11 Top-Rated Michigan Tourist Attractions
1 Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island offers a look at a historic period and a simpler way of life, before cars and buses. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and spend the day wandering through the shops of the old town, touring the island on a horse-drawn carriage, hiking, or visiting Fort Mackinac.
2 Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale lies in northwestern Lake Superior near the Canadian frontier. Shaped by Ice Age glaciers, this 432 square mile island has many lakes and streams, dense forests, and a variety of wildlife that includes wolves, foxes, moose, otters, ospreys, herring gulls, falcons, and more. This relatively unspoiled tract of country attracts those looking for a remote wilderness experience. The best way to see the park is on hiking trails and boat trips. Access to the island is by boat or seaplane. Trips usually originate from Houghton or Copper Harbor, Michigan, or Grand Portage, Minnesota.
3 Pictured Rocks National Seashore
Pictured Rocks National Seashore, on the south shore of Lake Superior, gets its name from the colors of copper, iron and manganese oxide found in the rocks. The landscape here is a mix of dunes, cliffs, beaches and rocky shoreline. The interior is forest covered, with inland lakes and rivers. Visitors come here to experience nature, usually through activities like hiking, camping, and boating. In winter the area is open for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Nearby is Grand Island National Recreation Area, an island which is also popular with outdoor enthusiasts.
4 Michigan Historical Museum - Lansing
The Michigan Historical Museum tells Michigan's story from prehistoric times to the 1900's. Exhibits range from the industrial history of the state to the history of the first people. In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum also features changing exhibits. The Historical Museum is the pride of the Historical Museum System which operates several facilities.
5 State Capitol
Originally opened in 1879, the State Capitol building in Lansing was modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building to learn more about the history, the building, and the daily workings.
6 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor encompasses 2,800 acres. Some of the interesting old Gothic buildings include the Law Quadrangle, the Power Center for the Performing Arts, and the Natural History Museum. Key attractions on the campus include the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, with strong collections related to Mediterranean civilizations, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. Also of interest, although located off campus, is the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Located next to the central campus is the Nichols Arboretum.
7 Mackinac Bridge
The Mackinac Bridge connects the Lower Peninsula at Mackinaw City to the Upper Peninsula at St. Ignace. This is one of the longest suspension spans in the world. It opened in 1957 and eliminated the backup of vehicles waiting for ferry passage across the straits. The Mackinac Bridge Museum contains many interesting and original artifacts from the construction of the Mighty Mac.
8 Colonial Michilimackinac - mackinaw city
Colonial Michilimackinac, located in Mackinaw City, was a French fur-trading village and military outpost that served from 1715 until 1781 when it burned to the ground. Thirteen of the buildings have been re-constructed and highlights include re-enactments from the British occupation in the 1770s, as well as the American Revolution era.
9 Windmill Island - Holland
Windmill Island is a 36 acre heritage park filled with manicured flower gardens and Dutch architecture. In May the park comes to life with 175,000 tulips, and in June the extensive gardens change to annual flowers. Highlights include an authentic Dutch windmill, DeZwaan, dating to the 1760's and brought from the Netherlands in 1964. Standing 125 feet, the windmill is a symbol of the Dutch heritage of this area and is the only original Dutch windmill exported to America. It is still a working windmill producing stone ground flour for sale.
10 Outdoor Discovery Center of Wildlife Unlimited - holland
The Outdoor Discovery Center has taken on the task of restoring agricultural land to natural habitat. As a result of their efforts there are now six distinct ecosystems on this 130 acre nature preserve. The area provides a good opportunity to experience and learn about the different environments. Highlights include walking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.
11 Soo Locks Boat Tours and Dinner Cruises
Live narration during the Soo Locks Boat Tours explain the history and operation of the locks, St Mary's Rapids, Algoma Steel Plant and water fronts of the two Saults, as well as other sights.
The main importance of the American-Canadian twin town of Sault Ste Marie, known locally as the Soo, lies in the 1.25 mile long canals on the St Mary River linking Lakes Huron and Superior. This is one of the world's most important waterways, on which 100 million tons of goods are transported annually. The ships pass through two huge locks (the Soo Locks), one on the Canadian side and the other on the American side.