Michigan Road Trips: Adventures Over the Border

Cross over the U.S. border to reach more than 3,000 miles of freshwater coastlines, 20 million acres of forested land, and vibrant cities overflowing with creativity and culture. This is Pure Michigan, where you’re free to express yourself and follow your own sense of curiosity.

A sailboat sailing by the Holland Lighthouse
Big Red Lighthouse in Holland | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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Along the 721-mile border between Michigan and Ontario, there are four border crossings:  the Upper Peninsula’s Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, and Blue Water Bridge, Detroit Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge in the Lower Peninsula. Create any number of your own itineraries to explore the Mitten State or draw inspiration from our road trip below.


Use Detroit as your starting point or as your hub for exploration. It’s an easy crossing from Windsor to Michigan’s largest city, where hometown pride will draw you in. Rent an e-bike for a guided tour of the colourful mural district of the Eastern Market or explore on your own along the lively RiverWalk.

Port Huron 

Ship docked by Blue Water Bridge
Port Huron | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

At the busy Sarnia-Port Huron border crossing, Port Huron sits on the banks of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. Known as the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, this charming city has a walkable downtown and is home to Fort Gratiot Lighthouse — Michigan’s first lighthouse — and the historical Huron Lightship.


It’s practically a straight shot to Frankenmuth from the Blue Water Bridge, where you’ll be greeted by classic Bavarian architecture and endless charm. It feels like the winter holidays are year-round at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, and a hot meal at Zehnder’s celebrates 95 years of traditional hospitality over family-style chicken dinners.


Abundant outdoor adventures and rich automotive history with award-winning craft beer at the end of a fulfilling day? Yes, please! Discover all that Kalamazoo has to offer – and all just an easy drive from Frankenmuth or Detroit.

Grand Rapids

A hop, skip and a jump away is another exciting city where creativity shines. Admire public artworks scattered around downtown, and marvel over the seamless connection between nature and art at the renowned Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Take a break at a local brewery and you’ll quickly come to see why Grand Rapids is known far and wide as Beer City, USA.


You’ll never want to put down your camera in this Dutch-influenced city. Explore everywhere in Holland, from the iconic “Big Red” lighthouse on the shore of Lake Michigan to a working windmill from the Netherlands and the millions of tulips that bloom in spring.

Traverse City

Cherry groves and wine country make Traverse City a delightful stop on your Michigan road trip. Keep going toward the coast and you’ll soon arrive at an absolute spectacle – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where sandy dunes rise as high as 450 feet above Lake Michigan.

Sault Ste. Marie

Connecting to the Canadian city of the same name, this strategically located maritime city is also a main attraction. Watch ships navigate the Soo Locks between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Take advantage of Sault Ste. Marie's beautiful shoreline as you go hiking, biking, fishing and boating.


Extend your journey north toward charming Marquette. The largest city on the Upper Peninsula attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world and boasts a walkable downtown core with plenty of craft beer.

Follow this path or create your own road trip through Michigan’s highlights. You’re free to travel at your own pace, capture photos and enjoy great meals, and take detours when something sparks your curiosity. Click here for more itineraries and trip inspiration.