Summer is the perfect time to get away for the weekend, explore unfamiliar places and make memories you will never forget. Luckily for those of us who live in Michigan, we don’t have to travel too far before we come across something magnificent. Some of my most memorable pastimes stem from barely-planned road trips with friends to visit one of Michigan’s long list of picturesque destinations — and I mean picturesque in the most literal sense. Have your camera on standby whenever you’re out exploring the Mitten.
Whether you’re kayaking along the western coasts, hiking up long stretches of sand dunes, wandering through forests found in the north or eating pounds of fudge from Mackinac Island, Michigan is arguably the best place to be for someone who loves photography. As one of those people who enjoys taking photos every chance he can get, here are some recommendations for Michigan’s most Instagram-worthy locations.
Southwest Michigan / Lake Michigan
Photo by Jonathan Shead
Southwest Michigan is home to many of the state’s best beaches including Silver, New Buffalo, Warren Dunes and Weko. These beaches offer scenic landscapes, quaint beautiful towns and a lot of natural sunlight for all of your picture-taking needs. At Silver Beach you can peruse the pier and capture captivating photos of the lighthouse that sits at the its end. Both Warren and Weko have dunes taller than most the buildings in the town, making it the best place for taking those wide shots. And New Buffalo’s rock-formed breakwall is the perfect place to photograph the lake without getting wet — just don’t drop your camera walking across the rocks.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
There’s no surprise how this national park was given its name, because it is paradise for photographers. Pictured Rocks sits on the southern tip of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula between Munising and Grand Marais, Michigan. The park is a favorite for nature photographers and everyday adventurers alike. Whether you’re photographing from the water during one of the park’s kayak tours, standing atop the cliffsides exploring the vast forests that overlook the lake, or capturing the beauty of the park’s waterfalls, there are opportunities for pictures all around you. So, make sure to bring a couple extra SD cards, just in case.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes, located at the peak of Michigan’s lower peninsula in the city of Empire, is one of the state’s hidden gems, but that might just be because you have to take a private boat or ferry to actually get there. This 35 mile long island features skyscraper-sized dunes perfect for scenic backdrops, as well as several beaches, each showcasing a unique side of the island. Despite the park’s size, it has a number of great places to visit. A few of the must-see places while you’re visiting are Overlook Nine, the park’s tallest dune at 450 miles high, Empire Bluff’s Overlook, a 1.5 mile hike through the park’s woods that overlook Lake Michigan and finally, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, whose sweeping hills stretch through the park as well as Glen Arbor and Port Oneida’s historic district.
Michigan certainly has several cities with beautiful nature perfect for photographing, but the best part about Michigan is that it has even more. If nature photography isn’t your thing, just drive over to any one of the state’s scenic skyscapes, such as Detroit, Traverse City or Mackinac City. No matter your fancy, Michigan is the place to be for all things photography.
Jonathan Shead is a senior studying professional writing and journalism. Outside of writing for ing he is also the Managing Editor at Impact 89FM, MSU’s nationally-awarded student-run radio. His passions include storytelling, basketball and playing the drums. When he’s not writing, he can be found jamming out to the latest music or exploring the documentary section of Netflix.