7 Wonders
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Experience the Majesty of the 7 Natural Wonders of Michigan

The Seven Wonders of the World – a list that includes the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Taj Mahal – are truly incredible spots that leave anyone who sees them in a true state of wonder.

That got us thinking – what are the seven wonders of Michigan? What are the spots that leave Michiganders and visitors in a state of wonder? The fact is that Michigan has dozens of natural wonders and narrowing the list down to just seven is an incredibly difficult task.

Whether you’re one of the millions of visitors who come to Michigan each year or one of the millions who call the Great Lakes State home, you owe it to yourself to check out Michigan’s seven natural wonders.

The Great Lakes

Any list of Michigan’s natural wonders has to start with the Great Lakes – the state’s nickname is the Great Lakes State after all, and four of the five border Michigan.

The Great Lakes are engrained in the everyday lives of Michiganders of all ages who grow up spending time around them and learning the HOMES acronym for each of the five lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.

The Great Lakes collectively hold a fifth of the world’s freshwater and their combined shoreline is nearly 44% of Earth’s circumference. Lake Superior – the biggest of the five – is so big that it can fit the other four lakes (plus three more) inside it.

Michiganders – no matter where they live – are never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake, giving residents of all ages access to scenic shorelines, beach combing opportunities, swimming, fishing, boating, sunbathing, and so many other activities.

The Great Lakes have been at the forefront of Michigan commerce, trade, development, and community life. They continue to help dozens of lakefront towns in Michigan thrive as residents and visitors flock to them in the warmer months to enjoy their own slice of tranquility.

Empire Bluff Trail-Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes – Empire Bluff Trail | photo via bradleywpritts

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Nestled along Lake Michigan on the “Serene Coast”, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is, without a doubt, one of Michigan’s most peaceful (and awe-inspiring) spots.

The dunes continue to see record numbers of visitors each year and have been named the “Most Beautiful Place in America.” It’s not hard to see why as the white-sand dunes tower over 400 feet above Lake Michigan, offering a landscape and views unlike anywhere else in the state.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was formed in 1970 to protect the dunes and allow future generations to enjoy them. Today visitors enjoy completing a dune climb, traversing the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, exploring trails on the lakeshore, catching the most beautiful sunsets, and frolicking on the beach.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is a bustling spot during warmer months, but in reality, it’s a year-round attraction that’s perfect for a hike or panoramic views any time.

Arch Rock - Mackinac Island In The Winter
Arch Rock Lookout | photo via @_sovereign_photography_

Arch Rock

The Grand Hotel, famous fudge, and rich history are just a few of many good reasons to visit Mackinac Island. But Arch Rock is one natural wonder visitors won’t want to miss.

Standing nearly 150 feet above Lake Huron at more than 50 feet wide and 15 stories tall, Arch Rock sits on the southeast part of the island and draws over 500,000 wide-eyed visitors each year.

This natural limestone wonder is made of breccia limestone – a rarity for the region – and took thousands of years to form. Native American tribes believed Arch Rock to be a place of spiritual power, perhaps even a gateway to another realm.

Because Mackinac Island doesn’t allow cars, eager visitors can reach Arch Rock via several paved roads and trails by bike, horse-drawn carriage, walking, or horseback. Once there, a platform gets visitors pretty close to the rock for a unique photo op and some majestic views.

Kitch-Iti-Kipi-Manistique
Kitch-iti-kipi | photo via boots_mud_snow

Kitch-iti-kipi

One of Michigan’s most famous natural attractions (and a must-add bucket list item) is Kitch-iti-kipi – Michigan’s Big Spring – that’s found in Palms Book State Park near Manistique in the Upper Peninsula.

For more than a century, this 300-foot long, 40-foot deep natural spring – the state’s largest freshwater spring – has been a favorite for locals and visitors who come to marvel at the crystal-clear pool and the Ojibwe people once called it the “Mirror of Heaven.”

The pool’s underlying limestone fissures keep the rushing water at a constant 45 degrees, Though the bottom appears to glow a pleasing emerald green, the floor is always changing because of the rushing water.

Visitors can take the park’s observation raft to see the bubbling spring up close and see the fishing swimming on the bottom.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore-Munising-Fall
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore | photo via frommarrvantage

Pictured Rocks

The Upper Peninsula gets another spot on our list because, very simply, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of Michigan’s most breathtaking geological wonders.

The cliffs and layered formations along the Lake Superior shore near Munising stretch for over 15 miles, treating visitors to vibrant splashes of color – hence the name Pictured Rocks – and immaculate views.

Depending on where one looks, the colorful formations seem to resemble battleships, animals, castle spires, or human profiles. We suggest you have a camera at the ready!

The formations are still changing today, meaning the boat tour visitors take this year may look different next year.

According to UPTravel.com, most Pictured Rocks boat tours begin in Munising Bay and highlight East Channel Lighthouse, Grand Island, Miners Castle, the Painted Coves, Caves of All Colors, Lovers’ Leap, Rainbow Cave, Indian Head, Gull Rookery, Grand Portal, Battleship Rocks, Flower Vase, Indian Drum, Chapel Cove, Chapel Rock, and Spray Falls.

Visitors who want a different experience from the tour can take scenic drives along the lakeshore or obtain a permit for backcountry camping for some incredible hiking experiences.

Turnip Rock-Port Austin-Kayak
Turnip Rock | photo via shesoutwandering

Turnip Rock

All of the wonders on our list are sure to make residents and visitors say “Wow!” But Turnip Rock near Port Austin may be the most awe-inspiring.

Turnip Rock in Michigan’s Thumbcoast is in an ideal location – just a few hours from Detroit – and is only accessible by boat or kayak. On a sunny day with clear blue skies, it’s the perfect place to be.

This gravity-defying limestone rock formation looks exactly like a turnip – thanks to constant waves shaping the rock’s soft limestone – and appears to float in the water with 20-foot trees growing out of the top.

DID YOU KNOW: CNN dubbed Turnip Rock of the Most Amazing Rock Formations in America.

Turnip Rock is at the tip of the Pointe aux Barques peninsula at the extreme tip of the thumb. In the warmer months, it’s not uncommon to see scores of kayaks paddling around the rock.

Kayakers can take their own journey to Turnip Rock or take a guided kayak tour to see it up close.

Torch Lake
Torch Lake | photo via wander.onwings

Torch Lake

From impeccable sunsets to awesome sandbars, Torch Lake is a beautiful playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The lake’s clear, turquoise-blue waters draw comparisons to the Caribbean, making it a popular summer hotspot.

The Torch Lake Sandbar, located at the lake’s southern end, is one of the lake’s most iconic spots. Visitors often arrive at the sandbar in droves on paddleboards, jet skis, boats, and jet skis to enjoy swimming and socializing in the shallow waters.

Apart from water recreation, Torch Lake is also the city of an annual Fourth of July celebration and offers both hiking trails and biking routes to enjoy the shoreline. The nearly 3-mile Sandbar Loop goes around the sandbar and treats hikers to varying sceneries.

Mackinac Bridge Walk-Mackinaw City
Mackinac Bridge Walk | photo via camera_jesus

 A Bonus Wonder: The Mackinac Bridge

It’s true, the Mighty Mac isn’t a natural wonder. But the five-mile span that connects Michigan’s two peninsulas is one of, if not the most iconic state landmark.

For Michiganders of all ages, the Mackinac Bridge is part of many memorable spring break trips and summer vacations. It’s an important transportation link in the state, it’s also a monumental engineering feat.

DID YOU KNOW: You can actually own a piece of the Mackinac Bridge?

Opened in 1957, the bridge replaced hours-long waits for car ferries before its construction. It remains a symbol of Michigan’s determination and innovation and is the site of the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk.

Michigan Map

Visit One of Michigan’s 7 Wonders

The Seven Wonders of Michigan are natural marvels that capture the imagination of visitors of all ages. For longtime visitors of these spots, seeing the wonders again is like revisiting an old friend. For first-time visitors, these wonders are jaw-dropping and photo-worthy, helping them gain a deeper appreciation for the Great Lakes State.

Visit one, two, or maybe all of them, and prepare to be amazed. Even though these wonders are photogenic, sometimes pictures don’t do them justice and they simply have to be seen in person to be truly appreciated.

What do you think of our list? Are there any that we missed? Which wonders would you add to the list?

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