Best National Parks in Michigan

There are six gorgeous national park services in Michigan. The state is home to a National Park, a National Historical Park, and a National Battlefield Park. It is also home to National Scenic Trail and not one but two National Lakeshores. As you can see, it is a great place to visit for those who love history, hiking and having fun on the water. Ready to embrace the great outdoors of the Great Lakes State? If so, here are the best national parks in Michigan.

Best National Parks in Michigan

1. Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is a remote island cluster in Lake Superior, near Michigan’s border with Canada. It consists of the main island, Isle Royal and more than 400 small islands. It’s a car-free UNESCO Bio Reserve of lush forests, lakes and waterways, where wildlife, like moose and wolves, roam. There’s plenty to do in this national park, including hiking the Greenstone Ridge Trail and visiting the 19th-century Rock Harbor Lighthouse and its small museum. For those who like to dive, there are plenty of interesting underwater sites including several shipwrecks.

2. Keweenaw National Historical Park

Established in 1992, Keweenaw National Historical Park preserves and celebrates the life and history of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. From 7,000 years ago to the 1900s people mined copper in the Keweenaw region. Native peoples made tools and trade items from this copper. During the 1800s, in what is called the ‘great mineral rush’, floods of people arrived in the area and developed thriving industries and communities. Though the mines have since closed, their mark is still visible on the land and people. The park is dotted with Keweenaw Heritage Sites that contain significant cultural and/or natural resources that tell the story of the area’s copper mining industry.

3. North Country National Scenic Trail

Hiking the North Country National Scenic Trail gives you a wonderful opportunity to experience the wild natural beauty of the northern states. On its way from Vermont to North Dakota, it snakes its way through the states of MichiganMinnesotaNorth DakotaNew YorkOhio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Stretching over 4,600 miles, this trail cuts through a variety of inspiring landscapes, for instance, hills and valleys, lakes and rivers, open prairies, and past historic sites that tell how America settled and grew as a nation. Over 550 miles of the North Country Trail crosses Michigan, more than any other state. The trail crosses nearly the entire Upper Peninsula from east to west.

4. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore hugs the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s famous for its dramatic multicoloured Pictured Rocks cliffs and wild shoreline. It also draws the crowds for its pristine nature including beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes and forests. It is a unique landscape that you can explore and enjoy hiking, camping, sightseeing, and embracing the great outdoors.

5. River Raisin National Battlefield Park

River Raisin National Battlefield Park preserves and commemorates the Battle of Frenchtown which was part of the War of 1812. The site also interprets the aftermath of the fighting in Monroe and Wayne counties in Southeast Michigan. In fact, it is the only national battlefield marking a site of the War of 1812. During the Battle of Frenchtown, 397 Americans were killed and 547 were taken prisoner after surrendering to the British Army and Indian coalition.

6. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore hugs the northeast shore of Lake Michigan in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The scenic area includes South and North Manitou Island. In the park, you’ll find the huge scalable dunes of the Dune Climb as well as beautiful beaches including Platte River Point, where the river flows into the lake. For those who want to explore the lakeshore on foot, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail takes you through forests and into the Port Oneida area.

best national parks michigan

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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