The state with the name literally meaning “large lake” is home over 3,200 miles of shoreline, but it also has miles and miles of gorgeous wilderness too.
Go on a journey through the beautiful Midwest state then it will take you through gorgeous scenic inland waterways, huge dunes, ancient forests, and endless inland seas. Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Michigan…
1. Holland State Park Beach – one of Michigan’s most visited and most beautiful state parks
Covering around 140 acres, the state park is located four miles west of Holland.
The beach is not only gorgeous but offers lots of opportunities for swimming, boating, and camping, not to mention picnicking and playground opportunities.
Between the park itself and the beach, this area gets 1.5 to 2 million visitors every year, which is a testament to how magnificent it is. In fact, when it comes to state parks in Michigan, this one is the most visited one in the entire state, and if you visit it just once, you’ll understand why.
2. Arch Rock and Mackinac Island – two popular and stunning beauty spots in Michigan
This resort area and island cover a little more than four square miles and lies between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
The original fort was built by the British during the American Revolutionary War, and it now offers a slew of activities for tourists and locals alike.
Arch Rock is part of the landscape and is a natural limestone arch that reaches 146 feet above the ground. On the property are other popular geologic formations, as well as properties with beautiful architecture, lots of plants and birds, museums, churches, and so much more.
3. Federik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park – a pretty and popular place to visit in Michigan
Covering a total of 158 acres, this amazing tourist spot is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Michigan, in part because it truly offers something for everyone.
There is a Japanese garden covering eight acres, and sculptures of both modern and contemporary design.
There are also numerous nature trails to enjoy, as well as shade gardens, children’s gardens, a 15,000-square-foot conservatory, and heirloom orchards, vegetables, and figurative animal sculptures.
If you’re ever in the Grand Rapids area, you owe it to yourself to pay this attraction a visit.
4. Mount Bohemia – a stunning destination ski resort in Michigan
Mount Bohemia is a ski resort in Mohawk, Michigan, providing two chairlifts and the second-highest vertical drop in the Midwest.
While this ski slope is not for beginners because it is a bit on the challenging side, it is still a beautiful resort that offers black diamonds and even double and triple black diamonds.
It doesn’t have snow-making equipment, but for the most part, it doesn’t need it because the area gets roughly 250 to 300 inches of snow every year.
The ski areas themselves cover more than 500 acres, and there is a total of 95 runs, with the longest being more than one mile long.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – a gorgeous spot to explore which is known for its colored sandstone cliffs
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the state’s upper peninsula, this lakeshore runs for 42 miles and covers more than 73,000 acres.
It gets its name from the fact that it offers some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve likely ever been exposed to, including colorful sandstone cliffs, shallow caves and arches, and waterfalls, to name a few.
Some of the activities you can participate in while you’re there include scuba diving, kayaking, boating, and numerous winter sports such as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and even ice-climbing.
5. Lake Michigan – one of the most famous and beautiful places to visit in Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes in the United States and the second-largest by volume.
The lake is not only a very impressive site to see, but it is also shared by a few other states, including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
There are beaches there and various small islands, not to mention ferries, parks, and even lighthouses. If you love the water, Lake Michigan is the place to be, and you can also occasionally view ice volcanoes, which aren’t that uncommon at the end of the winter season.
6. Yankee Springs State Park – filled with unique beauty and gorgeous Michigan landscapes
A haven for outdoor lovers, this beautiful place to visit in Michigan is a sprawling 5,200 acres in an area protected state-managed area located in Yankee Springs Township in Barry County.
It’s a popular place to take a vacation in Michigan with a gorgeous rustic feel. There are 120 camping sites and two cabins located here. Come here to go hiking amongst truly beautiful landscapes as well as mountain biking, cross-country skiing, swimming, and much more.
7. Pere Marquette Park – a gorgeous park that is also home to a popular public beach on Lake Michigan
The beach in this area is surf-raked daily. This is a clean, white sandy beach that attracts tens of thousands of visitors each and every year.
The park itself has a lot of activities for people to enjoy, including volleyball, a playground area, picnic tables, and snack bars and restaurants.
Whether you want to swim, work on your tan, or participate in a good game of beach volleyball, you’ll be able to do it at Pere Marquette Park. It is located at the northernmost end of Lake Michigan, which covers a 2.5-mile area that is actually owned by the city.
8. The Crisp Point Lighthouse – a striking and iconic attraction to explore in Michigan
This lighthouse is one of five U.S. Lifesaving Service Stations located on Lake Superior, and it is located about 14 miles west of Whitefish Point. In 1915, these service stations merged with the U.S. Coast Guard, and the lighthouse now stands on 15 acres of land.
It is also 58 feet high and has suffered damage caused by erosion and various storms. The Crisp Point lighthouse now has 1,000 cubic yards of stone in front of it to protect it as much as possible.
Today, the lighthouse is in excellent condition and is the site of numerous events enjoyed by both tourists and locals alike.
9. Historic Gaslight District Petoskey – a charming district in one of the “Best Small Towns in America”
Located on the northeastern shore of Lake Michigan, the Petoskey Gaslight District has been one of the state’s best shopping areas for more than 100 years. Included in the area are boutiques, galleries, and lots of shopping. In fact, if you love to shop or eat, this is the place to be.
Real gas lighting lines the street just like it did a long time ago, adding to the district’s charm, and you can even enjoy a beautiful view of Little Traverse Bay while you’re there.
There are also distilleries, bed-and-breakfast facilities, casinos, waterparks, and lots of opportunities for bird-watching and nature enthusiasts.
10. Silver Beach County Park – a wide and gorgeous Michigan beach with lots of activities on offer
Like other types of parks, Silver Beach offers something for everyone. This includes swimming in the summer, cross-country skiing in the winter, and opportunities to picnic, sunbathe, kayak, paddleboard, play volleyball, and walk through one of several walkways.
There are grills for people who wish to barbecue and both drinking fountains and concession stands for those who need a snack or something cool to drink.
There is also an on-site pavilion you can rent for weddings, retirement parties, birthday parties, and numerous other special events.
11. Presque Isle Park – one of the most visited sites in Marquette County and for good reason
Consisting of more than 300 acres, this park is located in Marquette and offers beautiful scenic drives, untouched forests, sandstone cliffs, rocky outcrops, and a few secluded coves and pebble beaches.
If you love nature, this is the place for you because you can enjoy plants and animals that include more than 100 species of native plants, raccoons, Canada geese, and white-tailed deer.
You also get access to numerous foot trails in case you’d like to be out in the open when you enjoy the scenery, making this a very versatile park indeed.
12. Cut River Bridge State Roadside Park – for gorgeous Michigan countryside and an iconic bridge
Located along Highway 2 in Mackinac County, this park is found near the Cut River and has a majestic-looking bridge that is 641 feet long and was made out of 888 short tons of structural steel.
The bridge is certainly a wonder, but there is also a nearby set of wooden stairs that was built after the bridge was.
While people do not usually use the staircase, it is still interesting to look at because of its age and its architecture. This is a great place to stop and visit while you’re on the road, and an even better location if you need a place to relax for a while.
13. The University of Michigan – one of the best places to explore in Michigan
Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor and now covers roughly 780 acres. It is home to nearly 600 major buildings and has more than 45,000 students and nearly 7,000 academic personnel.
Tons of famous people attended the university, including former U.S. President Gerald Ford and 26 living billionaires.
The football team is known as the Wolverines and is a member of the Big 10 Conference. Not only is this a beautiful university, but its buildings include a lot of buildings that are historically and architecturally very unique.
14. Ludington State Park – scenic sand dunes, sandy beaches and the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse
Located on 5,300 acres of land, this park is crossed by a stretch of the Big Sable River and is home to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which is 112 feet high and dates back to the 1870s.
You can swim on Lake Michigan or Hamlin Lake, go tubing on Big Sable River, and enjoy their trails to hike, cross-country ski, go biking, or even go canoeing.
There are lighthouse tours and eateries to enjoy, so it’s easy to see why so many people spend the day at the park whenever they need to get away from it all.
15. Porcupine Mountains State Park – one of Michigan’s largest state parks
Established in 1944, this park provides campgrounds, places to swim and go boating, trails for hiking and backpacking, and even offers rustic cabins for people who want to stay there overnight.
One of the most significant areas of the park is the Lake of the Clouds Overlook, which has some of the most stunning scenery you’ve ever been exposed to.
In the 19th century, the area was popular for mining copper, and the entire park now covers more than 59,000 acres. It is located in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties and has an elevation of nearly 1,500 feet.
16. Copper Harbor Trails – a fantastic mountain biking trail in Michigan
If you love mountain biking, this is where you want to be. One of the most beautiful places in Michigan, it is also one of the few 5-star trails anywhere in the Midwest, and everyone who has ridden the trails has testified that they deserve every star.
Yes, they are a bit rugged, but they aren’t just for more experienced riders.
In fact, anyone can enjoy the Copper Harbor Trails, especially because they are a bit remote and out-of-the-way, not to mention scenic and a whole lot of fun. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and everyone else as well!
17. Greenfield Village – is the first outdoor museum of its type in the United States
This is Henry Ford’s historic outdoor park in Dearborn and offers tons of enjoyable things to do.
You can enjoy a baseball game, ride a Model T or a steam engine, check out Orville and Wilbur Wright’s bike shop, pet some sheep at the Firestone Farm, and stroll through Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory.
It is especially eventful during holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, where you can also enjoy ice skating, caroling, and a whole host of other activities.
18. Tahquamenon Falls – one of the best and most beautiful places to visit in Michigan
Not all beautiful waterfalls can be found with an Internet search, and the Yellow Dog River Falls are a perfect example.
To get there, just take County Road 510 West from Big Bay in Marquette County, then park by the small bridge that you see. Next, hike about a half-mile to see these gorgeous falls.
Not too far from the Yellow Dog River Falls are the Big Pup Creek Falls, which you can find simply by going a little farther on CR 510. Both waterfalls are nothing short of amazing.
19. Isle Royale National Park – a tranquil, beautiful, rugged and isolated island to explore in Michigan
Isle Royale was once voted the least-visited national park, but that’s a shame because it really does have a lot to offer.
Although it’s very remote and almost totally inaccessible during the winter months, the park offers cottages to rent to go boating and best of all, lots of animals to see, including wolves and moose.
You can go camping there, hike or backpack through one of their many trails, and even visit a few lighthouses. The park is astounding because its waters are perfect for all types of activities, and the coastline and forests are no less extraordinary.
20. Log Slide Overlook at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – a stunning location offering gorgeous views
This overlook is located seven miles west of Grand Marais and consists of a sand dune that is 300 feet high. The views it provides are absolutely stunning and include views over Lake Superior and the Grand Sable Banks and Dunes.
There is also a trail that extends west from the overlook to the Au Sable Light Station, and if you follow that trail along Lake Superior, it becomes almost level with the water.
Once you see the water, you can actually get off of the trail and enjoy swimming or working on your tan at the beach area.
21. Pine River – an amazing spot for canoeing and kayaking
Located just west of Cadillac, the Pine River offers excellent opportunities for kayaking and canoeing, and in fact, the water can be a little more challenging than other rivers in the state, including the Au Sable or Rifle rivers.
The river is fast-moving and not always recommended for less experienced canoers and in fact, you can expect to tip over simply because of the choppy waters and various obstructions.
Still, if you prefer your kayak or canoe rides to come with a little bit of excitement and even tension, the Pine River is where you need to go. It is easy to find and will never disappoint those who enjoy a rush of adrenaline.
22. Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse in Port Hope – a stunning historic attraction to visit in Michigan
If lighthouses are your thing, this one will fascinate you for sure. The lighthouse is one of the most beautiful spots in Michigan and sits on Lake Huron in Michigan’s Thumb.
The 89-foot structure was built in 1857 and has a great museum and gift shop as well.
It’s photogenic and extremely interesting to visit, but it offers more than just a historic site to see. It also contains artifacts of the Daniel J. Morrell, a ship that sank just off the coast due to a storm in 1966.
The event left only one survivor behind, and you can see artifacts from the tragically doomed ship when you visit this lighthouse.
23. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island – an incredible vacation spot in Michigan
I would recommend staying in this gorgeous Michigan hotel, alternatively, if you’re looking for something unique to do, go to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and pay $10 for the chance to sit on the front porch and enjoy your stay even more.
There are no automobiles allowed on the island, but don’t worry about doing so much walking because here, you can rest your tired feet, order a few drinks or snacks, and enjoy some of the most amazing views you’ve ever seen, including beautiful geraniums, Lake Huron, the ferries, and of course, the Mackinac Island bridge, all of which will bring a smile to your face.
Awesome things to do in Michigan…
24. Go to a concert at Andrews Hall in Detroit
St. Andrews Hall used to be a parochial school auditorium and this place gets fun and packed, but it is also the perfect venue for all types of concerts.
A few of the artists who have performed here include Liz Phair, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Tom Morello.
If you love music and don’t mind enjoying your favorite artists in the great outdoors. St. Andrews Hall is the place to head to. It definitely has a certain ambiance that only comes from older, more established locations!
25. Go beer tasting
There’s nothing quite like beer tasting, and if you’re in Ypsilanti in July, you can look forward to tasting beers from more than 100 different Michigan brewers.
Just a few of the creations usually featured include Key Lime Pie beer from Short’s Brewing Company and Neapolitan Milk Stout beer from Saugatuck Brewing Company.
The event is made even better with live music and the chance to sample beers from all over the state. It is by far the state of Michigan’s most celebrated beer-tasting event and promises not to disappoint.
26. Get arty at the Belt Alley, Detroit
Usually called the Belt by locals, this is a block-long alley that features all types of art from both national and international artists, so it truly offers something for everyone.
It is located in downtown Detroit and runs from East Grand River to Gratiot Avenue.
The interesting thing about this alley is that it has a wide variety of artists and exhibitions, so regardless of which medium you prefer to look at and purchase, you’ll be able to find it. The area is even covered with a variety of murals to look at before you get to the artists. Enjoy!
We also have posts on…
- The most beautiful places to visit in Indiana
- The most beautiful places to visit in Ohio
- The most beautiful places to visit in Wisconsin
- The most beautiful places to visit in Illinois
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Michael Cowley – writer and photographer
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always had an affinity for adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued seeking out new places and cultures. In his spare time he explores everywhere from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, trying all kinds of street food, playing carrom with random strangers, and fine wine – he knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Goa, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations. Find Michael on Instagram or Twitter.