21 Things To Do In Michigan You Will Love

I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life. We have spent many summers visiting many of the beautiful places there is to see around the state. It’s a great state for a staycation with endless journeys to take, a pristine coastline, and even 2 different peninsula’s of land to explore. There are just so many incredible places to visit around the state year round you are sure to find plenty to keep you entertained.

Michigan is the only state where you can find sheer rock cliffs 250′ tall and sand dunes 450′ tall, both towering over a different Great Lake. Watch one of the most spectacular sites you have ever seen of the sun setting over Lake Michigan. See an incredible amount of wildlife in the Upper Peninsula where there are more dirt roads then you can imagine and it is a perfect place to unplug from the world. As well as view the Northern Lights.

You can Ski and snowmobile, in the winter. View fields with literally millions of tulips in the spring. Spend your summer swimming at a different beach every week, clim sand dunes, and hiking trails. Then in the fall make sure to explore the state and view the rainbow of colors on the trees.

I have put together this list of 21 things to do in Michigan, but there are so many other great things to do in the state that are not on this list. Comment below with your favorite thing to do or place to visit in Michigan.

Mackinac Bridge

Not only is the Mackinac Bridge beautiful to drive across, or even just to view during the day. Viewing it at night all lit up is a sight to be seen. One of the best places to view the bridge is the park just off of the highway before you go across the bridge in Mackinac City.

Waterfalls

With 200 named beautiful waterfalls you can view in the upper peninsula you’re bound to find a new favorite while exploring the UP. Many people have heard of Tahquamenon Falls, but not many are aware of just how many waterfalls there really are here in Michigan. This one Miner’s Falls can be found at Miners Castle Beach after a hike through trails. Here is a great map of 100 of the waterfalls.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Overlook

Looking for a good place to watch the sunset? The overlook at The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline is the perfect spot. I mean look at the view, you can’t get much better than this! Spend the day exploring one of the worlds most beautiful shorelines and then the evening enjoying a beautiful sunset. Sounds like a perfect day!

Lighthouses

With over 3,000 miles of shoreline in the state it’s no wonder that Lighthouses are a plenty in the state of Michigan. There are 129 of them total in the state, here is a great list with a GPS location of each of them. This is the Crisp Point Lighthouse situated on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula is a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic lunch, swim for the day, and enjoy sunset. The kids can even enjoy collecting some of the beautiful rocks found along Lake Superior.

Turnip Rock

This is a unique and fun place to visit in Michigan. It is called Turnip Rock and located on the East side of the state on Lake Huron in Port Austin. You will need to take a short kayak ride out to the rock, it is 7 miles there and back. It is such a great natural wonder to visit in the state.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline is a must visit in the state! You could spend an entire week just exploring that area. It is beautiful which is why it is rated one of the most beautiful in America. With views that are 450 feet above Lake Michigan and endless dunes, you are sure to find some amazing views and have great fun. Make sure to experience the area at night too for stunning unobstructed views of the stars. The Detroit Free Press shares the best 8 stops along the shoreline.

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline

One of my absolute favorite and probably the most incredibly beautiful places in the state, according to me is the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. A 15 mile long stretch of land with cliffs along the lake that are between 15-200 feet straight up from Lake Superior are colorful and just stunning. There are arches, caves, incredible rock formations, waterfalls, and much more. You could spend so much time exploring this area. They have trails to explore and other places you can drive up and take a short walk to view the beauty. One of the best ways to view the shoreline is by taking the cruise along it or kayaking the shoreline.

Tulip Time Festival

Every spring visiting Holland during the Tulip Time Festival is something you cannot miss! You will be immersed in the Dutch heritage with celebrations, dances, food, and of course the beautiful tulips. There are actually over 1 million tulips all over the entire town. Make sure to stop on windmill island where you will find one of the only authentic working windmills in America. If you have time visit Nelis’ Dutch Village for lots of great Dutch living.

Torch Lake

Did you know that Michigan has its own piece of the Carribean? Well, we do. Torch Lake is an amazing 19-mile long lake, where you will find this amazing crystal clear water. It is a super popular lake in the state and many locals want to keep this little piece of paradise a secret the sand bars are legendary. National Geographic even named it one of the 10 most beautiful lakes in the world!

Sunsets On The Lake

Spending the day at a local beach is just a given in the state. Not only do we have 4 amazing Great Lakes around the state, but we also have an unbelievable amount of inland lakes as well. Spending the day at one of the Great Lakes is a must do every year but make sure to stay for the sunset. The sunsets over the lakes are beautiful and kids love playing in the water as the sun sets over the horizon. Plus the silouette photos of the kids playing at sunset are perfect as well.

Traverse City

Have you ever been to the Traverse City Area? It is a perfect and beautiful area. We like to stay there because it is a central location to many of the great place in the lower upper area of Michigan. While there we like to visit the Leelanau Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline, Petoskey (spend the day at the beach and search for Petoskey stones) and so many other great things. Each of the stops are an hour or less from the Traverse City area. Make sure to explore Traverse City as well, it is a beautiful town.

Tahquamenon Falls

The unique and beautiful Tahquamenon Falls in the state located in a 52,000-acre state park. There are upper and lower falls and it is very easy to be able to view both of them in a day. The upper falls are actually the biggest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. You will notice that the falls are a brown color this is caused from the tannin taken from the cedar swamps that drains into the river. The water is so soft the action of the falls causes large amounts of foam the falls are well known for.

Grand Haven

Grand Haven is a well-known place it has been a favorite beach town for many years. Drive there early in the day and have fun at the state park playing at the beach. After you are finished walk out to the lighthouse and walk the boardwalk along the Grand River. Stop for some delicious Pronto Pups for a yummy lunch. Visit the shops and area, maybe even take a ride on the trolley. At the end of the night don’t forget to visit the Musical Fountain plays for 20 minutes every evening once it gets dark and is a perfect addition to end your day with.

Ludington

Many people know about Ludington state park, but if you head north past the public state park and drive for a while you will find a much better place to spend the day. There are private little spots of beach you just park on the side of the road and walk down a sand hill to enjoy your own beach area. When we were kids this is where we would spend a day every single year. We have some of the best memories there ever.

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes can be found in many places throughout the state. There are dunes in Ludington, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National park, Saugatuck Dunes state park, Grand Sable Banks and Dunes, Silver Lake sand dunes are just a few of the large sand dune in the area. Who doesn’t love playing on endless views of the beautiful dunes? Remember to bring a sled too, because sledding down a sand dune is much warmer than a snow hill.

Flying Kites On The Beach

Something we never head to the Lake Michigan (or any of the Great Lakes) without is a kite. There is always a perfect breeze perfect to fly a kite. Even the littlest of kids can easily fly one at the beach. It’s such a great thing to do at the beach that there are multiple kite flying festivals during the summer months all along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Collecting Rocks

The state is full different of beautiful rocks. It is a rock collectors dream really. You could spend days exploring the different beaches looking for rocks. In the Upper Peninsula of the state, you will find rocks like Agate, chlorastrolite, amethyst, and more. Near the Petoskey area, you can find Petoskey stones. It is quite fun to spend the afternooon at the beach and exploring the shores for rocks. We have spent countless hours doing so.

Northern Lights

Did you know that the Northern Lights aka Aurora Borealis are frequently seen in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? We actually have some of the best viewing in the lower 48 states. Not only is the UP have very little light pollution, but it is far enough north where you can view some pretty amazing Northern lights. March is the best viewing month, however, you can view them anytime there is higher solar activity. The best place to view them in the UP is along the Lake Superior shoreline. They have Headlands international dark park that is located in Mackinac City which is a great place to view them if the solar activity is high enough. You can also view the stars like you wouldn’t believe from this location as well.

Fall Color Tour

Have you ever seen the fall colors, the reds, yellows, and bright oranges? It is simply beautiful!! Michigan is one of the places the fall colors are really something to see, especially during peak colors. The tunnel of trees off of m-119 between Harbor Springs and Cross village is a perfect place to view them. Want some tips for taking this iconic drive? Well, here you are everything you will want to know. Make sure to stop at some of the local stands because there’s nothing more delicious than fresh local apples, donuts, and fresh pressed apple cider. You can also find some other great fall color drives around the state that Pure Michigan put together.

Kitch-Iti-Kipi

Early Indians called this the “mirror of heaven”. Kitch-iti-Kipi is located up in the Upper Peninsula of the state in Manistique. After walking through a forest path, you will come upon this beautiful emerald green water that stays unfrozen all year. Once getting to the waters edge you will get onto a self-operated raft that will bring you across the water. While on the raft you will be able to view the incredibly clear water.

Mackinac Island

Ever been to Mackinac Island? Well, it is one of the most unique and amazing islands you will ever visit. Your trip will start with a boat ride across Lake Huron and the Straights of Mackinac. You will have stunning views of the surrounding scenery. It ends on the only island in the world that you won’t find a single car or chain hotel on. Ride a bike, walk, or take a carriage ride to your destination. The island is 80% preserved as a state park. There are so many fun things to do on the island. I have shared just some of the great things there is to do while here.

Have you ever been to Michigan? If so have you visited any of these wonderful places we have around the state? What was your favorite place to visit? Have another great place that should be added to the list? Comment below, I would love to hear from you!

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