Top 10 Michigan road trips of the summer


Kate Kelly, Staff Writer

by Kate Kelly

Staff Writer


Michigan is well known for its Great Lakes, making summertime practically a paradise. There are many scenic stops to visit, and places like nowhere else. Road trips are a great way to spend time with family and get to see the amazing places Michigan has to offer. Both the Upper and Lower peninsula have places everyone needs to see at some point in their lives.


  1. Isle Royale National Park

This cluster of islands located off of Lake Superior is an unforgettable place to visit.  There are no roads in the National Park and in order to access it, you have to endure a 3-hour boat ride. This park is an island with the largest freshwater lake in the world. Rock Harbor is a cabin/lodge community where many stay.

Hiking on Isle Royale is peaceful and incredibly scenic. The park is 45 miles long and includes 165 miles of trails.

Kayaking and canoeing are some of the most common recreation activities. People walk and kayak for miles because of the gorgeous scenery.


  1. Pictured Rocks

Once crossing the bridge into the Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks is one of several scenic destinations. Located near Munising on the coast of Lake Superior, they are a magnificent sight and filled with huge rocks, sand dunes, and beaches. The National Park Service says that there are 15 miles of cliffs in its 42-mile length. There are 100 miles of trails, creating an unreal hiking spot.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to what activity to do when in Pictured Rocks. Some include hiking, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. The park as a whole is open all 4 seasons.

Many students at Milford High School have visited this beautiful place including Sophomore Mya Hutchinson who elaborates that, “Kayaking in Pictured Rocks was breathtaking and it looked like we weren’t even in Michigan.”


  1. Tahquamenon Falls

These large series of waterfalls are a beautiful and eye-catching feature of Michigan. This should definitely be a top road trip spot. Many people hike the Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which is a 10.2 mile out-and-back trail.

The best time of the day to visit the falls is before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., if done so, the falls will be even more gorgeous than normal because of the sun’s angle and lighting. You can drive to both the Upper and the Lower Falls. This is a special activity that families love doing. Many people also visit Pictured Rocks In the same road trip because they are about an hour and a half apart.

Sophomore Sarah Bennett says, ”The scenery is beautiful, and the hiking trails are some of the best in Michigan.”


  1. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is one of the most known places in Michigan. This spot is extremely special and cherished by many in the state. One thing that gives the place an extraordinary quality is the fact that there are no cars on the island. The perimeter of the island is 8.3 miles, and only bikes and horse drawn carriages are allowed!

Fort Mackinac is one of the main attractions for tourists and served as a sentinel in Mackinac for 115 years. This Fort is one of the oldest buildings in Michigan. Bicycling is one of the most common means for transportation there, and it allows you to see the island. There is a 8.3 miles paved trail around  the perimeter of the island, so people can bike around it. The Grand Hotel overlooks the Straits of Mackinac and the bridge. Plus, there are 13 fudge shops on the island to satisfy your sweet tooth.

“I liked that there were no cars, so there wasn’t any heavy traffic and we could ride our bikes everywhere,” Junior Morgan Robert states. There are many bike rental shops on main street.

An important note is that many of Mackinac’s attractions are only available in the summer and fall. This is because in order to get to the island itself you have to take a ferry, and they shut down after Christmas.

“Mackinac Island is very beautiful and scenic, but it smells like horse poop everywhere,” Freshman Chloe Knight explained, Although it may not smell the best on a hot summer day, traveling on horses is also a fun experience and you can take guided tours throughout the island on horseback.


  1. Petoskey 

This city is filled with Petoskey rocks that are unique to the area and has beautiful water that makes it a great place to road trip. These rocks have an exoskeleton structure and are found on the beaches. Collecting these rocks creates many memories for many families.

Petoskey is located on Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan and there are many fun things to do there. There are multiple golf courses and beaches that charm tourists,  including activities like kayaking and swimming. There’s a great amount of shopping and restaurants that are well known. The Bean Pot is an amazing place to eat there.


  1. Traverse City

Traverse City is truly a beautiful place. The water in Grand Traverse Bay is extremely clear and beautiful. The excitement of driving up to the city will always be so special for many Michigan residents. The water is the main attraction to this place because of all the fun things to do, including jet skiing and boating. The downtown area of Traverse City is filled with great dining and shopping.

Sophomore Evan Luttenbacher has been to this spot in the summer and says, “Traverse City is a great place to visit and the lake is so much fun.” Everyone wanting to see Michigan’s freshwater lakes creates great business for boat rentals, which can be rented for the day. There are beaches, lighthouses, trails and so much more to come see.

In the summer, Traverse City has the most beautiful pink and blue sunsets that ripple off the water and during the day the skies are insanely blue.

“The Cherry Capital of the World ” as many call it has many hotels and shops related to cherries. It is only a 40-minute car ride from the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Park, making it a perfect road trip experience.


  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Sleeping Bear Dunes are located on Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline and are an outstanding Michigan road trip destination. The dunes provide beautiful views of the lake that make for great sightseeing. You can make a 3.5 mile trek to climb the dunes or choose to take a scenic drive through the dunes, which would be about 7.4 miles long.

Walking up the dunes is a challenge and the sand often slips from under your feet. The over 3 mile walk some take is an adventure and sometimes aggravating, but once at the top you won’t be regretful.

There are roughly 1.6 million visitors to the dunes each year, according to the National Park Service. There are also many beaches that line the lake making it a perfect spot for a summer day. Swimming, relaxing, hiking, and climbing are all fun features of the dunes and will create unforgettable memories.

“I go to the Sleeping Bear Dunes every year with my family in the summer,” Freshman Tommy Shaw explains “It is so beautiful and one of my favorite things to do as a family.”. Many family road trips memories are made with this spot. Plus, they are very close to Traverse City.


  1. Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is located on the Grand River. If you are into arts, this is definitely the place for you. Grand Rapids is known as America’s Furniture Capital and there are many museums to see while here, including The Frederick Meijer Gardens, the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The John Ball Zoo is also a place for tourists. This is a 125 year old zoo started technically in 1884 when John Ball left 40 acres of land for Grand Rapids public use. In the 1890’s this zoo began to add animals and the amount of animals there has grown a lot throughout the years. This city additionally has a ton of live music and overall amazing things to see!


  1. Holland 

Holland is a picturesque place that’s almost perfectly in between Detroit and Chicago. Many families travel here in the summertime. Commonly known as the Windmill Island Gardens and Neils’ Dutch Village, Holland also has beaches that are amazing in the summertime off of Lake Michigan.

This city’s Big Red lighthouse is also something many people notice. A great number of students travel to Holland annually, and its beauty in the spring and summer is something special.

Sophomore Alexandra Adam goes to Holland 1-2 times a year and enjoys it every time, “Holland is one of my favorite spots to visit over the summer,” she explains. “The scenery and amount of things to do is great”.


  1. Detroit

Last but not least Detroit is a great road trip spot. Depending on where you live in Michigan, Detroit can be very far away, but for Milford High School students it’s less than an hour. Detroit is Michigan’s largest city, including many concert venues, restaurants, and stadiums. Some of the best venues include Little Caesars Arena, Ford Field, and Comerica Park.

Detroit is known for Motown music and the automotive industry. There are a variety of museums that can be visited and it’s overall a great place to see. The Detroit Institute of Art is an amazing art museum and a place families should visit.