Michigan Travel Guide


Are you looking for a place where the hectic pace of life slows down a little? If so, this Michigan travel guide is for you. Relax in a lakefront rental, hit the ski slopes, or work on your tan along one of the Michigan’s 100 beaches. This state has it all from the Great Lakes to the bustling city of Detroit to golf courses to state parks. With a little help from VacationRentals.com, the perfect cabin will be the missing puzzle piece to the perfect family trip.

What to Do in Michigan

michigan winter vacations

Winter Fun

While Michigan beaches sure do draw a crowd in the summer, there is more fun to be had in the winters too. Make the best of the season but getting outdoors to enjoy skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, dog sledding, ice skating, cross country skiing, and more. After an active day outdoors, you will get to return to your cozy rental for a cup of hot chocolate by your crackling fireplace!

For some of the best skiing in the Midwest, head to Michigan. This state is home to over 40 ski areas packed with over 800 ski runs. While there is plenty to offer the serious skier here, many families are attracted to Michigan for ski lessons and to work on their skills. While parents hit the slopes, kids can enjoy lessons from experts.

Every skier has their own favorite areas in Michigan to ski. In the Upper Peninsula region, some of the top ski areas include Big Powderhorn Mountain, Marquette Mountain, and Pine Mountain Resort. In the Northern Lower Peninsula Region, some of the best ski areas are Boyne Mountain, Caberfae Peaks Ski Resort, and Shanty Creek Resorts. Don’t forget about the central and southern ski areas as well where top spots include Cannonsburg Ski Area, Mt. Brighton, and Alpine Valley Ski Area.

Michigan Beaches

If you loved visiting Michigan during the winter, you are in for another pleasant surprise once the summer season rolls around. Many travelers don’t know that Michigan offers over 3000 miles of shoreline and boasts some of the best beaches in the country. With over 11,000 inland lakes and beautiful sand dunes, there is always another place to explore when you choose a rental along the Great Lakes.

michigan beachesFrom fishing charters to watching the sunset on your private balcony, Michigan offers a wide variety of beach pleasures. Some of the top choices throughout the state include picturesque South Haven, the 70-miles of sandy beaches in the Ludington region, and the sophisticated pleasures of St Joseph. From Saugatuck to Pere Marquette State Park, Michigan is full of gorgeous destinations.

Outdoor Adventures

Beyond sinking your toes into the golden sand of Michigan beaches, what else is there to do outdoors? Any good Michigan travel guide will provide a long list of activities to get outside and breathe Michigan’s fresh air. From hot air balloon rides to swimming in the lake and hiking through state parks to brushing up on your sailing skills, it is all possible in Michigan.

Another great way to enjoy Michigan’s fresh air is by playing a round of golf. There are over 800 public courses spread throughout the state whether you’re looking to work on your swing or play a competitive round of 18. From canoeing to mountain biking to hiking, Michigan is full of opportunities for quality family time. Michigan parks are full of thrills, from encountering local wildlife to taking a cruise down a zip line. Some of the top parks in the state include Isle Royal National Park, Pictured Rocks National Park, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.

Beyond the Great Outdoors

When people think of Michigan, the first thing to come to mind is often the Great Lakes. While these lakes offer an expansive shoreline for boating and swimming, there is also more to discover in Michigan beyond the lakes. If you love wine, take the time to check out local wineries. There are 70 scenic wineries spread throughout Michigan, giving wine enthusiasts the chance to sample local flavors.

Do you want to surprise your kids with something that will really make them smile? During a trip to Michigan, throw in tickets to Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park and watch them scream in excitement as they climb aboard some of the biggest and baddest roller coasters in the country. Other fun things for kids to do include visiting the Binder Park Zoo, the Detroit Zoo, or even visiting the racetrack.

Back to top

What to See in Michigan

michigan art vacation

History, Museums, and Culture

A trip to Michigan wouldn’t be complete without an educational touch. Some fun options include spending a night at the Detroit Opera House, visiting historic Fort Wayne, or exploring Veterans Memorial Pointe. From battlegrounds to lighthouses to museums, there are many opportunities in Michigan to add some learning to your trip.

You won’t be stuck for something to do on a rainy day with all the great museums to choose from in Michigan. In Detroit alone, options include the Detroit Children’s Museum, the Detroit Science Center, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Dotting the shoreline there are 115 lighthouses in Michigan, including Harbor beach lighthouse and Sturgeon Point lighthouse.

Entertainment for the Kids

Beyond museums and theaters, there are plenty of places throughout Michigan to keep the kids entertained. After days spent at water parks, theme parks, or simply soaking up the sun on the beaches, evenings can be spent watching a professional sports team or attending a concert. Whether you get tickets for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team or check out the latest IMAX show at the Detroit Science Center, your kids are sure to fall for Michigan!

If your kids like a different kind of stimulation, let Mother Nature do the trick. The fall months are known for their vibrant foliage, so plan a trip to explore the state parks during October and early November to be a part of this annual show. From fishing excursions to checking out the Detroit Zoo, Michigan is full of fun for kids of all ages.

Back to top

Where to Shop and Eat in Michigan

michigan travel guide

Shopping in Michigan

A complete Michigan travel guide won’t forget about shopping. This state is full of opportunities to bring home something special from flea markets to art galleries to outlet stores. Whether you’re looking for farmers markets or antiques, you will find many reasons to be tempted into a little retail therapy during your trip to Michigan.

Detroit is home to excellent shopping. Many travelers plan a trip here just for shopping, and top stores include the Detroit Antique Mall, Little Foxes Fine Gifts, and the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. For outlet shopping, check out Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills, Prime Outlets in Birch Run, or Tanger Outlets in Howell.

The Local Flavor of Michigan

During a trip to Michigan, you will find a variety of delicious cuisine on offer. Most meals will also have the option of being savored alongside local Michigan wine or beer, so keep your eye out for these options. From hearty meals at the end of a day of skiing to light meals after a day spent sunbathing on Michigan beaches, this state is full of mouth-watering barbecue, award-winning restaurants, and family-friendly roadside cafés.

The center of dining in Michigan is Detroit. No matter what type of food you’re craving, there will be a restaurant to satisfy you here. Some favorites throughout the city include Carl’s Chop House, Angelina Bistro, and Elwood Bar and Grill. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit and tour a local brewery including Fort Street Brewery in Lincoln Park, Black Lotus Brewing Company in Clawson, or Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor.

Another fun way to eat during a trip to Michigan is to climb aboard a dinner cruise. After a day spent on the beach, watch the sun go down from the deck of a boat. Dinner cruises on the Great Lakes promise to be a memorable part of your trip. Some top options include the Detroit Princess Riverboat, the Cumberland Princess, or the Grand Lady Riverboat.

Back to top

When to Visit Michigan

No Michigan travel guide would be complete without providing a compelling argument for every season of the year. Summer is the most common time to visit Michigan, as the coastline comes to life with summer life. Boating, fishing, sunbathing, and hot air balloon rides are all popular activities during this season. But beyond summer, a trip to Michigan can be just as appealing.

Winter is another popular time to visit, when the ski trails are at their best and families can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. While summer and winter are popular, these seasons can also be crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, spring and fall are the best times to visit. During the spring, once the snow has melted, hiking trails are covered in wildflowers. The fall offers spectacular autumn foliage, and an ideal climate for fishing, mountain biking, and more.

Back to top

Local Services in Michigan

Travelers are often pleasantly surprised at the local services in Michigan. Farmers markets make stocking the kitchen of your rental a breeze, especially during the summer season, you will be able to find anything you need to make your stay even more comfortable. If you forgot sunscreen or insect repellent, these conveniences will be widely available.

The more remote your rental is located, the less options you will have for local services. If you’re planning on getting away from it all, stock up before heading to your rental. Detroit has everything a visitor could want, from shopping to spas to restaurants.

Back to top

What to Know About Michigan

Some travelers aren’t aware that each of the Great Lakes has their own individual character. Of the four lakes that lap up on the shores of Michigan, the smallest is Lake Erie. The largest is Lake Superior, which is actually the largest freshwater lake in the world. This is a lake that feels more like an ocean. The second largest is Lake Huron, offering white-sand beaches that come close to resembling the tropical beaches of the Caribbean. Coming in at third place for size is Lake Michigan, which is known for its many islands.

Back to top

What to Bring to Michigan

Each kind of Michigan vacation will warrant its own packing list. If you’re planning a trip to Detroit, remember comfortable shoes for exploring the city and a special outfit or two for a night out on the town. The summer season requires little more than sunscreen, bathing suits, and flip flops. If you plan on hitting the hiking trail, remember your boots and a water bottle.

The winter season requires more items. If you want to rent ski equipment, this will decrease the amount of things you need to pack. Remember to pack layers of breathable clothing. Extra socks always come in handy. If you’re planning some quality family time at your lakefront rental, don’t forget a little entertainment such as a deck of cards or your favorite board game.

Back to top

Getting to Michigan

The major airport in Michigan is located in Detroit. If you’re traveling from outside of the state, a flight to Detroit is the best way to reach the beautiful beaches of Michigan. From the airport, a rental car is the best way to explore independently. Choosing one with a GPS system might make finding your rental and other attractions easier than reading a map.

Back to top

Why Michigan vacation rentals?

After a sunset stroll along Michigan beaches, returning to a lakefront rental will provide all the comforts of home. It is easier to relax on vacation when you have the convenience of a private kitchen and every family member has their own space to spread out. Spend a serene morning sipping a cup of coffee on your deck listening to the birds or arrange for some quality family time in the evenings after an adventurous day hiking or biking. Vacation rentals will take your trip to Michigan to new heights, whether or not you decide to take one of the popular hot air balloon rides!

Back to top