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27 Best Things to Do in Michigan & Places to Visit

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Michigan is famous for many things. Cars, music, fishing, breakfast cereals, cherries, and arguing with Wisconsin over which state looks more like a mitten.

But with shorelines on four of the Great Lakes, the Wolverine state boasts an enviable outdoor scene and some of the finest natural attractions in the US.

Spread across two peninsulas, Michigan is a vast and diverse landscape with the longest freshwater coastline in the country. It has 103 state parks and six national park sites, all of which offer an abundance of outdoor recreational activities.

Fishing and forestry are big here, particularly in the Upper Peninsula which is surrounded by water and 90% covered in trees. As such, Michigan is one of the best places in the US for fall foliage.

Crisp Point Lighthouse in Michigan
Jamie Boggess / Adobe Stock

It also has more lighthouses than any other state, which makes lighthouse-bagging a fun activity. There are 129 of them dotted around Michigan’s extensive coast, and trying to visit them all makes for a challenging road trip.

A historically and geographically important location, people have called Michigan home for over 12,000 years. Aside from its attractive aesthetic, you’ll find world-class museums and art galleries, unique curiosities, notable landmarks, and fun attractions to keep all the family entertained.

Here is our rundown of the top tourist attractions in Michigan, which proves it’s one of the most underrated US states to visit. The list is certainly not exhaustive, so see if we’ve included your favorites, and pick a place to go for your next Midwest adventure.

Note that it gets pretty cold in these parts, and many of the activities and attractions are seasonal. We highly recommend you double-check opening times when planning your vacation, and take a look at our Michigan travel guide before you go.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Lake Michigan
  • Park to visit – Isle Royale National Park
  • Free activity – Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum
  • Activity for kids – Michigan’s Adventure
  • Activity for adults – Wine tasting on the Old Mission Peninsula
  • Place to eat – Mackinac Island fudge and Detroit-style pizza
  • Nightlife – Downtown Detroit
  • Place to stayGraduate Ann Arbor Hotel

Best Places to Visit in Michigan & Things to Do

1. Detroit

Detroit, Michigan Downtown Skyline
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

I’ve wanted to visit Detroit since 1987 when I saw Robocop for the first time. Granted, the dystopian sci-fi classic offers a bleak (and fictional) view of Motor City, but Detroit’s image has been on the rise for many years.

The largest city in Michigan isn’t just known for producing cars. It’s an artistic hub, not least as the birthplace of Motown Records. Ethnically diverse, people from all over the world call Detroit home, which makes it a fascinating melting pot of cultures.

Detroit boasts world-class attractions. Some of the best are included in this article, but the likes of the Detroit Science Center, the Museum of African American History, and the Detroit Eastern Market are not to be missed. Head to the Royal Oak district for one of the coolest suburbs in the country.

Safety in Detroit has been a primary concern as the city sought much-needed rejuvenation, and it is now reaping the benefits of its endeavors. This walking tour highlights its hidden beauty, and you can read this article for a more in-depth guide to the best things to do in Detroit.

See Related: Chicago vs Detroit: What’s Better to Visit?

2. Upper Peninsula State Parks

Upper Peninsula Scenery

The Upper Peninsula is a nature lover’s dream. Known by locals as the U.P., it offers some of the best things to do in Michigan, particularly when it comes to getting into the great outdoors. There are no less than 24 state parks located here, so you have your work cut out if you want to explore them all.

Palms Book State Park has the Kitch-iti-kipi freshwater spring you can explore in a glass-bottomed raft. Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers nearly 50,000 acres of wilderness and waterfalls. Fayette Historic State Park explores the relationship between nature and industry, and the Porcupine Mountains State Park offers over 90 miles of premium walking trails.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy in the U.P state parks no matter the season. Camping, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and mountain biking are popular in summer.

Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing take over in winter. Wildlife watching is thrilling all year round.

Making up 28% of the state’s landmass, and with much of it wilderness, the U.P is a must-see destination when you’re visiting Michigan. Be advised you’ll need a recreation passport for motor vehicles to access the parks.

3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, United States
Wayne Silver / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Also located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula region, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of Michigan’s six national parks. Located in Alger County, it’s one of the most popular attractions in the state, with over a million visitors annually.

Famous for its multicolored sandstone cliffs, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was the first designated national lakeshore in the United States. On land, you can explore dunes, lush forests, inland lakes, beaches, and waterfalls across over 70,000 acres. But the best way to experience Pictured Rocks is from the water.

Kayaking is king here, and you can paddle along 42 miles of shoreline and admire the stunning natural architecture formed over millions of years. Visit famous shipwreck sites in glass-bottomed boats or up close on a scuba dive. In winter, ice cave tours and ice climbing are popular activities.

The town of Munising will likely be your jumping-off point for exploring the lakeshore, and it’s here that you’ll find most tours and rentals. For a place to stay, Pictured Rocks Inn & Suites is perfectly located in the heart of the town.

See Related: The Best National Parks in the US

4. Ann Arbor

Downtown Ann Arbor Scenery
Hanson L / Shutterstock.com

Located west of Detroit, this college town is where you’ll find the prestigious University of Michigan, a lot of students, and a lot of things that students like to do. As such, it’s one of the best places to visit in Michigan.

Aside from the jumping nightlife, live music, and the awesome Pinball Pete’s arcade, Ann Arbor boasts some of the state’s finest museums. Situated on the university campus, the Natural History Museum, Kelsey Museum, and the Michigan Museum of Art are must-visit institutions.

The iconic Michigan Stadium is located here, the third largest stadium in the world. Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s well worth a look. It’s home to the Michigan Wolverines, and watching a game with fiercely passionate local support is a memorable experience.

For something a little more whimsical, Ann Arbor is a great place for alternative things to do in Michigan. Perhaps the most famous are the Ann Arbor Fairy Doors. A citywide art installation (or are they?) it’s great fun to go on a scavenger hunt to discover these tiny hidden apertures.

5. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island State Park Marina
Michael Deemer / Shutterstock

To feel like you’ve cut yourself off from the world in the land that time forgot, head to Mackinac Island. No cars are allowed, and you’re either walking everywhere or getting a lift in a horse-drawn carriage. When was the last time your Uber had four legs and a long face?

Aside from the peaceful ambiance that comes with no motor vehicles, the island is home to several top tourist attractions and points of interest. Mackinac Island State Park is beautiful to stroll around, with a scenic circuit that boasts stunning views.

Visiting Fort Mackinac is a must, as this National Historic Landmark explores the island’s strategic importance as a living history museum. Water sports are hugely popular in the summer, and don’t miss sampling the island’s famous fudge as a sweet souvenir.

And when you’re in the area, be sure to visit the Mackinac Bridge Museum in Mackinaw City, to learn about this iconic Michigan landmark. Bridge cruises are also popular, and check out this article for information on the best time to visit Mackinac Island.

6. Holland

Holland, Michigan Scenery
Craig Sterken / Shutterstock

Not to be confused with the European region of the same name, the lake-side town of Holland is packed with cultural attractions. As you might expect, it has a rich Dutch heritage that includes the only authentic, working windmill in the United States.

Founded by Dutch immigrants, the best time to visit the town is during the annual Tulip Time Festival. It takes place in early May and celebrates everything Dutch with events, parades, concerts, and dance performances. Windmill Island Gardens is a focal point, where you can see the 250-year-old Dutch windmill.

No visit to Holland would be complete without trying some of the town’s famous Dutch food. Stop by a local bakery for a fresh-baked pastry or enjoy a traditional meal of stamppot and kroketten at one of the town’s Dutch restaurants. DeBoer’s Bakery has two locations and is considered the best.

Holland is also a great place to shop for Dutch-themed souvenirs. You’ll find everything from wooden shoes to Delft pottery. And don’t miss Holland State Park and the Outdoor Discovery Center when you’re in the neighborhood.

7. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Exhibit
Aldo91 / Shutterstock.com

Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124

A visit to the Henry Ford Museum is essential for anyone interested in America’s love affair with the motorcar. With over 12,000 artifacts – including the first-ever car built in the United States, it’s a must-visit for petrolheads.

Housed in a sprawling complex in Dearborn, this five-star experience is a world-class facility and one of the best museums in the US. You’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to explore it all, as the Henry Ford covers over 500,000 square feet. And we’ve not even mentioned the Greenfield Village open-air museum, where you can drive an old Model-T.

Notable exhibits and exhibitions include the limousine in which JFK was assassinated, Rosa Parks’ bus, the Wright Brother’s cycle shop, and the Ford Rouge factory tour. It’s not all about vehicles, however, and there’s plenty to see and do for the whole family – even if you’re not into cars.

The museum is a National Historic Landmark and the largest indoor/outdoor complex of its kind in the US. To say it’s an essential attraction in Michigan is an understatement, but you might need more than one day. Bed down at the historic Dearborn Inn and do it all again tomorrow.

8. Grand Rapids

Aerial view of Grand Rapids Public Museum
Grand Rapids Public Museum / Facebook

Known as the furniture capital of the United States, Grand Rapids takes its name from the fast-flowing Grand River it sits on. Located a short drive from the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s a city that deserves a second look, filled with historic and cultural attractions.

One of the most impressive places in Michigan is the Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park. Located in GR, it has a dedicated entry in our list, so we won’t go into too much detail. But there’s still plenty to see and do here, including popular ghost tours that explore the city’s sinister past.

There’s the Ford Presidential Museum which celebrated the life and times of GR’s most famous former resident. The Public Museum has thousands of artifacts and life-sized historic recreations. And for keeping active, the River Edge Trail is a wonderfully scenic route that’s perfect for hiking and biking.

But that’s just scratching the surface of things to do in Grand Rapids, and you can follow that link for more. For a place to stay, it doesn’t get much better than the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

9. Motown Museum of Detroit

Motown Museum of Detroit Scenery
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

Address: 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208

The Motown Museum is a must for music history fans. It celebrates the authentic story of Motown from its humble beginnings to its emergence as the “Sound of Young America” and beyond. Known as “Hitsville USA,” the museum is housed in Mowtown Record’s first studio.

The name “Motown” was taken from Detroit’s Motor City nickname, and the label became instrumental in developing the sound of the genre. Fusing pop music with soul by way of rhythm and blues, Motown thrust African-American music into the spotlight.

The museum brings fans together across the generations, with a selection of uniquely curated programs, exhibits, and displays. There’s also an excellent outreach program, and the museum hosts key musical and spoken word events throughout the city.

Looking to the future, the museum has announced a 50,000-square-foot expansion, as it continues to preserve the legacy of this pivotal genre. The Motown Museum is a must-visit when you’re in Detroit, and you can book a guided tour here.

10. Silver Lake State Park

Old tree trunk in Silver Lake State Park
Dean Pennala / Adobe Stock

Easily one of the most fun things to do in Michigan, a visit to Silver Lake State Park is going to keep the whole family entertained. It’s known for its unique landscape that consists of around 2,000 acres of dunes. It’s a huge sand pit, which turns the area into a giant offroad playground.

Sure, you can explore the sand dunes on foot or go boating on Silver Lake, but driving a dune buggy has to be the best way to experience the park. ATVs and UTVs are also available, and you can hurl yourself around the sands of Silver Lake in a thrilling offroad adventure. Try the historic Mac Wood’s Dune Rides for group tours.

Horseriding along the shore is also popular, but note the season only runs for the length of November. Fat tire biking is available from mid-December to mid-March, and that’s a fun challenge if you want to tackle the dunes on two wheels.

Other attractions in the area include the beautiful Little Sable Point Lighthouse, constructed from red brick and completed in 1876. It’s located just south of Golden Township Park. And there are plenty of places to stay in the region, too, including campgrounds, cottages, resorts, and lodges. Try this waterfront cabin which includes access to a private boat.

11. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts building exterior
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

Address: 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

The Detroit Institute of Arts is a world-renowned institution and one of the finest museums in the United States. You might need to set aside more than a day to see it all, as the DIA contains over 65,000 artworks, in 100 galleries, across a mind-blowing 658,000 square feet.

Housing a vast and varied collection, the DIA contains art in almost every medium, and from around the world. The permanent exhibition showcases works from ancient to modern, with masterpieces from legendary artists, including Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.

The building and decor are equally as impressive as the exhibits they contain and they have undergone several extensions over the years. As well as the extensive collection of artworks, the museum also houses a 16th-century Gothic chapel. The chapel was taken from a Parisian chateau and donated to the museum in 1929.

The DIA is open every day except Monday, and admission is free if you’re a member or resident. Be sure to check out their calendar of events to catch the latest exhibitions, and stay at the charming Inn on Ferry Street which is just two blocks away.

12. Traverse City

Aerial view of Traverse City, Michigan
Captured Photons / Shutterstock.com

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is becoming something of a vacation and activity hub. Known for its proximity to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, it’s also famous for being “the cherry capital of the world.”

Located as part of the “fruit belt,” the area around TC provides perfect growing conditions for crops. Thousands of people flock here for the National Cherry Festival which takes place every July. And it’s not just all about cherries, as the region continues to cultivate a blossoming wine scene.

For grape lovers, wine tasting should be on the agenda when visiting this part of Michigan. This five-hour tour departs from Traverse City and takes in four wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula.

While this option heads further afield to the Leelanau Peninsula. The city also boasts some notable distilleries and breweries, like The North Peak Brewing Company.

Stroll down the charming East Front Street along the Boardman River. Admire the art in the Dennos Museum Center.

Scare yourself senseless on a chilling private ghost tour. And relax at any one of the city’s waterfront parks and gardens. Traverse City is moving in the right direction when it comes to offering some of the best things to see in Michigan.

13. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Architecture

Address: 18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI 49768

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is one of Michigan’s most popular tourist attractions. A must for anyone interested in maritime history, it is devoted to commemorating the challenges and tragedies of shipping in the Great Lakes.

Located at Whitefish Point on Michigan’s upper peninsula, the museum features the Whitefish Point Light Station. Established in 1849, it’s the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. Visitors can explore the beautiful grounds, and take a self-guided tour of the museum.

The famous Edmund Fitzgerald freighter is a focal point, and you can learn about its tragic final voyage when it mysteriously floundered and sank in Lake Superior. Among many artifacts, accounts, and exhibits, the museum showcases the ship’s bell, which stands as a memorial to the 29-strong crew who lost their lives on that fateful night in 1975.

A powerful and poignant experience, a visit to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is one of the best things to do in Michigan. For a stunning place to stay, try this romantic lakeside retreat which is right on the beach and only two miles from Whitefish Point.

See Related: Best Unusual Museums in the U.S.

14. Pro Sporting Events

Top view of the Detroit Pistons Basketball Game
Sports Where I Am – America/Eastern / Viator

Michiganders are famous for passionately supporting their local professional sports teams, and if you’re interested in seeing some live action, joining them is one best things to do when visiting Michigan. Detroit boasts three world-class venues, and the top sports are American football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.

The Detroit Lions are Michigan’s NFL team, plying their trade at Ford Field in downtown Detroit. You can try for tickets here.

For basketball, look no further than the Detroit Pistons, shooting hoops at Little Ceasar’s Arena. They are joined by the Detroit Red Wings NHL team with whom they share the stadium.

Go here for tickets to the Detroit Pistons, and head to this link for tickets to the Redwings. Baseball fans should check out the Detroit Tigers, who swing for the fences at Comerica Park. If you want the chance to see a home run, go here for Tigers tickets.

Although Michigan doesn’t have a MLS team, Detroit City FC is hugely popular if you want to catch some soccer. Go here for DCFC tickets, but if you don’t manage to score briefs for any sport, there are plenty of sports bars available across the city. The legendary Nemo’s Bar is one of the best.

15. Port Austin

Lake Huron Turnip Rock
Craig Sterken / Shutterstock

We’ve covered a lot of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior attractions, so now it’s time to send a little love to Lake Huron. There are many places to visit along its shores, but one of the best destinations in Michigan has to be Port Austin, right at the northern tip of the “thumb.”

A small village in Huron County, Port Austin has plenty going for it when it comes to sights and attractions. The region is known for its outstanding natural beauty, with kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, and camping popular activities. Try Port Austin Kayak for kayak rentals, and don’t miss a paddle out to the famous Turnip Rock.

Nearby, Port Cresent State Park is small but beautifully formed and offers some excellent cross-country skiing in winter. If you’re a fan of farmer’s markets, the village boasts one of the largest in the state, which takes place every Saturday during the season. And the Port Austin History Center is a charming exhibition where you can learn about the region.

Port Austin is famous for its stunning sunrises and sunsets that take place over Lake Huron, so you’ll want to spend at least one night here. The Lakeside Motor Lodge is an affordable option, with a seasonal pool and spa tub.

16. Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park Scenery
Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock

If exploring a remote wilderness is your thing, I highly recommend making the journey to Isle Royale National Park. Located in Lake Superior, off the coast of Michigan, the park consists of one large island, over 400 smaller islands, and a section of the Canadian mainland.

Isle Royale is known for its diverse ecosystem and wildlife, including beavers, otters, moose, wolves, and red foxes. The island is also home to a medley of plant species and features more than 40 endangered and threatened varieties.

The park is blissfully car-free, and one of the best ways to experience Isle Royale is on foot. You’ll find over 165 miles of trails, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous hikes. Camping, canoeing, and kayaking are popular, and ranger-led tours are available.

You need to cross one of the largest lakes in the world to reach the National Park, which you can do by boat or seaplane. From the Michigan side, ferry services depart from either Houghton or Copper Harbor. Flights take off from Hancock Portage Canal and you can get more information from Isle Royal Seaplanes.

17. Michigan History Center

Michigan History Center Exerior
ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

Address: 702 W Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48915

History buffs will want to make a beeline to Lansing, Michigan’s capital city, nestled halfway between Detroit and Grand Rapids. Here you’ll find the impressive Michigan History Center, a five-story museum housing a collection of interactive exhibits, educational programs, and protected artifacts.

The museum covers all things Michigan, from its early inhabitants to current events. You’ll find exhibits on everything from the Anishinaabe natives to the auto industry, from famous Michigan shipwrecks to its role in the abolition of slavery. There’s even a fascinating three-story high topographical map of the state.

One of the best museums in Michigan, the Michigan History Center is packed with information and a visit is highly recommended whether you’re a visitor or a resident. Go on Sundays when admission is free, although the chances are it will be more crowded as a result.

While you’re in the area, don’t miss a trip to the Michigan State Capitol Building. Guided tours of this stunning building are free, but make sure to check their website for a full schedule.

18. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Scenery
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock

Address: 9922 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a glorious stretch of the Michigan coastline along Lake Michigan. Here, you’ll find lush forests, unique plant and animal life, and rocky bluffs that tower above the water.

Explore the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, which offers over 100 miles of hiking trails through the stunning scenery. If you’d prefer not to walk, take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to see the dunes from the comfort of your car.

The lakeshore is also home to numerous camping sites, both primitive and developed. And if you’re searching for a place to cool off, there are some excellent beaches where you can swim, sunbathe, and relax.

Despite the park being open all year round, some trails at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore may be closed due to adverse conditions. Try this easy day trip from Traverse City which explores the best spots with a seasoned guide.

19. Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

Plants in Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum
Rachel Wickremasinghe / Shutterstock.com

Address: 1800 N Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum is a must-see for anyone with green thumbs. Located just outside of Ann Arbor, it’s part of the University of Michigan and features 300 acres of hiking trails, woods, prairies, and botanical gardens.

Visitors can see the Bonsai and Penjing Garden, the Gaffield Children’s Garden, the Alexandra Hicks Herb Knot Garden, the Perennial Garden, the Medicinal Garden, and more. The 10,000-square-foot conservatory is a particularly popular highlight.

The gardens and arboretum are an important research and conservation initiative, which is evident in the beautifully curated displays and plantings. They host a regular program of educational events, and you should check their website to see if something interests you.

There’s a visitor center and gift shop, and the park is fully wheelchair accessible. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the gardens, which makes it one of the best free things to do in Michigan. And don’t miss a visit to the UM Campus Farm which is located just next door.

20. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Scenery
PQK / Shutterstock.com

Address: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Located in Grand Rapids, one of the best things to do in Michigan is to visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Spread across 158 acres, the park features nature trails, indoor and outdoor exhibits, and a collection of over 200 prominent works by master sculptors.

The stunning five-story tropical glasshouse is a focal point, but don’t miss the beautiful Japanese garden, and the on-site cafe boasts a jaw-dropping sculpture by famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. If you’ve ever seen his stuff in Seattle, you’ll know what to expect.

The gardens play host to a busy summer concert schedule, but there is still plenty to do during the winter. That is unless it’s closed due to a freak snowstorm. Year-round educational classes and talks promote the arts and the environment within the community.

Famous for being the best sculpture park in the US (and one of the most-visited art museums worldwide) the Frederik Meijer Gardens is a must-visit when you’re in this neck of the woods. Be sure to check their website for any upcoming events and more information.

21. Boyne Mountain Resort 

Boyne Mountain Resort Scenery
LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock

Address: 1 Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls, MI 49713

This premier Northern Michigan ski resort is perfect for those looking for things to do in Michigan in the winter. The resort offers a range of activities, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating.

Sitting on Boyne Mountain just outside the village of Boyne Falls and 10 minutes from Boyne City, the resort is easily accessible. Here you’ll find 415 skiable acres, with equipment rentals and ski schools available on site.

There’s plenty of fun to be had away from the slopes, with Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark nearby. Skybridge Michigan is the world’s longest-timbered suspension bridge and offers great views of the Boyne Valley no matter the season. Ziplining, horseback riding, and fat tire biking are just some of the many other activities on offer here.

Boyne Mountain Resort has a range of accommodation options to suit every budget, from luxury lodges to mountain condos and log cabins. To plan your trip go directly to their website, or try their booking.com page to find the best deals. Just remember, for winter sports holidays, I highly recommend you pack some good travel insurance, too.

22. Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle Beach Aerial Scenery
Nicholas Worden / Adobe Stock

Address: 2 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207

If you happen to be visiting Detroit in summer, Belle Isle Park is the perfect spot to cool off and get out of the city for a while. Sitting in the middle of the Detroit River, this 982-acre island is a rich playground for recreational pursuits.

On the north side, you can enjoy the sandy shores of Belle Isle Beach. A popular spot for sunbathers and swimmers, it offers delightful views of the Detroit skyline in the distance. To the south, you can look across the channel into the city of Windsor, which is just over the Canadian border.

Aside from hiking and biking around the island, there are several interesting attractions and points of interest to discover. These include the Belle Isle Aquarium, The Belle Isle Conservatory, and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

Take a stroll to the William Livingston Memorial Lighthouse, which is part of the Blue Heron Lagoon Trail. There are also several good fishing spots on the island, so pack a good travel rod and throw a line in the Detroit River while you’re here.

See Related: The Best Fishing Spots in the World

23. Muskegon

Aerial view of Muskegon Lake in Michigan
Christopher Dean / Adobe Stock

Muskegon sits around a harbor lake and is a historic port town on Lake Michigan. A commercial and recreational boating hub, it’s a popular vacation destination offering some of the best things to do in Michigan. And if you’re looking to come from Wisconsin, this is where the Milwaukee ferry docks as a gateway into the Wolverine state.

Attractions include the excellent USS Silversides Submarine Museum, which features a fully restored WWII submarine. Close by, Muskegon State Park, Pere Marquette Park, and the Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse are fun to explore and offer beaches, green space, and great views of the waterfront.

Downtown, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied, including the Muskegon Museum of Art which houses an impressive collection of American and European works. The Lakeshore Museum Center is a hands-on science and history museum that offers several sites around the city that are well worth a look.

To keep the kids happy, Michigan’s Adventure is the state’s largest amusement park, a short 16-minute drive north of Muskegon. And with so many places to stay by the water, Muskegon has plenty of accommodation options all over the city. Try this luxury lakefront house if you want to push the boat out.

24. Sault Ste. Marie

Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Ulf / Adobe Stock

The city of Sault Ste. Marie might not be at the forefront of your mind when planning a trip to Michigan. Located on the U.P and spread over the Canadian border, it sits on the St Mary’s River sandwiched between two Great Lakes. At such a geographical crossroads, it has many stories to tell.

Sault Ste. Marie was the first city in Michigan and is regarded as the state’s birthplace. It has a rich maritime and cultural history, but also boasts an outdoor scene that is not to be overlooked. You can even hop over the International Bridge and explore a bit of Canada if you choose.

One of its most prominent and important attractions is the Soo Locks. An engineering marvel, the locks date back 160 years, and today they pass around 10,000 ships per year. It’s breathtaking to see these iron and steel behemoths being lifted from Lake Huron to Lake Superior for their onward journey.

You can enjoy a Soo Locks boat tour (check for tickets here), or head to the visitor center and observation deck to witness this impressive sight. The Museum Ship Vally Camp is also well worth visiting if you haven’t yet had your fill of maritime history.

25. Keweenaw National Historical Park

Keweenaw National Historical Park's Quincy Mine in Calumet, Michigan
ehrlif / Adobe Stock

One of the best National Parks in the Midwest, the Keweenaw National Historical Park offers more than just beautiful natural surroundings. Located in the U.P., the region is famous for having the most extensive native copper deposits in the world.

Copper has been mined in Keweenaw for an astonishing 7,000 years, with the mines finally giving up the ghost as late as 1968. Although the wagons haven’t rolled for decades, remnants of copper mining still mark the landscape. Abandoned mines and machinery are slowly being reclaimed by nature.

Aside from the Keweenaw National Historical Park, there are several impressive Keweenaw Heritage Sites to discover and explore. Many of these include exciting ways to learn about the region’s rich copper mining history.

A little further afield, try the Adventure Mining Company in Greenland, Michigan. The town is known for its mining heritage, and the MNC offers thrilling underground tours, rappelling down a mineshaft, and blasting workshops.

26. The Great Lakes Bay Region

Frankenmuth Historical Museum  Building Exterior
Frankenmuth Historical Museum / Facebook

Six towns and cities comprise the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan; Bay City, Birch Run, Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Midland, and Saginaw. The region is best explored, and each destination offers interesting sights and attractions.

There’s something for any type of traveler, with exciting museums, cultural experiences, and fun activities to keep you entertained. You can enjoy boutique shopping and foodies will love the delicious restaurants.

Notable points of interest include the Frankenmuth Historical Museum (pictured), the Japanese Cultural Center in Saginaw, the Bay City Antiques Center, and the Birch Run Speedway & Event Center. You can also check out the Chesaning Area Historical Museum, and the stunning tree-top canopy walk at Down Gardens in Midland.

But that’s just scratching the surface of what the Great Lakes Bay Region offers, and you should plan to spend plenty of time here to explore the region properly. Saginaw makes a great home base and the Montague Bed & Breakfast is an adorably vintage place to stay.

27. Drive the Scenic M22

Michigan M22 Panoramic view
GuideAlong / Viator

Are you a fan of road trips? The M22 is a state trunkline highway that hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline for just under 177 miles. It’s particularly beautiful when undertaken in the fall, and has previously been voted as the best scenic drive in the US for autumnal colors.

Even if you’re not visiting Michigan in the fall, the M22 is well worth driving. It begins in the county of Manistee and continues through Benzie and Leelanau, finally finishing in Grand Traverse. Along the way, you’ll experience stunning coastal scenery, friendly locals, delicious restaurants, and fun attractions.

If you’ve not brought a vehicle, you can rent a car in Manistee or Traverse City and drive the M22 – depending on which way around you want to go. If you’d rather have a bit of help, try this M22 self-guided audio tour, which will point out the best sights and attractions along the way.

Go here to discover more of the best road trips in the US, or check this link out for the most scenic drives in the world. Either way, the M22 in Michigan is not to be missed for a thrilling road trip experience. No car? If you’re feeling adventurous – you could always try hitchhiking!

See Related: Hitchhiking Tips and Tricks – How to Safely Travel By Catching Rides

Tours in Michigan

St. Joseph Lighthouses and Sailboat Solstice Sundown - St. Joseph, Michigan on Lake Michigan
Kenneth Keifer / Adobe Stock
1. Detroit: Architectural Beauty and Hidden Gems Walking Tour Top Recommendation

If you're looking to explore Detroit's hidden gems and architectural beauties, then this guided walking tour is perfect for you. You'll get to witness the city's impressive architecture and world-famous landmarks.

2. 5-Hour Traverse City Wine Tour: 4 Wineries on Old Mission Peninsula

What could be better than sipping on award-winning wines while taking in the breathtaking views of Northern Michigan? On this 5-hour wine tour, you'll visit four different wineries on Old Mission Peninsula, where you can indulge in some of the best wines in the state.

3. Mackinac Bridge History Cruise

Experience Michigan’s rich history on a Mackinac Bridge History Cruise. Travel under the Mackinac Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, and learn about the many shipwrecks that have happened in the Straits of Mackinac. This 1-hour cruise is led by a knowledgeable guide who will share stories of the area’s rich history.

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