Travel Around the State for These Michigan Must-Sees

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As Michiganders, we know well that our state can be counted amongst the most beautiful and exciting. That's all thanks to a bevy of natural wonders, a full four seasons, unmatched attractions and the people who make it all happen. Come along as we set off on a Michigan must-see journey, where we encourage you to be a tourist in your own state.

You can't talk about Michigan must-see destinations without talking about the Motor City. Detroit shines with a spirit and a vibrancy that's truly unique, and is absolutely brimming with opportunity to experience it all. Experience world class art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum collection; see aquatic life from the Great Lakes and all around the world at the Belle Isle Aquarium, the oldest in America; pay homage to the birthplace of Motown at the Motown Museum, which is undergoing a $65 million expansion; and more. Be sure to also stop by Eastern Market (which is a prime tailgating spot during the Detroit Lions football season).

Venture to Kalamazoo, where those who enjoy sipping on a nice, cold craft beer and listening to live performances will feel right at home. Most of us will immediately (and rightly so) think of Bell's Brewery and its iconic seasonal Oberon beer when thinking of Kalamazoo. The brewery itself has much to offer beer lovers, along with being a great spot to catch a live show in its Eccentric Cafe and Beer Garden. More sudsy fun could be found at Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, in addition to family-friendly One Well Brewing and its Wizard's Pinball Palace. Car enthusiasts are in luck as well, thanks to nearby Gilmore Car Museum's collection of over 400 vintage and collector vehicles and motorcycles.

Of course, we can't forget one of Michigan's most stunning natural wonders, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located along the northeastern coast of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes offers visitors stunning sights along with opportunities for stargazing, SUP paddleboarding, morel mushroom hunting, camping and hiking 400 feet above the water along the popular Empire Bluff Trail. Just don't descend the dune unless you can climb all the way back up (or want to end up going viral on TikTok). Also worth visiting is the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum and several area lighthouses.

People come from all over the world to experience the charm and idyllic nature of Mackinac Island, and it's not hard to see why. The car-free island is a Michigan gem offering visitors a chance to unplug and unwind. Popular activities include biking the 8.3-mile perimeter of the island; enjoying some fresh fudge; attending the annual Lilac Festival in June; strolling the Grand Hotel porch—the world's longest; taking a horse-drawn carriage tour to landmarks including Arch Rock and British Landing; dining at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room; and more.

Another natural marvel not to be missed is Kitch-iti-kipi or "The Big Spring," located in Manistique. The mesmerizing waters of Michigan's largest freshwater spring are a constant 45 degrees and are crystal clear, allowing for an enchanting view of the many years-old branches and species of trout that dwell below. Rich in Ojibwe history, Kitch-iti-kipi can be best enjoyed via its observation deck and crank-propelled raft, complete with an overhead roof to reduce any sun glare.

With several milestone anniversaries in 2024, Ludington is a top option to add to your travels. Visitors could enjoy some stunning views after climbing Little Sable Point Lighthouse (celebrating 150 years) or the Ludington North Breakwater Light (celebrating 100 years) before roaming the area's stunning coastlines at Ludington State Park, which have recently been made more accessible thanks to the introduction of several beach mobility chairs and walkers. While visiting, be sure to enjoy the expanded Portside Garden area at Jamesport Brewing Company, sip a mimosa while shopping the contemporary women's styles found at The Hangar and grab a small-batch baked good from the Trail's End Baking Co. food truck.

ALSO ...
Michigan Treats and Some Places Where You Can Find Them:
Packzis (Hamtramck); Pasties (The U.P.); Detroit-Style Pizza and Coney Dogs (Detroit); Mackinac Island Fudge (Mackinac Island); Delicious Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Cuisine (Dearborn); Cherries (Traverse City); Great Lakes Whitefish (the lakes and any good dive bar worth its salt).

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.

This article originally appeared in the Apr/May '24 issue of West Michigan Woman.

 Photo Courtesy of ToddandBradReed.com.


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