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With the expansive hardwood forest in Northern Michigan, "fall color" tourist are found throughout the area in early to mid-autumn.
When the spring rains come, many roads and bridges become impassable due to flooding or muddy to the point a four-wheel drive cannot pass.
Snowmobiling, also called sledding, is popular, and with hundreds of miles of interconnected groomed trails cross the region. Tip-up Town on Houghton Lake is a major ice-fishing, snowmobiling and winter sports festival, and is unique in that it is a village that assembles out on the frozen lake surface.
Higgins Lake also offers good ice fishing and has many snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing trails at the North Higgins Lake State Park.
Across the Straits of Mackinac, to the north, west and northeast, lies the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the "U. Despite its geographic location as the most northerly part of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula is not usually included in the definition of Northern Michigan (although Northern Michigan University is located in the U. city of Marquette), and is instead regarded by Michigan residents as a distinct region of the state.
Although, residents of the Upper Peninsula often say that "Northern Michigan" is not in the Lower Peninsula.
Some residents in the southern part of the state consider its southern limit to be just north of Flint, Port Huron, and Grand Rapids, but more northern residents restrict it to the area north of Mount Pleasant: the "fingers" of the mitten-like shape of the Lower Peninsula. Signs in the Lower Peninsula that mark that line are at Mission Point Light.
Grayling and Gaylord and their environs are recognized for Nordic skiing.
Cadillac is reputed to be even more popular during the winter than it is in the summer.
Northern Lower Michigan is distinct from the more northerly Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale, which, obviously, are also located in "northern" Michigan.
In the northern-most 21 counties in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the total population of the region is 506,658 people.