Friday Favorite: Michigan’s Scenic Shoreline Drives

By Dave Dempsey

photo by Lauren Hucek

Michigan has many candidates for the most scenic drive in America. In my mind, any road that offers remarkable water vistas should join the list. The first 40 miles of US-2 traveling west from St. Ignace are among the most spectacular in the country, as the road rises and falls, opening up views of a faraway horizon, but also close-ups of shallow, rippled pools and arching sand dunes. It is almost impossible not to stop, escape the roar of the engine, and breathe deep of a waterscape of ravishing beauty.

The path to Lake Michigan beckons just off US-2 west of Saint Ignace. Photo by Dave Dempsey

Even closer to my home, the drive from Traverse City to Northport rates national significance. Heading out of the city, M-22 soon parallels the shoreline, yielding glimpses of shimmering waves or ice floes. Later, it plays hide and seek with Grand Traverse Bay, darting toward and away from these scenic waters.

Some downstaters have told me that as they head north, they take their first deep breath as they leave farmland and major cities behind around Clare. I take a deep breath from the cares of everyday life as I pass Cherry Bend Road on M-22 North and see the panorama of one of the world’s great bays. Inevitably, I stop, if only for a moment, to behold the wonder.


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By Dave Dempsey