9 Rites of Passage for Michigan Travel

Whether you’re a life-long Michigander or are looking to visit the Great Lakes state for the very first time, there are some things, and destinations, that you just can’t miss. From big cities to remote islands, there’s much to be explored.

Call yourself a seasoned Michigan traveler? Prove it! Find out how many of these nine rites of passages you’ve completed below

1. Cross the Mackinac Bridge

Did you know that nearly 20 percent of Michigan residents have never crossed the Mighty Mac? Between the powerful Upper Tahquamenon Falls, rich mining history, rugged shores of Lake Superior, and much more, a trip to the U.P. is a must for visitors and Michiganders alike.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @masphotomi

2. Eat a coney dog in Detroit

To whom do you pledge your allegiance? Are you a diehard American Coney Island fan, or do your loyalties lay with Lafayette? Another spot besides the two? A trip to the Motor City can be full of adventures, including a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Michigan Science Center, but grabbing a ‘dog while in MoTown should be high on your list.

3. Snap a photo at Inspiration Point

Michigan has a mind-boggling amount of scenic photo spots across the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, but there are a few that really stand out. One of these iconic locations (write this down!) is Inspiration Point in Arcadia. Inspiration Point is the highest point on the west shore of Lake Michigan and includes a beautiful park and lookout area. A new deck with telescopes has recently been added to the lookout for even greater visibility. While you’re there, experience one of the best golf courses in the state at Arcadia Bluffs.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @jmac248

4. Enjoy a brew in Beer City, USA

In addition to the agriculture scene, the brewing industry makes Michigan famous in itself. This year, Grand Rapids defended its title as ‘Beer City, USA’ by a USA TODAY 10Best online poll, and we couldn’t agree more. When visiting GR, be sure to experience a guided beer tour with stops at Founders and the original HopCat. If you’re a sports fan, catch a hockey game at Van Andel Arena or a ballgame at Fifth Third Field.

5. Venture to Turnip Rock

Another incredible photo spot is ‘Turnip Rock in Port Austin. This iconic landmark sits on the coast of Lake Huron and is available to kayakers in the spring, summer and fall and snowshoe-ers and hikers in the winter.  Located near the tip of the ‘thumb’ of the Lower Peninsula, Port Austin is a short drive from Caseville, home to the infamous Cheeseburger festival. If you plan your timing right, check them both out in one trip!

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @jonasqphotography

6. Marvel over inspiring architecture at the University of Michigan’s law quad

Not far from the nation’s largest college football stadium stands striking gothic-style buildings that form the William W. Cook Law Quadrangle on U of M’s Ann Arbor campus. The location of residential and academic buildings within the quad fosters the integration of activities for both students and faculty, and holds a place in the university’s rich academic history.

7. Explore Isle Royale National Park

Did you know Isle Royale National Park is the least visited national park in the United States, with fewer visitors per year than Yellowstone National Park has in one day? Isle Royale is a remote island on Lake Superior that requires a boat or float plane to gain access. Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, ever-changing weather and a cool climate characterize Isle Royale. As luck would have it, the National Parks Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, so there isn’t a better time to visit and #FindYourPark.


Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @kaden_staley

8. Say hello to Sparty at Michigan State University

Just 60 miles away from Ann Arbor is East Lansing, home to Michigan State University. Walking the banks of the Red Cedar undoubtedly gives you beautiful views, but a popular statue of a green Spartan warrior, found at the entrance of MSU’s athletic establishment, is what you’ll want to see. “The Spartan” was designed and produced by Leonard D. Jungwirth of the art department, and dedicated in June of 1945. It stands ten feet-six inches tall, not including the base.

9. Take in a NASCAR weekend at Michigan International Speedway

Michigan International Speedway (MIS), located in Brooklyn, is nestled on more than 1,400 acres in the Irish Hills area. With more than 9,000 reserved campsites available, MIS camping has become a signature attraction at the speedway, offering a getaway opportunity in one of the speedway’s ten premier campgrounds. Since being re-paved in 2012, MIS is the fastest track on the NASCAR circuit, meaning you can enjoy thrilling races all summer long.


How many of these Michigan destinations have you visited? Share with us by commenting below!

13 thoughts on “9 Rites of Passage for Michigan Travel

  1. Inspiration Point near Arcadia ,Michigan is on the EAST SHORE of Lake Michigan ! not the west shore of Lake Michigan as stated in the article above ,,, PURE MICHIGAN proof read or send me back to geography class’, so I can figure which side of the Lake my family lives on Thank You ,,,

  2. Hiking the trail from lower to upper Tahquamenon Falls. They didn’t tell us how long the trail is!!!

  3. No sleeping bear dunes, no Pictured Rocks, no Mackinac Island? Sorry but sitting on your butt watching a car turn left for 4 hours doesn’t make you a true Michigander. you can be a redneck in any number of states. What about all the falls of the UP, Whitefish point, Lake shore drives?

  4. Well I know for a fact this is my husband and my brother in laws favorite thing to do is go to Michigan International Speedway, as a matter of fact I just found them in this picture! Love Pure Michigan

  5. yes went there too. Too much to write – didn’t want to write a book about it ha ha. At least I started a dialogue – great, now all of you add your anecdotes of where you have been and seen and your recommendations. For me my highlight was being woken at 3 in the morning, lying in a tent next to an uninhabited lake, by a loon only a few yards away calling to another loon across the water and the reply a moment later. I was in tears: Shall never forget that.

  6. Adding to the things a true Michigander must do: drive the tunnel tthru Honor Mi; stand on then ovrlook at sleeping Bear dunes; visit whitefish point and start your bird life list with the raptors; postmark a letter to a friend from Christmas, Mi; visit Greenfield village and/or the Henry Ford museum; hike or boat tour Pictured Rocksin Lake Superior; buy some thimbleberry jam from the monks along Brockway Mountain rd on the Keewenaw Penninsula…and so much more!

  7. Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, canoe a Michigan river, Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan football game in the BIG House, Frankenmuth, Soo Locks, take a bridge and a tunnel to/from Michigan / Ontario Canada. I-75, US 2, Ford @ River Rouge, Holland, MI, Cherry Festival, Michigan’s own Meijer’s and of course, Grand Hotel @ Mackinac Island, go be a fudgie…

  8. I’m with you. And, no mention of Michigan’s 116 lighthouses (the most of any state in the nation).

  9. still have a lot to do here in Michigan, but a great way to spend your 70th. Glad you enjoyed our state.

  10. Me from UK and girlfriend from Michigan: Spent 3 months in MIchigan last year 2015: Both Upper Peninsula and Kalamazoo area. Crossed Mackinac Bridge maybe 16 times. Drove through MI so many times Kalamazoo to Manistique return. Plus Chicago up west side of Lake Michigan past Green Bay, Escanoba. Based ourselves in Manistique (rented a trailer) then we explored – Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, Camped (still snow) by Milakokia, then Munising, past Marquette (fell in Lake Superior trying to collect slag – had to go in shop in Marquette in my swimming shorts, in snow, to buy dry jeans), right up to top, then Iron Mountain, just everywhere. Most of the time we were alone, just me and GF – well who wants to camp in snow? So many animals, in our camp too. One time lying on lakeshore in sun: turkey vultures circling us came to inspect us ! Just sat watching bald eagles, bears, humming birds, cardinals, robins, muskrats, raccoons, skunk with her 2 babies many others. Also camped in Muskegan, other places and by Lake Huron too. Avoided tourist traps. Oh found so many interesting rocks too. Beautiful slag on lakeshore near Christmas (Munising) from Bay Furnace. Too much to tell. Oh best pizza ever from Bimbos in Kalamazoo. Why is this not in any sequence- because we did it like that. Great way to spend my 70th year. Greenland next?

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