Michigan is a year-round destination that offers scenic views, serene Great Lakes, bustling cities, historical landmarks, and renowned pizzerias.
In Michigan, you can escape into nature or explore a big city. While there are more than just 20 noteworthy spots in Michigan, we’ve selected the best ones with fun things to do, excellent accommodations, and ample photo ops.
Keep reading to discover the 20 best places to visit in Michigan for your next getaway.
The 20 Best Places to Visit in Michigan in 2023
We’ve got 20 of the best places to visit in Michigan to scratch your travel itch from A to Z.
1. Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is one of the best places to visit in Michigan, with cultural and historical significance. This bustling city is west of Detroit and home to the University of Michigan.
Explore the many museums scattered around the city or get your adrenaline pumping with outdoor adventures.
You can’t pass up a visit to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, with over 150 years of mesmerizing art pieces. Another unmissable spot is the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, with its own planetarium.
Football fans will have a blast catching a game at the University of Michigan Stadium. Other great places to check out include:
- The Hudson Mills Metropark
- Argo Park
Looking for somewhere amazing to stay? Check out the Ann Arbor Bed and Breakfast. This top-rated three-star hotel is a perfect base for exploring all that Ann Arbor has to offer.
2. Bond Falls
The Bond Falls Scenic Site is one of the best places to visit in Michigan at any time of the year. Bond Falls is a waterfall that stretches 100-feet wide with a nearly 50-foot drop for a booming and beautiful scene.
This scenic site has viewing platforms that are wheelchair friendly. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the hiking trails veining throughout the surrounding forests. The Ontonagon River is the source for Bond Falls, so bring your camera along because the trail is beautiful.
Find this impressive waterfall in Ontonagon County, Michigan. Have your Michigan State Park Pass handy for free entrance. Otherwise, the entrance to Bond Falls is $9 per car.
3. Beaver Island
Beaver Island is hands-down one of Michigan’s best places to visit if you want a private getaway. This picturesque island is the largest island floating in Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, this island is only accessible via a flight from Charlevoix or by ferry.
Beaver Island is the ideal spot for a secluded vacation where you and your travel buddies can escape into nature. Beaver Island has beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and historical landmarks.
Check out the Beaver Head Lighthouse any time of the year. This historic lighthouse, built in 1858, is dusted with snow during the winter. While in the autumn, it is surrounded by colorful leaves.
Looking for the perfect place to spend some relaxing days and nights on Beaver Island?
Check out the Woodland Retreat. This three-star vacation home rental is close to all the top things to do on Beaver Island, like golfing, wine tours, and scenic hikes.
Experience a small city on the banks of Lake Michigan. Charlevoix is one of the best places to visit in Michigan to be close to creature comforts while still being close to nature.
This small town has options for easy access to grocery stores and restaurants without the bustling city vibes. Charlevoix is a small town in northern Michigan that is a great place to go to see the northern lights.
Head to Charlevoix during the winter months for your best shot at seeing the aurora borealis on a clear night. Some other amazing activities to try when in Charlevoix include:
Cheboygan is another lakeside town worth visiting when you’re in Michigan. If you use your vacation time to fish, kayak, hike, and explore, then Cheboygan is a must-visit destination.
Lovers of music should put Cheboygan at the top of their Michigan travel list. A restored Victorian-style opera house is the crown jewel of this Michigan city.
The Cheboygan Opera House houses concerts, performances, and town hall meetings. Cheboygan offers beaches, lighthouses, and a friendly atmosphere that will have you feeling right at home.
It wouldn’t be a list of the best places to visit in Michigan without including Detroit. This bustling city has the nickname Motor City and is an ideal place to stay for car enthusiasts. Car lovers will find the Automobile Hall of Fame and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.
Detroit is a fantastic place to bring kids because the Detroit Zoo is one of the best. The Legoland Discovery Center in Detroit is another place kids go wild over.
This excellent toy store play zone might end up being where you make some of your best vacation memories. While Detroit isn’t the place to go to escape into nature, Belle Island Park is a top spot in the city for forest bathing.
Detroit has tons of fantastic hotels and places to stay. We recommend the four-star Detroit Foundation Hotel.
Frankenmuth is one of the best places to visit in Michigan for something totally different than what you’re used to. Frankenmuth has a distinct Bavarian character thanks to the German immigrants who settled here in 1845.
The Bavarians know how to celebrate the festive season. Head to Frankenmuth to experience Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the World’s largest Christmas store. This picturesque town is on the banks of the Cass River.
Frankenmuth has a comprehensive menu of delicious restaurant choices and a year-round events list. Be sure to check out Michigan’s Military & Space Heroes Museum in Frankenmuth to celebrate Michigan’s heroes.
Other fun things to do in Frankenmuth include:
8. Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is a bustling city east of Lake Michigan. This big city is one of the best places to visit in Michigan for craft brewery tours. This city has a wide collection of museums, interesting architecture, and art galleries.
Check out the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for a serene walk through stunning artworks and botanical wonders. Another noteworthy art destination is the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
If you are interested in learning about the history of where you are, check out The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. Explore some gorgeous architecture in the old mansions in the Heritage Hill neighborhood.
Kids will have a blast at the John Ball Zoo, where they will see some of their favorite animals in real life. Or, check out Millennium Park, a massive urban park that makes you forget you are in the city.
Looking for somewhere to stay in the heart of the city? Check out the Embassy Suites By Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown. This highly-rated four-star hotel has all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay in Grand Rapids.
Michigan is filled with townships that pay homage to the early settlers from Europe. Holland is a town in Michigan that is unapologetically Dutch.
In Holland, colorful tulip fields bloom in the spring, and working Dutch windmills dot the landscape. Holland, Michigan is one of the best places to visit in Michigan if you have any Dutch ancestry.
The Holland Museum is the best place to start when visiting this quaint town. This museum showcases the rich history from early settlement until now.
Or, check out an amazing performance at the Holland Symphony Orchestra. Kids will adore learning and getting close to animals at the Critter Barn Petting Zoo.
10. Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park is one of the best places to visit in Michigan for a secluded vacation spot on Lake Superior. Listen to the sound of loons on the lake or the buzz of cicadas. Isle Royale National Park is an idyllic spot to visit any time of the year.
Autumn is an explosion of colors before the trees shed their leaves. Cars are not allowed on this small island, giving Isle Royale National Park a quaint and small-town vibe.
This natural paradise has 160-miles of scenic hiking trails with more than 30 campsites available across the island. Give yourself three to five days to hike the entirety of the Isle Royale National Park.
Explore the wilderness, bays, and beaches of Isle Royale National Park on your next Michigan getaway. Splash into Lake Superior or canoe, kayak, or paddleboard around the rocky cliffs and hidden coves.
Kalamazoo is easily one of the best places to visit in Michigan with kids. There are so many family-friendly activities in Kalamazoo that you’ll be hard pressed to have a dull moment.
Check out the Kalamazoo Valley Museum with interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and fun educational experiences for the whole family. Another top spot to visit near Kalamazoo is the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum.
This indoor amusement park has an aviation museum with rare aircraft on display. Learn about planes, enjoy simulated flight rides, and play games. Kalamazoo is a great spot for shopping in Michigan. Head to the Kalamazoo Mall for all your favorite brands.
Stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Kalamazoo for affordable accommodations with top-notch service. This three-star hotel is conveniently located and has an onsite fitness center.
Lansing is the capital of Michigan and is one of the best places to visit in Michigan for museums, history, and top-rated restaurants. This bustling city is home to the Potter Park Zoo, where you can see endangered species in person.
Take in the top sites of Lansing and stop by the Michigan State Capitol to see its iconic dome roof. If you have more time in Lansing, check out other fun things to do like a visit to the:
13. Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is the top spot to visit in Michigan. This lake town has a vintage vibe and gets you into relaxation mode on day one. Mackinac Island is one of the best places to visit in Michigan because this quaint town does not allow cars.
Instead, get around via walking, biking, horseback riding, or horse-drawn carriage rides. This picturesque island vacation spot has watersports like canoeing, kayaking, and sailing.
Or, relax on the sandy beaches and take in the hot summer sun. 80% of Mackinac Island is made up of the Mackinac Island State Park. Here, you will find fantastic hiking opportunities, birdwatching spots, and bike paths.
There are lots of historical sites to see on Mackinac Island. For example, check out Fort Mackinac or the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.
If you are looking for something more adventurous, check out the Treetop Discovery Tower for outdoor rock climbing and ziplining fun. Did you know that America’s longest suspension bridge is in Michigan? The Mackinac Bridge is a feat of engineering worth visiting while here.
Manistee is an unmissable destination in Michigan. This small town boasts historic buildings with inspiring architecture and unspoiled wilderness. Lounge by the beach with lakeshore views or hike the trails through thick forests.
Don’t leave Manistee without visiting the First Street Beach and Douglas Park or the Orchard Beach State Park. The forests, waterfalls, and rivers are a serene backdrop for your Michigan getaway.
15. Porcupine Mountains
The Porcupine Mountains are one of the best places to visit in Michigan for an escape into nature. This small mountain region in northwestern Michigan is home to nearly 40,000-acres of old-growth forest.
Explore the natural paradise of this region of Michigan on a hike, bike ride, or walk. Head to the Lake of the Clouds for some scenic views of the water. We recommend heading here for sunset for some enviable photo ops.
If you like discovering new music, head to the Porcupine Mountains the week before labor day for The Porcupine Mountain Music Festival. This State Park is free with your Michigan State Park Pass. Otherwise, it is $9 per visitor.
Allot a minimum of two days and one night near the Porcupine Mountains to take advantage of the scenic driving routes, ample outdoor adventure spots, and relaxing lodges.
16. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore boasts 40-miles of lakeshore along Lake Superior and is one of Michigan’s best places to visit. Enjoy lakeside views, sandy beaches, and scenic sites at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
A natural paradise, this area of Michigan has sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, forests, and lakes. Unusual sandstone formations are what sets Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore apart from other destinations in Michigan.
Chapel Rock and Miner’s Castle are two famous rock formations worth visiting. Get your heart racing on nearly 100-miles of hiking trails. Or, discover the serenity of Lake Superior on a boat tour.
Spend at least two days at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to take in the full extent of the views and natural wonders.
17. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Are you looking for the best places to visit in Michigan’s lower peninsula? Then look no further than the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
This spot is a favorite for vacationers to explore the lakeside wonders of Lake Michigan. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore boasts pristine beaches, rocky bluffs, and towering sand dunes.
Surrounded by forests with hiking trails, this is an ideal place to get away from the city. Start your trip at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center for maps, travel tips, and local advice.
Head to Michigan’s lower peninsula for some incredible outdoor adventures. Start your trip at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center for maps, travel tips, and local advice. A favorite activity for many is a hike along the Sleepy Bear Heritage Trail.
Other notable things to do in Sleepy Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are:
- The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
- Canoe on the Platte River
- Visit Loon Lake
- Dune Climb
18. Traverse City
Traverse City is one of the best places to visit in Michigan before or after visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This city on the southern tip of Traverse Bay has something for everyone.
Relax on incredible beaches, check out a show at the City Opera House, or learn something new at the Dennos Museum Center. Traverse City has various winery tours to try out some delicious blends of Michigan-grown grapes.
This city is also well-known for its microbreweries if beer is more your thing. In Traverse City, you can explore lighthouses along the waterfronts or enjoy a delicious meal at a top-rated restaurant.
Did you know that Traverse City has a booming nightlife? Pack some clothes for hitting the town at one of the many local bars.
Tecumseh is a Michigan city worth visiting on a road trip through the Great Lakes State. Tecumseh is a great place to go antiquing. The Antique Mall houses various options for unique finds.
Lovers of theater and music should not leave Tecumseh without catching a show at the Tecumseh Center for the Arts.
Tecumseh is a fantastic place to go golfing, hiking, or shopping. With something for everyone, you will have a great time exploring this off-the-beaten-path destination in Michigan.
Ypsilanti, more commonly known as Ypsi, is one of the best places to visit in Michigan for fantastic food, a vibrant art scene, and a funky community. Ypsi is home to Eastern Michigan University which contributes to its laid-back vibe.
Ypsilanti boasts itself as the first location of the Domino’s pizza franchise. So be sure to grab a slice and enjoy Michigan-style pizza. Other fun things to do in Ypsilanti include:
- Rolling Hills Water Park
- Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
- Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum
Things to Consider
Michigan experiences all four seasons. Winters are cold and snowy, while summers are hot and humid. Here are some things to keep in mind when traveling to Michigan:
- Dress in layers
- Look up the weather before packing
- Bring sunscreen
- Pack insect repellant
- Wear comfortable walking shoes
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Michigan travel below:
What food is Michigan famous for?
Michigan is best known for Detroit pizza. Michigan’s take on the classic pizza has a thin and crispy crust and extra cheese.
What nicknames does Michigan have?
Michigan is best known as the Great Lakes State since Michigan borders Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. Michigan also goes by the name of the Wolverine State, The Mitten State, and the Water Winter Wonderland.
When is the best time to visit Michigan?
Michigan is a year-round destination. The best time to visit Michigan for warm weather is between May to October. However, travelers looking to play winter sports and go ice fishing should opt to visit between December to March, when winter is in full force.
Can you see the Northern Lights in Michigan?
Yes, you can see the Northern Lights in Michigan. During clear nights in late summer through early spring, there is a chance you will see the aurora borealis dancing in the skies of northern Michigan towns.
The Best Places to Visit in Michigan: Final Thoughts
Michigan is brimming with scenic destinations, outdoor adventures, and idyllic hotel properties.
The best place to visit in Michigan is Mackinac Island. This popular getaway spot is popular for a good reason. This island is a break from the norm, with old-school horse-drawn carriages as the fastest form of transportation.
Mackinac island is home to America’s longest suspension bridge, an impressive feat of engineering. Mackinac Island has history, nature, art, adventure, and small-town charm.
Are you looking for inspiration for your next getaway destination? Look no further than beautiful Michigan. Check out the 20 best places to visit in Michigan on your next adventure in the Great Lakes State.