Looking for something different on your next vacation? Why not try one of the hidden gems of America’s Great Lakes region? The Great Lakes region is full of surprises, from beautiful natural scenery to fascinating historical sites. And there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled trip.
Here are 10 of the best-hidden gems in the Great Lakes region:
Indiana Dunes, Michigan
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located just a stone’s throw from the urban realm of Gary, Indiana, and offers 13 walk-in campsites that provide good seclusion from your camping neighbors. Additionally, there are 122-meter-high coastal Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan that are worth exploring during your visit to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Indiana Dunes National Park offers visitors some of the most biologically rich ecosystems in the nation, along with world-class birding and 50 miles of hiking trails. It also provides opportunities for solitude – you can easily find yourself away from other visitors if you want to explore this 15,000-acre park on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Au Sable Light Station, Lake Superior
Au Sable Light Station is an excellent hidden spot in America’s Great Lakes region. You can take some beautiful pictures or just enjoy the scenery at au sable light station. The light station is located on the south shore of Lake Superior and offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding area. The station is open to the public and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.
Marquette Ore docks, Michigan
The Marquette Ore docks are a man-made structure that was built in the early 20th century to load and unload iron ore ships. The docks are located in Marquette, Michigan, and are a popular spot for photography and sightseeing. The ore docks have been featured in many movies and television shows, including The Untouchables and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
The Soo Locks are a set of locks that allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. The locks are located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can watch ships pass through the locks from an observation deck or take a boat tour.
Point Pelee, Lake Erie
Point Pelee can be found in Ontario, Canada, near the border with Michigan. It’s located on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie, so visitors can enjoy views from both land and water. Point Pelee offers visitors the chance to experience peace, quiet, and reflection. The National Park peninsula is far from any sounds of daily life and provides stunning views of sunrise and sunset over Lake Erie. It’s the perfect location for paddleboarding or just enjoying nature’s beauty.
The park also offers 100 miles of walking/hiking trails through scenic sandstone gorges and past Chapel Falls, which lead up to an isolated beach named Chapel Rock – a sandstone pinnacle topped by a lone fir tree!
South Manitou Island, Michigan
South Manitou Island offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience a genuinely secluded camping experience. With its beautiful natural landscape, miles of sandy beaches, and opportunities to get out on the water in various forms, South Manitou Island is an ideal destination for anyone who loves outdoor adventure. Furthermore, the island is only accessible by private boat or passenger ferry, which adds to its charm and makes it more exclusive than other popular destinations.
The Popple Campground, located on the northern tip of South Manitou Island, offers seven sites that are relatively secluded from one another, with plenty of space for exploring nature’s beauty. Additionally, The Bay Campground, located closer to the ferry dock, also provides tent sites near a beach area for those who don’t want to hike as far from their campsite into nature’s vastness. Both campgrounds provide no potable water, so bring your filtration system!
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Lake Superior
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is located on rocky shores in Northern Minnesota near Silver Bay and offers secluded backpacking campsites right on Lake Superior with incredible views. Visitors can also explore nearby Sleeping Giant Provincial Park for boat adventures or historical tours at Split Rock Lighthouse itself!
Additionally, Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States and provides visitors with stunning views of Lake Superior and the North Shore.
Cedar Point, Lake Erie
Cedar Point is a hidden gem of Lake Erie for many reasons. First, it is one of the largest amusement parks in the United States, with over 200 attractions and rides. Second, it offers stunning views of Lake Erie from its location on a peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio. Thirdly, Cedar Point provides visitors with an array of activities, such as swimming in their water park Aquatic Complex or enjoying some ice cream at Maggie’s Farm Dairy Store.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes offers some of the Midwest’s best hiking trails, bike trails, and beaches. With crystal clear salt-free water and breathtaking views of 400 feet above Lake Michigan, it’s no wonder why this destination is so popular.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located on the edge of Lake Michigan and has several campgrounds. Visitors can book campsites online at Recreation.gov before visiting this Great Lakes region spot. Esch Road Beach is one of many great beaches within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which makes it a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Great Lakes region.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is located on Lake Huron in Northern Michigan near the border with Ontario, Canada – approximately 100 miles northwest of Detroit city center and 300 miles northeast of Chicago city center. Mackinac Island is an excellent spot to visit due to its unique combination of Victorian architecture, natural beauty, accessibility, and year-round activities.
The island itself is a Mackinac Island State Park and offers visitors plenty of outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, and biking in the summertime. Plus, it’s only a short ferry ride from Mackinaw City or St Ignace, so no matter what time of year you visit, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience! In fall, there are incredible leaf-peeping opportunities, while in winter, the island transforms into a snow-covered wonderland full of holiday cheer.
Munising, Michigan, is an excellent spot to visit because of its stunning landscapes and breathtaking waterways. The area is perfect for backcountry camping, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Additionally, the state of Michigan is home to gorgeous beaches, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes close to Traverse City, also known as the world’s Cherry capital.
Munising is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along Lake Superior’s shoreline. It can be reached by car or train from major cities such as Lansing (125 miles northwest) and Detroit (80 miles north). According to its website, the town has a population of approximately 4500 residents, which provides information on attractions such as hiking trails, shops & restaurants, and activities like canoeing & kayaking nearby on Lake Superior or inland lakes like Black Lake just outside of Munising!
Tips for making the most of your visit to the Great Lakes region
Research the area before arriving
The Great Lakes region of America is full of hidden gems, and the best way to make the most of your visit is to do some research before you arrive. Talk to friends and family who have been there, read travel guides, and look for blog posts and articles that highlight the things you want to see and do. This will help you create a list of must-see attractions and make sure you don’t miss anything during your trip.
Make sure to bring the necessary supplies.
If you’re planning on visiting the Great Lakes region, there are a few things you should make sure to bring with you. First and foremost, remember to pack your sunscreen! The sun can be intense during the summer months, and you don’t want to get caught without protection. Insect repellent is also a must – there are plenty of mosquitoes and other biting insects in the area. Finally, make sure to bring along some comfortable walking shoes. You’ll want to be able to explore all the fantastic sights and sounds the region has to offer, and that means spending a lot of time on your feet.
Consider the weather
The Great Lakes region is a beautiful and varied place, with something to offer visitors no matter what time of year it is. That said, the weather can be a bit unpredictable – especially in the spring and fall – so it’s essential to be prepared for anything when you travel here.
If you’re visiting during the warmer months, pack plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent; both are essential for enjoying any time spent outdoors. In the winter, be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes, as temperatures can drop below freezing without much warning.
Check out local foods and cuisine.
There’s no better way to get a taste of the Great Lakes region than by indulging in its local foods and cuisine. From fresh-caught fish to farm-to-table fare, the Great Lakes region has something for everyone. And, with so many hidden gems to explore, you’re sure to find some new favorite dishes along the way.
Take some time to relax.
If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural setting to relax and rejuvenate, look no further than the Great Lakes region. From the rocky shores of Lake Superior to the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, this region offers a wealth of opportunities to get away from it all.
Connect with nature
The Great Lakes region is one of the most beautiful and unique places in America. There are countless opportunities to connect with nature, whether hiking through the forests, kayaking on the lakes, or simply enjoying the fresh air.
What kind of activities can be done in the Great Lakes region?
The Great Lakes region is a great place to enjoy various outdoor activities. From hiking and camping in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the many recreational activities available in the region, there are also a number of cultural attractions and historical sites to explore.
What are the best hiking trails in the Great Lakes region?
The Great Lakes region is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. From scenic views of Lake Superior to challenging hikes through the Adirondacks, there is something for everyone. Here are 5 of the best hiking trails in the Great Lakes region:
1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Michigan
2. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Wisconsin
3. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Michigan
4. Isle Royale National Park – Michigan
5. Voyageurs National Park – Minnesota
What are the best kayaking and sea kayaking destinations in the Great Lakes region?
The Great Lakes region offers a variety of kayaking and sea kayaking destinations, ranging from small lakes to large, wild bodies of water. Some popular destinations include Lake Superior, Lake Huron, the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, Wellesley Island State Park in New York state, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City in Michigan. Additionally, many other parks and wilderness areas throughout the region offer solitude and breathtaking scenery opportunities.
Are there any wheelchair-accessible attractions in the Great Lakes region?
Yes, there are many wheelchair-accessible attractions in the Great Lakes region. The majority of national parks and state parks in the region offer some form of accessibility for visitors with disabilities. Additionally, many hotels and campgrounds throughout the region offer special accommodations to make their facilities more accessible for those with mobility issues.
For those looking for lodging options in the Great Lakes region that cater specifically to those with mobility issues, there are a variety of options available, including hotels with specially equipped rooms and campsites that provide access to ramps or other assistance mechanisms.
For example, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan offers group and individual interpretive programs explicitly designed for visitors with disabilities. Additionally, many state parks across Michigan have trails that are wheelchair accessible or have particular parking areas near scenic overlooks or other points of interest.
What is the best way to explore the Great Lakes region?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to explore the Great Lakes region will vary depending on your interests and preferences. However, some general tips for exploring the Great Lakes region include visiting popular tourist destinations, taking advantage of outdoor recreation opportunities, and sampling the local cuisine.
What are the best wildlife viewing spots in the Great Lakes region?
The Great Lakes region is home to some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the country. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan: This stunning national lakeshore is known for its towering cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can expect everything from bald eagles and ospreys to deer and beavers.
2. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin: This archipelago is home to 21 islands, each with its own unique ecosystem. The islands are a haven for wildlife, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and ospreys.
3. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan: This remote island national park is home to wolves, moose, and various other wildlife. Visitors can explore the island by hiking, camping, and canoeing.
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan: This national lakeshore is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and bald eagles. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, and kayaking.
What are the most popular camping spots in the Great Lakes region?
There are many popular camping spots in the Great Lakes region. Some of the most popular include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, and Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. These spots offer beautiful scenery, great hiking and camping opportunities, and are generally less crowded than some of the other popular camping destinations in the United States.
Are any attractions in the Great Lakes region suitable for families?
Yes, many attractions in the Great Lakes region are suitable for families. For example, Lake Superior and Lake Huron offer many parks and wilderness areas with stunning scenery and ample opportunities to find solitude. Many Great Lakes camping spots are also ideal for families due to their secluded nature and beauty. Additionally, many towns along the Great Lakes have attractions such as harbor cruises or soft sand beaches that can be enjoyed by families looking for fun activities during their trips.