This State Was Just Voted The Most Scenic US Destination

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Summary

  • CNN voted Northwest Michigan as one of the top destinations in the world for 2024, specifically highlighting Traverse City as a must-visit place.
  • Northern Michigan offers beautiful landscapes, including Grand Traverse Bay and Mackinac Island, a car-free town that is considered the most beautiful in the US.
  • Traverse City is a great base to explore Northwest Michigan, with attractions like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, over 40 wineries, microbreweries, and outdoor activities for all seasons.


CNN just voted Michigan — or more specifically, Northwest Michigan — as one of the top destinations in the world for 2024. Traverse City is the regional hub of Northwest Michigan and very much a place worth visiting. Visitors can explore some of North America’s more northerly vineyards and some of the most picturesque landscapes of the Great Lakes region.


Northern Michigan Is Famously Beautiful

Grand Traverse Bay, Mackinac Island, and the UP are some of the top destinations in the Great Lakes

Shutterstock

Downtown Traverse City, Michigan


Lake Michigan is one of the largest lakes in the world (actually the largest in the world when one considers that Lake Michigan and Huron are technically one big lake). Sitting in the straits between these two lakes (or halves of the same lake) is Mackinac Island.


Mackinac Island is one of the nation’s most popular time capsules and is a world where cars are forbidden and taxis are horses and carriages. It’s also been voted the most beautiful town in the US, according to multiple rankings.


Leading Attractions In Northern Michigan:


  • Upper Peninsula
  • Mackinac Island
  • Grand Traverse Bay


The state of Michigan is made up of two large peninsulas in the Great Lakes; the populated Lower Peninsula and the wild Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula (or UP) is one of the Midwest’s most incredible and adventurous regions. It is a large area (around 30% of the landmass of Michigan) with only around 3% of the state’s population.

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The UP is famous as a winter wonderland and receives a lot of lake-affect snow.


Mackinac Island, Michigan
Shutterstock 

Mackinac Island, Michigan


But it’s not just the UP that boasts picturesque landscapes. Grand Traverse Bay in Northwest Michigan is acclaimed for its beauty, including wineries, fruit, and fall foliage in its seasons and resplendent blankets of snow in the winter.


CNN’s Best Places To Visit In 2024:


  • Sumba, Indonesia
  • Turkey’s Black Sea coast
  • Tartu, Estonia
  • Tainan, Taiwan
  • Northwest Michigan
  • Trans Dinarica Cycle Route, Balkans
  • Culebra, Puerto Rico
  • Angola
  • Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  • South Korea

Traverse City Is One Of The Best Places To Explore Northwest Michigan

Traverse City has plenty of attractions and natural wonders

A view overlooking Glen Haven Beach
Photo by:Sleeping Bear Dunes National LakeshoreCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A view overlooking Glen Haven Beach


Traverse City is one of the best bases to explore Northwest Michigan. Traverse City is nestled at the head of the East and West arms of Grand Traverse Bay and has a population of around 15,500 (and a greater population of around 150,000). While it is a small city, it is actually the largest city in Michigan this far north (except for Marquette in the UP).


Key attractions in and around Traverse City include:



Enjoy outdoor pursuits like hiking, fishing, swimming, sailing, biking, camping during the warmer months and ice fishing, snowshoeing, skiing, fat-tire biking, ice skating, and more in the frigid months. Traverse City is worth visiting in the winter just as it is worth visiting in the summer.

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The Arch Rock In Mackinac Island Is One Of The Top Attractions & Can Be Reached By Carriage

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Other towns and villages worth visiting in Northwest Michigan include Leland (a historic fishing village) and Glen Arbor (close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore).

Northwest Michigan’s Traverse Region Is An Acclaimed Wine Region

The Traverse City area boasts over 40 wineries along with excellent microbreweries

Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Shutterstock / Matthew G Eddy

Traverse City, Michigan, USA


One of the draws to Northwest Michigan is exploring the wineries on the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas. The Traverse Wine Coast boasts over 40 excellent wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms.


The wines range from crispy whites to sophisticated reds. Traverse City is also noted for its excellent microbreweries (counted among the best beer towns in America) and for its excellent dining. Traverse City was listed among the top foodie towns in 2010 by Bon Appetit.


Traverse City is noted for its berries and fruit, including its annual National Cherry Festival, which attracts some 500,000 visitors every year.


  • National Cherry Festival Date: June 29 to July 6, 2024

Fun Fact: The 45th Parallel of this part of Michigan is the same as the Bourdeaux region of France and the Piedmont region of Italy.



Grand Traverse Tours offers both private group and public join-in wine-tasting tours around Traverse City with a dash of panache (as well as brewery and distillery tours).


  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Price: $359 to $799


Wine Tasting Tour Routes:


  • Old Mission Peninsula Trail
  • Leelanau Peninsula Trail


Guests on private wine-tasting tours can select which wineries they would like to visit from nearly 30 wineries in the area.

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