57 Interesting and Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Michigan

Written by Priyanka Paul
Published: December 10, 2023
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Michigan, ‘the Great Lakes State’ is a state of striking contrasts. On the one side, you will find huge industrial cities, and on the other, you will find miles of wooded wilderness. From dirt paths to modern highways and the boom and bustle of local industries to rustic villages hidden in thick forests, the region’s incredible diversity makes it a truly remarkable state. Here are some other interesting and fun facts about the state of Michigan.

Fun Facts About Michigan You Probably Didn’t Know

State Facts

1. Large Land Area and Population

With an area of 96, 713 square miles, Michigan is the 11th largest state in the US. Additionally, it stands as the 10th most populous state in the nation.

2. Name

The state of ‘Michigan’ gets its name from the Chippewa Indian word, michi-gama, which means ‘large lake’.

3. French History in Michigan

Another interesting fact about the state of Michigan is that it has a strong French influence. Michigan’s strong French influence is evident in city names like ‘Detroit,’ ‘Sault Ste. Marie,’ and ‘Cadillac,’ reflecting the enduring impact of European settlers.

4. Michigan’s State Flower is the Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom flower on a white background

Not only do apple blossoms turn into apples, but they can also be eaten by themselves!

©iStock.com/Tim UR

Michigan’s state flower, the Apple Blossom, mirrors the state’s position as the third-largest apple-producing region in the US, with over 14.9 million apple trees.

Geography

5. Michigan has More Freshwater Coastline Than Any Other State

Lake Huron

Lake Huron in Michigan has the longest shoreline of any lake in the world.

©EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock.com

Michigan is the only state in the US that borders four of the five Great Lakes-Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. As a result, people say that wherever you are in Michigan, you are within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.

6. The State is a ‘Boater’s Paradise’

With over 11,000 inland lakes and streams, more than 36,000 miles of streams, and 199 waterfalls, Michigan is certainly a boater’s paradise!

7. Michigan Has Two Peninsulas

The Mackinac Bridge on a summer day. A suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Puffy clouds in a blue sky

The Mackinac Bridge in Michigan is a whopping 5 miles long.

©Craig Sterken/Shutterstock.com

Another interesting fact about Michigan is that it is the only state in the country with two peninsulas.
A suspension bridge called the ‘Mackinac Bridge’ connects the two peninsulas, namely the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula. The bridge is the longest of its kind in the world.

8. Michigan is Also Known as the Mitten State

High detailed Michigan physical map.

The Lower Peninsula resembles a human hand while the Eastern region looks like ‘the thumb’.

©BardoczPeter/iStock via Getty Images

The Lower Peninsula’s distinctive mitten shape has earned Michigan the endearing nickname of the ‘Mitten State‘.

9. Abundance of Lighthouses

Another fun fact about Michigan is that it has the most number of lighthouses in the country. There are over 120 lighthouses that stand sentinel on the state’s massive shoreline.

10. It Has the Biggest Moving Sand Dune in the World

The sand dunes at ‘Sleeping Bear’ on Lake Michigan reach over 400 feet, making it the largest moving sand dune globally.

11. Islands Galore

Michigan boasts 420 named islands scattered across the Great Lakes, some of which are world-famous destinations.

Population

12. The “Yoopers” and the “Trolls” Live in Michigan

Michigan’s residents humorously divide themselves into “Yoopers” and “Trolls”. “Yoopers” are the people from Michigan’s rocky and hilly Upper Peninsula. The name comes from U (upper) P (eninsula)-ERS. On the other hand, residents lightheartedly refer to those who live south of the Mackinac Bridge as “Trolls” since they are ‘under the bridge.’

13. The Majority of Michigan’s Population Resides in the Lower Peninsula

Around 97 percent of Michigan’s residents live clustered in and around the large cities in the state’s Lower Peninsula. The Detroit metropolitan area alone is home to more than half of the state’s population.

14. It Has One of the Largest Finnish Communities.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has one of the largest Finnish populations in the country. Furthermore, it is also home to the first and only Finnish University in the US called the ‘Finlandia University’ in Hancock.

15. It Has the Largest Arab American Community

The city of Dearborn in Michigan has one of the largest Arab populations outside of the Middle East. It is the only state in the US where Arabs account for more than one percent of the population.

Industries

16. Michigan is the Leading Manufacturer of Automobiles in the US

The state takes pride in being home to three of the largest automobile manufacturing companies, namely, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and the Chrysler Corporation.

17. The World’s Second Largest Chemical Company has its Headquarters in Michigan

The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan is a major supplier of general factory and cleaning chemicals.

18. The Kellogg Company was Founded Here

The city of Battle Creek in Michigan has earned the nickname “Cereal City” after the founding of the Kellogg Company and Post Cereal here.

19. It is Home to one of the World’s Largest Producers of Baby Food Products

“Gerber Products Company”, recognized as one of the world’s largest baby food manufacturers’ was founded in Fremont, Michigan in the year 1927.

20. The ‘Furniture Capital of America’ is in Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan, once held the title of one of the largest manufacturers of office furniture in the country

21. It Has One of the Nation’s Largest Pharmaceutical Plants

The ‘Parke-Davis Company’, one of America’s oldest and largest pharmaceutical products manufacturers is located in Detroit.

22. It Has the World’s Largest Cement Plant

The ‘Alpena Cement Plant‘ located in Michigan holds the distinction of being the largest cement plant in the world.

Agriculture

23. It is the Leading Supplier of Cherries

Picking cherries in the orchard . Boxes of freshly picked lapins cherries. Industrial cherry orchard. Buckets of gathered sweet raw black cherries . Close-up view of green grass and boxes full.

Michigan is the place to find all things cherry-sauces, jams, preserves, candies and much more!

©Andrey Mihaylov/Shutterstock.com

The state grows 70% of the nation’s supply of tart cherries, making it the country’s leading supplier. Apart from this, Michigan is also the leading producer of Montmorency tart cherries in the world.

24. It Ranks First in the Production of Beans

loose dried black eyed peas beans

©Chatham172/Shutterstock.com

Michigan is the leading producer of dry black beans, small red beans, and cranberry beans. Additionally, it is also the second-largest producer of all dry beans.

25. It is one of the Leading Milk Producers in the Country

black and white cows in green grassy meadow under blue sky near amersfoort in holland

A fun fact about Michigan you probably didn’t know, is that its cows are known to produce the most milk in the country.

©ahavelaar/iStock via Getty Images

The state roughly has around 400,000 dairy cows and ranks sixth in the nation for the production of milk.

26. It Ranks Number One in the Nation for its Potato Crop and Potato Chips

New potato isolated on white background close up

The state is the largest producer of potatoes grown for potato chip production in the USA.

©Hong Vo/Shutterstock.com

Farmers harvest nearly 1.7 billion potatoes in the state annually. Of this, more than 70 percent go toward chip production. Furthermore, many well-known potato chip brands such as ‘Better Made Potato Chips’, ‘Uncle Ray’s Potato Chips’, and ‘Downey’s Potato Chips’ call Michigan home.

27. It is the Biggest Producer of Asparagus

Asparagus

©iMarzi/Shutterstock.com

Oceana County in Michigan is known as the “asparagus capital of the world”. The state has around 100 family farmers who produce approximately 20 million pounds of asparagus every year.

28. It is a Top Producer of Blueberries

Blueberry

The state grows tens of millions of pounds of blueberries every year!

©Bukhta Yurii/Shutterstock.com

Michigan ranks third in the production of blueberries in the USA, with over 20 varieties grown.

29. It is the Leading Producer of Pickling Cucumbers

Pickling Cucumbers - Types of Cucumbers

©Ermolenko Aleksandra/Shutterstock.com

The state is the biggest producer of pickling cucumbers and produced nearly 216,726 tons in the year 2022. Additionally, it also ranks third in the nation for the production of fresh market cucumbers.

30. It is one of the Biggest Grape-producing States in the Nation

Red Grapes on the Vine

Michigan State is the eighth-largest state for wine grape production in the USA.

©Woodkern/iStock via Getty Images

The state has over 3,000 acres of wine-grape vineyards. What’s more, it also has over 175 commercial wineries!

31. It is the Third Biggest Producer of Christmas Trees

Fraser Fir, Christmas Tree, Farm, Agriculture, Agricultural Field

The state of Michigan harvests and sells more than 10 major Christmas tree species.

©arlutz73/ via Getty Images

The state supplies more than 1.92 million fresh Christmas trees to the national market each year.

32. Farmers Markets

With nearly 300 farmers markets, Michigan ranks third in the country for its local farmers markets.

Other Fun Facts

33. North America’s Largest Automobile Museum is Here


Located in Kalamazoo in southern Michigan, the Gilmore Car Museum is North America’s largest automobile museum.

34. It was the First State in the Country to Open a Pedestrian-only Shopping Mall

Opened in the year 1959, the ‘Kalamazoo Mall’ was the first of its kind, created to relieve downtown traffic congestion.

35. It Has ‘the Only Authentic Working Dutch Windmill’

The city of Holland in Michigan was founded by Dutch immigrants. The city houses the ‘DeZwaan (the Swan) Windmill’ which enjoys the unique status of being ‘the only authentic Dutch windmill’ operating in the United States.

36. It is the Only Place in the World With a Floating Post Office

J. W. Westcott II

The floating post office is a 49-foot-long boat that has been operational since the year 1874.

©Notorious4life / CC0 1.0 – License

The J.W. Westcott II, the world’s only floating post office sits in the Detroit River. Not only does it stand as an important symbol of maritime heritage, but it also plays a significant role in delivering mail to ships that pass through this busy waterway.

37. It is the Birthplace of the Soda Beverage “Vernors”

“Vernors” is a carbonated ginger ale pop that was created by Detroiter James Vernor, who is also a well-reputed pharmacist.

38. It is Known as ‘the Wolverine State

Michigan came to be called ‘Wolverines’ during its border dispute with Ohio in the year 1803. Despite its nickname, these large, aggressive members of the weasel family are rarely ever seen in the state.

39. It was the First State in the US to have a Zoo with Open-Air, Cageless Exhibits

Detroit Zoo water tower sign

©alisafarov/Shutterstock.com

The Detroit Zoo in Michigan was one of the first zoos to allow its animals more freedom to roam through the facility. Additionally, this innovative approach marked a significant shift in traditional zoo practices and encouraged a more natural environment for animals.

40. The Legendary Motown Records Belong to Michigan

“Motown” or “Motor City” was the nickname given to the city of Detroit in Michigan. But, it later became famous for a company called “Motown Records” as well. The company which was started by Berry Gordy, Jr. made many hit records and was owned by Black artists.

41. The First Agricultural College was Founded in Michigan

The Michigan State University, founded in the year 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, holds a distinctive honor as the nation’s first agricultural college.

42. It is One of the Top Beer Brewers in the country

Group of happy friends drinking and toasting beer at brewery bar restaurant - Friendship concept with young people having fun together at cool vintage pub - Focus on middle pint glass - High iso image

©View Apart/Shutterstock.com

With over 400 breweries and microbreweries, Michigan stands out as the sixth-largest craft beer state

43. The Third-oldest City of America is in Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie, founded by French missionaries in the year 1668, holds the distinction of being the oldest city in Michigan. Furthermore, it is also recognized as the third oldest continuous settlement in the entire nation.

44. It has the World’s First International Underwater Tunnel for Automotives

The Detroit-Canada Tunnel, linking Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, stands as a major border crossing. Additionally, it holds the unique distinction of being the world’s only underwater tunnel in the United States

45. It is Often Known as the Pizza Capital of the World

detroit pizza on an iron tray. selective focus

©Palplaner/Shutterstock.com

The Detroit-style pizza has earned a reputation for being the best in the country.

46. Michigan has Many Foods that are Unique to the State

The Coney Island hot dogs, Mackinac Island fudge, and Cornish Pasties are some of the most iconic foods of Michigan.

47. It has the World’s Largest Christmas Store

The Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan is said to be the size of one and a half football fields. Furthermore, it proudly holds the title of being the largest Christmas store in the world

48. The Nation’s Largest Manmade Ski Slide is in Michigan

The Pine Mountain Ski Jump located in Iron Mountain, Michigan is the largest in the country.

49. It is Home to One of the Four Publicly Accessible Ice Luge Tracks in America

The Muskegon Luge Track is one of the only four luge tracks in the nation.

50. It has 30 Certified Dark Sky Parks

The designated parks offer outstanding views of the dark sky. Furthermore, it also provides unique opportunities for stargazing and observing celestial wonders.

51. It is Home to One of the Only 13 Capitol Buildings in the Country

Not only does the Michigan State Capitol hold a very special place in American history, but it is also formally recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

52. It is the Birthplace of Famous Pop Singer Madonna

Madonna Rebel Heart Tour 2015

Madonna is one of the most famous artists of all time!

©chrisweger / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Singer Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan. She was subsequently raised in Pontiac and Rochester Hills, north of Detroit.

53. It is home to the Iconic “Graffiti Alley”

The “graffiti alley” or what is widely known as the “chewing gum wall” is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The wall was first painted by artist Katherine Cost in the year 1999 as a statement of free expression.

54. The World’s Tallest Identical Twins are from Michigan

According to the Guinness World Records, Michael and James Lanier from Troy, Michigan are the world’s tallest identical twins standing at 7 feet 3 inches.

55. It was the First English Speaking Government to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Michigan government abolished the death penalty for all ordinary crimes in the year 1846.

56. It is Home to the World’s Largest Limestone Quarry

Spread over 8,024 acres the limestone quarry in Rogers City, Michigan is the world’s largest.

57. The World’s Largest Weather Vane is in Michigan

The giant weather vane is 48 feet high and sits on the shores of White Lake in Michigan.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Priyanka Paul is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on plants, geography, and insects. Priyanka has been working as a writer for over 5 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. A resident of Buffalo, New York, Priyanka enjoys gardening, hiking, and spending time observing nature’s little creatures.

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