Michigan is a state that is often overlooked as a travel destination, but it is actually home to some of the most beautiful and unique places in the United States. From stunning natural landscapes to bustling cities, Michigan has something to offer for every type of traveler. My husband and I recently took a week long road trip through the mitten state and absolutely fell in love.
In this article, we will explore the best places to visit in Michigan and what makes them so special.
If you're looking for a state that offers a wide range of activities and attractions, Michigan should be at the top of your list. Located in the Great Lakes region of the United States, Michigan is the 11th largest state in the country. It's famous for its stunning natural beauty, with more than 3,000 miles of shoreline along the Great Lakes, as well as its unique culture, history, and architecture.
One of the things that makes Michigan such a great place to visit is the abundance of outdoor activities. From over 100 miles of hiking trails to water sports and fishing, there's something for everyone. You can explore the sand dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, cross country ski, paddle down the Au Sable River, or look for bald eagles while hiking through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Michigan is also home to a number of historical and cultural sights. You can visit the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn to learn about the history of the automobile industry, explore the Mackinac Island State Park to see the historic Fort Mackinac, or take a tour of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
If you're interested in architecture, Michigan has plenty of unique mansions and buildings to explore. The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is a prime example of Victorian-era architecture, while the Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture in Grand Rapids is an outdoors artistic delight.
Overall, Michigan is a state that truly has something for everyone. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventure, historical and cultural sights, or unique architecture, you'll find it all here. Michigan is even home to the world's largest Christmas store, Bronner's. So pack your bags and start planning your next Michigan trip today!
25 Best Places to Visit in Michigan
Best Cities to Visit in Michigan
Grand Rapids is known as Beer City USA, with over 80 breweries in the area. The city is home to the famous Founders Brewing Company, which has been named one of the best breweries in the world. While you're in Grand Rapids, make sure to visit the Downtown Market, which offers a variety of local food and drink options. For an outdoor art experience, check out the Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park.
My recommendations for places to visit in Grand Rapids:
Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital of the World, and for good reason. The city hosts the National Cherry Festival every year, and there are plenty of cherry orchards to visit. Traverse City is also home to a number of wineries, making it a great destination for wine lovers. If you're looking for a beach, make sure to visit Van's Beach or Torch Lake. For a unique dining experience, check out The Little Fleet, which offers a variety of food trucks in a laid-back atmosphere.
My recommendations for places to visit in Traverse City:
- Little Fleet for a fun food truck experience
- Mama Lu's for tacos and margs on tap
- Trattoria Stella for Italian food
- Brys Estate for a vineyard and winery experience
- Chateau Chantal to visit the winery and beautiful inn
- Van's Beach for a walk on the beach or day in the sun
- Torch Lake to rent a boat or just park and go swimming
Detroit, also known as Motor City, is a must-visit destination for car enthusiasts. The city is home to the famous Henry Ford Museum, where you can see classic cars, including the original Model T. Detroit is also known for its music scene, with Motown Records being founded here. If you're interested in a historical museum, make sure to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has a collection of over 65,000 works of art.
My recommendations for places to visit in Detroit:
- Motown Museum
- Northern Lights Lounge for food and drinks on the patio
- Detroit Architecture Tour
- Selden Standard for a farm-to-table meal
- Lafeyette or American coney dogs to choose your side of the rivalry
- Bronx Bar for drinks and bar food on the patio
- Eastern Market for food options and local shops
- Belle Isle to watch a great sunset with a city view
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, which has a beautiful campus to explore. The city is also known for its food scene, with a variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Make sure to visit the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market, which offers local produce and artisanal goods. If you're interested in art, check out the University of Michigan Museum of Art, which has a collection of over 20,000 works of art.
My recommendations for places to visit in Ann Arbor:
Best Places to Visit in Michigan in the Summer: Beach Towns
Michigan is a great place to visit in the summer, with plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit during the summer months:
Saugatuck is a charming town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's known for its beautiful beaches, art galleries, and quaint shops. You can spend the day exploring the town, or head out on a boat tour of the lake.
My recommendations for places to visit in Saugatuck:
Holland is another picturesque town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's famous for its tulip festival, which takes place in the spring, but there's plenty to do in the summer as well. You can visit the Holland State Park Beach, hike through the Holland State Park, or take a stroll through the Windmill Island Gardens.
My recommendations for places to visit in Holland:
Grand Haven is a popular summer destination for families. It's home to a beautiful beach, a boardwalk, and plenty of restaurants and shops. You can also take a walk along the Grand River or visit the Grand Haven Lighthouse.
My recommendations for places to visit in Grand Haven:
Ludington is a small town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's known for its beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and state park. You can spend the day hiking through the state park, or take a ferry to the nearby Manitou Islands.
My recommendations for things to do in Ludington:
Fishtown is a historic fishing village located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's known for its charming shops, galleries, and restaurants. You can also take a walk along the docks and watch the fishermen bring in their catch.
Torch Lake is a beautiful lake located in Northern Michigan. It's known for its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches. You can spend the day swimming, boating, or just relaxing on the beach.
Directions for where to park to walk out onto the Torch Lake Sandbar:
Park on the edge of Crystal Beach Road just North of Torch River Marina and the bridge over Torch River. You'll see a very small beach nearby. Walk from the shore out to the sandbar there. If using maps, put in this address:
Glen Arbor is a small town located near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It's known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and quaint shops. You can spend the day exploring the dunes, or take a walk through the town.
My recommendations for places to visit in Glen Arbor:
Harbor Springs is a charming town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's known for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and restaurants. You can spend the day hiking through the state park, or take a stroll through the town.
My recommendations for things to do in Harbor Springs:
Petoskey is a small town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's known for its beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and unique shops. You can spend the day exploring the town, or take a drive along the scenic Tunnel of Trees.
My recommendations for places to visit in Petoskey:
Suttons Bay is a charming town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's known for its beautiful beaches, wineries, and art galleries. You can spend the day exploring the town, or take a drive along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.
My recommendations for things to do in Suttons Bay:
Bay City is a historic town located on the shores of Lake Huron. It's known for its beautiful architecture, museums, and restaurants. You can spend the day exploring the town, or take a boat tour of the Saginaw Bay.
My recommendations for places to visit in Bay City:
Port Austin is a small town located on the shores of Lake Huron. It's known for its beautiful beaches, lighthouse, and unique shops. You can spend the day exploring the town, or take a hike through the nearby Port Crescent State Park.
My recommendations for things to do in Port Austin:
Best Places to Visit in Michigan in the Upper Peninsula
If you are planning a trip to Michigan, don't forget to visit the Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is a beautiful and unique part of Michigan, with many natural wonders and interesting attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit in the Upper Peninsula.
Mackinaw City is a charming town located at the northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its historic sites and natural beauty. You can visit Fort Michilimackinac, a reconstructed 18th-century fort, or take a ferry to Mackinac Island, a car-free island with Victorian-era architecture and stunning views.
St. Ignace is a small town located on the northern shore of Lake Huron, just across the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City. It is a great place to explore the outdoors, with many hiking and biking trails, as well as beaches and parks. You can also visit the Museum of Ojibwa Culture, which celebrates the history and culture of the local Native American tribes.
We took the Sheplers Ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island and definitely recommend it! Even if you just spend a few hours on the island, it is worth riding the ferry to Mackinac Island to see it.
Mackinac Island is a must-visit destination in the Upper Peninsula. This car-free island is known for its Victorian-era architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and stunning natural beauty. You can explore the island on foot, by bike, or by horse-drawn carriage, and visit attractions like Fort Mackinac and the Grand Hotel.
This was my favorite place we visited in Michigan! Definitely include this on your road trip itinerary if you are anywhere in the Upper Peninsula.
My recommendations for things to do on Mackinac Island:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a 42-mile stretch of Lake Superior shoreline known for its colorful sandstone cliffs, beaches, and waterfalls. You can hike, kayak, or take a boat tour to explore the park and see its natural wonders up close. On your way to Pictured Rocks, stop by Tahquamenon Falls State Park to see some beautiful waterfalls.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and is known for its towering sand dunes and stunning views. You can hike, swim, or take a scenic drive to explore the park and see its natural beauty.
Best Places to Visit in Michigan for Outdoor Enthusiasts
As an outdoor enthusiast, Michigan has a lot to offer. From stunning views to thrilling adventures, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit in Michigan for outdoor enthusiasts:
Agawa Canyon Train Tour
If you're looking for a unique way to experience the beauty of Michigan, the Agawa Canyon Train Tour is a must-visit. This scenic train ride takes you through the rugged wilderness of the Canadian Shield, offering stunning views of lakes, forests, and waterfalls along the way. The tour also includes a stop at the Agawa Canyon, where you can hike, fish, or simply take in the breathtaking scenery.
Already up near Canada? Take a ferry to Isle Royale National Park to explore the island and take in even more amazing scenery.
Seeing the Northern Lights
Michigan is one of the few places in the United States where you can see the Northern Lights. Head to the Upper Peninsula for your best chance to catch a glimpse of this natural wonder. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Michigan is during the fall and winter months, when the nights are longer and darker.
Visit Ice Caves
If you're up for an adventure, check out the ice caves in Eben and Grand Island. These natural wonders are formed by frozen waterfalls and offer a unique and beautiful experience. Be sure to dress warmly and bring appropriate gear, as the caves can be slippery and cold.
View the Fall Foliage in the Porcupine Mountains
Michigan is known for its stunning fall foliage, and the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park are one of the best places to view it. Take a hike on one of the many trails in the park and enjoy the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. Be sure to bring your camera, as the views are truly breathtaking.
In conclusion, Michigan is a state that offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences for visitors. From the stunning natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula to the vibrant cultural scene of Detroit, there is something for everyone in this Great Lakes State. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, historic sites, or world-class dining and entertainment, Michigan has it all. I hope that this guide to the 25 best places to visit in Michigan has inspired you to plan your next trip to this wonderful state and explore all that it has to offer!
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