10 most beautiful cities in Michigan
10 most beautiful cities in Michigan
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Known as the Great Lakes State, Michigan is connected by four of the five Great Lakes, creating beautiful landscapes and great recreational boating spots. From beautiful beaches to art towns and German villages, Michigan has many beautiful towns. Check out our guide to 10 of the most beautiful and charming towns in the state.
One of Michigan’s beach towns, South Haven provides small-town charm in the form of some of the state’s oldest hotels and resorts, resorts, hotels and lodges. With plenty of dining establishments, antique stores, museums, galleries, markets and wineries, South Haven is a traveler’s paradise. Take in breathtaking views of the 100-year-old South Haven Lighthouse, visit one of the city’s seven beaches, head to the Blue Star or visit one of the city’s recreational waters such as boating, cruising and fishing.
Considered one of the best small towns in America, Traverse City offers many outdoor activities, from biking and hiking to kayaking and paddleboarding. Traverse City is an ideal destination for travelers. Traverse City offers many breweries and wineries, great shopping and is considered a “foodie town.” Among all these attractions you will find Sleeping Bear Dunes, just 30 minutes from town. Sleeping Bear Dunes is part of Lake Sheikh National Lake and showcases miles of beaches, high dunes, towering bluffs and beautiful views of the lake.
Ontonagon County, home of the Porcupine Mountains, contains the communities of Ontonagon, Silver City and White Pine. With breathtaking waterfalls and dazzling beaches, the Porcupine Mountains have something to offer every season. Hike nearly 90 miles of beautiful trails, fish for trout and salmon, kayak or canoe in Lake Superior, tour scenic lighthouses or snowshoe and cross-country ski through the trees. The Porcupine Mountains, located on the shores of Lake Superior, contain the largest area of ancient growth forest west of the Adirondacks and are home to black bears, river otters, elk and deer. Ontonagon County also offers Cloud Lake, considered one of the most beautiful places in the state and miles of beautiful beaches in Union Bay.
Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, showcases beautiful views of the Huron River. During the summer, the lake offers many enjoyable outdoor activities, from picnicking and exploring nature trails to canoeing in the river. Ann Arbor’s Main Street is considered by many to be one of the best in America and attracts many visitors throughout the year. The city’s nickname, “Tree City,” comes from the dense forest of the city’s park and residential area and the beautiful scenery. Some of these parks border the Guron River, creating a breathtaking atmosphere and an incredible all-day experience in the city.
Frankenmuth, “Little Bavaria Michigan,” is a charming, old German town in Saginaw County and is home to the world’s largest Christmas store, Bremner’s Christmas Wonderland. Frankenmuth’s beauty stems from the incredible Franconian-style buildings spread throughout the city, its many museums and festivals, and its cultural German influences. Frankenmuth hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the World Beer Fair, the Bavarian Festival, Oktoberfest and Frankenmuth Snowfest. Visit the beautiful Holtz Brook Bridge at Zehnder or Heritage Park, Frankenmuth’s most popular park.
With free access to Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast, Grand Rapids offers hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches and lake views with stunning sunsets. Considered “America’s Best Beer City,” Grand Rapids contains more than 30 breweries on its Ale Trail. Combined with the city’s incredible art scene, fascinating museums, great shopping and restaurants serving incredible food, it’s no wonder Grand Rapids is an extremely popular travel destination.
From beautiful beaches and waterfront views to charming innkeepers, fictional stores, restaurants and, of course, the spectacular Grand Hotel, every view on Mackinac Island proves to be picturesque and extraordinary. Travelers enjoy horseback riding on the island, carriage tours, biking, kayaking and hiking trails. Located between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas in Lake Guron, the island is considered a National Historic Landmark and is a popular attraction. With no one car on the island and plenty of outdoor activities, delicious food, patisseries and stores, Mackinac Island is the perfect place for a relaxing vacation.
Marquette is located on Michigan’s upper peninsula, next to Lake Superior. Incredibly beautiful in every season, there are plenty of parks and recreational activities and two well-loved beaches, McCarthy Cove and South Beach Park. Marquette offers many hiking trails and is a popular destination for recreational activities such as fishing, golfing, skiing and biking; the city is known as the premier destination for bicyclists in the country. Marquette is also known for the many festivals held in town, from concerts to blueberry, old car and beer festivals.
Charlevoix (known as “Charlevoix the Beautiful”) offers incredible waterfront views from Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, art galleries and shopping districts, water sports and biking and hiking trails. Popular Charlevoix activities include fishing, hiking, zipper lining, sailing and horseback riding. Visit South Pier Lighthouse or one of the many golf courses in town or take a short boat ride to Beaver Island, of which Charlevoix is a port.
Isle Royale is a spectacular island in the Great Lakes and the largest island of the grouping that makes up Isle Royale National Park. As the largest natural island in Lake Superior, Isle Royale has many wild elk and wolves, a large forest, and beautiful waters, including its own lakes. Incredibly natural and unaltered, the island can only be reached by boat, ferry or floatplane and is a living laboratory. Recreational activities on Isle Royale include camping, boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking and exploring the many wildlife trails.
The 12 most popular tourist attractions in Michigan
Michigan’s most visited tourist destinations include a wide range of interests thanks to the state’s diverse landscape, rich history and the legendary city of Detroit. There are endless opportunities for those who want to enjoy nature, especially along the shores of the Great Lakes , where you can find freshwater dunes and coastal habitats away from the sea. Visiting historic sites such as living history museums is one of the most popular things to do, especially Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island as well as Greenfield Village, which is part of Henry Ford’s historic sites. For those looking for a faster pace, Detroit is a great place to visit, a city that has gone to great lengths to embrace its significant contributions as a Motor City, and is developing into a top tourist and cultural center.
1 Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island offers a look at the historical period and a simpler way of life before cars and buses. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and spend the day wandering the stores of the old town, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride around the island, hiking or visiting Fort Mackinac , Opened in 1957, the Mackinac Bridge connects the Lower Peninsula in Mackintown to the Upper Peninsula in St. Ignace. One of the longest suspensions in the world, it eliminated the backlog of cars waiting to pass the ferry across the Straits. The Mackinac Bridge Museum contains many interesting and original artifacts from the Mighty Mac structure.
Official website: www.mackinacparks.com
Accommodations: Where to stay on Mackinac Island
- Read more:
- Exploring Mackinac Island: a guide for visitors
2 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore and Lake Michigan
South Manitou Island Lighthouse, Sleeping Bear Lake National
Although it is the third largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the only one that fully borders U.S. land, and it also gives the state the distinction of having the second largest shoreline of all 50 states, second only to Alaska. A comprehensive look at the lake’s importance can be found at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, and there are numerous boat tours perfect for sightseeing, such as the Tall Ship Manitou in Traverse City. The Lake Islands are a popular destination, with the Beaver Island Archipelago and the Manitou Islands as tourist favorites. The Manitou Islands are part of the Snow Bear Dunes National Lakeshore , which is known for its expansive dunes that are located on the headlands along the shoreline. This state park is one of the most visited, marked by a variety of hiking trails and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which stretches 7.5 miles along the coast. Other impressive dunes include Warren Dunes in Warren and J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon.
Address: 9922 Front Street, Empire, Michigan
Official website: www.nps.gov/slbe
3 Detroit Institute of the Arts
Detroit Institute of the Arts Quick fix / photo modification
The Children’s Art Institute is known for its extensive collection of human creativity from the earliest cultures to the present day. More than 65,000 works of art in more than 100 galleries are represented by people from all over the world. The museum’s collection of Islamic art includes examples of ceramics, stone and bronze, and there are striking examples from classical antiquity, medieval Europe, Oceania, Africa and the Americas. Among the most coveted European works are paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt, Matisse and Van Gogh.
In the neighborhood, tourists will want to check out the beautiful architecture at the Detroit Public Library then take a short stroll down Woodward Avenue to the Detroit Historical Museum, which celebrates the fascinating past and emergence of the Motowns as not only an industrial center, but also the home of the legendary Motown sound.
Address: 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
Official website: www.dia.org
4 Pictorial Rocks National Seashore
Fine Cliffs National Seashore
The waterfront National Seashore, on the south shore of Lake Superior , gets its name from the colors of copper, iron, and manganese oxide found in the rocks. The landscape here is a mixture of dunes, cliffs, beaches and rocky shore. The interior is forested, with inland lakes and rivers. Visitors come here to experience nature, usually through activities such as hiking, camping and boating. In winter, the area is open for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Nearby is the Grand Island National Recreation Area, an island that is also popular with outdoor enthusiasts.
Location: Munising, Michigan
Official website: www.nps.gov/piro
Accommodations: Where to stay in Munising, near the Pictured Rocks National Seashore
5 Frederick Meyer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Frederick Meyer Gardens and Nelo Hotsuma Sculpture Park / photo modified
Frederick Meyer Gardens and Sculpture Park offers a variety of environments in which visitors can enjoy the synthesis of art and nature. The outdoor gardens include a traditional foliage garden, a children’s garden that encourages interaction with its unique plants, a “Butterfly Maze” and a peaceful Japanese garden with two waterfalls. The 1880s farmhouse is a replica of Lena Meyer’s first home and includes the farm garden.The Lena Meyer Conservatory is a five-story tropical environment that is home to many rare and exotic plants, and in March and April visitors can watch the stunning process of monarch butterflies transforming from caterpillar to slender insect. Sculptures can be found both indoors and outdoors.
Address: 1000 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Official website: www.meijergardens.org
6 Henry Ford.
Greenfield Village Old Car Festival Stefan Munder / photo modified
Known collectively as “Henry Ford,” this is a group of three attractions that explore not only the life and work of the auto legend, but the entire field of American innovation. Visitors can take a step back in time at the historic Greenfield Village, where you’ll see what life was like in the 19th century. Attractions include working farms, a restaurant that serves fare that was typical in the 1830s, a train depot where you can ride a steam train and ride in a Model T. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation tells the story of the inventors and forward thinkers who helped shape the world we see today, from the Wright Brothers’ dream to convincing Rosa Parks to see change in her life. To see the latest wonders of innovation, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour allows visitors to witness the inner workings of the auto factory and learn more about the technologies and concepts that go into modern vehicles.
Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, Michigan
Official website: www.thehenryford.org
7 Isle Royale National Park
Isle of Royale National Park.
Isle Royale lies northwest of Lake Superior near the Canadian border. This 432-square-mile island, formed by glaciers of the Ice Age, has many lakes and streams, dense forests and a variety of wildlife including wolves, foxes, elk, otters, wasps, gulls, falcons and more. This relatively unspoiled section of the country attracts those seeking a remote wilderness experience. The best way to see the park is through hiking trails and boat trips. Access to the island is by boat or seaplane. Trips are usually from Houghton or Copper Harbor, Michigan or Grand Portage, Minnesota.
Official website: www.nps.gov/isro
Accommodations: Where to stay near Isle Royale National Park
8 Detroit Zoo.
The Detroit Zoo has an impressive variety of animals in a variety of habitats, representing all parts of the world. African animals live in either woodland or grassland habitats, and include everything from aardvarks to zebras, with many family favorites such as giraffes, lions, lemurs and several primates. The Arctic habitat is home to the zoo’s famous polar bears, and the Australian Outback has sixteen resident kangaroos and two wallabies. The exotic Asian forest features red pandas and Amur tigers, and the North American habitat features some of the continent’s most interesting animals, including bears, wolverines and bald eagles. The zoo also features reptile and amphibian centers, an aviary and even a fine art collection. Visitors can take a ride through the park on the miniature Tauber Family Railroad, which has been operating since 1931.
Battle Creek’s Binder Park Zoo also offers a vintage train ride as well as a “desert streetcar” through its African Savannah habitat, and John Ball Zoo , one of Grand Rapids’ top attractions, has a wide variety of special animal interaction opportunities.
Address: 8450 W 10th Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan
Official website: www.detroitzoo.org
9 University of Michigan
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has 2,800 acres. Some of the interesting old Gothic buildings include the law quadrangle, the Power Center for the Performing Arts, and the Natural History Museum , Campus highlights include the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology , with strong collections relating to Mediterranean civilizations, the University of Michigan Art Museum, and the University of Michigan Natural History Museum. Also of interest, though located off campus, is the Mattei Botanical Gardens , Near central campus is the Nichols Arboretum .
Official website: www.umich.edu
Accommodations: Where to stay in Ann Arbor
10 Windmill Island
Windmill Island is a 36-acre water park filled with manicured flower beds and Dutch architecture. In May, the park comes alive with 175,000 tulips, and in June, the extensive gardens change to annual flowers. Highlights include the authentic DeZwaan Dutch windmill, which dates to the 1760s and was brought back from the Netherlands in 1964. Standing at 125 feet, the windmill is a symbol of the area’s Dutch heritage and is the only original Dutch windmill exported to America. It is still a working windmill, producing stone ground flour for sale. Holland is also home to Outdoor Wildlife Center Unlimited , which has taken on the task of restoring farmland to its natural habitat. As a result of their efforts, there are six different ecosystems in this 130-acre preserve. Highlights include hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.
The address is 4214 56th Street, Holland, Mich.
11 Fort Mackinac (Colonial Mytilimacan)
Fort Mackinac (Colonial Mytilimacanian)
Michilimackinac, located in Mackinaw City, was a French fur village and military outpost that operated from 17:15 until 1781, when it was almost completely destroyed by fire.Also known as Fort Mackinac, this site now contains 14 fully restored and authentically furnished buildings, one of which is the oldest in Michigan. Presented as a living history museum, the attraction offers many things to do. Costumed interpreters work and do their day as in 1775, from farming and cooking to musketry and marching exercises. Highlights include the Soldiers’ Barracks, which has an exhibit of the island’s history, the Post Hospital with descriptions of medical treatment during fort operations and the Post Guard, which explores the military justice system of the era. Visitors are free to explore or choose a tour, as well as a children’s area dedicated to engaging young historians in the study of 18th-century life.
Address: 102 W Prospect Avenue, Mackinaw City, Michigan
Official website: http://www.mackinacparks.com/parks-and-attractions/colonial-michilimackinac/
Accommodations: Where to stay in Mackinaw City
12 Michigan Historical Museum
Michigan Historical Museum Elizabeth / Table4Five / photo modified
The Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing was the first facility created by the state museum system and is its largest teaching facility. Exhibits and artifacts range from the study of the region’s local populations through the evolution and growth of the state as it became what you see today. Permanent and rotating exhibits include interactive modules, films and presentations. The exhibits are continually updated to incorporate the latest technology while enhancing visitors’ ability to look into the past. The Michigan Historical Museum System also manages several other museum sites and archival collections, maintains historical markers and offers special programs and events for residents and tourists.