As we prepare to welcome a new year here in Michigan, it’s important to look back and reflect upon 2016. But it’s equally as important and exciting to think ahead to 2017, which is sure to provide plenty of opportunities to explore and experience even more beauty here in the Great Lakes State. As we enter a brand new season, check out this list 25 places to add to your 2017 Michigan bucket list.
1. Belle Isle
This gorgeous island park in Detroit is absolutely one-of-a-kind. During your visit, make sure to visit its on-site aquarium and take in stunning views of the city skyline.
2. Detroit Institute of Arts
If you haven’t had a chance to peruse the DIA, now’s the perfect time. This Detroit fixture is full to the brim with incredible and unique artwork from every era imaginable.
3. The Irish Hills
This region of Michigan will make you feel as though you’ve set foot in the real Emerald Isle. Make sure to enjoy a lovely view from the top of the Irish Hills Towers.
4. Ocqueoc Falls
Embrace the unique opportunity to camp directly next to a waterfall at this awesome site near Onaway. Swim with your loved ones, enjoy a campfire, and appreciate the beauty of the only waterfall in our Lower Peninsula.
5. Fisherman’s Island State Park
With over 2,500 acres to explore, Fisherman’s Island is a true hidden gem in the state of Michigan. Wander along the shores of Lake Michigan just south of Charlevoix and appreciate the serene setting.
6. The Antlers Restaurant
Travel to Sault Ste. Marie and dine at this one-of-a-kind restaurant, which is famous for its incredibly unique decor. You’ve never seen so many mounted animal pieces in one place.
7. Blackrocks, Marquette
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at cliff-diving? You’ll get your chance with a visit to this hip spot in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There’s no rush quite as incredible as the feeling of jumping into the chilly waves of Lake Superior.
8. Canyon Falls and Gorge
This spot is known as the “Grand Canyon of Michigan,” and it’s easy to see why. Hike through a beautiful hardwood forest until you reach this breathtaking gorge, which is located just off US-41 near Baraga in the Upper Peninsula.
9. Curwood Castle
This castle-turned-museum is located in Owosso, and its history is absolutely fascinating. It once served as a writing studio for local author James Oliver Curwood — and you’ll want to take a tour.
10. Greenfield Village
Step back in time with a stop at this beloved locale in Dearborn, where you’ll experience everything from a traditional Model T to a chance to interact with a variety of historical re-enactors.
11. Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo
This amazingly unique park in Ossineke features several dozen dinosaur sculptures that will excite children and adults alike. You’ve never seen an attraction quite like this before.
12. The Critter Barn
This spot in Zeeland is an animal-lover’s dream. Kids and adults alike will adore the opportunity to interact with everything from ponies to kittens to pigs.
13. Lost Lake
This hidden gem in Ludington State Park is the perfect place for a calming hike. Embark on this 1.5 mile journey and admire the still waters and beautiful surrounding wilderness.
14. Tunnel Of Trees
Take this scenic route along M-119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village. Winding roads lead through miles of majestic foliage — this is one drive you certainly won’t forget.
15. Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
If you’re looking for a genuinely unique dining experience in the Great Lakes State, Zehnder’s is the place for you. You’ll be served delicious food by friendly employees dressed in traditional Bavarian garb.
16. Sherman Dairy Bar
Venture to South Haven and get your ice cream fix at this beloved dairy bar, which has a rich and fascinating history — and a wide menu of creamy flavors to choose from.
17. US-23 Heritage Route
Looking for a delightful Michigan road trip? Take a drive along this Heritage Route which follows the coast of Lake Huron, where you’ll see everything from historic lighthouses to beautiful beaches.
18. Caboose Inn, South Haven
Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a train car? Here’s your chance. Caboose Inn in South Haven is within walking distance of the beach and downtown, where you’ll enjoy a getaway before returning to your delightful converted caboose.
19. Torch Lake
You’ve never seen water quite this clear. If you’re looking for a perfect weekend getaway when the weather warms up, head to Torch Lake for a relaxing and beautiful experience.
20. Frederik Meijer Gardens
This Grand Rapids favorite is stunning year round. Peruse the beautiful sculpture park, walk through the greenery of the on-site conservancy, or appreciate fine art displays throughout the property.
21. Doc Sweets’ Candy Company
This huge candy shop in Clawson will make you feel like a kid again. Peruse row after row of chocolate, bubble gum, and every other sort of sweet treat you can possibly imagine.
22. Arcadia Dunes
Make the trip to Arcadia for a visit to these dunes at the C.S. Mott Nature Reserve. Whether you’re hiking, picnicking near an overlook, or snapping photos of Lake Michigan below, you’re sure to be amazed by this natural gem.
23. University of Michigan Law Quad
If you find yourself in Ann Arbor, you simply can’t miss a visit to this Hogwarts-esque courtyard on the campus of the University of Michigan. You’ll swear that you’ve stepped back in time.
24. Traverse City Fairy Trails
Fairies aren’t just for small children and storybooks. In fact, you can get up close and personal with “fairy homes” at this unique trail near Traverse City’s Grand Traverse Commons. You’re even encouraged to build your own structure for fairies out of natural materials.
25. Olive Shores
This beach near West Olive is surrounded by thick, gorgeous foliage and sits quietly on Lake Michigan. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a shoreline with as much calm beauty as Olive Shores.
Tell us: what was your favorite Michigan adventure of 2016? What are you most looking forward to in 2017? We wish you and your family an amazing new year.