Hidden gems in Michigan that will leave you in awe

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Michigan is a state that is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. With the summer approaching, we are starting to plan our vacations and looking for the best outdoor destinations to choose from. Including Michigan in the plans is easy,  because this state hosts some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes and natural wonders in the States.

While some of the state’s iconic landmarks are well-known and heavily visited, there are many hidden gems in Michigan to surprise the curious and adventurous visitors. Serene waterfalls and charming small towns offer a unique and unforgettable experience for those who seek them out. Who knows? You might find them so captivating that you decide to stay. In that case, real estate agents in Michigan are there to help with finding the perfect home.


In this article, we’ll take you off the beaten path to discover some of Michigan's lesser-known wonders. Hidden waterfalls and secluded islands are waiting to be explored. So get ready to be amazed by the natural beauty and cultural richness that Michigan has to offer. Let’s begin our journey of discovery through this state's natural and urban hidden gems!

Hidden gems in nature

Visiting the natural gems in this state will undoubtedly leave you in awe. There’s a thing known as Michigan wanderlust that might even become something that stays with you. The Great Lake State has such amazing natural beauty that it’s no surprise if you wish to return. If you have a passion involving adventurous hobbies for outdoor lovers, you’re in the perfect place here. 

Spray Falls

Falling over from a 70 feet high sandstone cliff, Spray Falls plunges into Lake Superior. The sight definitely qualifies as awe-inspiring. To reach this hidden gem, visitors can hike the North County Trail, which leads right to it. The trail offers fantastic views of Lake Superior and the magical forest along the way. The best angle to see the cascade is from the water. A boat trip is the best way to do this because the cliffs are steep around the falls. Spray Falls is a marvelous natural wonder, a real must-see when visiting Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. 

Chapel Rock

Located a few miles from Spray Falls, the next treasure is Chapel Rock. It can be found on the southern shore of Lake Superior, and it is known for its particular sculpture-like shape. Chapel Rock is frequented by photographers and nature enthusiasts for its fabulous views. The Chapel Loop Trail hike leads travelers to the rock to enjoy the awe-inspiring forest and lake views. The trail also touches Chapel Beach, a beautiful sandy beach in the proximity of Chapel Rock. It’s the optimal place to relax after the hike and enjoy some sun and water. Chapel Rock makes for an excellent and balanced one-day trip.  

Arkadia Dunes

A less crowded alternative to the more touristy sand-dune places, Arkadia Dunes is perfect for a hike. Boasting over 15 miles of biking and hiking trails, Arkadia Dunes is a hidden gem for outdoor lovers. You can choose from harder or lighter trails, take a relaxing short walk, or leave behind many miles on a bicycle. Doing this while enjoying the amazing views will leave you with unforgettable experiences. 


Also known as “The Big Spring” or “The Mirror of Heaven,” Kitsch-iti-kip is located in Palms Book State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is the largest freshwater spring in the state. The spring is around 40 feet deep and 200 feet across, and its crystal clear water is home to large numbers of brook and brown trout. Visitors can use a self-operated raft which allows them to see the fish, rock formations, old tree trunks, and underwater plant life that make Kitsch-iti-kipi such a unique and stunning natural wonder. The spring is an amazing hidden gem, that will leave you in awe, guaranteed. 

Eben Ice Caves

Michigan has some of the best outdoor opportunities to explore, and this is true for all the seasons. If you are planning to visit in the time of winter, there’s a special place you need to see in the Hiawatha National Forest. The Eben Ice Caves offer some unique beauty to witness. Colossal ice curtains form the spaces of Eben Ice Caves, and visitors can explore them by walking in and around them. The magical beauty of the white caves is open for visitors from January to mid-March. 

Charming small towns

Michigan boasts the most amazing natural wonders, but the state also has plenty to offer for those who are looking for more urban adventures. The charming small towns with great views and stunning sunsets offer unforgettable experiences for those who seek them out.  


If you are not much of a fan of hiking, there are amazing urban gems you can explore, even in high heels. One of those hidden gems is the town of Saugatuck, located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the west. The town is known for its scenic beauty, beautiful beaches, and colorful sunsets. The town also has a vibrant art scene, with many art galleries and cute shops to discover. The picturesque surroundings of vineyards and orchards serve as inspiration for local artists. This place is a must-have on any complete Michigan bucket list. Here, visitors can take a romantic stroll on the boardwalk or watch the sunset from a Kalamazoo River cruise. Fantastic sunsets are one of the trademarks of this charming small town, so put that in your plans for when you’re visiting Saugatuck. For those who want to combine urban and natural experiences, you can visit the beautiful Saugatuck Dunes State Park while on your stay.  

Les Cheneaux Islands

Great for nature exploration but also perfect for a relaxed urban vacation, the Les Cheneaux Islands are quite the hidden gem to discover. The islands are constituted of 36 small islands located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on Lake Huron. The name of the islands means “the channels” in French. There are many opportunities for outdoor recreation on the islands, from boating and fishing to hiking. Exploring the many channels between the islands is an excellent way of discovering and enjoying some sailing adventures. The Les Cheneux islands offer a wide variety of things to do on the islands. If you’re not much into hiking, plenty of relaxing resorts, shopping areas, and restaurants await. The islands are the home of the biggest antique boat exhibit in the whole world. The Les Cheneaux Islands even have their yearly festival called the Aldo Leopold Festival. A place so diverse and rich should be on any bucket list of Michigan's hidden gems. 

To wrap up,

Michigan is truly a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The natural beauty of the state’s national parks and wilderness areas offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the great outdoors.  On the other hand, the unique culture of small towns offers relaxation and laid-back urban exploration for a different kind of experience. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a relaxing getaway, Michigan’s hidden gems have a whole world of possibilities for you to choose from. You never know what hidden treasures you might find, so why not pack your bag and start exploring now? The iconic landmarks and natural wonders of Michigan are waiting to be discovered!

Comments (2)

Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good information to share.

I hope you have enjoyed a very productive summer.

Sep 05, 2023 04:29 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Use your Blog Settings to create an automatic signature for your blog. Readers want to see your contact information.

Sep 05, 2023 04:30 AM