A See-It-All Michigan Road Trip Is Right Here And It's A Fun-Filled Adventure
By Serena Maria Daniels|Updated on September 07, 2023(Originally published February 05, 2023)
Serena Maria Daniels
Serena Maria Daniels is an award-winning freelance journalist in Detroit, by way of Chicago, by way of the West Coast. She writes about Michigan for OIYS. Serena enjoys learning about language and culture and taking road trips with her beagle Ralph.
You may have been dying to see more of the great state of Michigan but haven’t, so far, figured out how to do so in a short amount of time. It’s almost as if you need an “optimal” guide to taking the ultimate Michigan road trip, backed up by the technology of GPS to conceive just how to pull it off. That’s where Michigan native Randy Olson comes into play. He’s made a name for himself by creating such maps for every state in the country, including our beloved Mitten.
Olson’s Michigan map spanned 2,098 miles and 43 sites all over the state – both Lower and Upper peninsulas included. He claims the entire road trip through Michigan should take about 40 hours on the road. While fall may just be the best time of the year for such a trip, we can’t help but feel like this comprehensive map will serve as a great visual checklist any time of the year for those of you who want to get as much out of this beautiful state as possible.
Here’s his map, along with 19 photos of highlights in alphabetical order from this ultimate road trip. And make sure to check out Olson’s interactive map for a full list of sites as well as details on each only-in-Michigan destination.
Does this seem like the ultimate road trip through Michigan? Have any of you seen this before and have attempted the complete the challenge? Tell us about it! And if you’re getting ready to hit the road, take a look at our ultimate road trip packing list to make sure you have everything you need.
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Ultimate Michigan Road Trip
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What are some of the best towns to visit in Michigan?
Looking for more charming towns in MI to add to your Ultimate Michigan Road Trip? Here are some undeniably charming little towns in Michigan we think you ought to visit:
Saugatuck is one of the cutest towns to visit and, especially so, in the winter. Butler Street is the shopping hub with eclectic and artsy shops. The winter highlight is Saugatuck State Park, a breathtaking hike that winds through a forest and ends at the icy shores of Lake Michigan.
St. Joseph is one of the loveliest beach towns in Michigan and has stunning sunsets. The quaint downtown has antique stores and a delicious chocolate shop that serves the best hot chocolate. St. Joseph’s treasure is the Silver Beach Carousel which took its first spin in 1910 and has been delighting visitors ever since.
Escanaba, lovingly referred to as “Esky,” is a Little Bay de Noc port city located in the Upper Peninsula. You can rent a kayak at Ludington Park and spend the whole day on the water. Once you’re finished, visit the restored Sand Point Lighthouse, a historic structure built in 1867.
Allegan has one of the best flea markets in Michigan and it takes place in the summer months. Allegan Antique Market is full of vintage furniture, kitschy knick-knacks, and every antique imaginable. When you’re finished at the flea market you can explore the historic downtown that is very walkable, family-friendly, and even has its own zipline!
Ferndale is a little locale just north of Detroit that's warm and welcoming. It's also close to Royal Oak and Birmingham, two other walkable small towns just a stone's throw from all the amenities and attractions of Motor City!
Charming Northville is a historic community about 30 miles outside of Detroit. In September, Northville hosts The Victorian Heritage Festival to celebrate the town’s history. There is a traditional Victorian parade with town residents wearing period costumes and you may even see someone riding an antique unicycle down the street!
Frankenmuth is an impossibly charming small town in MI that is known for its Bavarian-style architecture which makes you feel like you’re in a small German village. No trip to Frankenmuth is complete without stopping at the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s!