Michigan Vacation Ideas

Michigan Vacation Ideas #1: Take a trip to the largest indoor/outdoor museum in the United States, The Henry Ford in Dearborn. This huge complex is made up of several parts. The Henry Ford Museum is 12 indoor acres celebrating "Genius at Work!".

Greenfield Village is a restored historical village with working farms. Then there is the Imax Theater, Bensen Ford Research Center, and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.

#2: Dune Rides - The west Michigan coast is perfect for dune rides. Get a different sand and water thrill with a Dune Scooter Ride.

Several of the companies that offer this exciting vacation activity are Mac Wood's Dune Rides, Sandy Korners Jeep Tours, and Saugatuck Dune Rides. Sandy Corners also offers a 220-mile back roads tour of the Manistee National Forest.

#3: The Matthaei Botanical Gardens Conservatory , in Ann Arbor, displays some 1,200 unusual and exotic plants from around the world.

Take a contemplative stroll through the Labyrinth of Consilience, a patterned garden room pathway modeled after the leaf pattern of the angel wing begonia. Outdoors the nature trails wind through the 350-acre oasis of diverse plant life.

Michigan Vacation Ideas #4: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is 35 miles of beaches, dune formations, and forests along Lake Michigan's eastern coast.

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a popular route for anyone interested in a self-guided drive.

Both the drive and the Dune Climb provide the visitor with spectacular overlooks of Glen Lake, the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan.

The giant sand dune is perfect for kids to climb on and in the winter you can sled down it’s slopes. Other things for the kids include a Junior Ranger program, beaches, trails and plenty of places to canoe, bike and fish.

#5: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - For outdoor fun vacation ideas, Michigan has a 60,000 acre park called Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It's on the Upper Peninsula along the shore of Lake Superior. The countryside is kind of wild but also extremely beautiful. The park has about twenty trails that make their way through the wilderness.

Lake Superior Trail is the longest one. It's 17 miles long and it gets pretty steep and tough in places. The trail that has the best view of the park is Escarpment Trail. If you go to Summit Peak, you can get some really impressive views at the observation deck. Visit at the end of August and you can enjoy the annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival which features a variety of musicians from bluegrass and folk to contemporary.

#6: The Colonial Michilimackinac is a recreation of the fur-trading village and military outpost built by the French in 1715. It is located in Colonial Michilimackinac State Park at the south end of the famous Mackinac Bridge. You can see this fortified village as it was in Colonial times. There are 14 reconstructed period buildings and with some interesting exhibits and artifacts on display.

You can witness costumed re-enactments of a traditional French wedding and soldiers demonstrating their skills on the parade grounds. There is an on-site underground archaeological dig that provides a fascinating window into the past.

Sault Ste. Marie Canal Lock
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07

Michigan Vacation Ideas #7: By Leslie from Minnesota - My favorite place to vacation is Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Also known as "the Soo", Sault Ste. Marie is a smaller town in the Michigan's Upper Peninsula that has a great deal for tourists interested in either the history of the Great Lakes or the boat traffic that comes through.

  • The River of History museum offers a self-guided tour that delves into the history of the region, from the original Ojibwe inhabitants up through today's maritime culture.
  • The Soo Locks offer a great deal of information, as well. There is no admission charge to tour the facility or to visit the viewing platform, where one can watch boats actually going through the locks. This is a facility where boats (from small rowboats to large thousand foot ore boats) are raised or lowered from either Lake Superior's water level or Lake Huron's.
  • For those interested in the large boats that carry grain, coal, ore, and other cargoes across the Great Lakes, there is a museum set up in a former ore boat, the Valley Camp.
  • Mission Point is a free, public park that offers a good location to watch the boats in the Saint Mary's River. One can almost always find other people there taking pictures of the boats as they pass through.
  • are another attraction of Mission Point. On our recent trip, I took quite a few pictures of seagulls and Canadian geese while my husband took pictures of the boats. The Bird Sanctuary offers excellent bird watching opportunities and classes, as well as nature trails that are free to the public.
  • Clyde's Drive-In Restaurant, only a few yards from Mission Point, is an icon in the Soo. The menu is reasonably priced, and the food is excellent.
  • Outside of the immediate area, Whitefish Point is about an hour's drive away and offers a Shipwreck Museum and the Whitefish Point Bird Sanctuary.
  • There is also public beach access at Whitefish Point, and I spent quite a while looking for agates on the sandy beach. For anyone looking to vacation in the Great Lakes region, I highly recommend Sault Ste. Marie.

Michigan Vacation Ideas #8: Your Michigan family vacation should be arranged to fully enjoy the natural beauty of the Michigan countryside and the majestic Great Lakes.

The hills and valleys of Michigan provide a great opportunity for bicycle touring. An excellent place to set it up for you is a company called Michigan Bicycle Touring.

They have lots of different tours that they can guide you through and most of them are great for children.

One of their tours combines biking along the shore of Lake Michigan with kayaking the Crystal River. Another takes a two day bicycle ride through Amish country.

Or tour Mackinac Island where the roads belong to you and your bike because no cars are allowed.

The only way to get around on Mackinac Island, besides biking or walking, is by horse-drawn carriage. These carriages are actually the island’s taxi fleet. They are part of the living history of the island. During the summer you will see people dressed in the garb of the 1770’s taking part in typical activities of the day.

If you go near Mackinac Island be sure to check out Mackinac Bridge. As the longest total suspension bridge in the world it’s really something to see.

All kids love magic so a trip to "The Magic Capital of the World" should get their interest. The small town of Colon, Michigan, is the home of the world’s largest producer of handmade illusions, Abbott’s Magic Company.

Every year they host Abbott’s Magic Get-Together with four days of magic shows. What a great Michigan family vacation idea!

For the adventurous family there’s Isle Royale National Park. This wonderful wilderness park lies along Lake Superior and is accessible only by boat or float plane.

But once you arrive there is plenty to do. Hiking on the 165 miles of trails is a feast of scenic wonders including overlooks on Lake Superior.

Isle Royale National Park one of the best vacation spots in Michigan for outdoor adventure activities like fishing, camping, canoeing and wildlife watching.

For overnight boat trips and backpacking there are 36 campgrounds throughout the park.

The fishing is excellent and wildlife is abundant including moose and fox. There is plenty to explore such as historic lighthouses, old ship wrecks or abandoned copper mines.

Another Michigan family vacation idea is the Michigan State fair held in August each year. Detroit is host and this is a big popular family event.

It’s 12 days of fun with something for everyone. Parades, carnival rides & games, concerts and livestock exhibitions are just a few of the attractions. And don’t forget to have yourself an Elephant Ear.

Dutch Village Theme Park recreates life in the Netherlands 200 years ago. Costumed interpreters present the history and culture of the Dutch through song and dance.

It’s everything Dutch with activities for both kids and adults. Throughout the year they have special events like Tulip Time Festival, Music Festival, Dutch Heritage Day and Kid’s Day.

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