I partnered with DriveShop and Mazda to facilitate this post. I was given a Mazda CX9 to test drive for the duration of our vacation, but I was not paid for this review. Thank you to Drive Shop and Mazda for partnering with me. And thank you readers for supporting the brands that support this blog and my family.
All year we dream of our summer adventures in Michigan. We go every year, a Michigan bucket list in hand, and make memory after memory together with our aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. We breathe in the sweet scent of white pine and sugar maples. We rush to get our first glimpse of Great Lake Huron imagining that if we squint hard enough, maybe we could see the other side. We eat pasties from Kathy’s and our weights in fudge from Mackinac Island. We buy cheesy tourist souvenirs from shops called The Red Barn and Poppins. Michigan is our family’s own version of Disneyland. While many dream of mouse ears and fairies, we dream of Petoskey stones and s’mores.
This summer we were able to bring all five of our children with us. That’s one big blended family, my friends. We knew the best way to visit Michigan with our little tribe was in the Mazda CX9 since it seats eight. For two weeks, we drove a beautiful gray Mazda around the Great Lakes State and she did not disappoint. The CX9 took us all over North Eastern Michigan in comfort and style.
We visited Frankenmuth, where we played at the Zhender’s Splash Village Water Park and ate Zhender’s Famous Chicken Dinner. Aiden even tried some chicken liver patê.
We visited Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store, with over seven acres of Christmas decorations, ornaments, lights, and everything else necessary for decking the halls and fa la la la la-ing.
We enjoyed Tim Horton’s (which is really a Canada thing, but they’ve seeped into Michigan) drinks and TimBits.
We picnic-ed on the a grassy shore of Lake Huron’s coast.
We crossed the Mackinac Bridge.
Our CX9 took us to the best canoe spot in Northern Michigan, just off the Au Sauble River.
We visited cousins and made family memories.
We took a ride on the Au Sauble River Queen.
We fished. And we fished. And we fished some more.
Our Mazda CX9 took us to a dairy farm where we pet baby cows and chased around some chickens.
We learned the history of the Thunder Bay area and it’s lighthouse.
With five children and two adults traveling up and down the eastern coast of Michigan, we needed a vehicle that could handle not only the wear and tear of our family, but the constant changing of topography. The Mazda CX9 help up beautifully and even had safety featured to ensure we stayed within our lanes. Cupholders galore, room enough for the kiddos to not get on each other’s nerves for being too close, and backseat air control were my mom favorites about the vehicle. With the optional third row being used, there wasn’t much room for our luggage or groceries, but when the row is tucked away, there is more trunk space than I could ever dream of. The navigation panel was handy since we were in mostly rural areas and needed to rely on it more than a few times, but I was disappointed I couldn’t search a popular destination without having the exact address. My husband especially loved that he could connect his phone to the system to play his Pandora stations and his Spotify playlists. He was also pretty impressed with the automatic windshield wipers. The Mazda CX9 made for a great family vehicle (despite my gripe about the trunk space, ha!) and handled everything Pure Michigan and the Sosa Tribe could throw at it.