As the long-awaited new year begins, you’re likely looking ahead to what adventures might befall you in 2017. There’s no doubt that Michigan is an amazing state to explore, whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor. Here’s a list of thirteen incredible towns in the Great Lakes State that should be on your travel bucket list during the approaching months.
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:
This small town just off of US-23 is full of awesome winter activities, but it’s tons of fun during the rest of the year as well. Walk along Thunder Bay, check out its lovely downtown area, or take a hike through Island Park.
Bavarian architecture and small town charm are abundant in Frankenmuth, which houses the famous Bronner's Christmas Wonderland — a massive holiday store that keeps the Christmas spirit alive year-round. Grab a slice of homemade fudge, enjoy a pint of at Frankenmuth’s historic brewery, or shop ’til you drop.
Venture to Michigan’s west coast and spend a day in this delightful little city, which prides itself on Dutch heritage and beautiful beaches. Check out Holland State Park or Laketown Beach for amazing Lake Michigan views, and finish out the day with a walk down 8th Street, which will absolutely charm you.
There’s nowhere in Michigan that’s more quintessentially midwestern than Mount Pleasant, and you’ll want to see for yourself. Whether you’re exploring the campus of Central Michigan University, doing a bit of gambling at Soaring Eagle Casino, or taking a walk through one of the area’s extensive park trails, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
During your time in this Branch County town, you’ll visit a historic opera house, enjoy a few hours at the Bella Vista Golf Course, and marvel at the variety of Victorian homes that dot the area’s streets. This Michigan locale will quickly become one of your new favorite destinations.
Take a day trip to this town and embrace your inner history buff. Follow a walking tour of Marshall, which will show you everything from the National House Inn to the famous Honolulu House — a home styled after traditional Hawaiian architecture. Before you leave, be sure to take a look at the clear waters of the Brooks Memorial Fountain.
This town is a fisherman’s dream. Located in the picturesque Leelanau Peninsula, Leland houses “Historic Fishtown,” which celebrates what was once a booming industry for Michiganders. You’ll be delighted by the small, modest buildings that dot the waterfront pathways here — and you might just swear that you’ve been transported to a different time.
This tiny waterfront town is a perfect summer getaway. Whether you’re renting a cottage on the lake or simply stopping by for a day at the local beach, you won’t be disappointed. Sip on a beer at Thumb Brewing or stop by for the annual “Cheeseburger In Caseville” festival, which celebrates Jimmy Buffet.
Head north and enjoy an amazing adventure in Munising, a tiny town that offers plenty to see and do. Hop on a tour boat and marvel at the beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, or take a hike along the water and see some of the area’s gorgeous waterfalls. No matter what you do in Munising, it will be a visit to remember.
You’ll step into an alpine-themed wonderland in Gaylord, which is especially fun to visit during the winter months. Check out the magical Alpenfest celebration, marvel at the “ice tree” downtown, or simply admire the stylized buildings in Gaylord’s quaint downtown.
Sault Ste. Marie
Michigan’s oldest town should certainly be on your must-visit list for the new year. Check out the fascinating Soo Locks, which allow for travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Enjoy dinner at The Antlers restaurant and take time to indulge in the historical charm of the town.
This charming resort community on Little Traverse Bay comprises just over one square mile of land, making it a true small town. Relax at a downtown coffee shop, spend a few hours golfing, or simply chat with loved ones on the porch of a cozy cottage. A stay in Harbor Springs offers visitors a one-of-a-kind escape from real life.
This West Michigan town is small, but it packs plenty of punch for its size. No matter when you visit, you’ll be utterly charmed by this waterfront community, which features a slew of art galleries, restaurants, and even a lovely Kalamazoo River boardwalk for a romantic after-dinner stroll.
What’s your favorite town in the Great Lakes State? Share your recommendations in the comment section — and safe travels!