Route 31 shows off Lake Michigan's coastline

July 6, 2011 12:00 AM

Anyone who's ever visited the city of Chicago might think that they've seen Lake Michigan, but to truly experience this Great Lake, drivers should consider heading up Route 31 to northern Michigan, which was selected by Readers Digest as one of America's Most Scenic Drives.

Also known as Route 196, this road hugs the coastline of the Great Lake all the way up until the tip of the state. Driving all the way up might take some time, but it's well worth it for the magnificent views. As drivers get into the northern part of Michigan, they'll be able to enjoy a wide variety of parks, such as Manistee National Forest.

Continue on to Traverse City, and wine connoisseurs will have much to celebrate. This small town is home to more than 15 separate vineyards, all of which produce delicious and varied beverages for travelers to taste.

As drivers continue to the north, they'll want to branch off of Route 31 and switch to Route 119, which continues to hug the coastline as 31 turns further inland. This road is sometimes known as the "Tunnel of Trees" for the massive forests that flank either side.

Eventually, the road turns into the Mackinac Bridge, which is one of the world's largest suspension bridges. The bridge connects Upper and Lower Michigan and is located not too far from the Canadian border. 

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