On a lovely summer day, there’s nothing more relaxing than taking a stroll amid Michigan’s stunning nature. While there are countless forests, beaches, and other spots to explore throughout the state, few destinations beat the ambiance and delight of a nature preserve. Here are nine beautiful outdoor locales that you simply must explore in the Great Lakes State.
1. Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve (10471 6 Mile Rd NE, Rockford)
This Kent County preserve sits on 123 beautiful acres of land and features nearly two miles of trails to explore. Walk alongside bogs, swamps, and towering trees as you breathe in the fresh air. This preserve emphasizes ecological preservation and houses plenty of unique wildlife, which only adds to its charm.
2. North Point Nature Preserve (Mt McSauba Rd, Charlevoix)
This small preserve might not be as massive as some of its counterparts, but don't let that fool you: with 27 acres and nearly 3,000 feet of shoreline to explore, there’s something here for everyone. Catch gorgeous views of Lake Michigan or walk through beautiful dune lands — what’s not to love?
3. CS Mott Nature Preserve (Gilbert Road, Arcadia)
This marvelous preserve contains Arcadia Dunes, one of Michigan’s most stunning hidden gems. Whether you’re in the mood for hiking, swimming, or sightseeing, we promise you’ll find it here. With 15 miles of trails and breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, this preserve is one-of-a-kind.
4. E.L. Johnson Nature Center (3325 Franklin Rd, Bloomfield Hills)
This family-oriented natural area is overflowing with things to see and do. With both indoor and outdoor space to explore, there’s no shortage of activities happening at Johnson Nature Center throughout the year. Marvel at fish in the on-site pond, walk through fields of wildflowers, or attend a class in the visitor center — can you imagine anything better?
5. Seney National Wildlife Refuge (1674 Refuge Entrance Road, Seney)
Established in 1935, this lovely preserve in the Upper Peninsula is truly massive — comprising approximately 95,212 acres. While it’s classified as a wetland, there’s a massive array of areas to explore throughout the region. Whether you’re birdwatching, photographing nature, or simply taking a stroll, this is one spot you’ll never forget.
6. For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum (2142 N Genesee Rd, Burton)
This magical outdoor destination in Burton occupies nearly 400 acres of land, and there’s nowhere quite so peaceful in the region. Explore meadows, forested areas, and ponds — not to mention a wide array of wildlife species just waiting to be spotted. Whether you’re a kiddo on a field trip or a longtime hiker, you’ll have a blast at For-Mar.
7. Thorne Swift Nature Preserve (6696 Lower Shore Dr, Harbor Springs)
You’ll wonder if you’ve been transported to another world upon entering this lovely preserve, which features fantastically shaded paths, swamplands, and dunes. The real highlight, however, is the preserve’s direct access to Lake Michigan’s stunning shoreline — comprised of a 300-foot public beach.
8. DeGraff Nature Center (600 Graafschap Rd, Holland)
Venture to Holland for a trip to this charming locale, which features an indoor education center, all sorts of exciting activities throughout the seasons, and plenty of wooded trails that are just perfect for a warm summer afternoon. From ponds to greenery, there’s something here to interest every member of the family.
9. Vermillion Point Nature Preserve (N Vermillion Rd, Paradise)
Located along Lake Superior, Vermillion Point is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking nature preserves in all of Michigan. With over 9,000 feet of beach frontage, 175 acres of land to peruse, and some truly spectacular views, you’re almost guaranteed to have a beautifully memorable experience here.
Have you spent time at any of these gorgeous natural areas in the Great Lakes State? Did we leave any of your favorites off our list? Let us know in the comment section below!
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