12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Michigan

Attractions in Michigan

12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Michigan

Michigan’s most visited tourist destinations encompass a wide variety of interests thanks to the state’s diverse landscape, rich history, and legendary city of Detroit. There are endless options for those who want to enjoy nature, especially along the shores of the Great Lakes , where you can find freshwater dunes and coastal habitats far from the sea. Visiting historical sites such as living history museums is one of the most popular things to do, especially Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island and Greenfield Village, which is part of the Henry Ford Historic Sites. For those looking for a faster pace, Detroit is an excellent place to visit, a city that has worked hard to embrace its significant contributions as the Motor City as it evolves into a top tourist destination and cultural center.

1 Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island offers a glimpse into a historic period and a simpler way of life, for cars and buses. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and spend the day strolling through the shops of Old Town, exploring the island on a horse-drawn carriage, hiking, or visiting Fort Mackinac . Opened in 1957, Mackinac Bridge connects the Lower Peninsula at Mackinaw City to the Upper Peninsula at St. Ignace. It was one of the longest suspension areas in the world and eliminated the backup of vehicles waiting for ferry passage across the straits. The Mackinac Bridge Museum contains many interesting and original artifacts from the construction of the Mighty Mac.

Official site: www.mackinacparks.com

Accommodation: Where to Stay on Mackinac Island

Read also: Beaches in Northern California

2 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore en Lake Michigan

South Manitou Island Lighthouse, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
South Manitou Island Lighthouse, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Although it is the third largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the only one that completely borders the US soil, and it also gives the state the distinction of having the second longest shoreline of all 50 states, second only for Alaska. A comprehensive overview of the lake’s importance can be found at the Michigan Maritime Museum website in South Haven, and there are numerous boat tours perfect for sightseeing, such as the Tall Ship Manitou in Traverse City. The lake’s islands are a popular destination, with the Beaver Island Archipelago and the Manitou Islands being tourist favorites. The Manitou Islands are part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is known for its extensive dunes that lie on the headlands along the coastline. This state park is one of the most visited, known for its variety of hiking trails and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive , which spans 7.5 miles (12 km) along the coast. Other impressive dunes on the lake include the Warren Dunes in Warren and the PJ Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon.

Adres: 9922 Front Street, Empire, Michigan

Official site: www.nps.gov/slbe

3 Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts Quick fix / photo modified
Detroit Institute of Arts Quick fix / photo modified

The Detroit Institute of Arts is known for its extensive collection of the creative works of mankind from the earliest cultures through today. With more than 65,000 works of art in more than 100 galleries, people from all corners of the world are represented. The museum’s Islamic art collection includes examples of pottery, stone, and bronze, and there are excellent examples from classical times, medieval Europe, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas. Among the most coveted European works are paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt, Matisse and Van Gogh.

Nearby, tourists will want to take a look at the beautiful architecture of the Detroit Public Library then take the short walk down Woodward Avenue to the Detroit Museum of History , which is dedicated to the fascinating past and rise of the motor city as not just a industrial center, but also the birthplace of the legendary Motown sound.

Adres: 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: www.dia.org

4 Pictured Rocks National Seashore

Pictured Rocks National Seashore
Pictured Rocks National Seashore

Pictured Rocks National Seashore, on the south shore of Lake Superior , takes its name from the colors of copper, iron, and manganese oxide in the rocks. The landscape here is a mix of dunes, cliffs, beaches and rocky coastline. 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 the winter, the area is open for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Nearby is Grand Island National Recreation Area , an island also popular with outdoor enthusiasts.

Location: Munising, Michigan

Official site: www.nps.gov/piro

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Munsing near Pictured Rocks National Seashore

5 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Nelo Hotsuma / photo modified
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Nelo Hotsuma / photo modified

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park offers a variety of environments in which visitors can enjoy the synthesis of art and nature. Outdoor gardens include traditional foliage, a children’s garden that encourages interaction with its unique plants, a “Butterfly Maze,” and a tranquil Japanese garden with two waterfalls. The 1880 farmhouse is a replica of Lena Meijer’s first home and includes the farm garden. The Lena Meijer Conservatory is a five-story tropical environment with many rare and exotic plants, and in March and April visitors can see the amazing process of monarch butterflies change from caterpillar to delicate insect. Sculptures can be found in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Adres: 1000 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Official site: www.meijergardens.org

6 The Henry Ford

Greenfield Village Old Car Festival Stefan Munder / photo modified
Greenfield Village Old Car Festival Stefan Munder / photo modified

Collectively known as “The Henry Ford,” this is a group of three attractions that explore not only the life and work of the automotive legend, but the full scope of American innovation. Visitors can take a step back in time at historic Greenfield Village , where you’ll see what life was like in the 1800s. Points of interest include working farms, a restaurant serving quintessential 1830s fare, the train depot where you can take a ride on a steam locomotive and ride in a model T. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovationtells the story of inventors and forward thinkers who helped shape the world we see today, from the Wright brothers’ dream to fly to Rosa Parks’ conviction to see change in her life. For a look at the most up-to-date marvels of innovation, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour allows visitors to witness the inner workings of an automotive factory and learn about the technology and concepts employed in modern vehicles.

Adres: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, Michigan

Official site: www.thehenryford.org

7 Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale is located in northwestern Lake Superior near the Canadian border. Shaped like Ice Age glaciers, this 432-square-mile island is home to many lakes and streams, dense forests, and a variety of wildlife including wolves, foxes, moose, otters, ospreys, herring gulls, falcons, and more. This relatively pristine stretch of land attracts those seeking a remote wilderness experience. The best way to see the park is on hiking trails and boat tours. Access to the island is by boat or seaplane. Trips usually originate from Houghton or Copper Harbor, Michigan, or Grand Portage, Minnesota.

Official site: www.nps.gov/isro

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Isle Royale National Park

8 Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo
Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo has an impressive variety of animals in multiple habitats representing all parts of the world. African animals live in forest or grassland habitats and include everything from aardvarks to zebras, with many family favorites including giraffes, lions, lemurs, and various primates. An arctic habitat is home to the zoo’s famous polar bears, and the Australian outback is home to sixteen resident kangaroos and two wallabies. The exotic Asian forest features red pandas and Amur tigers, while the North American habitats include some of the continent’s most interesting animals, including bears, wolverines, and bald eagles. The zoo is also home to reptiles and amphibians, an aviary, and even a collection of artwork.

Battle Creek’s Binder Park Zoo also offers a vintage train ride as well as a “wilderness tram” through its African Savannah habitat, and John Ball Zoo , one of the top attractions in Grand Rapids, offers a host of special animal interaction opportunities.

Address: 8450 W 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan

Official site: www.detroitzoo.org

9 University of Michigan

University of Michigan
University of Michigan

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor encompasses 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 . Major on-campus attractions include the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology , with strong collections related to Mediterranean civilizations, the University of Michigan Art Museum , and the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. Also of interest, although located off campus, is the Matthaei Botanical Gardens . Located adjacent to the central campus is the Nichols Arboretum .

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Official site: www.umich.edu

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Ann Arbor

10 Windmill Island

Windmill Island
Windmill Island

Windmill Island is a 36-acre heritage park filled with manicured flower gardens and Dutch architecture. In May, the park comes alive with 175,000 tulips and in June, the sprawling gardens transform into annual blooms. Highlights include an authentic Dutch windmill, DeZwaan, dating from the 1760s and from the Netherlands in 1964. The 125-meter windmill symbolizes the Dutch heritage of this area and is the only original Dutch windmill to be exported to America. It is still a working windmill producing rock flour. The Netherlands is also home to the Outdoor Discovery Center of Wildlife Unlimited, which has taken on the task of restoring farmland to a natural habitat. As a result of their efforts, there are now six different ecosystems on this 130 hectare nature reserve. Highlights include hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Address: 4214 56th Street, Holland, Michigan

11 Fort Mackinac (koloniaal Michilimackinac)

Attractions in Michigan
Fort Mackinac (koloniaal Michilimackinac)

Located in Mackinaw City, Michilimackinac was a French tenant trading village and military outpost that operated from 1715 to 1781, when it was almost completely destroyed by fire. Also known as Fort Mackinac, the site is now home to 14 fully restored and authentically decorated buildings , one of which is the oldest in Michigan. Presented as a living history museum, the attraction offers plenty of things to do. Costumed interpreters work and go about their day as they would in 1775, from farming and cooking jobs to musket and marching drills. Highlights include the Soldiers Barracks with an exhibit on the island’s history, the post hospital with descriptions of medical treatment during the fort’s operation and the post guard house that explores the era’s military justice system. Visitors are free to explore or opt for a guided tour, and there is a children’s section that engages young historians in learning about 18th-century life.

Adres: 102 W Straits Avenue, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Official Site: https://www.mackinacparks.com/parks-and-attractions/colonial-michilimackinac/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Mackinaw City

12 Michigan Historical Museum

Attractions in Michigan
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 the largest educational center. Exhibits and artifacts range from an exploration of the region’s indigenous people through the evolution and growth of the state as it became what you see today. Permanent and rotating exhibitions include interactive modules, films and presentations. Exhibits are continuously updated to incorporate the latest technology while enhancing visitors’ ability to look into the past. The Michigan History Museum System also operates several other museum sites and archival collections, maintains historical markers, and offers special programs and events for residents and tourists alike.

Adres: 702 West Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, Michigan

Official site: www.michigan.gov/mhc

Read also:

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