Are you ready for a great escape? Michigan is a state unlike anyone in the US. Not only are the sprawling urban zones a worthwhile experience of festivals and culture, but the natural ecosystems pack a serious wow factor that excites visitors of all ages. Whether you are a city slicker or an outdoor adventurer, thrill seeker or foodie, Michigan is a land where you can make memories every single second. Here are the 10 best things to do in Michigan to start your adventure off right.
Did you know that Michigan has an entire Historical Museum System that covers the entire history of the state? To get started, stop first at the Michigan Historical Museum, based in Lansing, to learn an expansive history starting with the first prehistoric settlers and ending within the 20th century. A range of superior quality exhibits both temporary and permanent await discovery here, including a gorgeous water feature outdoors and a three-story high topographical map in the atrium.
Also known as “The Mighty Mac,” the Mackinac Bridge is one of the world's longest suspension bridges. The beginning and end link the Lower Peninsula of Mackinaw City to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula. You don't want to miss the gorgeous sights nor the Mackinac Bridge museum, which contain a number of exhibits on the construction and design of this stunning bridge.
Many visitors call Presque Isle Park a playground full of natural beauty. The park spans across 323 acres and has unfathomably beautiful views of Lake Superior. Since the park is open for exploration throughout the year, you can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, sunsets, winter fun and much more here. For those who want to soak in the lake or dive from 10 to 15 foot cliffs into crystal waters, this green heaven on Earth is for you.
Soo, also known as Sault Ste Marie, is a twin town belonging to both America and Canada; and it is here where you can enjoy a tour boat ride with Soo Locks Boat Tours down the St. Mary River. In the past, the river was used to transport over 100 million tons of goods to and from the Canadian side. The boat tours are very informative, scenic, and fun for all ages.
Address: 515 E Portage Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
For those who love botanical gardens and art, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids is a phenomenal choice for your bucket list. There is a reason why this living museum continues to receive raving reviews and awards year-after-year. The 158 acres of stunning artwork and themed gardens will leave you breathless. You will want to keep coming back to see the beauty evolve season-by-season.
Address: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Love America's favorite pastime? Then you don't want to miss a game at Comerica Park! The open-air ballpark has been home to the Detroit Tigers since 2000 and is considered a highlight of Downtown Detroit. Of course, there is much more than baseball to be found here. There is a huge water fountain that has been called “liquid fireworks” when timed to musical scores, a free pedestrian museum along the concourse, and even the Comerica carousel and Ferris wheel!
One of the reasons people come to Michigan is for the preserved wilderness. Ludington State Park, with its expansive 5,300 acres, contains forests, sand dunes, marshland, beautiful beaches, lakes, historic Big Sable Point Lighthouse and even a river for you to discover . Aside from camping, there are a number of hikes through the area, coastlines where you can fish and swim, and special programs for people to enjoy every summer. In the winter, you can even go cross country skiing or snowshoeing!
Located with the Palms Book State Park, northwest of Manistique, is one of Michigan's major tourist attractions: the state's biggest natural freshwater spring. Kitch-Iti-Kipi is Native American for “big cold water,” but the original name was “Mirror of Heaven.” Ride the self-operated raft to see the ancient trees, emerald waters, and the mesmerizing whorls of sand. Afterwards, relax under the shade of the evergreens or have a picnic.
Address: Palms Book State Park, Manistique, MI 49854
There is quite a bit of history surrounding the Detroit Zoo. There are actually two sites, the old and the new. The old, once called the Belle Isle Zoo or Detroit Children's Zoo opened in 1895, is now an abandoned facility slowly getting reclaimed by nature. Urban ruin seekers should definitely check out the island. The new zoo, aptly named Detroit Zoo, has 125 acres of habitats and more than 2,000 animals. There are a number of award-winning attractions to enjoy. With special shows, programs, and more, it is perfect for families. So why not see both?
Address: 8450 W 10 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan 48067
You don't have to leave your car to see the majesty of Northern Michigan. Located within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a 7.4 mile (11.9 km) long roadway with gentle curves, scenic views, and plenty of overlooks to access and photograph. Every year, bikers, skiers, hikers, and over 80,000 vehicles journey this roadway to see the sights.
Address: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, MI