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Top Five Michigan Summer Scenic Drives [Photos]

We love driving in Michigan for two reasons: we invented the automobile, and we have the most beautiful state to drive around in.

So here are my top five picks for the best summer drives in the state. 

1. Anywhere on M-22, but specifically from Arcadia to Frankfort.

Winding through the sand dunes of Sleeping Bear, this route provides stunning vistas of the Lake Michigan shoreline, before kicking out at Crystal Lake, one of the more stunning inland lakes in the north. You don’t see those M-22 stickers on all those cars for nothing. For a little side trip, stop in and grab a Kayak at the Riverside Canoe Livery and paddle the Platte River to Lake Michigan.

Pure Michigan
Pure Michigan

2. M-119 north of Harbor Springs, the ‘Tunnel Of Trees’ 

Rolling through Emmet County due north out of Harbor Springs, this trip is usually best in autumn, but a summer cruise is well worth it as well. With its green canopy, and views of Lake Michigan, there’s plenty to love about this route. make sure you stop in Bliss and grab some candy at the Bliss General Store.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons

3. M-37 (Alpine Avenue) rolling north through Newaygo and Lake County.

Yep, Alpine Avenue isn’t all big box stores and traffic. Stick with it past the city and you’ll be treated to rolling hills and magnificent river valleys as you head north into historic Lake County. The Pine River near LeRoy is especially scenic.

Pine River near LeRoy (Jojo Girard/Townsquare Media)
Pine River near LeRoy (Jojo Girard/Townsquare Media)

4. M-25 from Port Huron to Caseville. 

The ‘Sunrise Side’ of the Michigan, the Thumb is usually known for it’s flat, rich farmlands, but the edge of the Thumb offers some beautiful views of Lake Huron, as well as quaint little towns with rich heritages. Make sure you stop and kayak out to Turnip Rock near Port Austin to get a look at a vista that resembles a Yes album cover. Other notable stops Include downtown Lexington, which features a couple of great breakfast places, and the long stretch of sand at Caseville City Beach.

Kaykers at dawn along Lake Huron near Lexington (Jojo Girard/Townsquare Media)
Kaykers at dawn along Lake Huron near Lexington (Jojo Girard/Twonsquare Media)

5. US 41 from Baraga to Copper Harbor, Upper Peninsula.

US 41 runs from the tip of Michigan to New Orleans, but it doesn’t get any better than the tip of the Keeweenaw Peninsula in late summer. Overflowing with natural beauty, the best stops are the rest area near Alberta, which has a trail to hike back to the pristine Canyon falls on the Sturgeon River, to Brockway Mountain Drive, which gives you vistas like the one below of Copper Harbor. Go in August, after the black flies die off.

Jojo Girard/Townsquare Media
Jojo Girard/Townsquare Media

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