If you are looking for a getaway that holds great diversity, consider a Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City road trip. You can stop and play at fabulous state parks between Grand Rapids and Muskegon without going two hours off the path. Play at one of only three national lakeshores. Learn about some of Michigan's earliest settlers and historic coal mines at Keweenaw National Historical Park. There are also fabulous state parks where you will want to go fishing, hiking, and boating.
Isle Royale National Park
If you love the remote wilderness, then Isle Royale National Park near Houghton, Michigan, needs to be on your road trip itinerary from Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City. Stop at this park's main headquarters in Houghton, Michigan, to get a boater's permit and take your boat to this national park or catch a ride on the ferry. This island in Lake Superior is a terrific place to go sea kayaking. You can also rent a boat and fish in the lake. Go scuba diving near this island to explore shipwrecks and see a variety of fish. Scuba diving equipment is available to rent.
Keweena National Historical Park
Head to Calumet to explore Keweena National Historical Park. Community sponsors operate many of the 21 locations that make up this park. For over 7,000 years, workers mined copper in this area. Take a tour at the Adventure Mining Company or the Delaware Copper Mine to learn more. Tour the 45-room Laurium Manor Mansion constructed for the owner of the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company in 1908. There are several museums where you can learn more about the miners' lives, including the seven-building Houghton County Historical Museum, Finnish American Heritage Center, and Copper Range Historical Museum. Stop at the Copper Country Firefighters History Museum to see the old firetrucks, including horse-drawn ones.
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park
Climb the Dune Climb Stairway at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon to get to the top of the sand dune, where you will enjoy seeing stunning views of Lake Michigan. Stop at the Gillette Visitors Center to learn about this area's ecology or hike some of the over 10 miles of trails available, many with stunning views of the lake. Join park rangers on guided hikes, or join an orienteering program. This park located about 37 miles northwest of Grand Rapids is only one of many terrific Michigan state parks you may want to visit on your Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City RV road trip.
Muskegon State Park
Muskegon State Park is near North Muskegon, Michigan. Stop at this state park even if you are going on a winter road trip from Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City as you will want to play at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex that includes an ice-skating trail, sledding hill, and cross-country ski trails. Enjoy exploring two miles of sandy beach along Lake Michigan's shoreline when the weather is warmer. This state park has a track chair that allows those unable to walk to enjoy the hiking trails and will go in up to 8 inches of water. Climb the overlook for an epic view.
Newaygo State Park
Newaygo State Park near Newaygo is a fabulous place to go waterskiing on the Hardy Dam Pond. The oak and poplar forest at this park is particularly stunning in the autumn when the leaves turn brilliant colors. Fishing in the pond and the Muskegon River usually yields anglers their limit of panfish. This park sits on a high bluff, so bring a picnic lunch to eat while enjoying the stunning views. Think about other Michigan state parks to include on this or future trips.
Otsego Lake State Park
Since 1920, people have been coming to Otsego Lake State Park to fish and explore. People still love fishing from the accessible fishing pier or their vessel launched onto the lake at the concrete boat ramp. The CCC built many structures in this park during the 1930s. Head to the park store for a hand-dipped ice cream cone. If this Michigan state park is not right for you, there are plenty of other choices.
Burt Lake State Park
Burt Lake State Park near Indian River lies at the heart of the Inland Waterway stretching for 38 miles from Crooked Lake to Lake Huron. Play on the beach or go for a swim. Walleye and trout fishing are often fabulous from the fishing pier. This park that is about 30 miles south of Mackinaw City also offers a lookout tower that you will want to climb.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Before you start your road trip between Grand Rapids and Mackinaw, visit the waterfront Grand Rapids Public Museum. Founded in 1845, this history museum is one of the oldest in the U.S. Listen to the Wurlitzer #157 Band Organ play organ rolls while riding the carousel. Take in a show at the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. Permanent exhibits focus on Western Michigan's history, and you can check out fantastic temporary exhibits from around the world.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
You will also want to stop and visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids. This museum is the burial place of President Ford. See the full-size replica of the Oval Office furnished as it was during his time in office. Many photographs offer a candid look behind the scenes of his presidency. Watch the sound and light show that shows what a day in the Oval House looks like along with visiting the Watergate Gallery to learn more about this history-making break-in.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
The Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a 158-acre facility on the eastern edge of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Over 100 contemporary and modern sculptures are located inside and outside of this park. The park is also home to a five-story tropical conservatory containing plants from around the globe. Stroll through the 8-acre Japanese garden and along the nature trail.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
While you will have to travel about two hours west off your path near Gaylord, Michigan, to reach Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the effort will be worth it. Climb the large dune and run or roll down it. Enjoy hiking along the 3.5-mile sandy trail to Lake Michigan. Explore the geology of this area on a driving tour or join a guided tour. Fish or scuba dive in North Bar Lake. See the exhibits in the Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum at this park near Empire.
Stroll through the Cadillac Sound Garden, play golf at the Eldorado Golf Course, and visit the KISS Monument in Cadillac. Campgrounds in Cadillac include Birchwood Resort & Campground, William Mitchell State Park, and Camp Cadillac. Find RV dump stations in Cadillac at William Mitchell State Park, Camp Cadillac and other nearby Michigan locations.
Explore nature at the Call of the Wild Museum, see the elk at Gaylord's City Elk Park and go on a sunset stroll at Aspen Park when visiting Gaylord. You will find fantastic campgrounds in Gaylord, like Gaylord KOA Holiday, Otsego County Park, and Otsego State Park. RV dump stations in Gaylord are available at all three of these campgrounds and other nearby Michigan locations.
Indian River, Michigan
Play golf at the Indian River Golf Club or miniature golf at Big Bear 18-hole adventure golf when visiting Indian River. Spend time relaxing at Burt Lake State Park or see the Cross in the Woods National Shrine. There are terrific campgrounds in Indian River, including Indian River RV Resort and Camp, Indian River RV Resort, and Michigan Oaks Camping Resort. RV dump stations in Indian River are available at Young State Park, Aloha State Park, and Waterways Campground.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Grand Rapids or Mackinaw City.