- Discover the Best Places to Visit in Michigan
- Interactive Map of the Best Places to Visit in Michigan
- Amazing Places to Visit in Michigan Cities and Towns
- Best Places to Visit in Michigan: Parks and Monuments
- More AWESOME Parks and Places to Visit in Michigan
- Awesome Places to Visit in Michigan: Museums and Institutions
- Unique Places to Visit in Michigan
- More Top Places to Visit in Michigan
Discover the Best Places to Visit in Michigan
Looking for the best places to visit in Michigan?
There are endless ways to enjoy unique and special getaways in Michigan. Visiting Michigan is what you make it and there’s someone for everyone, whether you like remote escapes or bustling and exciting cities to explore.
What’s even better is that there’s never a bad time to travel in Michigan. From winter stays in a cozy ski resort and crosscountry ski trips to camping up north in the Hiawatha National Forest in the summer. From tulip blooms at Windmill Island Gardens to fall apple orchard days. Each season brings new and exciting things to do throughout the state.
This Michigan travel guide has you covered from the grit of Detroit to Copper Harbors northern remoteness and everything in between. You’ll find everything from exciting outdoor activities to amazing scenic drives and more.
Read on to learn about all the best tourist attractions, vacation spots, and more to start planning your trip and create your perfect Pure Michigan adventure.
Interactive Map of the Best Places to Visit in Michigan
Amazing Places to Visit in Michigan Cities and Towns
Michigan’s capital city, Lansing, sits right in the heart of the mitten along the Red Cedar River. The state capitol building will greet you at the end of Michigan avenue as you drive into town and bid you adieu from the rearview mirror when you reluctantly leave.
Here, small town charm and big-city glamor mix together in a perfect balance. Enjoy outdoor activities, a day at the zoo with the family, or explore downtown Lansing, complete with shops, restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options.
While you’re there: Take a stroll around Michigan State University and enjoy all the greenspace on campus, including horticultural and botanical gardens.
Michigan’s largest city is full of fascinating history and packed to the brim with personality. Admire 100-year-old Art Deco skyscrapers as you walk the riverfront, explore the city’s rich culinary culture, visit world class museums, and support the city’s iconic sports teams, like the Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings. You can also take a walking tour of iconic Detroit buildings, designed by famous architects like Minoru Yamasaki.
The Motor City is becoming an increasingly popular place for shopping, dining, and entertainment, so don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind city.
While you’re there: Catch a live show or concert at one of Detroit’s many gorgeous theaters and venues, including the Fox Theater, The Fillmore, the Masonic Temple, and more.
Grand Rapids is the largest city on the west side of the state and has quickly grown into an artistic and cultural hub in Michigan. With acclaimed museums like the Grand Rapids Public Museum, a hoppin’ brewery culture, and an energetic live music scene, GR is popular with young people looking for the excitement of the city with a more affordable price tag.
While you’re there: Get outside and enjoy the opportunities for outdoor adventure offered in and around the city, like kayaking along the Grand River, which runs right through Downtown Grand Rapids.
Marquette is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula at about 20,000 residents, which may not sound all that overwhelming, but its charm surely is.
Situated on the shores of Lake Superior and surrounded by endless evergreen forests, Marquette is a true gem of the north. Do as the locals do and get outside – the wilderness that surrounds town is a favorite for locals to hike, bike, snowmobile, or otherwise explore.
Make the trek up Sugarloaf Mountain or head to the coast to see the historic ore docks. If you’re not into northern Michigan’s great outdoors, there’s still plenty to discover in town, including restaurants, shops, and breweries.
While you’re there: Head to Presque Isle Park and check out the amazing Black Rocks cliffs!
Home of the Wolverines, Ann Arbor has crafted an identity around being one of Michigan’s best college towns and the foundation of its largest college, the University of Michigan. UofM’s massive and diverse student population breathes a unique sense of life and culture into the city. Explore the city and discover dozens of new shops, restaurants, and entertainment options around town.
While you’re there: Attend a University of Michigan football game at Michigan Stadium, which is the largest stadium for football worldwide, earning its nickname as “The Big House.”
Best Places to Visit in Michigan: Parks and Monuments
Mackinac Island State Park
Famous for fudge, horses, and biking, due to its distinct lack of cars, Mackinac Island sits in Lake Huron, in plain view from the Mackinac Bridge, which connects St. Ignace’s U.P. charm to the bustling tourist hub of Mackinaw City.
Step off the ferry and be transported back in time to the Victorian Era, complete with period appropriate buildings and transportation options, including horsedrawn carriage. Once you leave the hustle and bustle of downtown, escape into the wilderness at Mackinac Island State Park.
If possible, try to find lodging on the island. Whether you vacation in opulence at the Grand Hotel or stay at a charming Bed and Breakfast on Main Street, staying overnight on the island is something every Michigander should do.
While you’re there: Explore Fort Mackinac, an 18th century fort originally built by French settlers to secure, protect, and control the Straits of Mackinac. You can also find Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, should you find yourself back on the mainland.
Belle Isle, affectionately nicknamed the “Jewel of Detroit,” is an island situated in the Detroit River, between the Motor City, and neighboring Canadian city, Windsor.
Here you can escape the city without leaving it. Enjoy miles of Belle Isle parks green space where local wildlife flourishes, including bald eagles, which have been known to nest on the island.
While you’re there: Visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, which is the oldest public aquarium in the United States. Even if you’re not fascinated by marine creatures, the architecture alone will be sure to impress.
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge covers over 9,000 acres of the Great Lakes Bay region. Here, at this nature preserve, the native flora and fauna flourish. This is one of the best natural Michigan attractions in the lower peninsula and it’s located a convenient 45 minutes from Bay City.
While you’re there: Explore some of the towns in the Great Lakes Bay area. Frankenmuth is famously known as Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” and is home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the largest Christmas store in the world. Don’t miss a world-famous chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn restaurant.
Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale is Michigan’s biggest island, located in the far northern reaches of Lake Superior. This massive island is home to the appropriately named Isle Royale National Park.
Despite its size, Isle Royale is uninhabited, and is perhaps the most remote attraction in Michigan. In fact, it is among one of the least visited national parks in the country, receiving as many visitors in a year as Yosemite does in less than a week. This is the perfect national park destination for those looking to get off the beaten path and explore truly untouched natural landscapes.
While you’re there: If you have access to a boat, take it out to explore the various satellite islands around Isle Royale.
More AWESOME Parks and Places to Visit in Michigan
Not the biggest island in Michigan, but the largest in Lake Michigan, Beaver Island is a destination suitable for any nature lover. You can get to the island either by boat or by plane, but once you’re there, biking is one of the best ways to get around, unless you want to hit the water, in which case on-site boat rentals are available.
Summers are the best times to visit the island so you can enjoy the beautiful warm and sunny northern Michigan weather.
While you’re there: Hit the beaches and enjoy northern Michigan’s take on “island living.”
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of Michigan’s most iconic destinations. Here on the northern shores of Lake Michigan, the sand dunes feel never-ending and taller than mountains.
Commit hundreds of steps along the Dune Climb for sweeping, picturesque views of Lake Michigan or take it easy on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. No matter which way you explore and admire the dunes, the experience will be remembered for a long time.
Be sure to spend some time exploring downtown Glen Arbor, home to the original Cherry Republic, where you can pick up some amazing cherry-flavored candies, salsas, wines and more to take home as souvenirs.
While you’re there: Nearby Traverse City is one of the best beach towns in all the state. Be sure to try Traverse City’s cherries or even try to travel around the Cherry Festival.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
One of the most photogenic places in Michigan can be found along the Lake Superior shore near Munising. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is made up of rock cliff sides, painted by streaks of mineral deposits, giving them a unique and beautiful color.
View the rocks from the viewpoints along hiking trails or get a kayak to see them from the water. You can also get a stellar view from the Pictured Rocks boat tours that operate out of Munising.
While you’re there: Take a glass-bottom boat tour of Lake Superior shipwrecks.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Spanning almost 50,000 acres, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is massive, including more than just the falls themselves. Tahquamenon Falls exists on the river of the same name where it passes through Paradise. As the water in the river flows, it passes over the upper and lower falls before emptying into Lake Superior. Hiking trails run all over the park, many of which offer fantastic views of both the upper and lower falls, which are situated about 4 miles apart.
While you’re there: Fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the falls by taking a swim by the lower falls.
Awesome Places to Visit in Michigan: Museums and Institutions
Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
In Dearborn, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village work together to bring history to life. It’s also one of the top places to visit in Michigan.Tour the museum and see historical artifacts, many of which were part of Ford’s own original personal collection.
These artifacts tell the story of human innovations in technology, history and culture. Be sure to head outside to stroll Greenfield Village, where you’ll see how life operated around the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a working farm, a replica of Thomas Edison’s Menlo park lab, and plenty of Model Ts cruising through the streets.
While you’re there: Hitch a ride on a Model T to see Greenfield Village from a whole new perspective.
Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts is an anchor for the Detroit community, connecting people to art using programs, resources, and education. Its diverse collection invites guests to open their minds and hearts and has inspired generations.
From ancient works carved in stone to modern and postmodern paintings by this century’s greats, there’s endless variety in this collection.
While you’re there: Step into the Rivera Court, named for Diego Rivera, to see the famous Detroit Industry Murals, painted by him in the 1930s.
The Detroit Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals representing 200 species across 125 acres of land.
The Detroit Zoo is special among zoos in the U.S., since it is the first zoo to have utilized bar-less habitats and is considered to be a worldwide leader in animal welfare, conservation, and sustainability. Support the amazing work they do and plan a visit to one of the biggest and best zoos around.
While you’re there: Stop by the Polk Penguin Conservation Center to see tons of active and energetic penguins up close. This is the world’s largest penguin facility, featuring four species of penguins with over 80 penguins in total.
Motown music serves as one of the pillars of Detroit’s history, playing an important role in the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century. Today, Motown remains as popular and as influential as ever, often setting a foundation for pop and R&B music, and even being sampled for modern releases.
Learn more about this iconic record label and all the ways Motown influences us at the Motown Museum in Detroit. This historical museum is something that should be on every Detroit bucket list.
While you’re there: Stop by Hitsville NEXT for educational, interactive workshops and opportunities that help deepen understanding of Motown and the music industry.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a gem of west Michigan and the greater Grand Rapids area. Stroll through the gardens and be amazed by a unique collection of horticultural and botanical garden arrangements as well as beautiful sculptures by famous artists including Ai Weiwei, Auguste Rodin, and more.
While you’re there: Try to coordinate your visit around the “Butterflies are Blooming” event during March and April. This event is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the country and is well worth the trip.
Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum
Western Michigan is a hub for aviation, which makes the Kalamazoo area the perfect place for the Smithsonian-affiliated Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum. Here, visitors can view over 100 air and space artifacts as well as participate in unique interactive activities, including rides, hands-on demonstrative exhibits, and even flight simulators.
While you’re there: Try a flight simulation to experience what it’s like to be the pilot of an aircraft. The sim includes visual and auditory effects as well as motion.
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Way up in Paradise on the Lake Superior shore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is a leading educator of Michigan history or the maritime variety.
The museum, located along the aptly named “Shipwreck Coast,” focuses on teaching patrons about the perils of Great Lakes transportation using artifacts from wrecks, including the bell from the infamous wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
While you’re there: Be sure to take time to admire the Whitefish Point Light Tower, which has stood in continuous operation since 1861, making it the oldest on Lake Superior.
Unique Places to Visit in Michigan
Estivant Pines Natural Sanctuary
Located at the top of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, Estivant Pines is a stunning nature reserve in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that is renowned for its majestic old-growth white pine forest.
Featuring trees that reach heights of over 100 feet and are several hundred years old, the reserve offers tranquil walking trails for visitors to explore and appreciate the diverse wildlife and vegetation. The area is a paradise for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers alike, providing them with a tranquil and breathtaking natural experience.
Eben Ice Caves
The Eben Ice Caves, situated in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, are a remarkable and mesmerizing natural phenomenon. These caves form when the snow and ice of winter melt, resulting in intricate designs of icicles and ice curtains which line the interior.
They are usually accessible from late December to early March as the weather during that time facilitates their formation. People from all over the world come to explore the caves and capture the beauty of the ice formations, making it a popular destination for both photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Canopy Walk at the Boyne Mountain
Gather up your courage and walk along the treetops at Boyne Mountain’s SkyBridge, the world’s largest timber-towered bridge. Standing almost 120-feet high, you’ll walk almost a half-mile along the bridge while you take in amazing panoramic vistas of northern Michigan. This bridge opened in late 2022 and is already promising to be one of the top tourist attractions in Michigan.
Thorne Swift Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs
Located in Harbor Springs, Michigan, the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is an awe-inspiring 30-acre area with a picturesque beach along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Guests can traverse through the forest, wetlands, and meadows along many trails, experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the preserve.
One of the highlights of the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is the abundance of native plant and animal species that call it home. The preserve’s diverse habitats support a variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching. It’s not uncommon to spot bald eagles, herons, and other waterfowl in the area.
Kitch Iti Kipi
Surrounded by lush green forests, Kitch-iti-kipi offers a serene and picturesque setting. This popular tourist attraction located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of the largest freshwater springs in the state and is known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters.
The spring is approximately 200 feet in diameter and reaches a depth of over 40 feet. It is fed by more than 10,000 gallons of water per minute, making it a constant and reliable source of clear, cold water. The water in Kitch-iti-kipi comes from an underground aquifer and maintains a year-round temperature of around 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).
To explore Kitch-iti-kipi, visitors board a self-operated observation raft that glides across the spring. The raft is attached to an underwater cable system that allows visitors to peer into the depths of the spring and observe the unique geological features, including the bubbling sand at the bottom and the underwater flora and fauna.
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About the Author-
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor for mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.