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Great Lakes, Mackinac Island, Northern Michigan Getaways and Road Trip Planner

Things to do / Travel Guide

Northern Michigan Tourist Attractions

This is a remote area bordering on the three most scenic Great Lakes. Miles of golden sand, lighthouses, and sea cliffs can be explored by land or by sea. Inland lies a vast, rugged wilderness, where you may see more moose than people. There are even some areas where no cars are allowed. The region also provides ample opportunity for serious backcountry hiking, sports, adventure, and scuba diving.

Northern Michigan Getaways

This part of the country offers visitors with a real oasis of wilderness. It is an area teeming with wildlife, birdlife, plantlife, and some of the most heavily forested areas in the country.
The area also undergoes extreme weather measures; and because of all the rain, wind, and crashing waves, the northern part of the Michigan peninsula has been carved out to reveal 17 miles of stunning multicolored sandstone cliffs. These "Pictured Rocks" as they've become known, are a true work of natural art—some of the cliffs are more than 200 feet tall and encompass caves and arches and other works of natural architecture.

Another harder-to-reach spot (and therefore extremely appealing to many hiking and camping enthusiasts) is Isle Royale National Park. Because it's difficult to get to, but more because it's such a fun-packed place to visit, visitors usually stay at this national park for a few days, rather than for just a few hours. Its prime location on Lake Superior makes it an ideal spot for intense hiking as well as enjoying numerous water activities.

Great Lakes Vacation Spots

Of course if its wilderness and outdoor activities you're seeking, then you'll really have no shortage of options in Northern Michigan, especially as you head over to the Great Lakes. The lakes provide a more diverse and an even more beautiful backdrop to the Michigan scene. The area is laden with national parks, impeccable campgrounds, rugged and jagged peaks and trails, and of course, if the weather is nice, swimming, scuba diving, and other water activities.

The area is perfect for visiting year round: Swimming in the summer, skiing in the winter, and hiking and camping in between. While the Great Lakes region is an adventurer's dream vacation spot, that's not to say that the less-adventure-driven among us won't have anything to do. On the contrary—the area is rich in other activities as well, including shopping, golfing, winery-hopping, and visiting museums and historic sites. Gambling is extremely popular in around the Great Lakes; there are a number of casinos and casino resorts—fun, cozy havens for when the temperatures drop quickly and you need to escape to the warm indoors! Another good indoor option is the Avalanche Bay Indoor Water Park in Boyne Falls, Michigan—who says you can't wear that new bikini in the dead of winter?

Mackinac Island, Michigan Vacation Spots

Mackinac Island (pronounced ) is Michigan's most romantic vacation spot. One reason for the heightened sense of romance is the fact that cars are not allowed on the island. Such a rule cultivates a 19th century feel to the island, where people enter, leave, and travel around the island on foot, bike, or by horse-drawn carriages. The restored Victorian homes also helps induce a feeling of yesteryear and adds to the beauty of this little Michigan island that sits snugly between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas.

Mackinac Island State Park takes up about 80% of the island so is the obvious first choice when it comes to choosing an outdoor spot to explore. You should definitely also put Fort Mackinac on your itinerary—this Revolutionary War-era fort is now home to highly visited ruins and a spot that hosts fun Victorian children's games and Victorian music.

Fans of Seinfeld will be disappointed to discover that there is no such fruit as a Mackinaw Peach.

Great Lake & Michigan Road Trip Getaway Planner

You are going to need 1-2 weeks to appreciate a vacation here. Take a few days to explore the more remote areas and a few days to just sit back and enjoy nature at a relaxing pace. We'll admit, the vast area of Northern Michigan is not a place to “see and be seen,” but it is a fantastic place for an extended camping trip far away from the urban bustle.

Coming from Detroit? Get yourself a good map of the Upper Peninsula and head north on a Michigan road trip.

Tourist Attractions and Highlights in Great Lakes, Traverse City, Mackinac, Northern MI

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