5 National Parks in Michigan

March 10, 2023

national parks in Michigan

Michigan is home to five national parks and 74 state parks, so there's plenty of outdoor fun to be had. Whether you're looking to take a hike along wildflower-lined trails, backpack across sand dunes or scout for moose in the middle of nowhere wilderness, there's a park for you!

In addition to Isle Royale, Keweenaw, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshores, the Great Lakes state also features River Raisin National Battlefield Park. This newest of Michigan's national parks commemorates the January 1813 War of 1812 in Southeast Michigan's Monroe and Wayne counties.

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park, located in Lake Superior's northwest corner, is a roadless archipelago with refreshing lakes, rugged shores, and lush forests. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, the island is a great destination for backpackers, boaters, canoeists, kayakers, and scuba divers.

Founded in 1940, Isle Royale National Park encompasses an archipelago of 400 islands above Michigan's Upper Peninsula near the Canadian border. Surrounded by Lake Superior, it is the largest wilderness area in Michigan and home to a variety of animals.

It's one of the least-visited national parks in the country, but visitors can find plenty to do and see. Hikers have access to over 165 miles of trails, while boaters, canoeists, and scuba divers can explore shipwrecks.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

One of the most popular national parks in Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is a dream destination for those seeking sand, lakes and forests. It’s a place where you can hike rocky trails with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, explore beaches and forests, and wander through quaint towns that were once company towns and logging villages.

Known for its towering, scalable dunes, the park’s 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 33 miles of North and South Manitou Islands are protected from erosion and deposition, ensuring a natural landscape for generations to come.

There are plenty of fun activities to keep you busy, including kayaking and tubing down the lower Platte River, sand sculpting, hiking, and even fishing! To make the most of your trip, consider renting a vacation home near Sleeping Bear Dunes to make it feel more like a vacation.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

One of the crown jewels of Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore hugs the shoreline of Lake Superior. This breathtaking park features sandstone cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, sand dunes, and inland lakes.

Millions of years ago, glaciers cut through northern land masses and created the strikingly beautiful sandstone cliffs that rise from the shoreline. Mineral seepage in the rock creates the multicolored streaks that make the cliffs famous.

The park also offers plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, boating, camping, and sightseeing. And the beauty of Pictured Rocks is that you can experience it all year-round!

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

The park’s namesake falls are one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River and arguably Michigan’s most popular attraction. The Upper Falls are nearly 200 feet across and flow at up to 50,000 gallons per second.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide variety of activities including boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping and more! However, the falls can get a bit crowded in summer, so winter is an ideal time to visit.

During the winter months, ice and snow make the falls look their best, giving them a cozy, mysterious appeal. This makes Tahquamenon Falls a favorite destination for outdoor lovers who enjoy skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and more!

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located 15 miles west of Ontonagon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. The 60,000-acre park features towering virgin timber, secluded lakes and miles of wild rivers and streams.

The park boasts an extensive network of hiking trails. It’s also home to numerous waterfalls, as well as Lake of the Clouds Overlook and Summit Peak scenic sites.

In addition, the park’s visitors center provides a glimpse into the history of the area. It also offers information on the park’s hiking trails, rental cabins and yurts.


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