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.

Blue skies over Mackinac Bridge
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.

Beautiful view on "Inspiration Point"
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!

Sunny day at Turnip Rock in Port Austin
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. 

Blue skies over Isle Royale National Park
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.

Race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn