Have the winter blues? Planning a trip around Michigan can help lift your spirits. Here are ten great vacation destinations in Michigan that will appeal to the entire family, especially aspiring photographers and art lovers.
1. The Upper Peninsula
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or U.P. as us Michiganders call it, is an amazing destination for nature lovers and aspiring landscape photographers. This pristine, rural part of Michigan has multiple lighthouses, waterfalls, and is home to the incredibly beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Saint Ignace, Paradise, Munising, and Marquette are cites you’ll want to visit while in the U.P. You can even see the Aura Borealis, i.e. Northern Lights, over Lake Superior during the right times of the year.
Charlevoix is a quaint town in northern Michigan which has an amazing view of Lake Michigan. Charlevoix is host to numerous small shops and art galleries. Also in Charlevoix is Castle Farms an amazing wedding destination or great subject for architecture photographers.
3. Mackinaw Island
Mackinaw Island is an island known for its fudge and carriage rides. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the Island, so all travel is done my foot, bike, or horseback. This is a great peaceful place to get away from the pace of the city with numerous locations for landscape photography or portrait sessions.
4. Leelanau Peninsula
The Leelanau Peninsula is one of the best places in northern Michigan for landscape photography or an amazing backdrop for portraiture. Located in the Leelanau Peninsula are the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted the most beautiful place in America by Good Morning America, and the Leelanau State Park.
5. Traverse City
Traverse City is a great weekend get away during any time of year. Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the World and hosts the annual Cherry Festival and Traverse City Film Festival. It is very close to some of the most scenic parts of Michigan. A beautiful city with tons of things to do both in the city and nearby on the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Clare, my hometown, is a great place for a quick stop on your way to either the northern or southern Michigan. It is located about an hour and twenty minutes north of Lansing on 127. This is home to Cops and Doughnuts, which has amazing coffee, doughnuts, and pastries, and the 515 Gallery, which showcases the work of both local and international artists and is open 11am-4pm on Saturdays. It also hosts the annual Irish Festival on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.
Frankenmuth is an amazing place to stop on a weekend getaway. Almost all the buildings in Frankenmuth are reminiscent of Bavarian architecture. It is home to the world’s biggest Christmas store, Bronner’s, and the renowned restaurants Zender’s and Bavarian Inn which both amazing family style chicken dinners. Frankenmuth is a great place for both shopping and sight seeing. Bronner’s Christmas lights and the cities stunning Bavarian architecture during winter can be a gorgeous subject by itself or an even better background for portraiture.
8. Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city, is home to many luxury hotels and museums. Grand Rapids is also home to “Art Prize” which attracts artists from all across the world. It showcases stunning architecture, which is an amazing backdrop for portrait sessions or very nice subjects for amateur photographers.
9. Grand Haven
Grand Haven is a small town about thirty minutes west of Grand Rapids on Lake Michigan. This has an amazing view of Lake Michigan and is highly recommended for landscape photographers. It is also one of my favorite destinations for portrait sessions.
10. Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan, is as visitannarbor.org put it is, “a small, friendly town with big city sophistication.” Ann Arbor is a great location to view art and museums and is one of Michigan’s most cultured cities. This is one of my favorite places in Michigan to visit especially during their annual art festival during the summer.