As a state in the Great Lakes region bordered by four lakes and with 3,288 miles of coastline, it’s not surprising that Michigan is a great place to go fishing. More than 40 per cent of Michigan is covered in water, and vistas of Lake Superior’s stunning shores are a picturesque landscape of waterfalls, rivers and forests. The state is home to the longest freshwater coastline in the United States. Most of the Upper Peninsula is covered in trees and forestry is an important industry. Michigan is also an apple-growing state, where more apples are used in pies than any other US state, and it was also the state where Corn Flakes was invented.
During the 19th century, Michigan became the hub of the automobile, with local entrepreneurs such as R.E. Olds, Henry Ford, David Buick, Walter P. Chrysler and Henry Leland inventing creative techniques for producing the first automobiles leading to the mass production of cars. Famous people born in Michigan include Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Serena Williams, Henry Ford and Madonna.
- 21 Michigan Landmarks
- Natural Landmarks in Michigan
- Landmarks in Detroit
- Historic Michigan Landmarks
21 Michigan Landmarks
Natural Landmarks in Michigan
1- Bond Falls
Bond Falls is a scenic waterfall that drops 50ft over the volcanic rock on the Ontonagon River.
It’s one of the Upper Peninsula’s loveliest waterfalls as at the bottom of the falls, there are pools and a bridge to an island.
The stunning views from six platforms and easy access via boardwalks make Bond Falls one of the most photographed waterfalls and a natural landmark of Michigan.
Bond Falls is east of Paulding in southern Ontonagon County near US Highway 45 in the Upper Peninsula.
2- Grand Island Ice Caves
Grand Island is a stunning place to visit in winter with soaring cliffs, incredible ice caves, and ice formations.
Located 1/2 mile from Munising in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Grand Island ice caves are impressive natural landmarks of Michigan.
The caves are a short walk across the frozen lake from Sand Point Beach.
These ice caves are formed when snowmelt runs the edge of cliffs, freezing to form ice caves, and water seeping from Lake Superior into caverns and crevices freeze to form ice curtains and icicles.
These impressive ice formations soar up to 30 feet tall and can stretch hundreds of feet wide.
Other impressive ice formations in the area are Eben Ice Caves, formed from water dripping through the walls of the Rock River Gorge, and Sand Point’s ice curtains.
Grand Island Ice Caves are located on the southeastern side of Grand Island in the Upper Peninsula.
3- Lake of Clouds
Lake of the Clouds is a lovely lake in a valley between two ridges within the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
The 60,000-acre Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigan’s largest state park, has the world’s highest artificial sky-flying hill and the only ski flying hill outside of Europe.
The blue waters of the Lake of the Clouds is a picturesque sight framed by forest.
One of the most beautiful seasons to visit the lake is in Fall, when the leaves are orange, yellow, gold and red.
Lake of the Clouds is a fantastic place for anglers to go for catch-and-release bass fishing from the shore.
Lake of Clouds is at 412 South Boundary Road, Ontonagon in the Upper Peninsula.
4- Miners Castle
Miners Castle is one of Michigan’s famous landmarks and is a stunning natural feature of the Pictured Rocks shoreline.
The sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks sit high above Lake Superior and stretch for 15 miles along the shore of the lake.
East of Miners Beach, Miners Castle is the most eye-catching section and the only cliff area accessible by vehicle.
‘Pictured Rocks’ was named because streaks of mineral stain seep from cracks and trickle down to create patterns on the sandstone.
The red and orange are created by iron, blue and green from copper, brown and black from manganese and white from limonite.
Miners Castle is in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula, about 6.5 miles east of Munising.
5- Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls’ Upper Falls cascades 50 ft into the Tahquamenon River and is one of the largest waterfalls in the state.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a 50,000-acre wilderness area with stunning backcountry and is excellent for paddling and hiking.
Both the Upper and Lower Falls are on the Tahquamenon River and have brown water because of the tannins leaching into the falls from the cedar swamps.
One of the best times to see the falls is winter, as the park has groomed cross-country skiing trails.
The Lower Falls is four miles downstream from the Upper Falls and is a series of five falls cascading picturesquely around an island.
The island is accessed by boat, and there’s a walk with viewing points.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is in the Upper Peninsula at 41382 West M-123, Paradise.
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6- Hungarian Falls
Hungarian Falls is another stunning waterfall in the Upper Peninsula.
A hike will take you past mining site ruins and soaring rock cliffs, making Hungarian Falls a must-visit landmark in Michigan’s Copper Country.
Hungarian Falls is a series of waterfalls with three sections: the upper falls flow off the dam, the middle section is stunning to photograph and the lower section.
Hungarian Falls is at Golf Course Rd, Calumet.
7- Isle Royale
Isle Royale is Lake Superior’s largest natural island and a landmark in Michigan that is only accessibly by water from Copper Harbor or Houghton.
The remote island is near the Canadian border and is a natural getaway with moose, wolves and forests.
There are 450 smaller islands in Isle Royale National Park.
You can go camping or stay in the lodge. Other activities include hiking, canoeing and diving.
Isle Royale National Park is open from 16 April to the end of October each year.
8- Sleeping Bear Dunes
The dunes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are the stars of this natural area that hugs the northeast shore of Lake Michigan for 35 miles (60km).
The region also has beaches, forests, the Manitou Islands and historical monuments such as a lighthouse that dates back to 1871, historic farms and three former Coast Guard Stations.
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a four-mile paved trail that is fascinating to explore.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is in the Lower Peninsula at 9922 Front Street, Highway M-72, Empire.
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Landmarks in Detroit
9- Gateway to Freedom International Memorial
The Gateway to Freedom International Memorial has stood near the Detroit River for over 20 years.
The statue recognises the Underground Railroad route through Detroit used by slaves to escape to freedom.
The sculpture depicts six slaves in various poses preparing to escape to Canada with an Underground Railroad Conductor, George DeBaptist, who helped many slaves escape.
Two tall gateway pillars with candles at the top to symbolise the “Flame of Freedom.”
Slave tags are carved into a pillar as a reminder that slave masters in South Carolina were legally required to purchase tags for slaves to wear.
The Underground Railroad code name for Detroit was ‘Midnight’, and many slaves passed through Detroit to escape to Canada when slavery was abolished there in 1834.
The Gateway to Freedom is at Philip A. Hart Plaza.
10- Spirit of Detroit Statue
The monument in Michigan of a seated human holding a family and golden orb is made from bronze and has been a symbol of Detroit since 1958.
The Spirit of Detroit is at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, and was once the largest cast bronze statue around.
The 26-foot sculpture’s left-hand holds a sphere with rays radiating out from it, symbolising divinity, while in its right hand, the family represents the importance of human relationships.
The inscription behind the sculpture is a quote from 2 Corinthians 3:17, which says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Sculptor, Marshall Fredericks, shipped a model to Oslo is Norway for casting and acidic treatment.
The Spirit of Detroit is at 2 Woodward Avenue, Detroit.
11- The Thinker
“The Thinker” is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin of Italian Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri to symbolise the internal struggle of the creative mind.
Rodin originally designed The Thinker for a set of bronze doors for a Paris museum in Paris.
The Detroit Institute of Arts owns one of the 20 original bronze casts made in 1902, and the statue consists of resin with several layers of bronze patina applied.
The Thinker is deep in thought outside the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The institution has one of the largest collections of art in the USA and has over 100 galleries.
The Thinker is at Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit.
12- Motown Museum
The Motown Museum is where Berry Gordy created the legendary Motown Records in 1959.
He started the music label in Detroit, earning the label’s first headquarters the moniker “Hitsville USA.”
Motown was an influential source of cultural change and produced music enjoyed by millions worldwide by musicians like Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Diana Ross and the Jacksons.
Motown Museum is at 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit.
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Historic Michigan Landmarks
13- De Zwaan Dutch Windmill
De Zwaan is a Dutch windmill in Windmill Island Gardens that was transported from the Netherlands in 1964.
The windmill was dismantled, packed into crates, and shipped to Michigan, where it was lovingly reconstructed.
The 240-year-old grain grinding windmill, which had been damaged during WWII, was restored in Michigan at the cost of around $450,000.
Holland is a Michigan city with a large Dutch community and is also known for its annual Tulip Time Festival.
De Zwaan Dutch Windmill is in Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan.
14- Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
Built-in 1829, Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan.
The lighthouse is at the entrance to the St. Clair River from Lake Huron, near Fort Gratiot, which was built in 1814.
There was a lighthouse in the area built before this lighthouse, which collapsed into the river during a storm,
The 82 ft tall white brick tower is a Michigan landmark of one of the world’s busiest waterways.
It’s also one of the few historic lighthouses still operating, where visitors can climb the tower to admire the view.
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is at 2802 Omar Street (at the East end of Garfield St), Port Huron.
15- Mackinac Bridge
The suspension Mackinac Bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas across the Straits of Mackinac.
The 26,372-foot-long bridge was one of the longest suspension bridges in the world when it was first built.
Suspension bridges are usually measured by the distance between their towers, making Mackinac Bridge the world’s 24th longest suspension bridge and the third-longest in North America.
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16- Michigan State Capitol
The Michigan State Capitol is a landmark in Michigan and was one of the first state capital buildings to have a cast-iron dome.
Located in Lansing after the state’s capital was moved from Detroit for better defence from British troops in 1847.
Completed in 1878, the four-storey building is 267 ft (81 m) from the ground to the spire above the dome and has two grand staircases.
The building houses the offices of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Vermont marble and limestone Starting were used on the floors, while the dome’s flooring is made from 976 blocks of translucent glass.
Michigan State Capitol is at 100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing.
17- Michigan Heroes Museum
Michigan Heroes Museum honours the wartime efforts of the men and women from Michigan.
It has displays and exhibits that tell stories about Michigan’s Governors, astronauts and recipients of the Medal of Honor.
The museum has letters, diaries, uniforms, and the largest collection of the USA’s Medal of Honor is showcased here.
Frankenmuth is a charming city with Bavarian-style architecture and other attractions that represent the region’s German roots.
Michigan Heroes Musem is at 1250 Weiss St, Frankenmuth.
18- Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is an interactive museum with themed exhibits that highlight America’s best thinkers.
Henry Ford grew up in Springwells in Michigan and lived in Dearborn.
He designed and built a 26-horsepower automobile in 1901, forming the Henry Ford Company in 1901.
The museum is a key landmark in Michigan and part of the MotorCities National Heritage Area, which celebrates Michigan’s automotive history.
Learn how Michigan became the automotive capital of the world.
During WWII, Detroit played a massive part in assisting the Allies to win the war when women worked in the area’s manufacturing plants to produce aeroplanes, tanks and jeeps.
Henry Ford Museum is at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn.
19- Automotive Hall of Fame
Established in 1939 to recognise the fantastic accomplishments of the automotive pioneers, the Automotive Hall of Fame provides insights into the region’s contribution to the international motor vehicle industry.
The Hall of Honour has a massive mural celebrating the impact of the invention of the motorcar on the world.
Michigan is the heart of America’s automotive industry, and the state was a leader in mass-producing motor cars.
Michigan’s Henry Ford was a pioneer of assembly line manufacturing.
The Automotive Hall of Fame is next to Henry Ford and is also in the MotorCities National Heritage Area at 21400 Oakwood, Dearborn.
20- Little Sable Point Lighthouse
The Little Sable Point Light is located south of Pentwater in the Lower Peninsula.
The lighthouse is a 19th-century brick structure in Silver Lake State Park.
It was initially known as Petite Pointe Au Sable and contained a rare Fresnel lens that emitted a constant white light visible 19 miles into Lake Michigan.
The tower was painted white in 1900 authorities changed its name in 1910 to Little Sable Point Lighthouse, which means “little point of sand.”
Little Sable Point Lighthouse is in the Lower Peninsula at 287 N Lighthouse Dr, Mears.
21- Minnie Quay
The ghost of Minnie Quay is a legendary figure that haunts the small town of Forester.
Minnie was 15 years old when she fell in love with a young sailor who arrived in Forester on a ship.
When the sailor’s ship sank in one of Michigan’s Great Lakes in 1876, Minnie was heartbroken as her parents had forbidden her to bid him farewell when he last left town.
A few days later, Minnie walked into town and onto the pier and jumped into Lake Huron.
Her ghost roams the beaches of Forester, and some people believe she is hanging around waiting for her lover to return.
According to old wives’ tales, you should leave an offering on her headstone or she will follow you home, and you will see lots of coins at her grave.
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