TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan, for one reason or another, has found itself at the bottom of many lists, especially the last few years, when it pertains to things like the economy, education, crime, infrastructure, and many other metrics. In fact, according to a recent U.S. News & Word Report, Michigan ranks #42 in a list of the “best” states.

But Michigan, often referred to as the “Great Lakes State,” is a treasure trove of natural beauty, cultural richness, and fun surprises to discover. With its unique combination of scenic landscapes and vibrant communities, Michigan still stands out as an exceptional place to live – if you can afford it and if you can weather the challenges it might throw at you – including the actual weather. Here are five compelling reasons why Michigan is still the best state to call home.

1. Stunning Natural Beauty.

MORE NEWS: Gov. Whitmer on Trump Shooting: ‘No Place for Political Violence’

Michigan’s natural landscapes are nothing short of breathtaking. With more than 3,200 miles of coastline, the state boasts the longest freshwater coastline in the United States. The pristine waters of the Great Lakes offer endless opportunities for recreation, from boating and fishing to swimming and kayaking. In addition to its lakes, Michigan is home to over 11,000 inland lakes and numerous rivers, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

The state’s diverse topography includes lush forests, rolling hills, and picturesque farmland. The Upper Peninsula, with its rugged terrain and stunning waterfalls, provides a perfect escape for those seeking adventure and solitude.

2. Rich Cultural Heritage.

Michigan is a cultural melting pot with a rich history and vibrant arts scene. The state is home to numerous museums, theaters, and music venues that showcase a wide array of artistic expressions. Detroit, often dubbed the “Motor City,” is renowned for its contributions to music, particularly Motown, which has left an indelible mark on the global music landscape.

In the world of art, Grand Rapids offers the ever popular “ArtPrize” which has been described as the world’s most attended public art event. The event, which has taken place in the fall since 2009, attracts millions of people who have flocked to the city to see thousands of artwork pieces displayed all over the downtown area.

Festivals and events celebrating Michigan’s diverse heritage are held throughout the year, from the Tulip Time Festival in Holland to the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. And don’t forget the Yale Bologna Festival in Yale and the Elvis Fest in Belleville! These cultural experiences foster a strong sense of community and pride among residents.

3. Vibrant Communities.

One of Michigan’s greatest strengths lies in its sense of community. Whether you live in a bustling city or a small town, you’ll find welcoming neighborhoods where people genuinely care about one another. The state’s residents are known for their friendliness and willingness to lend a helping hand.

MORE NEWS: BREAKING: Possible Shots Fired at President Trump at PA Rally

Michigan’s communities are also characterized by their strong civic engagement and volunteerism. Residents take pride in their towns and cities, actively participating in local events, charities, and community projects. This spirit of collaboration and mutual support creates a nurturing environment for families, individuals and businesses.

4. Four Distinct Seasons.

Living in Michigan means experiencing the full spectrum of seasonal changes. Each season brings its own charm and activities, making the state a year-round destination for various recreational pursuits. Spring blooms with vibrant flowers and rejuvenating weather, perfect for hiking and exploring the state’s numerous parks and gardens.

Summer offers warm temperatures ideal for beach outings, water sports, and enjoying the many festivals. Fall is a time of stunning foliage, apple picking, and cozy bonfires. Winter transforms Michigan into a wonderland for snow sports, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

5. The Mystery Spot and Other Fun Oddities.

As children in Michigan, traveling in your parents station wagon, you undoubtedly saw signs for “The Mystery Spot” in different parts of the state. What was it? And why wouldn’t your parents pull over to find out? The Mystery Spot wasn’t usually the destination that our folks had planned on going to. These hidden gems (to us) were unexpected places along the way and we begged our parents to stop, throwing a wrench into their carefully constructed vacation plans.

In St. Ignace, located just above the Mackinac Bridge (another great place in Michigan to visit) The Mystery Spot still has some surprises in store for tourists including a crooked house, zip-lining and mini-golf. However, for those who are hoping to see Big Foot or the Dogman, the search is still on.

There are other weird and interesting things to see in Michigan as well including an 80’ tall tire, a nun doll museum, a Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo, the world’s tallest Indian and Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.

Michigan is Great.

While Michigan may face its share of challenges, it undeniably shines with its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, vibrant communities, diverse seasons, and intriguing oddities. These elements create a unique and enduring appeal that makes Michigan not just a place to live, but a place to love. Despite its struggles, the spirit and resilience of its people, combined with the state’s inherent charm, continue to make Michigan a remarkable state to call home.