15 Best Places to Visit in Michigan 2023: Full Guide
Michigan is fascinating to see, from the imposing natural dunes on its western coastlines to the metropolitan fringe of Detroit. Each region has its varied scenery, with seasonal experiences.
Both winter activities are exploring the Upper Peninsula’s frozen beauty and hitting the slopes in Traverse City. Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids awaken in the spring, inviting visitors to wander through the charming neighborhoods and partake in outdoor patio eating.
Summertime activities include swimming in Lake Michigan and taking a retro vacation to Mackinac Island. When the leaves change color in the fall, upper Michigan’s picturesque roads are the best places to be.
The state has several fantastic locations, including picturesque, romantic, and thrilling ones. Make travel arrangements with our list of Michigan’s top attractions.
1. Mackinac Island
One of the best vacation places in Michigan is Mackinac Island. The island experience is evocative of a classic summer vacation, replete with rocking rockers on the porch, horse-drawn carriage excursions, and calmness over Lake Huron, with breathtaking sunsets that dramatic imprint on the end of a fantastic day.
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There are no cars on this serene island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so visitors appreciate the ease of cycling and strolling around the local villages. Kayaking, horseback riding, and a sunset boat tour beneath the Mackinac Bridge are just a few activities available on Mackinac Island.
The historic Grand Hotel is located on a hilltop with a view of the tastefully planted grounds. Accommodations range from five-star hotels to bed and breakfasts.
Detroit exudes irresistible energy. The community exudes a feel that stems from its roots in the transportation sector in Motor City. The Henry Ford Museum, the Automotive Hall of Fame, and the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant/Model T Automotive Heritage Complex are a few of the top things to do in Detroit related to that heritage.
The Motown Museum and the Parade Company, where you can enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of costumes and floats created for the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade, are two other must-see locations.
Contemporary Detroit includes hip areas like Midtown and Rivertown, where you may go for food and cultural events. With more than 150 years of history, the Eastern Market is a great destination and one of the top things to do in southern Michigan. The open-air market is the biggest historically existing public market in the country.
The 50 blocks of theatres and sports venues in the Entertainment District are perfect for a night out on the town.
3. Great Lakes Bay
Family vacations and romantic retreats are ideal in central Michigan’s unhurried Great Lakes Bay area. It is an agricultural area with several enjoyable neighborhoods, including farmers’ markets, antique shops, outdoor leisure, and art galleries.
Some parks are well-known for birdwatching, more than 100 miles of hiking, picturesque walking routes, and more. The longest canopy walk in the United States, located in Whiting Forest in Midland, is one of the must-see attractions in the Great Lakes Bay region. Because it offers a public market, children’s zoo, art museum, and environmental excursions at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, the city of Saginaw is an excellent spot to stay in the area.
One of the most well-known cities in the Great Lakes Bay is Frankenmuth. It is a tourist destination designed to resemble a tiny Bavarian village. Festivals, chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, and the renowned Christmas Wonderland Christmas store are all well-known in Frankenmuth. The Bavarian Inn Lodge is a well-liked choice if you want to be close to everything and in the middle of everything.
Bay City on the shores of Lake Huron is a pleasant day excursion in the Great Lakes Bay region. Strolling about the waterfront is enjoyable, and you may reserve themed cruises for a day or evening on the water. The largest antique mall in Michigan, which occupies an entire city block, is also located there.
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the top tourist destinations in Michigan. Here is a place to begin if you want a fantastic first experience in Michigan. It has a 35-mile shoreline along Lake Michigan and is situated on Michigan’s western coast. Glaciers formed the area, and it has a unique ecology with lakes, streams, and beaches.
In Sleeping Bear Dunes, the dunes are a significant attraction because tourists may climb them and take memorable vacation photos while hiking the 300-foot-tall face. Since there are 70,000 acres of wilderness in the vicinity, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy, like swimming, kayaking, hiking, and camping.
The Glen Haven Historical Village and Maritime Museum are other attractions. Visit the Sleeping Bear dunes in the winter for a fun experience where you can go sliding downhill for a lifetime.
5. The Upper Peninsula
One of the top winter travel destinations in Michigan is the Upper Peninsula. This northern region transforms into a playground for winter outdoor activity with an annual snowfall of 200 inches. Booking a weekend at one of the many ski resorts is an option, as is taking advantage of the numerous groomed cross-country ski tracks that wind through the UP forests.
Ice climbing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing are fun winter activities in the Upper Peninsula.
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Ice-covered buildings like lighthouses, frozen waterfalls, ice-accented cliffs along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and winter festivals contribute to the breathtaking backdrop. The secure hotel, where you can conclude your day warming up by the fireplace, is one of the best reasons to visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the winter.
6. Ann Arbor
One of the best cities to explore Michigan’s artistic side is Ann Arbor. There are numerous options to unwind in the downtown area while people-watching at a neighbourhood restaurant or outdoor café. The downtown of Ann Arbor is a pedestrian-friendly area, making it simple to leave the car parked and explore on foot.
Shopping opportunities abound in Ann Arbor, particularly in the Main Street neighbourhood and the State Street District, which are home to numerous independent shops and art galleries. In the area, there are beautiful paths and opportunities for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on the Huron River.
If you go in the fall, you may watch a University of Michigan football game at The Big House and take part in the thrilling college sports environment.
7. Traverse City
One of the best places to visit in Michigan is lovely Traverse City, known for its variety of activities and scenic surroundings. In the winter, skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing are popular activities in Traverse City, Michigan. In the summer, water sports are popular in this city. Traverse City is renowned for its spas and golf courses, which are great places to spend a restful weekend.
Driving down the Pierce Stocking Scenic Road close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a pleasant day trip from Traverse City. It is a seven-mile scenic path that passes by some of the most beautiful locations in Michigan. Numerous overlooks provide panoramic views of Lake Michigan, Glen Lake, and the imposing dunes.
The springtime Tulip Time Festival is one of the best seasons to visit the west central town of Holland. It’s fun to admire the town’s pride in its Dutch heritage as a guest. You should spend some time at The Dutch Village, the only one of its sort operating in the country, where you may climb the five-story Dutch windmill.
The Windmill Island Gardens, a children’s garden, and a hand-painted carousel are just a few of the typical visitor attractions in the area.
In the summer, it’s enjoyable to take a day trip to the beaches in Holland. Around Lake Michigan, there are numerous sandy beaches in addition to a number of smaller family-friendly beaches including Laketown Beach.
The Holland Bowl Mill, which produces fine hardwood bowls, and taking a sail on the Holland Princess, an antique paddleboat, are two activities you might choose to partake in while visiting the city.
The dark skies in northern Michigan make Charlevoix one of the best places in the state to go stargazing. The region has a number of vast nature preserves and not many lights, making it a prime location to catch a glimpse of the northern lights and meteor showers.
Winter is a great time to plan a trip to Charlevoix to look for the aurora borealis at Fisherman’s Island State Park and Mt. McSauba.
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Charlevoix has a cool mix of attractions in town, from antique stores and farmers markets to art galleries and beaches. Spend some time in the Cultural Corridor, where you can even use an afternoon to take an art or cooking class from one of the local merchants.
10. Porcupine Mountains
One of the most incredible spots to visit in the Upper Peninsula is the Porcupine Mountains if you’re searching for a more isolated and unplugged vacation in Michigan. They are situated on the westernmost point of the Upper Peninsula and provide an opportunity to visit some of Michigan’s less traveled regions.
The 87 miles of beautiful hiking paths in the Porcupine Mountains offer breathtaking vistas. There are 21 beaches along Lake Superior, but you should also visit the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park’s Lake of the Clouds, located in an old-growth forest valley.
More than 90 waterfalls in forested areas are the other major draw of the mountains. Bond Falls and Agate Falls are two of the best to see.
11. Blue Water Area
Around Lake Huron, the eastern Michigan coastline is referred to as the Blue Water Region. You may stay in the area and visit ten different settlements on the same trip because this area has so many to choose from. At Algonac, a charming waterfront neighbourhood, visit the Algonac Riverfront Park, a park along the St. Clair River.
On the Blue Water River Walk in Port Huron, observe freighters entering the port. The Blue Water Trolley is another attraction in Port Huron, and it’s fun to ride it and discover more about the region’s marine and cultural past. Visit Marine City’s Nautical Mile, a half-mile section with shops, eateries, and riverfront views, to get a feel for the city on your own. A local river tour is another option for exploring by water.
Because it serves as the entry point to the state’s network of inland waterways, the town of Cheboygan in northeastern Michigan is known as the “gateway to the waterways.” Starting in Cheboygan and ending in Conway, the Inland Waterway is a 42-mile waterway that travels alongside three rivers and numerous lakes.
Cheboygan is a fantastic location for outdoor activities like hiking in the summer and accessing ski routes in the winter, thanks to the public land nearby. It is among the best places for soaking up the stillness and serenity of Michigan’s outdoors.
It would help if you spent some time in Black Mountain Recreational Area and Cheboygan State Park for outdoor recreation.
13. Grand Rapids
Southern Michigan’s Grand Rapids is a great destination because of its hip cuisine and music scenes. Grand Rapids has a lot of nearby attractions, and if you want to mix in some outdoor activities, a Michigan state park or picturesque region is never far away.
Tours, from fishing to culinary, are some of the top things to do in downtown Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, and the John Ball Zoo should be on your itinerary if you prefer to make your own. There is a tonne of shopping in the city as well, with many malls and specialty shops located throughout the neighbourhoods.
Ypsilanti, a small college town, is a wonderful modern place to visit because of its incredible cultural diversity. There are a lot of allusions to the city’s aviation heritage everywhere you look.
The Yankee Aviation Museum offers rides in a WWII B-17 aircraft and has a number of historic aircraft on exhibit. Another interesting location to visit is the Firehouse Museum, which has a sizable collection of antique firefighting tools. A good museum for youngsters is this one.
The last known Hudson dealership is commemorated at Depot Town every summer with a series of classic vehicle exhibits. This is a destination for auto enthusiasts.
15. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
You can visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the edge of Lake Superior in Michigan and take in one of the state’s most breathtaking natural settings. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, 42 miles of lakeshore have been preserved. Its diverse ecosystems, including woods, beaches, waterfalls, dunes, and rocky sandstone cliffs, contribute to its splendor.
You are in for a wonderful experience whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or just visiting for peace and tranquility. More than 100 miles of hiking paths can be found in Pictured Rocks, a great place to come in the spring to see local wildflowers and watch the forest trees turn a variety of beautiful fall colors. There are more than 12 miles of beaches and five miles of dunes if the sea is calling your name.
Beaver Basin Wilderness, a federally protected area inside Pictured Rocks, is where you can go kayaking, cross-country skiing, hiking, and sleeping in a more remote wilderness.
If you have the time, visit the Au Sable Light Station and the Munising U.S. Coast Guard Station, two historical locations in Pictured Rocks. The Grand Sable Visitor Center is the most excellent place to start your visit to Pictured Rocks because there is so much to see and do there. Here, you may get recommendations on what to do based on your interests and time constraints.
What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Michigan?
According to a list compiled by the U.S. News & World Report, the most popular tourist attraction in all of Michigan is Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is known for its famous fudge and Native American historical sites.
What month is best to visit Michigan?
The best time to visit Michigan is between the months of May and October. Michigan observes its spring and autumn seasons during this time, making it ideal weather to enjoy the host of outdoor activities that Michigan has to offer.
What part of Michigan should I visit?
Popular Michigan weekend destinations include Mackinac Island, Holland, Frankenmuth, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. In spring and summer, you can spend your days exploring the world’s longest freshwater coastline, enjoy outstanding water sports on the many inland lakes.
What is the prettiest place in Michigan?
12 Unimaginably Beautiful Places In Michigan That You Must See Before You Die
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Flickr/Curt Mills. …
- Kitch-iti-Kipi. Flickr/Rachel Kramer. …
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Flickr/Kiyo. …
- Nichols Arboretum. …
- Grand Haven State Park. …
- Fisherman’s Island. …
- Porcupine Mountains. …
- Isle Royale.