Making an itinerary in the Great Lakes can be quite difficult as there are plenty of places to visit and things to do. If you want to try something different and want to see places that are unique and breathtaking, then you’re in the right place.

In today’s article, you will find some of the places you probably never knew existed in the Great Lakes region. Be sure to visit such places to make the most out of your trip.

1. Grand Marais

Grand Marais is a very historic village. In this hidden gem, you will be able to watch otters play, shop in different boutiques, wander through various galleries, and kayak under the Lake Superior cliffs.

On the other hand, the Grand Marais is the home of the oldest art colony in Minnesota. The place started as a summer refuge for various artists who wanted to study in the wilderness during the late 1940s.

2. Lake Michigan

Known as the second-biggest Great Lake, Lake Michigan is completely located in the US. The lake was surrounded by the states of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Millions of people are currently living on the shores of Lake Michigan, primarily in the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas. When you take buses from St. Paul to Chicago, you can easily find this one of the hidden gems in the Great Lakes. Though there is a big population in this place it is very easy to find. It is one of the perfect places to visit if you want to go to a camp.

3. Madeline

Along Wisconsin’s Lake Superior, Madeline Island is the biggest of the Apostle Islands. You can ride a ferry boat through the island and head to Big Bay State Park where you can surely enjoy different activities such as rock climbing, hiking, swimming, camping, and kayaking. Aside from that, you will also enjoy sumptuous meals such as trout liver and fish boils as the ferry is close to the First Inn Street and Greunke’s Restaurant.

4. Isle Royale National Park

Next on the list of hidden gems in the Great Lakes region that you need to see is the Isle Royale National Park. While it’s one of the least enumerated national parks, it’s one of the most revisited. It’s one of the best spots in the Midwest to see moose that has rocky Lake Superior beach and amazing backpacking trails. But at 15 miles from the closest mainland, this place is only accessible by floatplane or boat.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, paddler, or backpacker, you will definitely enjoy the Isle Royale National Park. Known as the real crown of the Great lakes, this place is indeed full of hidden gems.

5. Grand Portage National Monument

Just a few miles from the border of Canada, Grand Portage National Monument is another hidden gem to visit in case you have a trip to the Great Lakes. It’s actually home to the biggest collections of Anishinaabe or Ojibwe artifacts and art all over the world.

One of the best things about this spot is that it is free to visit and it’s located just right on Lake Superior. For your information, the Grand Portage National Monument is a partnership between the National Parks Service and the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe. The reason why they made this partnership is to protect and at the same time sustain the culture of Ojibwe.

As of the moment, it’s not just an interesting place to learn more about the culture of Ojibwe, but also experience waterfalls on the Grand Portage Reservation and hiking trails.

6. Sleeping Bear Dunes 

Located close to Traverse City in Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the best places to paddle and hike. This hidden gem has bright sand and clear water beaches that compete with the Caribbean. The Dune Climb, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, and Empire Bluffs Trail are only a few of the many trails found in Sleeping Bear Dunes.

7. Door Peninsula

The Door Peninsula is a hidden gem that separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. The place is also known for its 300 miles of attractive shoreline as well as apple and cherry orchards.

While it’s home to eleven lighthouses, know that the passage connecting it and neighboring Washington Island to the remaining part of Lake Michigan is called the ‘Death’s Door’. It is because there is a significant number of ships that have been in trouble in the risky waters.

On the other hand, the five parks of the peninsula, known as the ‘5 jewels in the crown’ can offer a great opportunity for swimming, cycling, fishing, and walking in attractive surroundings.


As you can see, the Great Lakes is surrounded by many hidden gems. So, if you’re planning to go on a trip with your family or friends, be sure to include them on your list.