Michigan Nature August 25, 2017
9 Amazing Natural Wonders Hiding In Plain Sight In Michigan — No Hiking Required
While hiking certainly has its benefits, let’s be honest: we’re not all cut out for constant treks down Michigan’s loveliest trails. Even the most athletic among us need a little break from time to time, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing the ability to see gorgeous natural wonders. Here are nine outdoor attractions in Michigan that are extremely easy to see — without lacing up those hiking boots!
1. Arch Rock
This unique rock formation on Mackinac Island is a must-see during your next trip to Michigan’s most famous destination. There’s no hiking involved to check out this stunning spot — in fact, you can even take a fun horse-drawn carriage ride or boat trip to see the natural bride from multiple vantage points.
2. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
If you’re not in the mood for a long walk, hop in the car and take a journey along Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive for an incredible look at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Along the way, you’ll find breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, plenty of scenic overlooks, and some of the most peaceful places imaginable.
3. The Straits of Mackinac
Upon arriving in Mackinaw City, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the beauty of the Straits of Mackinac. These sprawling blue waters hold a special magic, especially when contrasted with the towering power of the Mackinac Bridge. Sit along the waterfront and stare out at the cool freshwater that surrounds you.
4. Eagle Harbor
This tiny town in the Keewenaw Peninsula is simply overflowing with natural charm, and you don’t have to take a hike to experience its beauty. A simple drive through the harbor town will give way to wonderful views, and the rocky shores of Lake Superior will absolutely take your breath away.
5. Tunnel of Trees
No matter when you visit, this destination along M-119 is gorgeous: but there’s something incredibly magical about driving through Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees during fall and summer. Your drive will include views of thick foliage that seems to envelop vehicles with its colorful beauty. Follow the road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village, taking in amazing Lake Michigan views along the route.
It’s only a short 50-yard walk from the parking lot to access this marvelous spot, which has long impressed Michiganders of all ages. Kitch-iti-kipi is one of the most awe-inspiring natural springs you’ll ever see, with bright turquoise water, a fascinating viewing platform, and surrounding forestry that gives the entire area an ethereal atmosphere.
7. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
These gorgeous dunes are tucked away between the banks of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake — and we promise you’ll be in awe as soon as you arrive. Hop aboard a dune buggy ride for a unique and exciting view of the region, or simply lounge on the sandy beach. No matter how you spend your time here, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
8. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
While Pictured Rocks can certainly be explored on foot by those who love hiking, there’s no need to overexert yourself when you make a stop here. Drive into the charming town of Munising for fantastic views of Lake Superior, then hop aboard a tour boat to get up close and personal with colorful cliffs and impossibly blue water. What’s not to love?
9. The Irish Hills
This region of Michigan, which encompasses Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee Counties, is aptly named for its greenery, rolling hills, and general charm. A simple drive through the area is enough to delight you, but we recommend checking out Irish Hills Towers in Onsted. A quick stairway jaunt to the top of these towers will give way to incredible views of the surrounding area, and you’ll wonder if you’ve somehow been transported to the Emerald Isle.
Have you visited any of these easily accessible natural wonders here in the Great Lakes State? Did we leave any of your favorite spots off our list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below, and happy exploring!