Explore Michigan from Grand Rapids: 2+ Hour Drive

After (or before) experiencing the best that Grand Rapids has to offer, check out the nearby destinations that will allow you to continue your adventure.

detroit skyling at night, vibrant colors of the city surround the buildings

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From charming small towns along Michigan's Great Lakes to the excitement of downtown Detroit, there's something for every traveler in Michigan. 

Blue Water

Ship docked by Blue Water Bridge
Port Huron | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan
2 hour + 30 minute Drive

Head east and discover 140 miles of Michigan's Thumbcoast, also known as the Blue Water area. Put your toes in the sand and listen to the sounds of waves hitting the shore in the gorgeous waters of lower Lake Huron. 

Lenawee County

Michigan International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway | Photo Courtesy of Craig Gardiner
2 hour + 30 minute Drive

Step off the beaten path and find your way into the heart of small-town living in southern Michigan. Fresh air, friendly locals and lively downtowns are part of Lenawee County’s natural charms. Make your visit to get away from it all or to find something new like the area's craft beer and spirits. Whether you are looking for family-friendly festivals, delicious local wine or a weekend of relaxation and fun on the lake, there is something here for everyone!


People examining a mural at Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Institute of Arts | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan
2 hour + 30 minute Drive

Come see what all the Detroit buzz is about! Arts and culture buff? See our world-class museums and historical institutions from the Henry Ford Museum to the Motown Museum. Outdoor adventurer? Grab a bike and cruise down the award-winning Detroit Riverfront, while taking in the beautiful sites of Canada across the river along the way. Muscle car or sports fans? Stop by the M1 Concourse or catch a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park. Don’t forget to make time to try some of our signature dishes like Detroit-style pizza, Coney Dogs or our famous corned beef sandwiches. In Detroit, there’s something for everyone to enjoy while visiting the great metro area. Come see for yourself!


Charlevoix South Pier Light Station along shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Charlevoix | Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix
2 hours + 45 minutes from Grand Rapids

Escape the hustle and bustle of the big city by visiting Charlevoix the beautiful this summer! We've got boating, gnome homes, festivals, farmers markets, Petoskey stones, fudge and more. With a walkable downtown, endless water views, miles of trails, tasty dining options, Charlevoix is the place to be this year!  


Girl playing on Lake Michigan beach
Lake Michigan Beach in Petoskey | Photo Courtesy of Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau
3 hours from Grand Rapids

Intimate wineries, beautiful kayak/paddleboard locales and scenic trails are just the beginning of what you’ll find in the collection of communities known as the Petoskey Area. Experience quaint downtowns, spectacular water views, and endless outdoor activities including golf and ziplining. Wrap up your perfect day watching a million-dollar sunset shimmer over Lake Michigan in the Petoskey Area.

Mackinac Island

Kayakers paddling on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island | Photo Courtesy of Mackinac Island Tourism
3 hours + 30 minutes from Grand Rapids

Mackinac Island is a horse-drawn community that allows you to step back in time and enjoy a slower pace of life. Known as Michigan’s Crown Jewel, Mackinac Island hosts a Lilac Festival, Fudge Festival, Stoneskipping Competition, and other fun events throughout the tourism season. Daily activities include carriage rides, horseback riding, shopping, dining, hiking, golfing, bicycling, kayaking, visiting the fort along with other fascinating historical attractions and more! Mackinac Island is a unique, must-see destination!


Paddle boarder in Alpena
Alpena | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan
4 hours From Grand Rapids

Alpena, known as the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes, is a place where heritage and history collide with relaxed outdoor adventure away from the stress of big city life. Centrally located to 3 designated dark sky parks, 7 lighthouses, Devonian Period fossil hunting, and century-old shipwrecks. Pure Michigan memories are made in this Lake Huron sunrise town.