The Great Lakes State welcomes a diverse range of tourists for a variety of reasons. The Great Lakes State has everything to offer, including some of the best lake vacations in the country as well as lovely towns and lively cities.
U.S. News has compiled a list of the top places to visit in Michigan based on a variety of criteria, including the number of activities available, the variety of lodging options, and the general feeling of visitors to the state. Using this information, you can determine where you should go on your next vacation.
The Best Places to Visit in Michigan in the Summer
The state is home to a number of fantastic vacation spots, ranging from gorgeous to romantic to adventurous, each of which offers a plethora of activities to partake in. Make your trip planning easier by consulting our list of the top sites to see in Michigan.
1. The Island of Mackinac
One of the most popular destinations for tourists in Michigan is Mackinac Island. The experience of being on the island is reminiscent of an old-fashioned summer vacation, replete with rocking chairs on the porch, horse-drawn carriage excursions, and serenity over Lake Huron, with beautiful sunsets that put a dramatic stamp on the conclusion of a day that will be remembered forever.
This peaceful island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is only accessible by boat, and there are no automobiles on the island, so guests may take advantage of the island’s lack of traffic by riding bicycles and walking along the residential streets.
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Mackinac Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Michigan because it offers a diverse selection of activities, such as canoeing and horseback riding, as well as a sunset boat trip that goes beneath the Mackinac Bridge.
The excitement that permeates Detroit is contagious. The town has an atmosphere that can be attributed to Motor City’s status as a leader in the automotive industry, where it was founded.
The Henry Ford Museum, the Automotive Hall of Fame, and the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant/Model T Automotive Heritage Complex are three of the most fascinating historical landmarks in Detroit, and they are among the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
Other attractions that should not be missed include the Motown Museum and the Parade Company. At the latter, you will get the opportunity to go on a tour of the costumes and floats that were developed for the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade.
3. Bay of the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes Bay region in central Michigan is a relaxed destination that is ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways, and weekend trips. It is an agricultural region with a number of settlements that offer a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. These range from outdoor recreation and art galleries to antique stores and farmers’ markets.
There are parks where birdwatchers frequently gather, and there are over 100 miles of trails that are ideal for trekking and taking in the sights. The Great Lakes Bay region is home to some spectacular attractions, including the longest canopy walk in the United States, which can be found in Whiting Forest in Midland.
Because it contains a public market, a children’s zoo, an art museum, and environmental excursions at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, the city of Saginaw is an excellent location to stay within the surrounding area.
4. The National Lakeshore that Encompasses Sleeping Bear Dunes
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is widely regarded as one of the state’s top tourist destinations. In fact, if you are looking for a great first experience in Michigan, this is where to start, as it easily ranks as one of the best summer vacation spots in the United States.
It has a 35-mile shoreline along Lake Michigan and is situated on the western coast of the state of Michigan. With lakes, streams, and beaches, the land that glaciers sculpted has a unique environment.
At Sleeping Bear Dunes, the sand dunes are the most popular attraction because visitors may climb them and take great vacation photos while trekking the 300-foot-tall face of the dunes. The area has 70,000 acres of wilderness, so there are many outdoor experiences to fill your agenda, from hiking and camping to swimming and kayaking.
5. The Upper Portion of the Peninsula
The Upper Peninsula is one of the best places to visit in Michigan in the winter. This northern region, which receives an average of 200 inches of snowfall every year, transforms into a paradise for winter outdoor leisure.
You can book a weekend at one of several dozen ski resorts or hit one of the many groomed cross-country ski trails through the UP forests.
The Upper Peninsula is a great place to try out some new winter adventures, like ice climbing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.
6. The City of Ann Arbor
If you want to get a taste of Michigan’s creative side, one of the best places to do it is in the city of Ann Arbor. In the central business district, there are numerous places where you can go to unwind at a local cafe or outdoor café and watch the passing crowd.
Because the central business district of Ann Arbor is so accommodating to foot traffic, leaving your vehicle parked and exploring on foot is quick and simple.
Shopping is a popular pastime in Ann Arbor, particularly along Main Street and in the State Street District, both of which are home to a plethora of quaint shops and galleries. There are beautiful hiking routes in the area, in addition to water sports such as stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking on the Huron River.
7. Traverse City
One of the best places to go sightseeing in Michigan is the lovely city of Traverse City. This is due in part to the surrounding natural beauty, but also to the wide variety of activities that can be enjoyed here.
In the winter, Traverse City is a great place to go skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing, and in the summer, it is a great place to enjoy water sports. Traverse City is located in northwest Michigan. A trip to one of Traverse City’s world-famous resorts, golf courses, or spas is just what the doctor ordered after a stressful week.
Traveling along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore might make for a pleasant day trip if you are staying in Traverse City. It is a seven-mile scenic path that takes you past some of the most spectacular landscapes in Michigan, with panoramic views from a variety of overlooks on Lake Michigan, Glen Lake, and the towering sand dunes. The route also features a number of picturesque overlooks along the way.
8. Windmills and Tulips in Holland, Michigan
The Tulip Time Festival in the spring is one of the most enjoyable occasions to visit the town of Holland, which is located in the center of the state. The town takes great pride in its Dutch tradition, which makes exploring the town as a tourist very enjoyable.
Your trip needs to include some time spent in Nelis’ Dutch Village, where you will be able to ascend the five-story Dutch windmill, which is the only one of its kind that is still operational in the United States.
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The hamlet also provides regular activities for tourists, such as a hand-painted carousel that may be ridden, a children’s garden, and the Windmill Island Gardens, among other things.
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.
10. Porcupine Mountains
For those looking for a more remote and unplugged trip to Michigan, the Porcupine Mountains are one of the best places to visit in the Upper Peninsula. They are located on the western tip of the Upper Peninsula and give you a chance to experience some of Michigan’s unexplored areas.
The Porcupine Mountains have 87 miles of scenic hiking trails and breathtaking views from high lookouts. There are 21 beaches along Lake Superior, and you will want to see the Lake of the Clouds in the valley of the old-growth forest that surrounds it in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
The summer months are perfect for taking a trip to Mackinac Island and swimming at one of Lake Michigan’s many beautiful beaches. When autumn arrives, the best time to take a drive through upper Michigan’s scenic byways is to see the gradual transformation of the leaves colors.