Discover the Appeal of Michigan’s Northern & East Central Regions

Explore the State’s Outdoor Adventures,
Local Attractions, Events & More


United Country Real Estate | Great Lakes Realty & Auction has offices in Atlanta, Imlay City and Reese, Michigan. This allows us to serve clients’ real estate needs across both Northern Michigan and East Central Michigan.

These regions of the state we call home offer a world of adventures outdoors against the beautiful backdrop of rolling rivers, deep lakes and lush forests. And fittingly, forestry, agriculture and tourism are a big part of the economy, especially in Northern Michigan.

There are cities, towns and communities of all sizes in these parts of Michigan, and as many suburban areas as there are rural ones. So, no matter your preference, our real estate pros can guide you to the best property options for your lifestyle.

Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of Northern and East Central Michigan for residents and visitors alike.

Michigan Offers Amazing Outdoor Recreation at Lakes & State Parks

Surrounding forests and 11 area lakes make Northern Michigan a great vacation destination. And since Atlanta is known as the “Elk Capital of Michigan,” the region is also popular with hunters. In fact, there’s a wide variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation across both Northern and Central Michigan, from fishing to hiking, swimming, skiing, camping and more.

Clear Lake State Park is a 290-acre retreat located within Mackinaw State Forest about 10 miles from Atlanta, Mich. It has a nice sandy beach, shallow swimming area and campsites. A 20-minute drive from Atlanta, you’ll find Onaway State Park, or head 45 minutes to Indian River for the 400-acre Burt Lake State Park to fish for trout, bass and pike.

PH Hoeft State Park in Rogers City on the shores of Lake Huron has trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing, while Aloha State Park in Cheboygan (just over an hour from Atlanta) has modern campsites and is known as a great wintertime ice fishing spot.

In and around East Central Michigan and the “Thumb Region,” there’s Bay City State Park, just 20 minutes from Reese. It has freshwater wetlands that make it a “hot spot” for birders. And less than an hour from Reese are Wild Fowl Bay State Park and Albert E. Sleeper State Park. The latter on Saginaw Bay features ancient dune forests. Not too far from Imlay City in Laingsburg, Sleepy Hollow State Park offers a massive 2,600 acres for every imaginable outdoor adventure.

Northern & East Central Michigan: Enjoy History, Festivals, Food & Fun


Beyond all those incredible lakes and parks, there’s plenty else to do across Northern and East Central Michigan. From great golf courses to fun festivals, historic discoveries, engaging farmers markets and more … there’s simply no shortage of options when you’re looking to enjoy a little downtime.

If you’re idea of staying active is by hitting the links, Elk Ridge Golf Club in Atlanta is a nice start, as is the nearby Garland Lodge & Golf Resort in Lewiston. Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman features golf, an RV Park, high-end events and even elk viewing trips.

Annual events and festivals are always a hit in Michigan and there are more in our regions that stand out than we can name here. The annual Atlanta Elk Festival in September is a family-friendly, four-day event with vendors, games, music and a lot more. And the Nor-east’r Music and Art Festival at the Oscoda County Fairgrounds in Mio is something you have to see to believe. Another Northern Michigan event, the Annual Walloon Lake Winterfest features outdoor winter activities, ice carvings, food and an adult beverage tasting room.

Farther down in the East Central part of the state, Lapeer Days in Lapeer County is Michigan’s largest free festival, held over three days in August. In nearby Tuscola County, the annual Pumpkin Festival includes contests, shows, a parade and more, while the weeklong Tuscola County Fair in late July always draws a big crowd.

If uniqueness is something that interests you, you might find the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History worth a visit (it’s housed in a spectacular French-style castle). An equally unique attraction, the Port Huron Lightship is a floating lighthouse (and National Historic Landmark) turned museum. And if you want to experience German culture on multiple levels, head to Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “Little Bavaria,” just a short drive from Reese.