Michigan is in the upper Midwest and the heart of the Great Lakes region. It has many attractions, famous landmarks, and scenic state and national parks and forests. In addition to the “great ones”, it has about 12,000 inland lakes, 38 deep-water ports, more miles of coastline than any state but Alaska, and more lighthouses than any other U.S. state. Its agriculture features tourist-friendly fare such as cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples, and wine. And its cities include a major metropolis, some university towns, and countless rustic villages. The state is geographically unique, being comprised of two major peninsulas, and it can be further divided into five distinct areas. They are the Upper Peninsula, (known to Michiganders as "The U.P."), Northern Michigan (Big Rapids and Northwards), Western Michigan (along the sandy coast of Lake Michigan), Central Michigan or "Mid-Michigan" and the Southeast or "Downstate".
The Lower Peninsula has the majority of the population (primarily in the south), while the Upper Peninsula, separated by Lake Michigan and a bit of Lake Huron, is mostly rural. Until 1957, the only way to drive from one to the other was to go all the way around Lake Michigan, or take your car onto a ferry. Michigan's economy was previously dominated by the auto industry, but has diversified somewhat as that and other traditional manufacturing industries have moved their facilities elsewhere, and it's beginning to attract more information technology, life sciences, and high-tech manufacturing jobs. Tourism is a growing segment of the economy, focusing in winter on activities in the snow, and in summer on the State's extensive beaches, lakes, and rivers. Hunting, fishing, and sailing are also popular outdoor activities