4 Offbeat Destinations for a Michigan Road Trip

By Jessica Lee

January 10, 2023

MICHIGAN—Bored in the Mitten? We’re here to help. These four hidden gems might not represent the most popular tourist destinations in the state, but that’s all the better as far as we’re concerned. 

SkyBridge Michigan (Boyne Falls)

(Courtesy/Boyne Mountain Resort)

Thrill-seeking families rejoice. It’s the world’s largest wooden suspension bridge—and it just opened last year, right here in northern Michigan. The 1,200-foot pedestrian walkway towers 118 feet off the ground and connects McLouth and Disciples Ridge peaks, offering stunning panoramic views of Boyne Valley. 

Admission starts at $15. Resort officials say the SkyBridge is roughly the equivalent of walking a lengthy par 4 hole on The Alpine or Monument golf course. The highest point of the bridge is about two-thirds as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Those with a fear of heights may want to consider another activity—like checking out the nearby food trucks or the local trail system that’s connected to the bridge.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park (Mackinaw City)

(Courtesy/Headlands International Dark Sky Park)

One joy of being a Michigander is the chance to see the Northern Lights, and going stargazing in areas where light pollution is relatively low. But our darkest skies—and our brightest stars—can only be found at Headlands International Dark Sky Park, where special care is taken to protect the natural darkness.

Bring the family and see the biggest light show in the world across more than 30,000 acres of state-owned land. The park is always open. Admission is always free. Flashlights and fires are obviously not allowed. Camping is also prohibited, though there are at least four campgrounds within a few miles of the park. 

The Doll Museum at the Cross in the Woods (Indian River)

(Courtesy/The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods)

This is definitely one of the most unusual road trip destinations in Michigan, if not the country. The Doll Museum at the Cross in the Woods is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of more than 500 dolls and 20 mannequins stationed next to a giant crucifix that has perched over Indian River for nearly 70 years.

The woman responsible for the collection, Sally Rogalski, began collecting and dressing dolls in traditional religious garb in 1945. In 1964, she and her husband Wally donated all of them to the Shrine in the Woods with only one condition: no admission charge ever, so everyone can get a chance to see it. 

Jampot Bakery (Eagle Harbor)

(Courtesy/Jampot)

Jampot has been selling wild berry preserves and other gourmet jams and jellies since 1986. Over the years, the shop has expanded to include fruitcakes, muffins, cookies, handmade chocolates and candies, pancake mixes and specialty coffees. It’s a little bit of everything at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and all profits go to support the Holy Protection Monastery.

The monks who operate the bakery only use locally-sourced, organic ingredients. Online orders are available all year, but the storefront is only open seasonally from April through October. 

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