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10 beautiful hidden gems in Michigan that are totally worth the trek

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Posted at 11:18 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 11:21:59-04

(WXYZ) — Searching for serene, breathtaking scenes? Michigan is home to majestic views, lush greenery and fresh waterways.

Unique places in the Great Lakes State go beyond the Detroit RiverWalk in downtown and the Mackinac Bridge frequented by tourists. Often overlooked attractions lie along rural backroads and even nestled in the Upper Peninsula.

Here's a list of 10 beautiful hidden gems in Michigan that are totally worth the trek courtesy Pure Michigan:

1. Chapel Rock and Beach Trail

"The Upper Peninsula’s spectacular Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore promises 100 miles of walking and hiking trails, but most visitors overlook Chapel Rock in favor of the more easily accessed Miners Castle. Those willing to drive the gravel access road to the Chapel Rock trailhead are rewarded with remarkable beauty—and small crowds."

2. Old Town Lansing

"Save Michigan’s State Capitol tour for another day. Instead, head to Old Town, the site of Lansing’s original Grand River settlement. The mid-19th-century town flourishes today as a commercial district home to art galleries and independently-owned restaurants, antique shops and live music."

3. Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground

"Michigan’s Upper Peninsula isn’t the only place you’ll find Instagram-worthy waterfalls. Head to the Ocqueoc Falls, 40 miles down the Lake Huron shore from Cheboygan, for a northern Michigan getaway and a view of the largest falls in the Lower Peninsula. Hikers and bikers can explore the state forest along a network of trails and wrap up the day around the campfire."

4. Meyer May House

"Designed by architectural mastermind Frank Lloyd Wright, the Meyer May House was commissioned by Grand Rapids-based clothier Meyer S. May in 1908 and ranks as the most completely restored of Wright’s buildings."

5. Detroit's "Little Venice"

"The narrow Detroit River canals that slice into Detroit’s eastern neighborhoods, sometimes called the city’s “Little Venice,” reveal a rare look at Prohibition-era Detroit, when ruthless bootleggers and the city’s Purple Gang moved shipments of illegal booze from Canada into an alcohol-free America. The canals are best explored from the water with outfitters such as Riverside Kayak Connection."

6. Arcadia Dunes

"In a stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline dominated by the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Arcadia Dunes receive little attention. But they’re worth a visit. The picture-perfect, golden sand dunes and cool forests are home to 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, boardwalks suitable for slow walkers and strollers, great vast meadows of wildflowers and an observation deck with incredible views of Lake Michigan."

7. Kitch-iti-kipi

"“The Big Spring” in English, Kitch-iti-kipi lies off the beaten path in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula within Palms Book State Park. The natural freshwater spring ranks as Michigan’s largest at 200 feet across and 40 feet deep, the waters continually refreshed by underwater fissures that emit 10,000 gallons of water per minute."

8. Gilmore Car Museum

"With more than 400 vehicles on display, North America’s largest automobile museum occupies 90 acres in the tiny community of Hickory Corners near Kalamazoo. Rare vehicles, from pre-Model T vehicles of the late 1800s to the muscle cars of the 1960s and ‘70s, from steam-powered automobiles to vintage toy pedal cars and classic motorcycles, occupy a dozen buildings on the museum’s property."

9. Motawi Tileworks

"Using locally-sourced clay and glazes, Ann Arbor-based Motawi Tileworks handcrafts decorative ceramic tiles following designs of the early 20th century. Finely-made tiles depict birds and forest scenes, flowers and geometrical patterns reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Free tours allow a behind-the-scenes look at the lengthy process required to create the art tiles, and a showroom offers a chance to shop for souvenirs."

10. Les Cheneaux Islands

"Classically-restored Chris Craft boats and sea kayaks ply the waters of the Les Cheneaux Islands, a collection of 36 long, narrow, rocky islands in Michigan’s northern Lake Huron. Set some 30 miles north and east of the Mackinac Bridge just off the shore of Cedarville, the Les Cheneaux evoke coastal New England, where transportation is as often as not by water and summer cottages have been in the same families for generations. Settle into a homey family-owned inn and relax by the water to enjoy a hidden gem that has changed little in a century."

Check out the details on these hidden gems here.