It’s no secret that Michigan is home to countless natural wonders. From waterfalls to shorelines to rolling hills, there’s a gorgeous scene here to amaze even the most seasoned traveler. While it would be impossible to include each and every outdoor attraction on one list, here are 13 of Michigan’s most gorgeous natural wonders.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Tahquamenon Falls State Park (41382 West M 123, Paradise)
Michigan’s most famous waterfalls are famous for a reason, and it’s nearly impossible to visit without feeling completely delighted. The state park itself is comprised of just over 45,000 acres, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and — of course — viewing the falls.
2. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Leelanau and Benzie counties)
You’ll never forget the first time you take in a beautiful view from atop Sleeping Bear Dunes. These towering sand formations along Lake Michigan are absolutely one-of-a-kind, and you’ll have to catch your breath as you stare out at the beauty of our state. Venture down the dune to the shoreline, but be prepared: the journey back up is quite strenuous!
3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Munising)
Few spots in the Great Lakes State offer as much gorgeous appeal as Pictured Rocks, and you’ll be beyond impressed as you check out the shoreline from aboard a tour boat. With ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and boating on gorgeous Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks might just be your new favorite destination.
4. Porcupine Mountains (Ontanagon County, Upper Peninsula)
When you think Michigan, mountains might not be the first natural formations that come to mind — but we’ve got our very own mountainous area in the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula. Pack your bags for a weekend of rustic hiking, catch breathtaking views of Lake of the Clouds, and enjoy that fresh mountain air.
5. Isle Royale National Park (Lake Superior)
This absolutely magical island park in Lake Superior will undoubtedly amaze you with the depth of its natural beauty and charm. The untouched wilderness of Isle Royale is like something from another world, and nature enthusiasts will be in heaven as they peruse the many trails and shorelines of this car-free wonderland.
6. The Manitou Islands
The Manitou Islands are certainly some of Michigan’s most delightful hidden gems, and you’ll be in love as soon as you arrive. Plan a visit to South Manitou Island, which offers opportunities to learn about the island’s history, access to abandoned villages among the wilderness, and all sorts of chances to get out and bask in the beauty of the great outdoors.
7. Black Rocks (Marquette)
If you find yourself in Marquette, you simply must stop in for an afternoon at Black Rocks. Located within Presque Isle Park (a natural wonder in itself), Black Rocks offer a one-of-a-kind chance to cliff-dive into the cool waters of Lake Superior. These unique formations are nothing short of fascinating.
8. Port Crescent State Park (1775 Port Austin Rd, Port Austin)
While it would be impossible to include each and every wonderful state park here in the Great Lakes State, Port Crescent is an absolute must-visit. Located at the very tip of the Thumb Region, this gorgeous area includes plenty of space for camping, swimming, and simply lounging along the shoreline. Paradise!
9. Silver Lake Sand Dunes (between Muskegon and Ludington)
Ever had the urge to take a dune ride? Silver Lake is the place for you. Check out this stunning area along the shores of Lake Michigan when you really want to be impressed by our state’s natural splendor. Dunes seem to roll on forever, and you’ll wonder if you’ve been transported to another planet as you take a walk along their sandy surfaces.
10. Kitch-iti-Kipi (Manistique)
Crystal clear turquoise waters, plenty of forested splendor, and an amazing Native American heritage… sound like something out of a fairy tale? Well, the fairy tale comes to life right here in Michigan when you venture to Manistique and explore Kitch-iti-Kipi. This natural spring is absolutely magical, and you’ll be mesmerized as you watch fish swim below the viewing platform.
11. Mackinac Island
Nearly every Michigander has visited Mackinac Island at least once, but don’t let that stop you from exploring it again! This gem is the pride of the Great Lakes State, and with good reason — while the manmade elements of the island are fantastic, nothing beats a bike ride along the shore, views of the Straits of Mackinac, or a journey out to Arch Rock.
12. Fisherman’s Island State Park (16480 Bells Bay Rd, Charlevoix)
This lesser-known state park is often overlooked in favor of more populated areas, but don’t let that fool you: the natural splendor of this peninsula-turned-island will absolutely overwhelm you — in the best way possible! With six miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan to explore and an unspoiled atmosphere, there’s no telling what you’ll discover at Fisherman’s Island.
13. Ludington State Park (8800 W. M-116, Ludington)
Nearly any beach along Lake Michigan could easily qualify for our list, but there’s just something special about Ludington State Park. Whether you’ve come to check out the lighthouse, splash in the cool waves with loved ones, or catch a breathtaking sunset over our beloved "Big Lake," there’s truly something for everyone at this delightful state park.
Did we leave any of your favorite natural oases off our list? How many of these 13 spots in Michigan have you visited? We’re always eager to hear from you in the comment section below!