10 Best Places to Visit in Michigan
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Michigan is a state filled with beauty and adventure, making it an exceptional vacation destination. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a month-long road trip, the Great Lake State has something for every traveler.

If you’re wondering where to begin your Michigan journey, we have got you covered! Here are the 10 best places to visit in Michigan, featuring top tourist attractions and hidden gems that you won’t want to miss out on. From exploring the stunning Great Lakes to immersing yourself in vibrant cities, Michigan is sure to provide you with unforgettable experiences. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the wonders of Michigan!

The Great Lakes: Michigan’s Crown Jewels

Michigan is a state blessed with natural beauty, and nothing showcases this more than the Great Lakes. The state’s shoreline stretches over 3,000 miles, offering plenty of opportunities for Michigan sightseeing and exploring Michigan.

The Great Lakes consist of five interconnected water bodies- Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. Each lake has its unique charm, from the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan to the rugged and isolated beauty of Lake Superior.

Visitors can experience the natural beauty and outdoor adventures that the Great Lakes offer. Michigan vacation spots offer something for everyone: sandy beaches, towering sand dunes, scenic drives, and historical lighthouses that offer a glimpse into Michigan’s maritime past.

Michigan vacation spots

Activities on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes offer a wide range of activities that cater to different interests. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, camp, fish and hunt. The state’s scenic driving routes, such as the Lake Michigan Shoreline Drive and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, offer spectacular views of the lakes and the surrounding landscape.

ActivityLocation
BoatingOn any of the five Great Lakes
BeachcombingLake Huron and Lake Michigan
FishingLake Huron and Lake Michigan
CampingPorcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
HikingPictured Rocks National Lakeshore
SightseeingGreat Lakes Seaway Trail

Must-visit Attractions

The Great Lakes are home to some of Michigan’s most iconic landmarks. Visitors should not miss these Michigan vacation spots:

  1. Tahquamenon Falls State Park: This park boasts the Upper and Lower Falls, which are among Michigan’s largest waterfalls.
  2. The Mackinac Bridge: This is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
  3. Holland State Park: The park offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan, sandy beaches, and miles of hiking and biking trails.
  4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: This park features massive dunes that offer stunning views of Lake Michigan.
  5. Little Traverse Bay: The bay is home to several charming towns, including Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Charlevoix. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

The Great Lakes should be a priority on every Michigan travel guide, making exploring Michigan a must-do. From the incredible sights to the exciting activities, there is something for everyone on Michigan’s shoreline.

Mackinac Island: A Step Back in Time

If you’re looking for a must-see destination in Michigan, Mackinac Island should be at the top of your list. This charming island takes you back in time with its Victorian-era architecture and horse-drawn carriages. Located in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island offers visitors a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life.

One of the island’s top attractions is Fort Mackinac, a historic military fort that dates back to the 18th century. Visitors can explore the fort and learn about its interesting history, including its role in the War of 1812.

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Another highlight of Mackinac Island is the Grand Hotel, a beautiful historic hotel that has been welcoming guests for over 130 years. The hotel’s stunning architecture and luxurious amenities make it the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a relaxing vacation.

Of course, no trip to Mackinac Island would be complete without a horse-drawn carriage tour of the island. You can sit back and relax as your guide takes you on a journey through the island’s scenic beauty and picturesque neighborhoods.

must-see destinations in Michigan

From the island’s beautiful historic architecture to its peaceful atmosphere, Mackinac Island is one of the top vacation spots in Michigan. So if you’re looking for a unique destination that combines history and natural beauty, Mackinac Island is the perfect choice.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Nature’s Playground

If you’re looking for a natural wonderland in Michigan, don’t miss the stunning Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Featuring towering sand dunes, crystal clear lakes, and miles of hiking trails, this park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Michigan Travel Guide

One of the park’s main attractions is the expansive sand dunes that tower up to 450 feet above Lake Michigan. These dunes offer visitors breathtaking views along with the perfect backdrop for a variety of outdoor activities.

If hiking is your thing, you can explore the numerous trails that meander through the park’s forests, dunes, and beaches. You’ll be able to choose from beginner to advanced level hikes, offering something for everyone.

The park’s two campgrounds provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and spend the night in the great outdoors. Alternatively, visitors can rent cabins or stay in nearby towns.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, coyotes, and bald eagles. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted to see more than 300 species of birds at the park.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience while exploring Michigan tourist attractions, plan a visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of Michigan’s nature and the endless recreational activities on offer.

Detroit: Motor City and Cultural Hub

Located on the banks of the Detroit River, Detroit offers a unique blend of history, art, and urban attractions. Known as the “Motor City,” Detroit has been at the forefront of the automotive industry for over a century and continues to pay homage to its roots with landmarks such as the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant and the Henry Ford Museum.

For art and culture enthusiasts, the Detroit Institute of Arts houses over 65,000 pieces of art from around the world. Visitors can also explore the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Motown Museum, and the Michigan Science Center. Don’t miss a Detroit Tigers game at the iconic Comerica Park, or take a stroll along the Riverwalk to enjoy stunning views of the skyline.

For an immersive experience in Detroit’s music scene, head over to the Jazz Cafe at Music Hall or the legendary Fox Theatre. And when it comes to dining, Detroit offers a mix of old and new, with iconic spots like Lafayette Coney Island and new favorites like Grey Ghost Detroit.

Michigan road trip

“Detroit is a hidden gem in the Midwest, with its rich history and arts scene. Don’t skip this city on your Michigan road trip!”

Traverse City: Cherry Capital of the World

Traverse City is the perfect destination for food and wine lovers visiting Michigan. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, there are plenty of outdoor activities to partake in. But it’s the city’s food scene and cherry orchards that keep visitors coming back.

The city is known as the “Cherry Capital of the World” for good reason. Each year, the National Cherry Festival is held in Traverse City to celebrate the region’s abundant cherry harvest. Visitors can taste various cherry-based products, attend food events and even participate in cherry pit spitting contests. Traverse City’s wineries are also worth a visit. Experience wine tasting while overlooking the beautiful vineyards and serene lakeshore.

Michigan vacation spots

But Traverse City isn’t just about cherries and wine. One can explore the city’s charming downtown, filled with unique shops and boutiques. A trip to the stunning Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must for those looking to explore Michigan’s natural beauty. The area also offers plenty of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Ann Arbor: The College Town Experience

If you’re looking for a unique college town experience in Michigan, Ann Arbor should be at the top of your list. Home to the prestigious University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers a lively cultural scene, beautiful parks, and diverse dining options.

One of the must-see destinations in Michigan, Ann Arbor boasts a variety of cultural attractions, including the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Michigan Theater. If you’re a sports fan, be sure to catch a football game at the Michigan Stadium, also known as “The Big House”.

When it comes to dining, Ann Arbor has something for everyone. From casual cafes to upscale restaurants, the city’s culinary scene is diverse and delicious. Be sure to try some local favorites, like Zingerman’s Deli and Frita Batidos.

Ann Arbor is also known for its various festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Ann Arbor Art Fair and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Michigan sightseeing

“Ann Arbor is a bustling college town with a dynamic arts scene and a variety of dining options. From the University of Michigan to local festivals and events, there’s always something to see and do in Ann Arbor.”

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Majestic Cliffs and Lakeshore Trails

If you’re looking for breathtaking views of colorful cliffs and waterfalls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a must-visit destination in Michigan. Located on Lake Superior, this park offers visitors the chance to explore stunning natural formations and scenic landscapes.

The park is home to multicolored sandstone cliffs that rise from the lake and create an enchanting sight to see. Be sure to take a boat tour to get a closer look at the rocks, or hike the miles of trails that wind through the park to discover hidden waterfalls and scenic overlooks.

If you’re up for more adventure, try your hand at kayaking in the park’s crystal-clear waters, or journey to the park’s backcountry for a true wilderness experience. And, if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights from the park’s dark skies.

Majestic cliffs and waterfalls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or just a peaceful escape, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a top tourist attraction in Michigan you won’t want to miss. It’s the perfect destination for sightseeing and exploring Michigan’s natural beauty.

Holland: A Touch of Dutch Heritage

Experience a touch of Dutch heritage in Holland, Michigan. This charming city embraces its roots with the annual Tulip Time Festival, where over six million tulips bloom in vibrant colors throughout the streets and parks.

Take a stroll through the city’s downtown area and you’ll find unique shops, galleries, and restaurants that reflect Holland’s Dutch influence. The city’s iconic windmill, De Zwaan, stands tall in Windmill Island Gardens, transporting visitors back in time to the Netherlands of the 18th century.

For a serene experience, take a leisurely walk through the city’s tulip gardens at Window on the Waterfront Park, where you’ll see stunning displays of flowers and the peaceful waters of Lake Macatawa. Don’t forget to visit the Dutch Marktplaats, a marketplace offering a variety of Dutch-inspired souvenirs and gifts.

Michigan vacation spots

Cultural Attractions in Holland, Michigan

AttractionDescription
De Zwaan WindmillA 125-foot windmill imported from the Netherlands in 1964, it is one of the oldest authentic Dutch windmills in the USA.
Holland MuseumA museum dedicated to preserving the city’s Dutch heritage and showcasing artifacts and exhibits that trace the history of the region.
Holland Farmers MarketAn open-air market where visitors can buy locally-grown produce, hear live music, and enjoy the atmosphere of a bustling marketplace.

Plan your trip to Holland as part of your Michigan vacation spots list. It’s a must-see destination in Michigan with its charming downtown, cultural attractions, and stunning tulip gardens. You’ll enjoy the town’s Dutch heritage and the picturesque Windmill Island Gardens. Be sure to visit during the annual Tulip Time Festival to see the city in full bloom.

The Upper Peninsula: Untouched Wilderness

If you’re looking for unspoiled natural beauty on your Michigan road trip, look no further than the Upper Peninsula. This region is home to pristine forests, crystal-clear lakes, and stunning waterfalls that are sure to take your breath away. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy scenic drives, the Upper Peninsula has something to offer every nature lover.

Michigan wilderness

One of the top tourist attractions in Michigan, the Upper Peninsula is a must-see destination on your Michigan travel guide. Drive along the Lake Superior shoreline on the Great Lakes Circle Tour and enjoy the picturesque views of the endless waters. Be sure to make a stop at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, home to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. You can explore easy hiking trails, rent a kayak, or go fishing in the park’s rivers and lakes.

Hidden Gems of the Upper Peninsula

Aside from the well-known attractions, the Upper Peninsula offers some hidden gems that are worth a visit. Take a scenic drive along M-28 and discover the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where you can hike the 10-mile-long Chapel Loop Trail and enjoy breathtaking views of the multicolored sandstone cliffs. Or head to Marquette, a charming town on Lake Superior that offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, skiing, and snowshoeing.

AttractionDescription
Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreThe park is renowned for its colorful sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Tahquamenon Falls State ParkHome to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The park also has hiking trails, kayaking, and fishing.
MarquetteA picturesque town that offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, skiing, and snowshoeing.

Plan your Michigan road trip and explore the untouched wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, one of the top tourist attractions in Michigan.

Grand Rapids: Beer City USA

As a beer lover, you cannot miss a visit to Grand Rapids, known for its thriving craft beer scene and vibrant arts community. With over 80 breweries, this Michigan vacation spot is a hub for beer enthusiasts and explorers. The city hosts several festivals such as the Winter Beer Festival, Brewers Grove, and the Michigan Brewers Guild’s annual conference, where you can taste some of the best beers in the country.

A visit to Grand Rapids is incomplete without exploring the city’s art galleries, murals, and sculptures. The Grand Rapids Art Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park are must-visit attractions, while the city’s street art scene is an outdoor gallery that you can enjoy exploring. After a day of Michigan sightseeing or hiking, relax with a glass of your new favorite beer from one of the city’s breweries.

Michigan vacation spots

If you’re planning on exploring Michigan, Grand Rapids is a must-visit destination for beer lovers, art enthusiasts, and everyone looking for a good time. Cheers!

Frankenmuth: Michigan’s Little Bavaria

Step into a charming Bavarian-themed town in Michigan when you visit Frankenmuth. It offers a delightful blend of German culture and traditions that give visitors a unique experience. You’ll feel transported to Europe as you walk down the streets with its Bavarian architecture and shops.

Make sure to visit Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store, where you’ll find a dazzling display of ornaments and decorations that will leave you in awe. Another must-visit attraction is the Bavarian Inn, a beautiful hotel and restaurant that serves authentic German cuisine in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

Michigan tourism

Frankenmuth is also home to various festivals throughout the year, like the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival in June and Oktoberfest in September. With all the exciting events, it’s no wonder why Frankenmuth is a must-see destination in Michigan.

Kalamazoo: Art, Culture, and Outdoor Recreation

When visiting Michigan, Kalamazoo is a must-see destination for art, culture, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. The city is famous for its vibrant arts scene, showcasing the works of local and international artists. You can explore the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, which features an extensive collection of contemporary and historical art. Or, take a stroll down the Kalamazoo Mall, a historic district filled with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Kalamazoo also offers fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities. The city’s parks, trails, and rivers are perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a 22-mile trail system that passes through many community parks and natural wilderness areas. You can also explore the Asylum Lake Preserve, a 274-acre nature preserve with hiking trails and bird-watching opportunities.

For a historic experience, visit the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, showcasing the area’s history and culture from early inhabitants to modern-day. Or, head to Gilmore Car Museum, the largest automobile museum in North America, with over 400 vintage vehicles on display.

Top Tourist Attractions in Kalamazoo

AttractionDescription
Kalamazoo Institute of ArtsA museum with a permanent collection of over 4,500 works of art, including contemporary and modern art, American art, and works on paper.
Kalamazoo MallA historic district with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.
Kalamazoo River Valley TrailA 22-mile trail system with scenic views, community parks, and natural wilderness areas.
Asylum Lake PreserveA 274-acre nature preserve with hiking trails and bird-watching opportunities.
Kalamazoo Valley MuseumA museum showcasing the area’s history and culture from early inhabitants to modern-day.
Gilmore Car MuseumThe largest automobile museum in North America, with over 400 vintage vehicles on display.
exploring Michigan

Saugatuck: Artistic Haven on the Lakeshore

Saugatuck, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, is one of Michigan’s top tourist attractions and an ideal destination for Michigan sightseeing and Michigan road trips. It is known for its vibrant art scene, scenic landscape, and charming downtown. If you’re an art lover, Saugatuck is a must-see destination in Michigan. The town has more than 30 art galleries, showcasing a variety of works, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.

Aside from the art galleries, you can also explore Saugatuck’s beautiful natural scenery. Take a hike through the Saugatuck Dunes State Park, a protected area with miles of hiking trails and stunning views of Lake Michigan. Or head to Oval Beach, rated as one of the best beaches in the United States, and have a picnic with a magnificent view. There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can enjoy in Saugatuck, such as kayaking, paddling, and fishing.

After a day of enjoying Saugatuck’s top tourist attractions, head to downtown Saugatuck, where you can find unique shops, fine restaurants, and a beautiful marina. Whether you’re looking for a souvenir to take home or a nice dinner for two, the charming town of Saugatuck has plenty to offer.

top tourist attractions in Michigan

Petoskey: A Gem by the Bay

If you’re looking for a picturesque destination with stunning views of Little Traverse Bay, Petoskey is a must-visit. This charming Michigan city is rich in natural beauty and offers an array of outdoor activities to explore. One of its unique features is the Petoskey stone, which is found along the shores of Lake Michigan and is a favorite souvenir among visitors.

The downtown area is filled with independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, providing plenty of opportunities to shop and dine. Take a leisurely stroll along the marina and enjoy views of the historic Gaslight District.

Top Things to Do in PetoskeyDetails
Hike along the Bear River TrailEnjoy a scenic trek along this 2.5-mile trail through downtown Petoskey.
Visit the Little Traverse History MuseumLearn about the local history and culture in this educational museum.
Explore Petoskey State ParkLocated on the shores of Lake Michigan, this park offers beautiful beaches, picnic areas, and hiking trails.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of recreational opportunities in Petoskey. Camping, fishing, boating, and skiing are all popular activities in the area. The nearby ski resorts are also popular during the winter months.

Michigan travel guide

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or an action-packed adventure, Petoskey is a top destination in Michigan. Don’t miss out on this gem by the bay!

Conclusion

Now that you know the top 10 best places to visit in Michigan, it’s time to plan your trip and explore the beauty of the state. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends or solo, Michigan offers something for everyone. From the majestic cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the charming Bavarian town of Frankenmuth and the vibrant city of Detroit, Michigan’s diverse attractions are sure to leave you awestruck.

So pack your bags, get set, and go on an unforgettable adventure in Michigan. You won’t regret it!

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