I teamed up with Taylor, the creator of The Wandering Michigander to share some of her favorite outdoor Michigan spots. Head over to Taylors Instagram to check out some more great tips for the beautful state of Michigan. Keep scrolling to learn a little about what the cheese state has to offer!
Finding enjoyment in the places you call home is so important
Taylor is a passionate Michigander obsessed with showing people how great her state is. She has been traveling around Michigan her whole life, but the shutdown last year inspired Taylor to explore Michigan even more, and now it’s her mission to inspire people to do the same. You don't have to travel far; you can be a tourist in your own state.
She also realized that up until a few years ago she never knew about half the things Michigan had to offer. She always hears people complaining about how there’s nothing to do in Michigan, then it clicked that people might not like Michigan, because they simply don't know about all of the great things the state has to offer.
Some of Taylor’s favorite spots in Michigan include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Grand Mere State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Marquette.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes is located on the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula, near Traverse City. This area is filled with tons of trails and some of the best views of Lake Michigan. Michigan’s dunes are part of the largest freshwater dune system in the world, and Sleeping Bear towers 300-400 feet above Lake Michigan. It’s a must see.
Grand Mere is another park that shows off Michigan’s awesome sand dunes, but this one is located in the southwest corner of the state. Most people think you can only see beautiful places in northern Michigan, but Grand Mere definitely proves that stereotype wrong. There’s miles of trails and sand dunes that end overlooking Lake Michigan. This park is also free to get into! And while you’re visiting, you can also check out the nearby Saint Joseph which is a cute little beach town with shops, great food, and beaches.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, located in Munising, is one of the coolest places in Michigan by far. There’s over 40 miles of National Lakeshore to explore and tons of waterfalls. You could take a week trip here and still not be able to see it all. Miners Castle is one of the best lookouts and is totally free to see. Kayaking along the lakeshore is a must. Seeing the colorful cliffs from the clear blue water is breathtaking.
Marquette is an awesome little town located on the coast of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. It’s somewhat of a college town which you don’t really find that often in the UP. It also has awesome trails and beautiful scenery of the lake. You might find people cliff jumping off Black Rocks into Lake Superior (warning - very chilly) and hiking Sugarloaf Mountain for scenic views of the bay. When you’re in Marquette you get small city and nature vibes. Lots of good food, coffee shops, and breweries.
Taylor definitely recommends trying to camp when you travel Michigan. Camping is super inexpensive and allows you to travel on a budget. There are a lot of $20 a night campsites and also free campsites in the Upper Peninsula. Another tip she has is to check Priceline.com for cheap hotels. She’s been able to find hotels for $30 a night before. She also recommends checking all of these places out in the fall. Summer is not the only time you can travel in Michigan. All of these places offer some of the best fall foliage views in the country.
Bayfield is the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with lighthouses, sea caves and some of the best kayaking in the world. Chautauqua tent shows, orchards and a maritime museum are highlights of this harbor town. Ferry across to Madeline Island for hiking,dining and galleries. I recommend bringing or renting bikes on Madeline Island and taking the trek to Big Bay State Park where you will find serine camping and beaches. Both seasons are beautiful in Bayfield!
Wisconsin's most popular state park is located in Baraboo with amazing hiking, rock climbing, swimming, paddling, and camping. Spend the week, weekend, or just the day enjoying nature.
Peninsula State Park & Door Country
These two beautiful destinations are within 30 minutes of each other located on the peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Door County has over 300 miles of shoreline where you can watch a sunrise and a sunset over the water without leaving the county. See thousands of acres of orchards, explore art galleries, devour cherry pie, sip on local wines and brews, splash in the lake or paddle along the bluffs, stroll through five state parks or tour 11 historic lighthouses. Peninsula State park is one of the 5 parks and is known for Nicolet Beach with calm beaches, amazing camping, and the scenic hiking. I have stayed here many times and each time gets better and better. There is an island about a 30 minute kayak from Nicolet Beach that is beautiful. I recommend bringing or renting bikes as the entire campground is beautiful.
Cave Of The Mounds
A little out of the box but a beautiful Wisconsin natural landmark. Located just west of Madison a natural limestone cave is ready to be explored. "The Cave was formed within sedimentary rock, a limestone made of compacted seashells. This rock dates back over 400 million years to the Ordovician Period of the earth’s geologic history".
*Scroll For History*
Members of the Brigham family had been living on the same site for about 112 years before the cave was discovered. In 1903, part of the farm had been turned into a limestone quarry. The operations were conducted by Brigham farm. In 1939, the quarry was leased to a contractor who was chosen to supply crushed rocks for the Dane County Highway Department, as had been done on many previous occasions. On August 4th they had a routine blast and discovered the natural cave, knowing they were the first humans to ever see it.