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Explore Northern Michigan

Things to Do In Northern Michigan

If you can dream it, you can likely explore it in Northern Michigan! In addition, whether you visit during winter or summer, spring or fall, Northern Michigan offers activities for all ages, interests, and abilities.

We have organized some of our favorites explore in Northern Michigan links below. Additionally, each activity and outfitter has been vetted by our team of local real estate experts, and our recommendations have been polished by guest feedback. Furthermore, browse the sections below for Northern Michigan vacation inspiration, and if you are still looking for something you are looking for, let us know! Of course, contact us with your trip-planning questions.

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Not only is there a lot to explore in northern Michigan, but Northern Michigan Escapes offers quality services for our guests. For example, below is just a short list of all of the additional things there are to do and the many services we provide.

Things to Do

  • Lift Tickets
  • Fly Fishing
  • Water Sports
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Golfing
  • ATV Rentals & Tours
  • Yoga & Pilates
  • Fitness Clubs & Training
  • Beach Rentals
  • Yacht Charters
  • Fishing Charters
  • Boat & Jet Ski Rentals

Our Services

  • Private Chefs & Catering
  • Wine & Champagne Delivery
  • Floral Arrangements
  • Luggage Handling
  • Massage & Spa Services
  • Portraits
  • Travel Insurance

You can find almost everything you need for a fall getaway in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. in addition, the area, by the Great Lakes, which are bodies of fresh water that stretch across the sky. In addition, they are the perfect backdrop for sunrises, sunsets, fishing, or any other water sport you can think of.

Some of the coastal towns have a lot of places to eat. Coupled with simple mom-and-pop stores to the best restaurants in the world. However, you might not think that this part of Michigan has many trails that are good for hiking on a day trip or in the woods for a longer trip. Moreover, if you want to visit these places this fall, you should go on a northern Michigan road trip – explore all there is to see. 

Getting to Know Northern Michigan

If you’re new to the area, it’s helpful to understand what Northern Michigan has to offer. This region is located in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula, bordered by Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east. With its picturesque small towns, stunning natural landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Northern Michigan is a popular destination for tourists worldwide. From its outdoor recreation opportunities to its local cuisine, there’s much to discover in this enchanting region.

Natural Wonders of Northern Michigan

One of the biggest draws of Northern Michigan is its breathtaking natural beauty. This region is a nature lover’s paradise, from crystal-clear lakes to rolling hills and dense forests. Some of the most popular natural wonders to explore in Northern Michigan include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Whether you’re looking to hike, bike, fish, or take in stunning scenery, Northern Michigan has countless ways to connect with nature. 

Adventure Activities in Northern Michigan

If you’re looking for adventure, Northern Michigan has plenty to offer. This region is a playground for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts, from water sports to winter sports and everything in between. Some of the top adventure activities in Northern Michigan include kayaking and paddle-boarding on the Great Lakes, hiking and biking through scenic trails, skiing and snowboarding at world-class resorts, and fishing for trout and salmon in the region’s many rivers and streams. 

Cultural Treasures of Northern Michigan

In addition to its natural beauty, Northern Michigan is also rich in cultural heritage and history. From Native American settlements to historic lighthouses and charming small towns, there are plenty of cultural treasures to explore in this enchanting region. Some top cultural attractions in Northern Michigan include the Mackinac Island Historic State Park, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, the Little Traverse Bay Historical Museum, and the Odawa Casino.

You can also discover the region’s local cuisine, craft breweries, and wineries, an essential part of Northern Michigan’s cultural identity. In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the cultural treasures of Northern Michigan and show you why this region is a must-visit destination for culture enthusiasts.

Four Beautiful Locations in the Northern Lower Peninsula

Northern Michigan’s lower peninsula is a great fall retreat. The Great Lakes provide endless freshwater for fishing, watching sunrises and sunsets, and water sports.

The seaside towns have everything from mom-and-pop to fine dining. This area of Michigan has many day hikes and backcountry trails.

County of Manistee

Manistee County is a beautiful place in Michigan. Many visitors to Manistee County arrive at Arcadia Overlook, also called Inspiration Point. North on M-22 from Manistee, past Arcadia, is Michigan’s most famous bluff. The view of Lake Michigan is worth the 80-foot, 120-step climb. Arrive 30 minutes before sunset to see the sun’s color change.

Seven historic bridges are nearby. My favorites were the Stronach Rail Bridge and the “Little Mac” Suspension Bridge. The Stronach Rail Bridge was built in 1887 and is still in use. Little Mac suspension bridge is on the North Country trail, but it’s a short walk from a parking lot.

Downtown Manistee

Downtown Manistee has shops, restaurants, and a unique theater. Manistee’s River Street features the art deco Vogue Theater. The Fillmore’s locally produced food, modern atmosphere, and microbrews (beer and coffee) make it a popular breakfast and nighttime beer spot.

The Manistee National Forest, which borders this region’s Manistee River, has miles of hiking trails and two tracks.

Traverse City

Beautiful Traverse City should be visited year-round. For example, Traverse City has two Lake Michigan bays, a bustling downtown, and coastal escapes nearby.

BLK/MRKT succeeds in Traverse City’s Warehouse District. The limited menu emphasizes quality, and their freshly baked goods are perfect for a quick breakfast. If you make pour-overs and roast your beans, look for fantastic coffee shops.

Brys Estate Winery on Old Mission Peninsula is another great place for drinks. They produce the region’s only dry red wines. Popular Pinot Noir. Wine, cheese, and vineyard views made for a relaxing afternoon.


Leland is up the Leelanau Peninsula from Traverse City. Most people found seeing the 1800s fishing boats and huts still in use impressive.

There are many must-see and must-do locations nearby. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Arbor, Glen Haven, Sutton’s Bay, and Northport are all worth visiting.

Petoskey region

Many people are enticed to stop in Elk Rapids, Torch Lake, or Charlevoix along the scenic route from Traverse City to Petoskey because these are all premier tourist destinations. However, a breathtaking trip is via the highlands, where one can view the town perched on a hill and look out over the lovely Little Traverse Bay.

As picturesque as a town can be, the downtown gaslight district is hilly, bordered by trees, and packed with stores that have all been decorated for the fall. The dining options in Petoskey’s downtown area are superb! For their cake in a jar and handcrafted vanilla ice cream, Simply Sweet is a must-stop. With its wide selection of microbrews, Tap 30 Pourhouse was a popular local meeting place. The Twisted Olive, an authentic Mediterranean eatery with wall-to-wall windows and bay views, is recommended for breakfast.


As Sunset Park, Bayfront Park, and Petoskey State Park are all fantastic locations to enjoy the dying lights of the day, please check the time for sunset each evening.

The M-119, often known as the Tunnel of Trees, is one of Michigan’s most picturesque roads and is located just north of Petoskey. This winding, narrow route from Harbor Springs to Cross Village offers a panoramic perspective of the northern lower peninsula.


Alpena is in the center of Thunder Bay, on the dawn coast. The area, formerly a logging town, still has significant manufacturing employment in the concrete and hardwood sectors. Still, tourism has been increasing as more people learn that it’s a terrific place to plan a trip.

The beaches are sandy, much to the astonishment of many. In addition, the beaches at Alpena are sandy, tranquil, and stunning, contrary to the reputation of the Lake Huron coast for having rocky shores.

Nineteen parks are located within the borders of the city of Alpena. In addition to a wildlife sanctuary, an island park, a veteran’s memorial park, and beach parks, these parks feature miles of hiking and bike paths. There is a lot to see and do at each of these locations. 

Rockport State Park

The region is home to Rockport State Park and the local parks. It’s a limestone quarry with a unique ecosystem of pine trees, fossils, and the remains of abandoned towns. There are so many fossils that you can bring home 25 pounds each year! Numerous people pause to gather some fossils; before they know it, 45 minutes have passed while digging in the same spot.

Another must-see attraction in the area is a lighthouse. Thousands of enthusiasts travel yearly to the nearby New Presque Isle and Old Presque Isle lighthouses. The Alpena Marina’s Alpena Light, also called “Little Red,” is a recognizable landmark. Within the first hour of arriving in the town, many people report seeing two eagles and capturing them in the same frame as Little Red.

Boat Tours

Additionally, there are several shipwrecks, glass-bottom boat tours, and many diving opportunities, and the city is quickly developing into a fishing hotspot. Top picks for dining out include Fresh Palate for New American lunch and dinners, Olde Owl Tavern & Grille for traditional English pub fare, and Austin Brothers Beer Company for burgers with pretzel buns and brews.

Many of Northern Michigan Escape’s best locations in northern Michigan Michigan can be found at these four sites. However, we advise going to as many as you can! Northern Michigan is fantastic since a road trip here is ideal for a weeklong or weekend getaway.

Frequently asked questions about Northern Michigan.

  1. What is Northern Michigan? Northern Michigan is a region in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula, bordered by Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east.

  2. What are some of the top attractions in Northern Michigan? Northern Michigan is known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural landmarks. Some of the top attractions include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, Traverse City, and the Mackinac Bridge.

  3. What is the best time to visit Northern Michigan? The best time to visit Northern Michigan depends on your interests. Summer (June-August) is the busiest season, with warm temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities. Fall (September-November) is a popular time to visit for the changing leaves and fall festivals. Winter (December-February) offers winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Spring (March-May) is a quieter season with fewer crowds.

  4. What are some outdoor activities to do in Northern Michigan? Northern Michigan offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and skiing.

  5. What is the food like in Northern Michigan? Northern Michigan is known for its local specialties, including cherries, whitefish, pastries, and craft beer. There are also plenty of farm-to-table restaurants and wineries in the region.

  6. How do I get to Northern Michigan? Northern Michigan can be reached by car, plane, or ferry. The closest major airports are Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport and Pellston Regional Airport. The Mackinac Bridge connects the lower and upper peninsula, and ferries run to the region and other islands.

  7. What are some family-friendly activities in Northern Michigan? Northern Michigan has plenty of family-friendly activities, including visiting Mackinac Island, exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and petting zoos and water parks.

  8. Are there any cultural landmarks to visit in Northern Michigan? Yes, Northern Michigan has several cultural landmarks, including the Mackinac Island Historic State Park, the Little Traverse Bay Historical Museum, and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

  9. What is the weather like in Northern Michigan? The climate in Northern Michigan varies by season. Summers are warm and humid, with average temperatures in the 70s. Winters are cold and snowy, with average temperatures in the 20s. Spring and fall are mild and offer comfortable temperatures for outdoor activities.


Are you ready to explore Northern Michigan’s natural beauty, adventure, and culture? Start planning your escape to this enchanting region today! From hiking in the woods and kayaking on the lakes to exploring historic landmarks and tasting local cuisine, there’s something for everyone to discover in Northern Michigan. Book your trip, pack your bags, and prepare to create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t wait – start planning your Northern Michigan escape now!