There’s so much to see and do in our wonderful state of Michigan, and nowhere is that more evident than in the charming, small-town roadside attractions in Michigan. From the Upper Peninsula to Traverse City to Hell to Christmas to Detroit to Battle Creek, you can find cool roadside attractions all over the state.
Whether you’re stopping to visit a museum, take pictures with a statue, or just enjoy a scenic outlook, you don’t have to travel far to find something that will make you want to pull over and get out of the car.
Roadside Sites in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
The Mystery Spot | St. Ignace
Right, when you cross the Mackinaw Bridge you’ll see sign after sign about a mysterious place called The Mystery Spot.
Come here to see crazy things like water running up a tube and someone casually climbing up a wall. Right next door, you’ll find the Weird Wax Museum dedicated to local history and freaky wax figures.
Castle Rock | St. Ignace
If you’re in the Upper Peninsula, this is one roadside attraction that you need to make time for. For just $1, you can climb more than 150 steps for a view of Michigan that’s absolutely incredible. Take your time getting up, and stop if you need to take a break. But trust us, the view is worth it.
Lakenenland Sculpture Park | Marquette
This brainchild of Tom Lakenen is one of the most beloved attractions in the Upper Peninsula.
The 37-acre park is well known for its Sculpture Trail, which features more than 100 of Lakenen’s works on a winding trail through the woods. See for yourself how he turned junk metal into awe-inspiring works of art.
The park also includes fishing ponds, a playground, entertainment stages, a bog walk, and a pavilion.
Da Yooper’s Tourist Trap | Ishpeming
If someone doesn’t know what a Yooper is, take them here! This place is crazy and filled with souvenirs, a comedy musical, and a museum that features the Largest Motorized Tricycle in the state and the Largest Working Chainsaw in the World.
Make sure to grab a souvenir to remember your visit. The gift shop has been voted one of the best in the state!
This is another Michigan town that takes its name seriously. It has a giant Santa and Mrs. Claus, and many houses keep their Christmas decorations up all year long while all businesses in town carry on the Christmas theme.
Located just a few miles from Munising, this is definitely a must-stop spot if you’re traveling in the Upper Peninsula. No matter the time of year, the site of Santa Claus, elves, and reindeer is enough to put you in the Christmas spirit.
Hiawatha Statue | Ironwood
A big statue is always a good reason to pull the car off to the side of the road, and this one stands 52 feet and weighs 9 tons. The statue is of Hiawatha, dubbed the “World’s Tallest and Largest Indian,” and he can be found in the Western Upper Peninsula.
The statue was built in Minnesota and trucked to and erected in Ironwood in 1964. Hiawatha faces north toward Lake Superior and is just a few blocks from downtown.
Northern Lower Peninsula Michigan Roadside Attractions
The National Shrine of Cross in the Woods | Indian River
Visitors of all backgrounds and denominations can stop and marvel at this 55-foot-tall crucifix in Northern Michigan. The cross was carved from a single redwood tree in the early 1950s, and a likeness of Jesus was added in 1959.
Also, this shrine includes a Nun Doll Museum, featuring more than 500 dolls that model more than 200 different religious habits.
The World’s Largest Cherry Pie Tin | Traverse City
Where else would this treasure be located other than the Cherry Capital of the World? Situated just outside the Sara Lee Bakery outlet, this tin can hold a 17-foot, 6-inch pie that weighs over 28,000 pounds.
Just 50 miles away, Charlevoix has its own record-breaking pie tin that can hold a cherry pie weighing over 17,000 pounds. The story goes that Charlevoix’s pan popped up first in 1976 as part of the town’s cherry festival. Traverse City got into the mix in 1987, baking a pie that weighed more than 28,000 pounds.
Colantha Walker Statue | Traverse City
Traverse City is known for more than just cherries. One of the newest additions in town is the 1,000-pound statue of Colantha Walker at the Children’s Sensory Garden, which was unveiled in 2022.
Colantha was a world-champion cow who made headlines a century ago for her milk production. The statue honors her legacy.
Gravity Hill | Arcadia
This is an attraction that you have to see and experience for yourself to believe. Travel to the section of Putney Road known as Gravity Hill — you can find it near Joyfield Road between US-31 and M-22. Place your car in neutral at the bottom of the hill, and watch as it rolls upward!
You won’t believe your eyes as you roll past hills, farms, and orchards, but don’t think about it too hard. Just enjoy the view as you go.
Grasshopper Statue | Kaleva
Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan is, arguably, one of the oddest roadside attractions in Michigan. It’s a metal grasshopper that’s 18 feet tall with legs that are 10 feet high. As legend has it, St. Urho saved Finland from a plague of grasshoppers, and this one got away and landed in Michigan.
The giant St. Urho grasshopper is made of scrap metal and was dedicated in 2000. Visitors can see it along the Kaleva Centennial Walkway of sculptures.
Dinosaur Gardens | Ossineke
Nestled just south of Alpena on US-23, visitors can stop here for a thrilling adventure. Dinosaur Gardens, as the name suggests, has numerous life-like dinosaur sculptures, allowing visitors to learn what life was like when dinos roamed the land.
There’s something for everyone to love at Dinosaur Gardens, and the property includes a fossil dig, putt-putt golf, and a frozen yogurt bar.
Lumberman’s Monument | Oscoda
The Lumberman’s Monument on the bank of the Au Sable River stands 14-foot tall and stands as a shrine to Michigan’s history of lumbering. It’s open seasonally from April through October.
Visitors can see the monument and learn about lumberjack life by climbing through a log jam, watching a video, and checking out a floating loggers’ kitchen, which is known as a warrigan.
Paul Bunyan Statues | Ossineke, Oscoda, St. Ignace
Paul Bunyan is rumored to be originally from Michigan and the state celebrates the legendary giant and his blue ox, Babe, with different statues around the state.
In Oscoda, you can find a 13-foot statue downtown. In Ossineke, just south of Alpena, you can find another Paul Bunyan statue as you travel on US-23. Just over the Mackinac Bridge, you can see another Paul Bunyan statue from I-75 and up close if you visit Castle Rock.
Roadside Sites in Michigan’s Southern Lower Peninsula
The World’s Largest Weather Vane | Montague
Just north of Muskegon, on the shores of White Lake, visitors can see a huge 48-foot-tall weather vane. It’s made out of aluminum, weighs 4,300 pounds, and features a 26-foot wind arrow.
Musical Fountain | Grand Haven
If you’ve ever seen the Bellagio fountains, then you know how cool a musical fountain show is. Fortunately for Michiganders, Grand Haven has been offering that same experience right here in the Mitten State since 1962.
Visit the fountain from Memorial Day through Labor Day, as well as select Fridays and Saturdays in May and September, for an amazing light and water spectacle set to popular music.
If someone tells you that you’re going to Hell, you can say, “That’s right, I am going to Hell…Michigan!”
It’s a name that’s fun to say, but you’ll have a good time if you visit too. Treat yourself to a sweet treat at Scream’s Ice Cream, visit the Hell Saloon, go to the Locks of Love bridge, become the mayor of Hell, or even get married.
With the chance to do all that and more, Hell doesn’t sound too bad after all!
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland | Frankenmuth
Known as the “World’s Largest Christmas Store,” you absolutely have to stop here if you’re in Mid-Michigan. Bronner’s is open all year and houses more than 1.5 football fields worth of Christmas ornaments and other assorted holiday decorations.
If you need an ornament of anything (and we mean anything) — a tree, figurines, or anything else Christmas-related — this is the place to shop!
The World’s Largest Tire | Allen Park
It only makes sense that a state known for its automobiles would have the World’s Largest Tire! Located on I-94 in Allen Park, the Uniroyal Giant Tire is 12 tons and 80 feet tall. It was used as a Ferris wheel at the New York World’s Fair in the 1960s.
Hamtramck Disneyland | Hamtramck
On the same level as Detroit’s Heidelberg Project, Hamtramck’s Disneyland is a unique site. Located in a normal neighborhood and in a backyard, you can see a handmade version of a theme park.
Thousands of visitors flock here each year, and it houses one of the best collections of folk art in the state. This one you have to experience for yourself, so make plans to make a trip here soon.
Explore the Best Roadside Attractions in Michigan
Who knew Michigan is home to so many fantastic roadside attractions? As you can see, you can find an awesome tourist attraction in just about every corner of the state.
No matter where you go or what you see, you’ll find roadside attractions in Michigan that are family-friendly and offer something fun for visitors of all ages.
So pack up the family and start driving. You never know what you’ll come across, what will catch your eye, and what will make you say “Wow” and want to pull the car off the road to get a closer look.
Tell us about your favorite roadside attractions in Michigan!