Somewhere on the border between the United States and Canada is one of the fifty states with extraordinary landscapes and unique urban attractions, consisting of two peninsulas connected with the Mackinac Bridge. Yes, we are talking about the State of Michigan. Here we’ve listed the best places to see in Michigan, USA.
As we mentioned, the Water Wonderland is divided into two very distinguishable parts: the Upper and Lower Peninsula. Although it was once a place where Native American tribes used to live, in the 17th century it was concurred and claimed as part of New France. As the centuries went by, the Lower Peninsula became the center of high-tech industry and manufacturing industry, while the Upper one remained the focal point for tourists from all across the globe.
Surrounded by The Great Lakes (Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior) and with most of the Upper Peninsula covered with mountains (78 state parks and 6 state forests), the State of Michigan is the place where you can choose to either spend your days relaxing at sandy beaches or make some more adventurous memories such as skiing, hiking, or rafting. Regardless of what you want to do, visiting The State of Michigan will turn into a life-long memory!
Best 15 Places to see in Michigan
Read on to find out everything you need to visit, see, and experience during the stay in the State of Michigan.
1. Mackinac Island
First on our list is, of course, visiting one of the most famous islands in the State of Michigan. Be prepared to step into a “time machine” and go back to much simpler times when people used the horse-drawn carriages as a way of transport. Yes, you can literally take a sight-seeing tour and explore interesting historical sites and make a stop in the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum in the back of a carriage.
2. Isle Royale National Park
Another spectacular island that was created in the Ice Age by glaciers takes the winning award by being the least visited national park simply because of its harsh weather conditions, especially in winter. However, unforgettable nature, diverse wilderness such as wolves and rare falcons, adventures such as hiking, rafting, and boat trips, fast streams, lakes, and thick forests will leave you speechless and with good memories at the end of your road trip.
3. Michigan History Center
Going from nature to history, you must make a stop in the Michigan History Center located in Lansing. Here you can learn the story of how it all began — the struggles, battles, rise and fall of the people who lived across the lands of Michigan, from the prehistoric settlers to the modern 20th-century people. There are permanent historical exhibits and temporary ones, which are equally stunning.
Besides being fabulous, it’s free too!
4. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Not a single place can be compared to the beauty found on the shores of Lake Superior. Here’s what to expect: a plethora of extraordinary adventures and mesmerizing sights — high cliffs, colorful forests, and sandy dunes and a variety of outdoor winter opportunities such as skiing and snowboarding. This is a spectacular and a must-visit for every outdoor enthusiast.
5. Michigan State Capitol
Not a visit to Michigan is complete without visiting this national and historic building that was based on that in Washington DC. Although it is currently used by the government, you can still take a tour and learn about its architecture and its history.
6. The University of Michigan
If you are into some stunning gothic architecture, then visiting the University of Michigan must be added to your list. Scattered across more than 2800 acres, it has interesting and unusual historic buildings as well as museums dedicated to different areas such as National History, Art, and Archaeology. Additionally, don’t forget to visit the Matthaei Botanic Gardens nearby.
7. Mackinac Bridge
As we previously mentioned, the two peninsulas of Michigan are connected by a spectacular bridge named the Mackinaw Bridge, which was opened in 1957. This will be a one-of-a-kind experience with an interesting sight.
8. Windmill Island
If you are looking for a way to experience Holland in the USA, you are in the right place. Yes, that is doable! In the city of Holland in the State of Michigan, you can see Dutch architecture and the distinguishable windmills as well as witness a large variety of flora… or should we say smell some Dutch tulips? Make sure you visit in spring or summer.
9. Detroit Institute of Arts
With more than 100 different galleries, various guest artists, and more than 65,000 historical pieces, this institute which was opened in 1927 remains the pride and joy of the Detroit City. Consider spending at least a few hours walking around the hallways admiring artwork.
10. Belle Isle
Located between Canada and the United States, this interesting island is situated in the Detroit River and spending a day there can be quite the adventure. This island is home to many attractions such as Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Aquarium and Nature Zoo, James Scott Memorial Fountain, and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.
11. Michigan’s Adventure
There is not a better way to spend some quality time together with some friends or family other than visiting an amusement park. Located just outside of Muskegon, this Adventure Park is filled with a huge variety of rides for all ages.
12. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Michigan has a huge number of registered ships (or should we say record) and the longest freshwater coastline, so it’s no wonder that there is also a museum dedicated to wrecked ships. In this museum, you can extensively learn about the history of sailing, different types of ships, and sailors. Furthermore, on the same spot you can find the oldest operating lighthouse.
13. Tahquamenon Falls
Unusual yet equally, stunning these waterfalls will wow you with their unique and rusty colors coming from tannins, which originate from the cedar swamps seen at the beginning of the Tahquamenon River.
14. Ice caves on Lake Superior
If you are a winter fanatic and brave enough to withstand some harsh conditions such as freezing temperatures and extremely cold winds, then you should definitely visit the caves on Lake Superior. Be prepared to be swept off your feet (crossing the fingers — not literally swept) by the mesmerizing and magical beauty that you will find inside. Frozen fairytale-alike spectacle!
15. Tunnel of Trees
Yes, we know it, this sounds strange, Tunnel of Trees. However, as soon as you are riding on the M-199, you will know what are we talking about. It is a scenic, twisting road with interlacing branches all around it!
There you have it! Fifteen different ideas on how to spend your vacation in the State of Michigan. Overall it is a place where each and every person can enjoy themselves. Michigan is a blend of many splendid things intertwined in a rather interesting and unique story, which is most certainly worth the visit.
Now that you know what to visit and see, there is only one thing left…
How to get there?
If you are a citizen of the United States, you are only a flight away from this stunning state.
If you are visiting from outside the USA, things get a bit more complicated. There are two ways to travel to make your dream come true.
First things first, you need to check whether your country is part of the Visa Waiver Program, meaning that you can travel to the United States and stay as much as 90 days. This can be done by ESTA online (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which determines if you are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program. You can check the ESTA application and know for sure. This will only cost you $14, and it must be done at least 72 hours before departure.
If your country is not part of the Visa Waiver Program, you have to apply for a Visitor Visa (B-2), which is a far more complicated procedure, and it needs to be done on time.
Have you visited the State of Michigan in the USA? Do you have other recommended things to do and places to see in Michigan?