Sights in Michigan You Need to “See” to Believe
As with so many things in life, sight can easily be taken for granted when everything is going well. When problems develop, however, it quickly becomes apparent just how much easier this particular sense makes our lives.
More than that, being able to see makes life a richer experience.
Sight certainly plays a role in our survival—it’s much easier to avoid a moving car when you can see it coming—but take a moment and consider the things in life you consider to be visually-appealing. No matter if you think about brilliant fall colors in West Michigan or interesting pieces of work at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, they display an inherent truth:
We appreciate beauty—natural or created—but this doesn’t play a role in allowing us to survive. Rather, it provides a certain enjoyment of this life and the world around us.
Our ability to see is important on a couple of different levels, yet we all take it for granted.
Something else we tend to take for granted is our home state.
No matter if you are a native who’s lived here for several decades or were transplanted here from elsewhere, it becomes easy to look past all the really cool things about living in Michigan.
And that includes many places and attractions that are absolutely stunning from a visual perspective.
We’ve taken the time to give this some thought and have compiled a list of a dozen unique “Pure Michigan” places and experiences that can help you appreciate the gift of sight.
Naturally, lists like this are a bit subjective—and it’s hard-to-impossible to include everything in this great state—so after you’ve reviewed our list, feel free to stop by our Facebook page and let us know what you would have included. We would love to hear your thoughts and perhaps learn about new areas we should check out on future travels!
Without further ado, here are some places in Michigan that will make you appreciate having the ability to see:
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We are jumping right into this list with one of the most scenic places you can find not only in Michigan, but within our nation as well. Centuries of unceasing waves and weather have given the Upper Peninsula shoreline areas that are absolutely stunning. Within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you will find naturally-sculpted features like arches, turrets, and stone spires in the cliffs. Specific formations and features to check out include Miner’s Castle, Bridalveil Falls, and Chapel Rock.
- Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Up in Schoolcraft County, you will find these almost 96,000 acres of diverse, pristine habitats for creatures like trumpeter swans, common loons, beavers, river otters, and nesting bald eagles (to name a few). When you are able to see these wildlife animals in their natural environment, it’s a very special experience.
- Isle Royale National Park. If you stay in West Michigan, you can lose sight of the fact that it isn’t always easy to get to all places in our home state, and this particular park is a prime example. Isle Royale National Park is accessible only by boat or float plane, but its abundant wildlife and natural beauty can make the journey to get there well worth it!
- Tannery Falls. One of the oft-overlooked parts of Michigan are all the waterfalls in our state. In fact, there are nearly 200 named waterfalls – a fact that probably isn’t considered all too often because all but one of them are in the U.P. One that is particularly worth seeing, especially in the winter when they freeze over (and you can actually walk behind them) is Tannery Falls up in Alger County. This U.P. feature has a drop of approximately 40 feet.
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park. While Tannery Falls is a splendid sight, it can be overshadowed by Tahquamenon Falls, which is regarded as being the most impressive in the state. In fact, this is actually one of the largest waterfalls this side of the Mississippi. The Upper Falls are over 200 feet across and truly worth seeing in autumn – when they are naturally framed by a plume of colorful fall foliage. (If you want a visual definition of “picturesque,” this is a prime example!)
- Philip A. Hart Plaza. It’s an undeniable fact that Michigan is full of natural beauty, but that doesn’t mean you should look past the beauty found within manmade structures! Detroit’s Hart Plaza is a visual experience you don’t want to miss – and particularly the various memorials and sculptures you can find in this lynchpin of the Motor City’s revival. One feature worth singling out is the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, which contains 300 of each jets and lights that allow for a wide array of configurations.
- Fallasburg Park. A staple of traditional Americana that has sadly fallen by the wayside is the classic covered bridge. Many of these wooden structures weren’t properly maintained and many of the ones that still exist have been designated as historical sites. In our “neck of the woods,” you can find a 100-foot-long covered bridge in Lowell. Built in 1871, an impressive fact about the bridge in Fallasburg Park is that it actually still supports automobile traffic. Structural durability aside, it is simply a very cool sight in a beautiful park.
- Frederik Meijer Gardens. It’s hard to find West Michigan residents who aren’t aware of the Meijer Gardens, but this 132-acre park is another example of something commonplace that ends up taken for granted. Because of its familiarity, most people tend to forget that the park features about 200 sculptures from world-renowned artists. Of course, the spectacular gardens themselves can really make you appreciate your ability to see!
- The Big House. No matter your particular college affiliation or fandom, you simply cannot dispute the impressive nature of Michigan Stadium itself. As the largest stadium in the nation—and second-largest in the world—it has hosted crowds in excess of 115,000 (so almost 3x’s the combined populations of Holland and Zeeland!). With facts like those, it’s easy to understand why this Michigan landmark is one you absolutely need to see to believe!
- Grand Haven Lighthouse on South Pier. Getting a bit more local, this popular site up in Grand Haven has a history dating all the way back to 1839. Whereas the lighthouse itself is an outstanding visual landmark, you cannot discount how cool it is to walk to the end of the pier and look out across Lake Michigan – especially when the sun is setting on the horizon and brilliant colors dance on the water.
- Sleeping Bear Dunes. In addition to the sole value of being able to appreciate visual experiences, our sight also makes it easier to do activities, such as exploring the towering, climbable sand dunes at Sleeping Bear! Of course, once you’re at the summit of any of the dunes along this 35-mile stretch, you will be rewarded with some awesome views.
- Mackinac Island. Wrapping up our list, this quintessential Michigan destination is simply remarkable. If you’re a long-time resident, the odds are pretty good you know this is a developed community that in 2018 does not allow automobile traffic. Where else in the U.S. can you possibly find something like this? In addition to a complete absence of cars, the sheer aesthetics of Victorian cottages and horse-drawn carriages can help you remember just how valuable it is to have sight.
Of course, the key to appreciating and enjoying all the awesome sights in Michigan—both natural and manmade—is having optimal eye health. (Or at least having proper corrective lenses!)
At Sight Eye Clinic here in the Holland/Zeeland area, we want you to be able to enjoy everything our great state has to offer, including everything worth seeing (and there’s clearly plenty to see!). This means you need to take appropriate preventive measures to protect your eyesight and seeking professional care at the earliest opportunity if problems develop.
Now, we hope your eyes stay healthy and give you the vision you need to appreciate the world around us, but we also know sometimes issue arise. If they do, contact our office by calling (616) 772-2020 and request an appointment.
And don’t forget, make sure to visit our Facebook page today and let us know about your own favorite sights in Michigan!