Detroiters Love These Northern Michigan Towns

By: Aaron B. Cohen | April 12, 2021
Northern Michigan Getaways

For generations, Michiganders have taken warm weather as a cue to pack up the car and hit the road in pursuit of the state’s natural beauty and the quaint towns dispersed throughout. Next time you feel the urge to escape the bustle of city life, try visiting one of these northern Michigan gems.


Sandwiched between the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, this small town is a favorite among Detroiters in search of a beach. With a law explicitly prohibiting big-box stores, you can be sure that your vacation consists of exclusively local experiences. Check out the South Pier Lighthouse and dine at one of several time-tested restaurants along Main Street.

Mackinac Island

Sick of the traffic on I-75? Perhaps you need to get away from cars altogether. Mackinac Island is a bike-only destination located in Lake Huron, between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Take in the history of this one-time fort turned tourist destination and enjoy the world’s greatest fudge directly from the source.

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Nestled on the shore of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, Petoskey is home to one of Northern Michigan’s most beloved downtown regions. The Gaslight Shopping District is home to over 170 unique shops and restaurants and the beach is littered with the state’s official stone. Send the kids off on a Petoskey stone hunt while you enjoy the peace and quiet of what Smithsonian Magazine considers one of “America’s Best Small Towns.”


Right at the mouth of the Manistee River, this nature-lover’s paradise is the Pure Michigan you’ve been dreaming of. Enjoy hiking and camping in the Manistee National Forest, or enjoy a day on the Riverwalk behind the downtown district. The city is also a hub for fishermen throughout the Midwest who employ the help of local outfitters to reel in the state’s largest trophy fish.

Copper Harbor

For those willing to go the extra mile, Copper Harbor provides unrivaled scenic beauty. This Upper Peninsula haven, located on the shore of Lake Superior, is filled with miles of backcountry trails, delicious restaurants (Lake Superior whitefish, anyone?) and if you’re lucky, a spectacular view of the Northern Lights. Reset your mind with a plunge into the frigid Lake Superior water, or just dip your toes in while you watch the waves from the beautiful, rocky beach.