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Top Michigan Tourist Attractions

Updated on January 25, 2014

 Michigan is a dynamic state that offers its residents and visitors everything from rustic wineries to big city fine dining, ski slopes in winter and beaches in summer.  There is plenty to do in Michigan all year round, but it is an ideal destination for summer vacationers.  Read on to learn more about Michigan's Top Tourist Attractions.

Mackinac Island

This tiny island nestled between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsula, within sight of the Mackinac Bridge, is one of Michigan's most popular and unique destinations.  No cars are allowed on the island, so you'll have to get around by foot, bicycle or horse.  Tour Fort Mackinac, the site of the first battle of the War of 1812, browse the shops in the downtown area, head to the beach, rent a bike and ride around the perimeter of the island, rest on the porch of the historic Grand Hotel (of Somewhere in Time fame), hike to see Arch Rock and other geographical wonders, and gorge yourself on some delectable Mackinac Island Fudge.  Yum.  Most visitors arrive by ferry from Saint Ignace or Mackinaw City.

Planning a Mackinac Island Vacation

Traverse City

Traverse is a charming northern Michigan town with plenty to offer. To famed chef Mario Batali, Traverse City is home during the summer months. There's a cute downtown shopping districts with stores and restaurants, a beach in summer and plenty of skiing in winter. A short drive will take you to some of Michigan's best known vineyards in the Leelanau peninsula. Arts lovers can see if any shows are being offered at the world-class Interlochen Academy, just south of town. If you're visiting in early July you might get to take part in the Cherry Festival, Traverse City's biggest celebration of the year.



Frankenmuth is a little slice of Germany in mid-Michigan. Visitors can stroll among the Bavarian themed shops lining the town's main street and buy fudge, toys and other knickknacks. Dine on fried chicken and traditional German cuisine at the Bavarian Inn or its rival across the street, Zehnders. Make sure to watch the Pied Piper show on the giant Glockenspiel clock on the side of the Bavarian Inn building. Head to the Zehnder's Christmas store, where it's Christmas all year round, to pick out that perfect ornament. You could also take the kids for a swim in the indoor water park, Splash Village.


 Enjoy fine art at the fabulous Detroit Institute of Arts, or head to Greektown for some great food and gambling at Greektown Casino.  Head to the 'burbs for more fun.  There shopping restaurants and clubs in Royal Oak, as well as the immense Detroit Zoo.  In Dearborn you'll find fantastic Middle Eastern food, as well as Greenfield Village, a step back in time that's both fun and educational.  In Grosse Pointe you can visit Edsel Ford's mansion. Don't miss the "playhouse" built for their 8-year old daughter.  For upscale shopping, head to The Somerset Collection in Troy.  Lots to see and do!

West Michigan

The West Michigan communities of Grand Haven, Holland, Saugatuck, South Haven and St. Joseph are ideal destinations for laid back family vacations. Each of these towns has one or more beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, a cute downtown area full of shopping, restaurants and entertainment and family friendly activities. Holland has several Dutch themed attractions, while Saugatuck is known for its arts community.

All of these towns are an easy drive from the city of Grand Rapids, home to activities like the Grand Rapids Children's Museum, John Ball Zoo, Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, Meijer Botanical Gardens (with a fun kids section), an art museum, theater, fine dining and more.

Michigan's Adventure

Michigan's own amusement / water park is located just north of Muskegon on the state's western side. Owned by Cedar Fair, which also operates Cedar Point in Ohio, Michigan's Adventure features rides like kiddie cars, swinging pirate boat, log rides, and roller coasters ranging from the little kid friendly Big Dipper to the hair raising Thunderhawk. What's more, there's a water park with a kids water play structure, lazy river, crazy water slides, and my personal favorite, two wave pools (so awesome). As they say - "two parks for the price of one - fun! fun!"


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