We’ve already sent you on an A to Z scavenger hunt in Michigan to celebrate The Mitten’s birthday. Now use our guide for an A to Z trip through Michigan towns and cities!
Even if you’re a lifelong Michigander who’s traveled around the state, there’s always something new to discover in the Mitten, whether it’s a hidden gem, the charm of a small town, or a new favorite restaurant.
We’re always on board for a Michigan road trip, and those looking for a new way to experience the awesomeness of the state should use this guide to take an A to Z trip through Michigan.
This is only one option for completing such a trip, but it takes you from one Great Lakes coast to another, to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula, to the southernmost corners of Michigan, and to big cities and quaint small towns with plenty to do along the way.
Start your A to Z Michigan trip in A2 where you can visit the University of Michigan, fuel up for the trip at the legendary Zingermans, or explore all that Ann Arbor has to offer. Have some fun at Nickels Arcade, relax in an Ann Arbor park, or visit the city during one of its many festivals.
RELATED: In the fall, Dexter Cider Mill is the perfect spot for fresh apple cider and doughnuts.
Continue your journey in Southcentral Michigan in Battle Creek. You can no longer tour Kellogg’s factory, but there’s still plenty to see, including the wonders of the Leila Arboretum, like the Fantasy Forest. Hungry customers will find plenty of great restaurants and can visit Sweetwater’s Donut Mill for some sweet treats to take home.
Because it’s surrounded by nature, Cadillac can be an absolute paradise for those who love the outdoors. The area has more than 200 miles of trails to explore and offers incredible color views in the fall. Also, several local farms offer petting zoos, homemade gifts, mazes, pumpkin patches, and more.
The Motor City is the biggest city in Michigan and offers you a chance to do just about anything. It’s home to Michigan’s pro sports teams, has many marvelous museums, and is the site of annual festivals of all kinds. Plus, you can stroll along the Detroit Riverwalk, relax at Campus Martius, and even grab a slice of famous Detroit pizza.
The home of Michigan State University is bustling with activity as a busy college town. You can stroll through the MSU campus, or explore Grand River Avenue and its variety of unique shops. Book lovers in East Lansing should stop at Curious Book Shop, one of many great independent bookstores in Michigan.
If you’re looking for family fun on your A to Z journey, Flint is the place for you. It has plenty of spots for affordable family fun, even places where families can unplug and enjoy the moment. That family fun can even continue at the US 23 Drive-In theater, one of the oldest drive-in theaters in Michigan.
A visit to Grand Rapids should start with the question: What do I want to do first? That’s because Grand Rapids is bursting with arts and culture, award-winning craft breweries, a top-notch sculpture park, museums, restaurants, and so much more. If anything, you might end up spending a few days here on your journey.
Make no mistake: There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep you busy in Holland. But the annual Tulip Time Festival in May is an event that has to be seen and experienced to be fully appreciated. It’s popping with color and activity and may become a festival you attend every year.
Head north to the 906 for the first Upper Peninsula stop on the trip. Depending on your location, Ironwood can be quite a haul, but it’s worth it because it’s home to the Stormy Kromer. You can tour the Kromer factory and buy one of Michigan’s most famous hats for wintertime.
One of the most popular cities in Southcentral Michigan is chock-full of activity. Start your journey with a delicious cup of coffee, or learn the secrets of Jackson’s best eateries. Delight in the musical wonders of Cascade Falls — one of Jackson’s most beloved attractions — or learn about prison history at the site of the historic Jackson prison.
Kzoo is one of Southwest Michigan’s most popular towns and is full of year-round activity. Its vibe exudes youthfulness with a nod to history and has something to offer everyone. Explore scenic trails, visit Henderson Castle, visit a local museum, relax at a public park, and so much more.
No A to Z trip through Michigan is complete without a trip to the state capital. Not only can you tour the state capital building, but you can also see graceful animals at Potter Park Zoo, bike or walk along the Lansing River Trail, explore the Michigan History Museum, and much more.
Michigan’s Queen City of the North on the shore of Lake Superior is bursting with activity all year long. In the warmer months, there are more than a dozen spots to have an epic family vacation or couples getaway. In the winter, it offers several short hikes with incredible views.
The Upper Peninsula is full of charming small towns, including Newberry, which is still a great tourist destination. It’s the perfect place to stop on the way to Tahquamenon Falls and is also home to Oswald’s Bear Ranch, where you can see black bears in their natural habitat.
Oscoda on Michigan’s Sunrise Side is located right on the Au Sable River and along the Huron National Forest, enticing you to kayak, hike, and splash your way through town. Oscoda is also part of the US-23 Heritage Route, which offers lots more to explore along the Lake Huron shoreline.
RELATED: Oscoda is also home to the annual fall Paul Bunyan Festival and one of the many statues of the legendary giant in Michigan.
Petoskey may be the perfect place in Northern Michigan to do just about anything. It’s close to the beach for summertime fun by the water, it’s home to a thriving downtown and a variety of great restaurants, it’s a perfect spot to play in the snow in winter, and it’s absolutely beautiful in the fall.
As one of two spots that starts with ‘Q,’ Quinnesec in the Southern Upper Peninsula gets the nod on our A to Z trip. It is right next to Iron Mountain, so it’s easy to stop on the way to Iron Mountain where you can enjoy seasonal fun like golf and skiing.
One of the most popular cities in Metro Detroit earns a spot on our list because there’s so much to see and do. Families can visit the Detroit Zoo and its marvelous menagerie of animals. All ages enjoy visiting downtown Royal Oak as well, which includes great restaurants, cafes, and shops.
A trip to Saginaw seems to unearth great surprises everywhere you look. Whether visitors are noshing on delicious dishes at Saginaw restaurants, exploring the wonders of Old Town Saginaw, or marveling at the Saginaw Castle Museum, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here on their A to Z Michigan trip.
Northwest Michigan’s Cherry Capital of the World is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. It’s perfect for a spring trip to see the cherry blossoms, a summer visit to enjoy the National Cherry Festival, a fall hike, or even a unique winter getaway.
Michiganders who love hands-on experiences with animals should continue their Michigan A to Z journey in Utica, which is home to The Reptarium. This awesome reptile zoo is home to geckos, snakes, lizards, alligators, and more. You can even have personal interactions with many of these amazing creatures.
For Michiganders who love maple syrup, the annual Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival in April makes a trip to this small village worthwhile. The festival has been a mainstay since 1940 and draws thousands of people for activities like a parade, flea markets, a pancake derby, and much more.
Nestled in Wayne County as part of Michigan’s Downriver area, Wyandotte welcomes you with more than nearly two dozen parks and a wealth of opportunities for outdoor fun. The city is also home to the Wyandotte Boat Club, a longtime rowing facility that hosts several regattas during the year.
Yes, we know: Exeter starts with ‘E,’ but there’s not a single town in Michigan that begins ‘X’, so this is our next-best option. Exeter is one of four communities that make up Exeter Township in Monroe County and is just a half-hour from your journey’s next destination.
Ann Arbor’s close neighbor is the perfect blend of old and new and has more than enough activity to create your own awesome Ypsi bucket list. It’s crawling with scenic parks, culture, beer, and great restaurants, so come to discover both the wonderful past and present of Ypsilanti.
Now that you’ve made it all the way to the end of the list and traveled to more than two dozen places, head back to West Michigan to wrap up your journey in Zeeland, which has a proud Dutch heritage and is home to several world-renowned manufacturing companies.
Plan Your Own A to Z Trip Through Michigan
As we noted above, this is just one recommendation for taking an A to Z adventure through the Mitten. There are nearly 700 places in Michigan — including cities, villages, and incorporated places — so the possibilities for a trip like this really are endless.
So, steal our list for an awesome A to Z Mitten Trip, or create your own. Either way, you can’t go wrong and you’ll be able to explore the very best that Michigan can offer.