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25+ Amazing Michigan Landmarks to See and Explore

Pictured Rocks Best Michigan landmarks

Amazing Landmarks in Michigan

From the beauty of natural creations to the history lessons that are taught through monuments, must-see Michigan landmarks will amaze and encourage the traveler in all of us.

Home to the longest freshwater coast in the United States, Michigan is a filled with stunning beauty in the form of waterfalls, national forests, pristine lakes and rivers, towering dunes, and endless miles of Great Lakes shoreline.

Michigan’s rich industrial history played a large role in the development of the country, and it’s the birthplace of the automotive industry, and auto giants like Ford, Chrysler and General Motors call Michigan home.

You’ll find a large mix of national historic landmarks in Michigan as well as natural phenomena like the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park and more. Whether you’re interested in nature, art, history, or music, there’s a pure Michigan landmark experience for you.

Read our Michigan travel guide on these 25 Amazing, Must-See Michigan landmarks and start your Michigan travel plans to see these famous landmarks in Michigan.

plane at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, MI
Photo by Bella DiMascio

Michigan Landmarks in Detroit and Metro Detroit

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is a true Michigan gem; one of the top museums in the country and an amazing testament to American innovation and ingenuity. It’s amazing place, and a top Michigan travel destination for visitors interested in exploring the rich history of America’s great inventors and their amazing inventions that have shaped the country.

Many different American innovations that were birthed in Michigan can be revisited at this popular museum. Not only does the Henry Ford Museum allow for visitors to explore the history of automobiles, but also planes, railroads, farm equipment, and other amazing innovations that have been developed throughout Michigan’s history.

With nearly 300 years of American historical artifacts, this collection offers wonderful insight for learning about the state’s past and present.

Motown Museum
2648 Berry Gordy Jr. Boulevard, 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208

Ever head of Diana Ross? How about Marvin Gaye or the Temptations? This is where legendary music producer Berry Gordy made it happen.

“Hitsville U.S.A.” is a legendary location, remembering the transitional genre of Motown music. Motown Museum is the site of the first headquarters and recording studio for this genre, celebrating the many talented artists of the genre.

Equipment used by these artists to produce their music can be seen from the control room. This amazing museum allows for a unique Michigan experience.

More Michigan Landmarks to Explore in Detroit and Metro Detroit:

Tahquamenon Falls- upper peninsula michigan fall
Photo by Paige Riccobono

Michigan Landmarks in the Upper Peninsula

Tahquamenon Falls
41382 West M-123, Paradise, MI 49768

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Michigan, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.

Spend a day exploring the overwhelming waters of Tahquamenon Fallsin Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula and the natural trails that surround them. Over 50,000 gallons of water has been recorded cascading these falls per second. Row a boat, take a walk, or enjoy one of the many campsites available at this natural landmark. Two waterfalls have gushed with water for millions of years in this beautiful park.

Use our Guide to Tahquamenon Falls for more to see and where to stay when you visit this amazing landmark in Michigan

Miners castle - best michigan landmarks
Miners Castle in Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
N8391 Sand Point Rd, Munising, MI 49862

Another wild beauty located in the wonderful Upper Peninsula, the Pictured Rocks offers hiking, kayaking, camping, boating, and opportunities for outdoor adventures. One of the most famous landmarks in Michigan, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a 42-mile pristine stretch of Lake Superior coastline.

You’ll find towering sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, dunes, islands and unique rock formations (like Miner’s Castle) here.

Visit the Upper Peninsula to take a commercial boat cruise tour or do some kayaking to see the naturally etched cliffs. relax on the beach with some swimmin or do some hiking. Groundwater travels across the cliffs and evaporates, leaving different colors stained on the cliffs for a beautiful natural mural.

Don’t miss the chance to take a boat ride out to Grand Island near Munising; it’s an amazing spot that has ice caves in the winter!

kitch-iti-kipi Michigan landmarks

Kitch-iti-Kipi: The Big Spring
Sawmill Rd, Manistique, MI 49854

Nicknamed “Mirror of Heaven”, this is the largest natural, freshwater spring in the state. The crystal-clear teal water allows visitors to see the beautiful schools of fish and other aquatic creatures that live in this area.

A free raft with a glass floor in the middle is the perfect observation deck for this magical experience. After taking a short hike to one of the two viewing points, guests will find the 40-feet deep 200-feet wide spring to be a refreshing view of this Upper Peninsula beauty. Use our Ultimate Gudie to Kitch-iti-Kipi to learn more about this amazing spot.

Soo Locks - michigan landmarks

Soo Locks
Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783

Maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this landmark allows ships to be lifted or lowered between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, a 21-foot difference. The site offers boat tours so that visitors can experience the engineering firsthand.

The Locks run completely based on gravitational pull with no pumps. The “Linchpin of the Great Lakes” can transfer 1,000-foot-long freighters, which has allowed an estimate of 7,000 ships to pass through.

Isle Royale National Park

Located 56 miles off of the coast of Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula, you’ll find Michigan’s very own
national park- Isle Royale. It’s the least visited national park, but also the most re-visited ,and for good

This is pure Michigan natural beauty in its most pristine form. At 45 miles long and 9 miles across its’ widest point, Isle Royale is a rugged gem of an island. Take the ferry from Copper Harbor and plan to stay at the lodge or at one of the campsites, there is a lot to explore here, including inland lakes and hiking trails where you might spot a moose, wolf or other flora and fauna.

Bond falls- landmarks in michigan

Bond Falls
Ontangon County, MI

Located in the middle branch of the Ontonagon River in the Western Upper Peninsula, Bond Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Michigan. About 100-feet wide with a 50-foot drop, is a stunningly beautiful area, with an accessible boardwalk with multiple viewing locations.

You’ll want to have your camera ready to capture the water as it cascades over the rocks; plan to bring a picnic and stay awhile: the area is simply gorgeous.

More to Michigan Landmarks to Explore in the U.P.

  • Calumet Historic District
  • Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
mackinac bridge mackinac landmarks

Michigan Landmarks in the Lower Peninsula

Mackinac Bridge
Mackinaw City and St. Ignace

Connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of the Great Lake State, the Mackinac Bridge is an iconic suspension bridge, one of the longest in the world. 8,614 feet tall and five miles long, this is a drive you won’t regret taking.

The “Mighty Mac” opened to the public in November of 1957. This beautiful bridge crosses the straights of Mackinac, linking Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk across the bridge on Labor Day at the annual Mackinac Bridge walk; it’s a once-a-year opportunity to cross Michigan’s most famous landmark.

michigan state university campus

Michigan State Capitol
100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

Opened in 1879 and designated as a National Landmark in 1992, the State Capitol in Lansing, MI stands tall and powerful in the center of the Lower Peninsula. Tour the historical rooms and artistic exhibits that demonstrate a wonderful representation of Michigan.

The Gallery of Governors is on the second floor, where artists have been chosen to create amazing portraits of past governors. Older paintings are moved to other parts of the capitol to make room for new portraits. The capitol building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse
Bois Blanc Island, MI 49775

Located off the coast of Cheboygan in northeast Michigan in Lake Huron, this small island is just southeast of Mackinac Island. Just 12 miles long and six miles wide, you’ll find six inland lakes, a tavern, a post office and small airport on this scarcely-populated island.

While Michigan is home to a wide variety of lighthouses, Bois Blanc Island established this historic tower in 1829 and deactivated it in 1924. The third structured lighthouse is seen today, along with a skeleton lighthouse tower in place of the original. The current lighthouse is 38-feet tall and was built in 1867, a light brick building that stands two stories tall. Visit by ferry from Cheyboygan.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
286 Grand Ave, Mackinac Island, MI 49757

With lots of different events and amenities, this historic hotel offers a wonderful experience just in staying the night. Having opened in 1887, the Grand Hotel offers an old-fashioned take on hospitality, with afternoon teas, formal dinners, and nightly dancing, taking you into the past.

Built in 1890s, the Grand Hotel’s Front Porch is the longest in the world. Enjoy a nice walk with a stunning view down this Michigan jewel, which is one of Michigan’s national historic landmarks.

sleeping bear dunes overlook - landmarks in michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Leelanau and Benzie Counties, MI

Voted the most beautiful places in the United States by Good Morning America, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must on any Michigan travel bucket list. Naturally created from continental glaciers moving south from Canada, Sleeping Bear Dunes includes 65 miles of shoreline through the charming towns of Empire and Glen Arbor. There is so much to do here: challenge yourself to climb the dunes or enjoy a numerous lake day activities.

Experience The Story of Sleeping Bear in person by visiting the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive which takes you through 12 stops that tell the story of the dunes. Hike the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail for almost 22 miles with eight trail heads to provide access along the way, and catch a glimpse of the Manitou Islands in the distance.

Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Whether you’re looking for a more natural scene or want to dive into the art, Fredrik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids allows for both. Having opened in 1995, after half a decade of planning, this park hosts 850 active volunteers and is supported by hundreds of donors.

With different events, changing art displays, and illustrious gardens including an amazing butterfly house and stunning Japanese Garden, a walk through this amazing Michigan landmark is sure to help visitors experience beauty and culture.

dow gardens in midland Michigan

The Alden Dow House
315 Post St, Midland, MI 48640

Previous home of Alden B. Dow, this isolated site offers an architectural spin on a historical landmark. While living in the midst of the Great Depression and raising a family, Dow designed this home to challenge its environment. His futuristic idea of architecture explores the many different inspirations that Dow had in his design. Listen on the National Register of Historic Places, this mid-20th century home now offers tours and events, creating a unique experience for guests.

Be sure to plan time to the famous Dow Gardens. This botanical garden space stretches for 110 acres, and visitors are welcome to explore its many trails and individual garden spaces. You’ll also want to see the 1400-foot canopy walk that towers 40 feet above the ground.

windmill Island gardens - Holland MI

Windmill Island Gardens
Holland, MI 49423

Another natural experience, Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, MI has over 36 acres of gardens for walking, picnicking, and more. A 125-foot-tall Dutch windmill stands guard over this beautiful landscape at 250 years old.

The Post House and Little Netherlands Village allows for a 14th century adventure. Gardens are replanted with annuals to provide a large variety for about half of the year. The City of Amsterdam gifted a Dutch street organ to complete the seemingly magical experience.

Windmill in a field - michigan landmarks to see

Colonial Michilimackinac
106 W Straits Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Constructed by the French in 1715, Fort Michilimackinac has acted as a trade post, a refueling post, and a military station. The British took control in 1761 and was moved to Mackinac Island in 1780, in fear of an American rebel attack. Over a million artifacts have been recovered from the original site.

This site is now officially part of Michilimackinac State Park in Mackinaw City. This popular fort allows for a learning experience in the American Revolution, including representation of British soldiers, French-Canadian merchants, and other historical figures. The Fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

PRO-TIP: Fort Mackinac, another historical site, is located across the Straits of Mackinac on Mackinac Island.

More Michigan Landmarks in the Lower Peninsula

  • Marshall Historic District in Marshall Michigan
  • Ernest Hemingway Cottage in Walloon Lake Michigan near Petoskey
  • Fort Gratiot
  • St. Clair River Tunnel

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What Are Five Must-See Landmarks in Michigan?

There are many amazing landmarks worth seeing, some natural wonders and some built by man and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Five Michigan landmarks that best define the state include the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and the Soo Locks.

About the Author-
Content Writer Anna is currently a fourth-year student at Grand Valley State University studying Writing and Psychology. She has been writing for years and hopes to continue writing for many years as a creative outlet and potential career. Currently, she is working on finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree and figuring out what career field she wants to enter after graduation in the spring of 2023.