There’s almost nothing as uniquely American as a road trip, and few places are better to hit the road than Michigan. The state boasts countless beautiful road trip routes, many offering breathtaking views of the Great Lakes, woods, and other scenery.
Of course, every good road trip requires visiting an unforgettable roadside attraction. The good news is that there are plenty of these in Michigan — from strange and hilarious to eerie and beautiful. Make sure you stop at one of these unique roadside attractions the next time you drive through Michigan!
Cedar Lake | Two-Story Outhouse
Most of us are lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of modern plumbing. But for much of history, people had much less elegant solutions for taking care of their business. An unusual attraction in the town of Cedar Lake pays homage to this period of history— the two-story outhouse.
Locals aren’t quite sure how the outhouse came to be. One story says that it was built by a general store owner who wanted a private outhouse for his family away from the customers in his store. Another says that it may have once been part of a hotel or boarding house.
Today, the outhouse stands alone as a tourist attraction for visitors to explore.
St. Ignace | Mystery Spot
As you pass the town of St. Ignace in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you’ll notice signs inviting you to the Mystery Spot. It’s an ominous and curious invitation, but don’t be afraid — it’s one of Michigan’s most popular roadside attractions.
This area is often called the place “where gravity does strange things.” While no one knows why, the site has become a small park where visitors can experiment with the unique surroundings, go down zip lines, and explore a life-size maze.
NOTE: You may not want to stay too long because some visitors report feeling queasy and light-headed after a few hours.
Onsted | Abandoned Prehistoric Forest Amusement Park
The Prehistoric Forest Amusement Park might be the creepiest of all the roadside attractions in Michigan. Located in Onsted, this abandoned park is all that remains of a once-thriving attraction.
It was built in 1963 and operated until 1999 when it was closed because of lack of traffic. However, the dinosaur statues throughout the park were never removed.
Today, visitors can walk through the wooded park and see dozens of fiberglass dinosaur statues. Though there are security cameras, the park is entirely abandoned, and no staff is on site. Since it’s on private property, you have to get permission from the landowner before exploring it.
Christmas | Holiday Lights All Year
Visitors arriving at this Upper Peninsula site are greeted by an enormous Santa Claus figure. This tiny town with a population of just 400 stands on the shores of Bay Furnace, just a short distance from Munising and Au Train.
No matter how pleasant and warm the weather is, it’s always the holiday season here. Visitors are treated to Christmas lights and displays all year long and can stay in one of the holiday-themed lakeside resorts.
Traverse City | Largest Cherry Pie Tin
Here’s a strange claim to fame — Traverse City Michigan is home to not one but two of the largest cherry pie tins in the world. It may have something to do with the abundant cherry orchards along the shore of Lake Michigan.
The nearby city of Charlevoix was home to the largest functional cherry pie tin until 1987 when Traverse City surpassed it. The pie tin might no longer hold cherry pie (a whopping 28,350 lbs and 17 feet, 6 inches wide), but it is still on display in front of the now-defunct Chef Pierre Bakeries plant.
Ishpeming | Da Yoopers Tourist Trap
The town of Ishpeming certainly has a sense of humor. Da Yoopers Tourist Trap is a wacky roadside attraction that openly calls itself a tourist trap, though the name is meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke.
Also affectionately known as Yooperland, it’s a mishmash of unique sculptures, artifacts, and gifts. It features the world’s largest working rifle and the largest working chainsaw, and it has an entire section devoted to the local mining culture.
Other attractions include a gift shop full of locally-made novelty items and a display of taxidermied deer in human clothes. Yooperland is undoubtedly a unique and unmissable attraction in the UP.
Alpena | Kaiser Paul
Michiganders seem to love enormous statues built out of unusual items. One of the best examples is Kaiser Paul, the massive statue of Paul Bunyan that towers beside the road in Alpena Michigan.
Kaiser Paul is made entirely of car parts scavenged from Detroit-area junkyards. Built in the 1960s, this 30-foot figure is now a beloved community fixture and the official mascot of Alpena Community College. The students at the college maintain him, cleaning and repainting the statue as needed.
This unique piece of craftsmanship is worth a visit if you’re making a trip through Michigan.
Indian River | Cross in the Woods Catholic Shrine of Indian River
The Cross in the Woods Catholic Shrine of Indian River is such a unique display that it draws Catholic and non-Catholic tourists throughout the year. The world’s second-largest crucifix is the main attraction — an enormous redwood piece that towers 55 feet above the national shrine.
The sculpture of Jesus is made of bronze, stretching 28 feet from top to bottom and weighing 7 tons. This is impressive enough, but it’s not the shrine’s only attraction. The grounds also include the Nun Doll Museum — a collection of 525 dolls dressed in various religious attire.
Marquette | Lakenenland Sculpture Park
Michigan seems to love woodland sculpture parks — Almost nowhere does them better. One of the most fascinating and famous is Lakenenland Sculpture Park located in Marquette Michigan. This free, open-air sculpture park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Covering 37 acres, the park features a walking path where visitors can admire the statues, as well as fishing ponds and a playground. There are roughly 80 sculptures, all made of scrap iron. However, new works are added regularly, and visitors may be surprised by new exhibits even if they have visited in the past.
Brighton | Dining With Jesus
Have you ever wondered what being at the Last Supper might be like? At the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Brighton Michigan, you can experience just that. The church grounds feature an unusual sculpture — a full-length, functioning table with a life-size statue of Jesus in the center.
Visitors come from all over the state to enjoy a picnic here and explore the church grounds, which include a shady grotto, a cemetery, and plenty of space for kids to run. It’s worth a visit if only for a pleasant place to have lunch and a unique experience you will never forget.
Mackinaw City | The Wacky Taxidermy & Miniatures Museum
Have you ever wondered what a mouse would look like if it went to outer space? What about a squirrel as a mad scientist? You can see all that at The Wacky Taxidermy & Miniatures Museum in Mackinaw City. This bizarre yet fun roadside attraction is the passion project of a couple who developed an interest in taxidermy.
Animals are collected from the side of the road before being carefully preserved, dressed, and situated in unusual scenarios. Visitors can admire the critters fighting dragons, toasting marshmallows around a campfire, or posing as pirates aboard a tiny ship.
Planning Your Road Trip Through Michigan
There are many reasons to visit Michigan — from stunning lakes to beautiful beaches, historical attractions, and much more. But there are also great things to see along the way.
If you are heading out on a road trip through the Mitten State, you’ll want to stop at one of these fantastic, weird attractions when you pull off the road.