Michigan February 05, 2017
Here’s The Perfect Itinerary For One Week In Michigan’s Lower Peninsula
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a lifelong Michigander who’s simply looking to explore our state’s most beautiful places, one thing is for sure: you could spend months venturing through the Mitten State and never see it all. However, if you’ve got one week to spare, we’ve put together the perfect road trip that will take you to many highlights of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
For a link to our weeklong Upper Peninsula itinerary, click
to access an interactive map for this trip. You'll undoubtedly want to adjust our itinerary as necessary to fit your schedule, interests, and starting/ending locations.
Day 1: Detroit
What trip to Michigan is complete without a visit to our state’s largest city? Spend a day in the Motor City, which truly offers something for everyone. If you’re a sports fan, stop in and see the Detroit Tigers play at Comerica Park. Is art more your speed? You’ll be mesmerized by the massive collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts. For a natural escape close to the city, stop in at Belle Isle and check out its aquarium and stunning conservatory. Before you call it a night, chow down on the famous Yardbird sandwich at Slows Bar-BQ. Yum.
Day 2: Ann Arbor
Make the hourlong trip from Detroit to Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan. This funky, lovable town has an easily walkable downtown area that will keep you occupied all day. Do some shopping at one of its many fair trade shops, where you’ll find all sorts of unique items. For lunch, stop in at Sava’s — their sweet potato fries are to die for. Before you leave town, you simply must take a walking tour of the University of Michigan. Its architecture (and massive stadium) will blow you away.
Day 3: The Sunrise Coast
Today will involve a lot of driving, so make sure you’re alert, awake, and ready to go! Follow beautiful US-23 along Lake Huron for unbeatable views of the water. Throughout the day, make a few pit stops at some of this route’s quaint little towns: East Tawas, Rogers City, and Alpena, to name a few. Pick your favorite town and book a hotel there for the night — then wake up early to catch a breathtaking sunrise over Lake Huron. This is one view that you won’t soon forget.
Day 4: Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes
It’s a good thing you’re already up early, because you’ve got a two and a half hour drive across the state en route to Traverse City. There’s a reason that this is one of the most popular cities in Michigan, and it’s not just because it’s home to an awesome Cherry Festival each year. It’s also just 25 miles from Sleeping Bear Dunes, and you can’t visit Michigan without exploring this natural wonder. Make the trip through the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and catch breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from atop the dunes.
Day 5: Holland and Saugatuck
After a tiring day in the Traverse City area, unwind in the small yet completely delightful communities of Holland and Saugatuck. You’ll want to rise bright and early to make the three-hour drive southward, but trust us when we say that your destination is worth the trip! Holland and Saugatuck are located approximately 20 minutes away from one another, so you can easily move between the two towns throughout the day. Stop in and visit Big Red lighthouse at Holland State Park, then end the evening with a fancy dinner at The Butler in Saugatuck. These West Michigan gems are also ideal for doing a little shopping or picking up souvenirs for family and friends.
Day 6: Grand Rapids
Don't worry: you don’t have a very long drive to embark on this morning! Make the 35-minute journey from Holland to Grand Rapids and spend a day exploring Michigan’s “Beer City.” Grab a few rounds at Founders Brewing Company or HopCat, or check out the Grand Rapids Public Museum for some awesome speciality and permanent exhibits. For an amazing burger, you can’t do better than Stella’s. This downtown fixture is a Grand Rapids favorite and its massive burgers are second to none. If you visit in the colder months, end the night with an ice skating adventure at Rosa Parks Circle.
Day 7: Lansing
You can’t finish up a trip to Michigan without checking out the state capital. Marvel at the rotunda inside the capitol building, head to nearby East Lansing to explore the campus of Michigan State University, and grab lunch at the famously quirky Golden Harvest Restaurant. After a long week of travel, this is a great place to wind up the adventure. When you’re ready to head back to the “real world,” load up the car and start the journey back toward your original starting point.
Of course, there are hundreds of other Lower Peninsula towns and attractions that could have been included on this itinerary. Mackinaw City, Kalamazoo, South Haven… the list goes on and on. It would simply be impossible to squeeze everything into a weeklong span. But never fear: the greatest part about living in Michigan is that there’s always more to discover. The spots that were omitted from this list will just have to be at the forefront of your next great Michigan adventure. Happy trails, fellow Michiganders!