Road Trip: Scenic Michigan Feb 26, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Every state has great road trip options if you know where to look, and Michigan is no exception. Michigan has stunning views of the Great Lakes and great opportunities for recreational boating and fishing. Just be careful if you plan a Michigan road trip during the winter, and be willing to change your plans depending on the weather. Although Michigan road trips are most popular in the spring, summer, and fall, they can be the best way to see gorgeous sites any time of the year. If you’re looking for ideas, follow one of these routes or even combine a few.

M-23 and River Road Scenic Byway

You should also take a look at the M-23 between Tawas City and Alpena, frequently referred to as the Sunrise Coast. This area is known for its gorgeous views of the Great Lakes. The route will skirt along the shore of Lake Huron, taking you through Harrisville and Oscoda. Be sure to stop at Sturgeon Point Lighthouse along the way. When you get to Alpena, consider having a picnic by the waterfront of Thunder Bay. You can even take a quick detour along the River Road Scenic Byway when you get to Oscoda. This byway follows the Au Sable River and gives you the chance to see the Au Sable Valley. You will want to stop occasionally on this road trip to explore the historical timberlands and climb along the staircases or hiking trails to reach the glistening river.


The west coast of Michigan features a quick scenic drive between Arcadia and Frankfort on M-22. Arcadia has a great beach that is perfect for relaxing, and Frankfort is a Lake Michigan port city with a photogenic lighthouse by the pier and local craft breweries. Along the lakeshore, you will drive among wooded hills with views of Lake Michigan.


The Mighty Mac, or the route that US-2 takes between St. Ignace and Manistique on the Upper Peninsula, is another great Michigan road trip for those who love beautiful scenery. Start your trip by crossing the Mackinac Bridge to get toe St. Ignace. Stop at Mystery Spot right outside St. Ignace and then follow the highway along the Lake Michigan shoreline. You may want to stop to have a picnic in the dunes or go swimming. When you are around 25 miles west of St. Ignace, check out the Cut River Bridge Overlook. It gives you a breathtaking view of the Cut River and Lake Michigan, around 150 feet below. You can even take a trail and staircase down to the floor of the valley.

Red Arrow Highway

Start in New Buffalo and then follow the Red Arrow Highway toward St. Joseph. The road will take you along the Lake Michigan coast, where you can see multiple coastal villages, including Harbert, Lakeside, and Union Pier. Leave enough room in your car for shopping, since these villages are known for their antiques and art galleries. There are also lots of local vineyards and great beaches, including Weko Beach. We recommend taking the occasional detour on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.


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