Looking to take a trip "Up North" to Northern Michigan? Check out my list of the best places to visit Up North, written by someone who's been exploring Northern Michigan for years!
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Looking for the best places to visit Up North in Michigan?
When I was in college out East, I had a poster, not unlike the picture below, of The Sleeping Bear Dunes adorning the cinderblock walls of my freshman dormitory. No one seemed to believe me that this idyllic scene was tucked into a cozy corner of the Midwest.
For those of us "from the middle," and especially "the mitten," we know Northern Michigan to be one of the most geographically remarkable regions of the U.S.. Nestled along the stunning grandeur of Lake Michigan are some of the quaintest cities in the Midwest, boasting a lovely mix of family fun and high-end relaxation. So let's walk through my list of the best places to visit Up North in Michigan!
Love road trips? Check out my 8 Best Midwest Road Trips!
Up North, Michigan: Glen Arbor
Let's start the list off with my *favorite* place in Northern Michigan, the tiny town of Glen Arbor. With a beautiful resort and an adorably quaint downtown, not to mention proximity to those Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Arbor has everything you need for a couples retreat or the perfect trip with the whole family.
Spend a day boating on Glen Lake, sampling all things cherry at The Cherry Republic, and wrap the evening up looking at the stars from the pool at The Homestead.
Sound like your kind of Up North destination? For more on The Homestead and Glen Arbor, Michigan, check out the full posts!
Up North, Michigan: Leland
On the other end of quaint M-22 from Glen Arbor is Leland, Michigan, accessible only by that road and the lake. Home to historic Fishtown and the best Bloody Mary's Up North (at The Cove), Leland is *tiny* and well-worth a visit to explore its cute shops and family-friendly charm. Don't forget to stop by Good Harbor Vineyards to sample some lovely Michigan wine during your trip!
For more on Leland, Michigan, check out the full post!
Up North, Michigan: Sutton's Bay
The last charming town on my list of M-22 destinations is Sutton's Bay! And while you're here, be sure to stop by Sutton's Bay Ciders, just outside of town.
For more on Sutton's Bay, check out the full post! And if you love the last three towns I've listed, perhaps an M-22 road trip is in order! I've rounded up Quaint Town's on Michigan's M-22.
Up North, Michigan: Petosky
The city that gave its name to every Up North visitor's ultimate souvenir goals, the Petosky stone, Petosky is one of the larger towns in the region (boasting a population still under 10,000), but no less quaint for its size. While Petosky has always been a prime destination for travelers, with cute B&B's and, of course, lake homes, the addition of The Inn at Bay Harbor, and the surrounding developments, have added a taste of luxury to the area. If high-end if the name of the game, Petosky is your Up North destination.
Up North, Michigan: Charlevoix
Not too far from Petosky is Charlevoix, winner of "best shopping Up North" award, given by...yours truly. And, beyond the excellent shopping, historic architecture is on display throughout tiny Charlevoix. Consider a visit to the Earl Young Mushroom Houses!
Wondering what to wear in Northern Michigan
Up North, Michigan: Harbor Springs
Just north of Petosky is charming Harbor Springs, home to the deepest freshwater harbor in the Great Lakes, and two of the Midwest's best ski resorts, Boyne Highlands and Nub's Nob. Come for the day, and take in local beer, yet more cute shops, and, it should go without saying, incredible views.
Up North, Michigan: Mackinac Island
With good reason, Mackinac Island is more "touristy" than the other options on the list. Particularly in peak summer months, you will certainly not be taking in the unspoiled views of the island, without crowds of your fellow tourists. That said, Mackinac is a must-see and quite an experience. It's worth staying a while to truly unwind from modern life.
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