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Known as The Great Lakes State, Michigan is bound by four of the five Great Lakes, creating beautiful scenery and great locations for recreational boating. From beautiful beaches to artistic cities and German villages, Michigan has a plethora of beautiful towns. Check out our guide to 10 of the most beautiful and charming towns and cities in the state.
One of Michigan’s beach towns, South Haven provides small town charm in the form of some of the state’s oldest bed and breakfasts, resorts, hotels and lodges. With great dining locations, antique shopping, museums, galleries, markets and wineries, South Haven is a traveler’s paradise. Take in the breathtaking views of South Haven’s 100-year-old lighthouse, visit one of the town’s seven beaches, travel the Blue Star Highway or engage in one of the town’s water recreations, like boating, cruising and fishing.
Considered one of the best small towns in America, Traverse City offers an array of outdoor recreational activities, from biking and hiking to kayaking and paddle boarding. A perfect destination for travelers, Traverse City proffers an array of microbreweries and wineries, great shopping and is considered a ‘foodie town.’ Amidst all these attractions, you will find the Sleeping Bear Dunes, only a 30-minute drive outside the town. The Sleeping Bear Dunes are part of the Michigan National Lakeshore and exhibit miles of beaches, high dunes, towering bluffs and a beautiful view across the lake.
Ontonagon County, home of the Porcupine Mountains, contains the communities of Ontonagon, Silver City and White Pine. With breathtaking waterfalls and dazzling beaches, the Porcupine Mountains have something to offer in every season. Hike almost 90 miles of beautiful trails, fish for trout and salmon, kayak or canoe in Lake Superior, tour picturesque lighthouses or snowshoe and cross-country ski through the trees. The Porcupine Mountains, located on Lake Superior’s shores, contain the largest territory of old-growth hardwood woodlands west of the Adirondacks and are home to black bears, river otters, moose and deer. Ontonagon County also offers the Lake of Clouds, considered one of the most beautiful locations in the state and miles of beautiful beaches at Union Bay.
Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, showcases beautiful views of the Huron River. In the summertime, the lake proffers a multitude of enjoyable outdoor activities, from picnicking and exploring nature trails to canoeing in the river. Many consider Ann Arbor’s Main Street to be one of the best in America and it attracts many visitors throughout the year. The city’s nickname, ‘Tree Town,’ derives from the city’s park’s and residential area’s thick forest and beautiful scenery. Several of these parks border parts of the Huron River, creating a breathtaking atmosphere and incredible ambience for a day out in the city.
Frankenmuth, ‘Michigan’s Little Bavaria,’ is an enchanting, old-world German town in Saginaw County and home to the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Frankenmuth’s beauty derives from the incredible Franconian-style buildings prevalent throughout the town, its myriad of museums and festivals and its cultural German influences. Frankenmuth holds many festivals throughout the year, including The World Expo of Beer, Bavarian Fest, Oktoberfest and the Frankenmuth SnowFest. Visit the beautiful Zehnder’s Holz Brucke bridge or Heritage Park, Frankenmuth’s most popular park.
With easy access to Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast, Grand Rapids offers hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches and lake views complete with stunning sunsets. Considered ‘America’s best beer town,’ Grand Rapids contains over 30 breweries on its Beer City Ale Trail. Coupled with the town’s incredible art scene, captivating museums, great shopping locations and restaurants serving up incredible food, it is no wonder Grand Rapids is an exceedingly popular travel destination.
From beautiful beaches and waterfront views to charming inns, fudge shops, restaurants and, of course, the breathtaking Grand Hotel, every view on Mackinac Island proves to be picturesque and extraordinary. Travelers enjoy the island’s horse rides, carriage tours, biking, kayaking and walking paths. Located between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas in Lake Huron, the island is considered a National Historic Landmark and is a popular tourist attraction. Without a single car on the island and with the plethora of outdoor activities, delicious food, candy shops and stores, Mackinac Island is the perfect location for a relaxing vacation.
Marquette is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, alongside Lake Superior. Incredibly beautiful in every season, the city has a number of parks and recreational activities and two well loved beaches, McCarty’s Cove and South Beach Park. Marquette offers an array of walking paths and is a popular destination for leisure activities like fishing, golfing, skiing and biking; the town is known as the top biking destination in the nation. Marquette is also known for the large number of festivals held in the town, from concerts to festivals of blueberries, old cars and beer.
Bounded by four bodies of water, Charlevoix (known as ‘Charlevoix the beautiful’) offers incredible waterfront views from Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, art galleries and shopping areas, water sports and biking and walking trails. Popular Charlevoix activities include fishing, hiking, zip lining, sailing and horseback riding. Visit the South Pier Lighthouse or one of the town’s many golf courses or take a short boat ride to Beaver Island, of which Charlevoix is a port.
Isle Royale is a spectacular island on the Great Lakes and the largest island of the grouping that makes up the Isle Royale National Park. As the largest natural island in Lake Superior, Isle Royale has an array of wild moose and wolves, a large forest and beautiful waters, including its own lakes. Incredibly natural and unchanged, the island is only reachable by boat, ferry or float plane and is a living laboratory. Recreational activities on Isle Royale include camping, boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking and exploring the numerous wilderness trails.