The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is shaped like a mitten, and it is home to both bustling cities and peaceful lakeshores. There, the wonders of nature and culture coexist in harmony. There is a wide variety of activities available here to please any tourist. You may be wondering, “What can I do in Lower Michigan?” if a trip to the Great Lakes State is in your future. Oh, boy, are you in for a real treat!
There is no shortage of one-of-a-kind attractions in Southern Michigan, each with its own special flavor and history. There is an abundance of exciting opportunities, from lounging on the sands of Lake Michigan to exploring the thriving arts communities of Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Even though the Upper Peninsula is more well-known for its natural splendor, the Lower Peninsula is hiding some hidden treasures of its own.
Best Places to Visit in Lower Michigan
Discover the best of Lower Michigan’s offbeat attractions right here.
1. State Park Located Near the “Sleeping Bear” Dunes
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a stunning example of the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.\
This vast natural attraction is highlighted by towering dunes that reach heights of 400 feet, providing breathtaking vistas of the glistening lake below. The world opens up before you as you climb the dunes, revealing a landscape that is at once rugged and peaceful.
2. Island of Mackinac
Want to find more off-the-beaten-path destinations in Lower Michigan? Mackinac Island is a car-free paradise where bicycles and horse-drawn carriages rule the roads.
The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be left behind on this magical island, which is one of the most stunning places in Michigan. Mackinac Island is full of historical tales, from its Victorian buildings and quaint shops to its world-famous fudge.
3. City of Traverse
Traverse City, Michigan, is a wonderful mix of natural beauty and cultural vitality, and it can be found on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay.
This city is famous for its cherries and is often called the “Cherry Capital of the World.” The city comes to life every year in early June for the National Cherry Festival with parades, concerts, and, of course, cherry-themed treats.
4. The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village Museums
Visit the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn to delve into the history of American innovation. This massive museum complex celebrates the country’s long tradition of innovation and industrial success.
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Exhibits range from the actual car in which Rosa Parks made her famous stand to the groundbreaking innovations of Thomas Edison; all are educational and motivational.
5. Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria
Discover the magic of Europe without leaving the United States in Frankenmuth, Michigan, also known as “Little Bavaria.” Germanic architecture and cobblestone streets make for a picturesque vacation in this quaint town.
As you take a stroll through the town, you’ll see buildings in the Bavarian style and hear the soothing sounds of traditional German music. Famous for their chicken dinners, Zehnder’s and Bavarian Inn restaurants also offer a wide selection of other authentic German specialties like bratwurst and schnitzel.
6. Lake Charlevoix
Lake Charlevoix is renowned for its pristine waters, beautiful scenery, and abundance of water sports. Lake Michigan is a popular destination for vacationers in search of both excitement and relaxation thanks to its central location in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Envision yourself starting your day with a peaceful paddleboard session as the sun rises and the calm waters reflect the colors of the day. There is more and more action at the lake as the day goes on. Lake Charlevoix is a great place to go jet skiing, sailing, and fishing in Lower Michigan.
7. The City of Grand Rapids
If you’re looking for something different to do in Southern Michigan, don’t miss out on this top pick!
Grand Rapids, also known as “Beer City USA,” is a thriving metropolis that welcomes visitors with an abundance of opportunities to engage with art, culture, and cuisine.
The Grand Rapids Art Museum houses a wide variety of modern and contemporary works that serve as the museum’s focal point. ArtPrize, held annually in Grand Rapids, raises the city’s profile in the art world by turning the city into an outdoor gallery where artists from all over the world exhibit their work.
Petoskey glistens in more ways than one, tucked away on the shores of Lake Michigan. Petoskey, Michigan, is well-known for its distinctive fossilized coral, known as the Petoskey stone.
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With its Victorian buildings, unique shops, and friendly cafes, the Gaslight District is a must-visit. Petoskey is one of the top destinations in all of Lower Michigan, and as you explore the city you’ll see why.
9. Preserve the Saugatuck Sand Dunes
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is calling you with its vast vistas and natural splendor. Over a thousand acres of parkland can be found on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan.
There are sand dunes, forests, and beaches all in one place, and they all complement one another beautifully. It’s a paradise waiting to be discovered in the state of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
10. The Sand Dunes at Silver Lake
Picture vast dunes, the roar of off-road vehicles, and a tranquil lake as a backdrop. Silver Lake Sand Dunes is a desert-like oasis in the middle of Michigan, and it’s open to visitors.
These dunes cover 2,000 acres and reach heights of 100 feet; they can be found on the shores of Lake Michigan. The sweeping vistas from here are truly breathtaking.
Travelers of all stripes will find something to their liking in Michigan. The Great Lakes State is home to some of the country’s most beautiful lakes, quaint small towns, and lively big cities.
The best places to visit in Michigan were determined by U.S. News based on a variety of criteria, including the number of activities, the variety of lodging options, and the general satisfaction of past visitors.