The Essential Michigan Travel Guide

05 Dec 2023
So, you have an upcoming trip to Michigan? The Great Lake State has plenty to offer. From thousands of lakes to beautiful sandy beaches, Michigan is a haven for adventurers, hikers, and thrill seekers. In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best places to visit while in Michigan. We’re assuming you’ll be in the Great Lakes State for a few days or weeks. But if you’re limited on time, choose one location and enjoy your time.
Detroit, Michigan © Peter Mol, Pixabay


Michigan’s largest city is also one of the best places to visit. As a motor city, Detroit features museums and manufacturing complexes that will entice every car enthusiast in the country. Some of the best motoring-related attraction sites include the Henry Ford Museum, the Ford Piquette Automotive Heritage Complex, and the Automotive Hall of Fame. While still in the Motor City, consider visiting the Motown Museum. You can learn a great deal about black music, especially if you grew up listening to Motown legends like Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Marvin Gaye. If you’re into shopping, drop by at the Eastern Market—one of the largest open-air markets in the country.

The Upper Peninsula

During the winter, Michigan receives up to 200 inches of snow. That's a good thing if you love winter activities like skiing, dogsledding, and ice climbing. The Upper Peninsula is an excellent location to try out some of these activities.
Beyond enjoying yourself in the snow, the Upper Peninsula also delivers some dramatic yet scenic views. Expect to see frozen waterfalls and ice-encased lighthouses. Remember to carry warm clothes while at it.
A quaint small town scene in Pentwater, Michigan © Jill Wellington / Pixabay

Michigan Casinos

Michigan is one of the seven states in the country that permit both land-based and online casinos. Legal online gaming came to Michigan in 2021. Yet, the state now rakes in over $1 billion each year from the sector. If you've ever dreamed of having fun at a casino, check out the Four Winds New Buffalo, Bay Mills Resorts, or the Hollywood Casino in Greek town. Keep in mind it's legal to bet online while in Michigan even though you don't live in the state. All you need is to research about online gambling in Michigan. Next, compare a variety of providers and sign up for a free account. Claim a bonus to boost your bankroll. But ensure you only pick freebies from trustworthy operators.

Mackinac Island

Every major travel magazine highlights Mackinac Island as one of the best getaway locations for families and romantic couples. It has a Victorian theme—horse-drawn carriages and Old British buildings. It does not accept cars, meaning you have to use a boat or airplane to access the island. Once there, you can visit Fort Mackinac to learn about the island's history. You can also go on a picnic in the state park. Or you can savor Mackinac's internationally recognized fudge.
Indiana Dunes State Park © Pixabay

Great Lakes Bay

The Great Lakes Bay is yet another romantic getaway location worth visiting while in Central Michigan. It is nestled within an agricultural town, meaning you have a chance to tour the local farmers’ market. While there isn't much to do besides enjoying company with your significant other, Great Lakes Bay isn't a boring place. For starters, you can walk along its 100 miles of trails. You can go bird watching or take photos. If you're a thrill seeker, tour the areas around the Bay. Visit the Whiting Forest, which has an incredibly long canopy walk. Also, check out nice places to visit in Saginaw City, from an art museum to a children's zoo.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the most recommended places to visit in Michigan. It is easy to see why. It’s an excellent summer vacation spot all thanks to its beautiful sandy beaches. The Sleeping Bear is located in the western region of Michigan and covers 35 miles along Lake Michigan. The best part about it is that you can do several activities besides resting on the beach. You can go hiking, swimming, kayaking, or climbing the lake's tall sand dunes. If you're photogenic, you'll especially love the Sleeping Bear's carved section. It's packed with streams, beaches and beautiful greens.
Tulips in Holland, Michigan © Swan44 / Pixabay

Traverse City

Detroit might be larger and better for business, but Traverse is more beautiful. Located in the northern region of the Great Lake State, Traverse is worth visiting for several reasons. First, it's a nice place to spend your weekend. It lacks the traffic and chaotic nature of the Motor City. It's full of beautiful greenery and offers numerous fun activities for people visiting in the winter season. You can go skiing, dogsledding, or ride a fat bike. Keep in mind Traverse City is located close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, meaning you can visit both places on the same day. In fact, you could book your hotel in the city but also spend time at Lake Michigan.


Holland is a small city in Michigan with a conspicuous Dutch heritage. If you visit Holland during spring, you'll feel like you're in the middle of the Netherlands. Farmers here specialize in beautiful flowers that look great amid tall Dutch windmills. If you love flowers, visit Holland during the Tulip Time Festival. Besides taking photos in the flower farms, you can also participate in activities like riding carousels or walking along the beaches near Lake Michigan.
The famous lighthouse in Charlevoix, Michigan © Wokanda Pix / Pixabay


Once you're done touring little Holland, get a taste of classic Bavaria by visiting Frankenmuth. This German-themed location will make you feel like you're in Europe thanks to its Bavarian delicacies, architecture, and music. Frankenmuth also gives you a chance to make pretzels at an in-house bakery. Or you could take a tour along the Cass River.


If the name Charlevoix sounds romantic to you, it’s because it is. Charlevoix is popular with couples looking to spend an evening gazing at stars. It’s also great if you appreciate seafood or want to take a vacation in a quiet, peaceful location.


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