Tourism has been an important source of economic activity in Michigan since the 19th century and now rivals agriculture as the second most important segment of the state's economy. In 2001, the state hosted over 67 million visitors, up from 58.8 million in 2000. About 54% of all travel is in the form of day-trips for state residents or visitors from neighboring states. The current slogan for tourism in Michigan is "Great Lakes, Great Times."
Michigan's tourist attractions are diverse and readily accessible to much of the country's population. The opportunities offered by Michigan's water resources are the number one attraction; no part of the state is more than 85 mi (137 km) from one of the Great Lakes, and most of the population lives only a few miles away from one of the thousands of inland lakes and streams. Southwestern Michigan's sandy beaches along Lake Michigan offer sunbathing and swimming on 5,000 km of Great Lakes coastline. Inland lakes numbering 11,000 in southern Michigan are favored by swimmers while the Metropolitan Beach on Lake St. Clair, northeast of Detroit, claims to be the largest artificial-lake beach in the world. Camping has enjoyed an enormous increase in popularity; in addition to the extensive public camping facilities, there are many private campgrounds.
Although the tourist and resort business has been primarily a summer activity, the rising popularity of ice fishing, skiing, and other winter sports, autumn scenic tours, hunting, and spring festivals has made tourism a year-round business in many parts of the state. Historic attractions have been heavily promoted in recent years, following the success of Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village; such as the Motown Historical Museum. Tours of Detroit automobile factories and other industrial sites, such as Battle Creek's breakfast-food plants, are also important tourist attractions. The Spirit of Ford, a 50,000 sq ft center in Dearborn, offers a "behind the scenes" look at how the automaker designs, engineers, tests, and produces cars and trucks.
Camping and recreational facilities are provided by the federal government at three national forests comprising 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), three facilities operated by the National Park Service (Isle Royale National Park, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore), and several wildlife sanctuaries. A wild African-style village covering 28.3 hectares (70 acres) at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek features giraffes, zebras, and ostrich, plus a variety of endangered African species roaming freely on the grassy savannah.
State-operated facilities include 64 parks and recreational areas with 172,343 acres (69,747 hectares), and state forests and wildlife areas totaling 4,250,000 acres (1,720,000 hectares). Holland and Warren Dunes state parks, located on Lake Michigan, have the largest annual park attendances; Ludington State Park, also on Lake Michigan, attracts the largest number of campers.