, just good old-fashioned camping. I grew up camping in Michigan, just like my kid is going to.
I can't wait to take him out on camping expeditions. I mean, just thinking about the songs, stories, and s'mores is exciting!
Lakes! Lakes! Lakes!
They don’t call it the Great Lakes State for nothing. Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes, which means plenty of fresh water (if we can protect it) and beautiful beaches to enjoy. I'm already looking forward to heading out for a swim with my son later this year — and all the memories we'll make together.
Tons of Wildlife
Michigan is home to a lot of wonderful animals, such as white tailed deer, black bears, mouse, little brown bats, wild turkeys, loons, and many more. We also, after having them go nearly extinct, have wolves again in Michigan. That may not seem like great news to every parent, but I assure you that it is. Think of how many cool animals you'll get to describe to your kids!
A Really, Really Great Location
Michigan shares a border with Canada, making it pretty simple to visit our neighbors to the North. If you live near one of the borders (like in Detroit, where Canada is actually to the South), you can even make a day trip of it.
If you crave a more major city than Michigan has to offer, Chicago is only a short drive or train ride away. And of course, for roller coaster lovers, you can always make the pilgrimage to Cedar Point. I’m pretty sure that was standard for all Michigan kids, growing up, and I hope it still is.