10 Reasons to Move to Michigan

Updated 10/31/2023
Michigan is a great place to call home. From the stunning Great Lakes and beautiful beaches to the bustling cities and charming small towns, there are so many reasons someone should consider moving to the state. Here are ten reasons why you should consider making the move to Michigan.

1. The Great Lakes

Michigan is home to four of the five Great Lakes – Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Erie – and is known as the Great Lakes State. The lakes provide endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.

First up, boating and sailing. Whether you own a boat or rent one, cruising on the Great Lakes is an absolute blast. You can feel the wind in your hair, soak up the sun, and maybe even drop an anchor to swim in the crystal-clear waters.

Fishing is huge here. The lakes are teeming with fish—salmon, trout, bass, you name it. It’s a great way to relax, plus, the thrill of reeling in a big one is unbeatable.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try some water sports! From jet skiing to wakeboarding, the lakes are perfect for those who love a good rush. And of course, there’s paddleboarding and kayaking for a more serene experience.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the beaches! The shorelines are fantastic for sunbathing, picnics, and sandcastle building. Plus, the sunsets over the water are just breathtaking. Grab a beach chair, your favorite snacks, and enjoy the view.

For those who prefer a bit of history and sightseeing, there are plenty of lighthouses dotted along the coast. They make for some great photo ops and offer a glimpse into Michigan’s maritime past.

And during the winter, when the lakes freeze over, ice fishing and ice skating take the spotlight. It’s a whole different world out there when the lakes turn into a winter wonderland.

Plus, the towns and cities around the Great Lakes often host festivals, concerts, and events that celebrate the local culture and maritime heritage. There’s always something fun happening!


2. The beaches

With over 3,200 miles of freshwater shoreline, Michigan has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Whether you prefer the sandy shores of Lake Michigan or the rocky coastline of the Upper Peninsula, there is a beach for everyone in Michigan.

Here’s a shortlist of some of the most popular ones:

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lake Michigan): This area is known for its stunning dunes and beautiful sandy beaches. The Dune Climb is a popular spot for both hiking and sand dune adventures.
  2. Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Lake Michigan): It’s a gem for nature lovers, offering pristine beaches and dunes, perfect for hiking and sunbathing.
  3. Silver Beach (Lake Michigan, St. Joseph): This family-friendly beach has a fantastic park, splash pad, and a carousel, making it great for kids and adults alike.
  4. Grand Haven State Park (Lake Michigan): Famous for its pier and lighthouse, this beach offers soft sand and stunning views, plus a charming town nearby to explore.
  5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Lake Superior): While known more for its stunning cliffs and rock formations, there are some smaller but equally beautiful beaches perfect for exploring.
  6. Presque Isle Park (Lake Superior, Marquette): This park has lovely small beaches nestled within a forested peninsula, offering a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
  7. Tiscornia Beach (Lake Michigan, St. Joseph): Known for its clear waters and beautiful sandy shoreline, it’s a fantastic spot for swimming and beach picnics.

These beaches offer a diverse range of experiences, from family-friendly outings to rugged and natural landscapes. Each one has its unique charm and reasons why it’s loved by both locals and tourists alike.


3. The natural beauty

Michigan is home to a variety of landscapes, including forests, dunes, wetlands, and more. It is a great place for nature lovers, with many state and national parks to explore. We’ve already covered the beautiful beaches, but Michigan also shines when Summer ends.

Fall in Michigan is a total spectacle, especially in areas like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Picture this: as summer transitions to fall, the landscape explodes with vibrant colors. The forests turn into a canvas of reds, oranges, yellows, and golds. It’s like nature has its own fireworks show, but with leaves!

Let’s start with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This place is like a postcard come to life. The rolling dunes and forests overlooking Lake Michigan transform into a mosaic of autumn colors. The contrast between the blue of the lake and the fiery foliage is simply breathtaking. Hiking the trails or even just driving along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive offers sweeping views that make you feel like you’re in a painting.

Then, there’s the Huron-Manistee National Forests. These vast woodlands are a haven for nature enthusiasts. The explosion of fall colors here is almost magical. You’ve got miles of trails perfect for hiking or biking through the dense forests, immersing yourself in the beauty of the changing leaves. It’s like stepping into a fairytale world, especially when the sunlight filters through the multicolored canopy.

For someone potentially moving to Michigan, these areas are a nature lover’s dream. The fall season in these locations is a perfect time to embrace the outdoors, enjoy crisp autumn air, and witness nature’s breathtaking transformation. It’s not just about the visuals; it’s about the experience—the sound of leaves rustling, the fresh scent of autumn, and the feeling of being surrounded by this burst of color.

Michigan’s fall colors in Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Huron-Manistee National Forests are truly a sight to behold. They’re the kind of places that make you appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature, and they offer an incredible backdrop for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the stunning natural landscapes Michigan has to offer.


4. The culture

Michigan has a rich history and culture, with a number of museums and cultural centers to explore. From the Great Lakes to the Upper Peninsula, Michigan is a melting pot of heritage and traditions. The array of museums and cultural centers here provide a deep dive into the state’s past and present, showcasing the stories and contributions of Native American tribes and various immigrant communities.

In the Upper Peninsula, the Finnish population has left an indelible mark, evident in the local customs, festivals, and even the architecture. The array of events throughout the year is a testament to Michigan’s lively spirit. Whether it’s the soulful tunes at the Detroit Jazz Festival or the cherry-themed celebrations of the National Cherry Festival, there’s always something exciting happening, offering a warm welcome to newcomers and a perfect way to immerse oneself in the vibrant heart of Michigan’s cultural scene.

So, if you’re looking to not only appreciate nature but also delve into a tapestry of diverse cultures and histories, Michigan has a lot to offer.

5. The food

Michigan is also known for its delicious food, from Detroit to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula. The state is home to a number of local farms and farmers’ markets, and a thriving craft beer scene. The state has some unique and delicious delicacies that are cherished by locals and often hard to find elsewhere. Here are a few that stand out:

  1. Pasties: Originating from the Upper Peninsula, pasties are a beloved handheld meal. These savory pastries usually contain meat, potatoes, onions, and sometimes carrots, all wrapped in a flaky crust. They were traditionally favored by miners due to their portability and hearty filling.
  2. Detroit-Style Pizza: This style of pizza is distinct for its square shape, thick crust that’s crispy on the outside and chewy inside, and toppings arranged in reverse order—cheese first, then toppings, and finally sauce on top. It’s often baked in rectangular pans, giving the crust those crispy, caramelized edges.
  3. Coney Dogs: These are hot dogs topped with a specific type of chili sauce (not to be confused with Texas chili), mustard, and chopped onions. You’ll find Coney Island restaurants across Michigan, each with its own twist on the sauce.
  4. Vernors Ginger Ale: This ginger ale has a uniquely robust and zesty flavor that sets it apart from other brands. It was created in Detroit and is a favorite among Michiganders, sometimes even used in recipes like “Boston Coolers” (a Vernors float with vanilla ice cream).
  5. Michigan Cherries: The state is known for its cherry production, especially around Traverse City. From cherry pies to cherry jams and even cherry wine, these fruits are a sweet and tart delight, particularly in various desserts.
  6. Superman Ice Cream: This colorful ice cream, with swirls of blue, red, and yellow, is iconic in Michigan. It’s a blend of various flavors (usually a mix of fruit flavors like lemon, cherry, and blue moon) and is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth.

These delicacies offer a unique taste of Michigan’s culinary heritage and regional specialties that add to the state’s diverse food culture.


6. The sports

Michigan is an absolute paradise for sports enthusiasts! Beyond just the major professional teams like the Detroit Lions (NFL), Detroit Tigers (MLB), and Detroit Red Wings (NHL), the state has a deeply rooted collegiate sports culture.

The rivalry between the University of Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans is something to behold. The Wolverine faithful in Ann Arbor and the Spartan devotees in East Lansing ensure that college football and basketball games are high-energy spectacles that resonate throughout the state.

Whether you’re caught up in the excitement of a Lions game at Ford Field, experiencing the tradition-rich atmosphere of a Tigers game at Comerica Park, or reveling in the passion of a Red Wings matchup at Little Caesars Arena, Michigan’s professional sports scene is vibrant and diverse.

On the collegiate front, the intense rivalries, historic traditions, and the fervor of fans on game day create an electric atmosphere that’s unparalleled. Whether you’re into the pros or the college games, moving to Michigan means immersing yourself in a sports culture that’s alive and thriving year-round.


7. The education

Michigan offers a robust spectrum of educational opportunities, catering to all ages and interests. At the elementary and secondary levels, the state provides a diverse array of public and private schools that consistently strive for academic excellence. Some public school districts, such as Bloomfield Hills Schools, Grosse Pointe Public Schools, and Birmingham Public Schools, are highly regarded for their quality education, supportive environments, and innovative programs, making them attractive options for families seeking top-tier K-12 education.

At the collegiate level, Michigan proudly boasts several renowned institutions. The University of Michigan stands as a global leader in academics, offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various fields, including engineering, business, medicine, and the arts. Its research prowess and cutting-edge facilities attract students from around the world.

Michigan State University, another flagship institution, is acclaimed for its strong emphasis on research and innovation, particularly in fields such as agriculture, education, and social sciences. The university’s spirited campus life, rich academic offerings, and Big Ten athletics program create a dynamic and engaging environment for students.

Wayne State University, located in the heart of Detroit, offers a diverse and inclusive academic atmosphere, known for its programs in law, medicine, business, and engineering. Its urban campus setting provides unique opportunities for community engagement and real-world learning experiences.

Additionally, the state hosts a network of community colleges like Oakland Community College and Washtenaw Community College, providing affordable and accessible pathways for career preparation, associate degrees, and transfer programs to four-year institutions.

Michigan’s commitment to education is further reinforced by its investment in specialized schools and programs. For instance, the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers network and the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills provide exceptional educational experiences in STEM fields and international studies, respectively.

Whether it’s the strong foundation of primary education or the myriad of options for higher learning, Michigan’s educational landscape presents families with a wealth of choices to ensure a quality education tailored to their needs and aspirations.


8. The cost of living

Michigan has a lower cost of living compared to many other states, making it an affordable place to live. The state also has a lower property tax rate, which can make it more affordable to own a home.

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Michigan boasts a cost of living 8.7% below the national average, ranking 14th lowest among states as of 2021. Transportation is slightly pricier in Michigan at 3.2% above the national average, while housing stands out as notably cheaper, about 19.3% lower than the national average.

9. The job market

Michigan has a diverse economy, with a number of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. The state has a number of major employers, including the Big Three automakers and the University of Michigan. According to the University of Michigan’s report on the state’s economic outlook, statewide job growth is expected to climb more than 100,000 jobs above pre-pandemic levels by 2025.

Here are some key areas showing growth:

  1. Advanced Manufacturing: Michigan has a strong manufacturing legacy, and this sector continued to show growth, especially in advanced manufacturing fields such as automotive, aerospace, and technology-driven production.
  2. Healthcare and Life Sciences: There was notable growth in healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, medical research, and life sciences across various regions in Michigan. Cities like Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids have become hubs for medical research and healthcare services.
  3. Technology and Information Services: The tech sector, particularly in software development, IT services, and data analytics, has been on the rise. Areas like Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids have seen growth in tech-related jobs and startups.
  4. Renewable Energy and Sustainability: There has been a push towards renewable energy and sustainability efforts, leading to job growth in sectors related to clean energy, environmental sciences, and sustainable practices across the state.
  5. Tourism and Hospitality: Michigan’s tourism industry has also seen growth, especially in regions around the Great Lakes, thanks to the state’s natural beauty and various recreational activities.

As for areas within the state that have seen significant job growth, cities like Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing, and Kalamazoo have been notable for their economic development and job opportunities across different sectors.

10. The location

Michigan’s central location isn’t just about easy travel; it’s a gateway to a myriad of opportunities and experiences. Beyond its accessibility to major cities like Chicago, Cleveland, and Toronto, residents enjoy the convenience of reaching various attractions and diverse landscapes within a day’s drive. Whether it’s the stunning Niagara Falls, the picturesque beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, or the bustling streets of New York City, Michiganders have the advantage of exploring a wide array of destinations without the need for lengthy travel or extensive planning.

The takeaway?

Michigan is a great place to call home. From the stunning Great Lakes and beautiful beaches to the bustling cities and charming small towns, there are so many reasons someone should consider moving to the state. Whether you are looking for outdoor recreation, cultural opportunities, delicious food, or a great sports scene, Michigan has something for everyone.