5 Michigan Wonders to Inspire Your Next Getaway

 
When TripAdvisor.com went on a search for the Eighth Wonder of the World, five Michigan attractions were nominated against California's giant Sequoias, Sedona's Cathedral Rock and others. In the end, Chile's Torres del Paine beat out some 300 entries from 50 countries.
 
Regardless, these five Michigan marvels remain worthy of a spot on a travel spectaculars list.
 

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - Empire

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | Photo Courtesy of Sandy Hansen Photography

Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses a 35 mile stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations and ancient glacial phenomena. Michigan's Sleeping Bear Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including an 1871 lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district.
 

2. Michigan’s Little Bavaria - Frankenmuth 

Castle Shops in Frankenmuth
Castle Shops in Frankenmuth | Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau

Willkommen. In German it means welcome. In Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, welcome to family time, welcome to playtime, welcome to Christmas time all year long. It’s a place with horse-drawn carriages and covered bridges, riverboat cruises and world famous chicken dinners, big water parks and small-town strolls.
 

3. Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids 

Fredrik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Fredrik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | Photo Courtesy of Instagram Fan hannahketelhut

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids serves more than a half-million visitors annually and was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 132-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory, one of the largest children’s gardens in the country, Arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Moore, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others.
 

4. Soo Locks - Sault Ste. Marie

Soo Locks
Soo Locks | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan 

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie have already been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world and are still the largest & one of the busiest waterway traffic systems on earth. Watching huge vessels pass through the Locks is a unique experience that cannot be seen anywhere else in the United States, and the locks themselves are about as fascinating in the way the two canals and four locks that allow vessels of many types/sizes to safely traverse the 21-foot drop in elevation of the St. Mary’s River between Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron. From viewing decks, you can watch "Lakers" and "Salties" (ocean-going vessels) as they travel the seaway between ports and navigate the rise/drop of the water levels.
 

5. Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area - Saugatuck 

The Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area is a 173-acre tract of magnificent dunes along the Lake Michigan shore owned by the City of Saugatuck. The land is home to several species of rare plants, birds and animals, and demonstrates the unique geological and ecological features of Great Lakes dunes. Its freshwater parabolic dunes are designated by The National Trust as one of the 11 most endangered ecosystems in the world.