If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look Around You
Every state has some amazing hidden treasures, but Michigan seems to be bursting with them! We’ve compiled some of the best hidden gems Michigan has to offer all in one handy list. Thanks to our Facebook readers for helping us find these gems.
Related: 100 Reasons Why We Love Michigan
25 Michigan Hidden Treasures You’ll Love
1 ALLIGATOR SANCTUARY. Alligators in Michigan? That’s right! Bearded dragons and giant tortoises, too! In Athens, about 21 miles South of Battle Creek.
2 ANDERSON & GIRLS ORCHARD. Parakeets, ice cream parlour, petting zoo, and u-pick fruit, too! Don’t forget to grab some orchard-made cider and amazing donuts while you’re there, too! In Stanton, about 22 miles North of Ionia.
3 BOULDER RIDGE. A mini zoo filled with exotic animals. Easy to do half a day, but you’ll want to come back over and over! In Alto, about 26 miles East of Grand Rapids.
4 OUTDOOR DISCOVERY IN HOLLAND. Learn about and preserve nature! Walk the trails or snowshoe them in the winter. In Holland.
5 YANKEE SPRINGS REC AREA ON GUN LAKE. 5200 acres of #PureMichigan fun! Walking, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, swimming, camping, horse trails, snowshoe, ice fishing…In Middleville, about 33 miles south of Grand Rapids.
6 CRITTER BARN. Meet and interact with all sorts of farm animals! Animals include rabbits, chickens, ducks, cats, hogs, cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, turkeys, pot-bellied pigs, geese, a pony and a horse! In Zeeland, about 6 miles West of Holland.
7 TAHQUAMENON STATE PARK. Two of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls are located at this amazing U.P. Michigan State Park. Amazing scenery, plentiful walking trails, camping, and even row boat rentals near one of the falls! About 20 minutes West of Paradise in the Upper Peninsula.
8 GARLYN ZOO. The largest zoo in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Family run zoo with a child-friendly run atmosphere and family-friendly animals. Check them out next time you’re in the UP! About 6 miles East of Naubinway, and about 40 miles West of the Mackinac Bridge.
9 COPPER HARBOR. Beautiful views of the mighty Lake Superior surrounded by gorgeous scenery and quaint little shops. This U.P. destination is worth the travel! About 9 hours North of Grand Rapids by car, or 3.5 hours by plane plus a little bit of rental car travel.
10 KITCH-ITI-KIPI (BIG SPRING). No matter the time of year, this is the perfect destination! Multiple fissures in underlying limestone keep water flowing at a constant 45 degrees. A raft awaits to pull you across this delightful natural wonder. About 5.5 hours North of Grand Rapids, unless you’d like to take the ferry across to Milwaukee and go around the other way, then it’s 8.5 hours.
11 WITTENBACH/WEGE. An outdoor learning center nestled among 140 acres of lush forests, rolling prairies, abundant wetlands and open fields all waiting to be explored! The trails are open 365 days a year for walking, hiking, and snowshoeing. In Lowell, about 15 minutes East of Grand Rapids.
12 CALVIN ECO-PRESERVE. Perfect for walks and hikes, the eco system boasts trails along water front with unequaled views of native flora and fauna. Birders love this preserve and you will, too! In Grand Rapids near Calvin College off the East Beltline Highway.
13 DEER TRACKS JUNCTION. Making national news for Dragon, an adorable white-faced deer fawn, Deer Tracks offers so much more! Check out the DTJ safari, the play area, and the hands-on-farm and stay for the ice cream! In Cedar Springs, about 20 miles North of Grand Rapids.
14 BINDER PARK ZOO. Looking for a big city zoo but don’t want to travel to the big city? Binder Park is for you! New lion exhibit newly opened in July 2017. In Battle Creek.
15 DAIRY DISCOVERY. Are you ready to get close to cows and find out how a real dairy farm works? Dairy Discovery is the place to learn all about cows and milk! Kids love seeing a working farm up close. In Alto, about 25 miles East of Grand Rapids.
16 DOUBLE JJ. You might want to spend a week at this ranch-resort! Offering horseback riding, golfing, and an amazing water park you’ll have no time to be bored! In Rothbury, about 65 miles NorthWest of Grand Rapids.
17 LEWIS FARM MARKET AND PETTING ZOO. Shopping for the adults, attractions for the kids, and come away with seasonal fruit and fresh cider! Wagon rides, pedal carts, gem mining, singing chickens, rubber duck races and more. In New Era, about 25 minutes North of Muskegon.
18 GILMORE CAR MUSEUM. 90 acres, multiple barns filled with over 300 vintage cars and motorcycles, and the authentic Blue Moon Diner! In Hickory Corners, about 50 minutes south of Grand Rapids.
19 AMBER ELK RANCH. Tour the ranch and meet world class bull elks among other animals. Also visit the petting zoo where you can meet many interesting animals. In Ludington.
20 SAUGATUCK DUNE RIDES. Entertainment! Fun! Excitement! All this and more as you explore one of Michigan’s natural wonders. In Saugatuck, about 9 miles South of Holland.
21 AIR ZOO. Let your imagination soar with airplanes and rides galore! Fun rides for the entire family, a 3D movie theater and vintage planes, with a view of the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport! In Portage, just a little East of Kalamazoo.
22 COOPERSVILLE FARM MUSEUM. Featuring Kids Crafts & Critters once a month, the museum is host to multiple activities every week including bingo, farmers market, and Jam Nights. In Coopersville, about 18 miles West of Grand Rapids.
23 OSWALD’S BEAR RANCH. The largest bear-only ranch in the US boasting 29 roaming black bears in 4 habitats. Come to view the bears and cubs in barrier free viewing areas. 12 miles north of Newberry in the UP.
24 MYSTERY SPOT. An unusual attraction with phenomenal “happenings.” Take guided tours of the Mystery Spot, enjoy the two ziplines, the human maze and an 18 hole putt putt course. In Saint Ignace, 5 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge.
25 MILL CREEK DISCOVERY PARK. Trek through treetops, zipline and scale the five-story climbing wall. Situated on 600 acres, enjoy the beautiful views and trails. Kids will love the Water Power Station and Forest Friends Play Area. In Mackinaw City.
26 BRONNER’S CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND. If you love Christmas, this one might not be “hidden.” This giant Christmas store is open year round and filled with every decoration imaginable. Kids can even use the in-store phone to call Santa! In Frankenmuth.
27 ZEHNDER’S SPLASH VILLAGE. Zehnder’s shares a parking lot with Bronner’s, so this is a two-fer! This hotel with massive indoor waterpark will be a favorite of parents and kids alike. Be sure to take the free shuttle down to the related restaurant to enjoy their famous chicken dinner. In Frankenmuth.
28 AMERICAN MUSEUM OF MAGIC. Did you know Michigan has what’s been called the “Smithsonian of American Magic?” If you have magic-loving kiddos, this is a must-see. In addition to a giant collection of mysterious items, there are magic shows included with admission at 1:00pm on Saturdays. In Marshall, 36 miles east of Kalamazoo.
29 LAKE OF THE CLOUDS. Enjoy the majesty of Michigan’s own mountain range. Lake of the Clouds is a majestic freshwater that empties into Lake Superior. Pictures don’t do it justice! In Ontonagon, at the top of the Upper Peninsula.
30 OLD TOWN LANSING. Sure, it’s fun to see the State Capital, but just a quick jaunt on the River Trail will bring you back in time. You’ll see what Lansing was like in Michigan’s past, but also enjoy the food, fun, and outdoor activities of the present. In Lansing.
31 PRUESS PETS. More than just a pet store — this is almost a zoo! Bring your own pets for socialization and fun, and bring your kids to meet some super cool animals and even have the option of feeding a giant koi fish ($1). In Lansing.
32 WHITING FOREST OF DOW GARDENS. Here, you’ll find 54 acres of beautiful Michigan majesty, including woodlands, ponds, an apple orchard, meadows, and streams. You’ll also be able to take part in the newest attraction: the nation’s largest canopy walk. It is 1,400 feet long and 40 feet above the ground. What better way to take in Pure Michigan! In Midland, 28 miles east of Mount Pleasant.
33 CHERRY POINT FARM & MARKET. If you’re truly seeking the “pleasant” part our “pleasant peninsula,” you must see the lavender labyrinth at Cherry Point. Visitors can see the full bloom between mid-July and early-August. You can, of course, stock up on all things cherry and lavender while you’re there. In Shelby, 6 miles east of Rochester Hills.
34 CURWOOD CASTLE. A bonafide castle right here in our home state! Formerly the writing studio of adventure author James Oliver Curwood, it is now a museum open to the public. In Owosso, 37 miles northeast of Lansing.
35 SANILAC PETROGLYPHS STATE HISTORICAL PARK. A “petroglyph” is a rock carving. This state park has rocks covered in petroglyphs, thought to be carved by Native American tribes Hopewell or Chippewa, between 300 and 1,000 years ago. In Sanilac, 67 miles east of Saginaw.
36 MIDWEST MINIATURES MUSEUM. Come see tiny displays of what Michigan life looked like at the turn of the 20th Century! The details are amazing. The miniatures are so fun to see, your kids won’t even realize they’re learning! In Grand Haven.
37 JAMES C. VEEN OBSERVATORY. View the night sky as you never have before! On select Saturday nights April-October) visitors will receive a tour of the facility and a chance to use their powerful telescopes. Be sure to call the “starwatch” number (616-897-7065) to double check the sky is clear enough to view before heading out. In Lowell, 20 miles east of Grand Rapids.
38 TRAVERSE CITY FAIRY TRAILS. Here’s an awesome way to get your family out in nature without it feeling like a chore. You can hike along some beautiful trails — just keep an eye out for fairies! Little fairy homes made with natural found materials are scattered along the path. You can even add your own! In Traverse City.