7 Fun Midwest Stops Off Interstate 75
Extending for 1,786 miles from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to West Miami, Florida, Interstate 75 is the only interstate in Michigan's Upper Peninsula; it's also a major north-south route for Midwesterners traveling to Georgia and Florida. The drive through Michigan and Ohio touches major cities like Detroit, Cincinnati and Dayton—and offers many opportunities to pull off the highway and enjoy a taste of the Midwest.
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Mackinaw City—Exit 339
From May through early October, tour the 1889 tower that helped ships navigate the treacherous Straits of Mackinac. See the restored keepers' quarters and the beacon's original lens, also in Michilimackinac State Park. A costumed interpreter demos the fog signal whistle. For a nautical view, take a boat cruise.
Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling—Exit 259
Marvel at white pines rising 160-plus feet above the floor of a 49-acre forest at Hartwick Pines. Hike the Old Growth Forest Foot Trail, which includes a logging museum a short distance from the visitors center. And look for the little log chapel in the woods. Campers love the well-equipped sites among the trees.
Zehnder's of Frankenmuth, Frankenmuth—Exit 136
Eat, play and be Bavarian in a family-friendly resort—and town—honoring Michigan's German heritage. Zehnder's restaurant is famous for fried chicken, but there's also a water park, hotel and golf course on the property. Explore the rest of the city to experience Alpine village-style architecture, food and hospitality.
The Henry Ford, Dearborn—Exit 41
Automaker Henry Ford's entrepreneurship was matched by his passion for collecting historical relics. His museum's trove rivals the Smithsonian's: Sit in the exact bus seat where Rosa Parks took a stand by staying seated, tour the Wright brothers' workshop, visit Thomas Edison's lab, and see the limo President Kennedy rode in through Dallas.
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo—Exit 203
The world-class collection drops some pretty impressive names (e.g., Picasso, Matisse and Monet) among 25,000-plus works in more than 40 galleries and a sculpture garden. The art is rivaled by the museum's architecture, especially the Glass Pavilion, where artisans turn fiery globs into blown-glass masterpieces.
Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Wapakoneta—Exit 111
Trace the small steps and giant leaps of Neil Armstrong—the first moon walker—at this museum in his hometown. Get all starry-eyed viewing spacecraft Armstrong flew, gear he wore and a rock he brought back from the moon. Try your hand simulating Armstrong's greatest piloting feat: landing the lunar module.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati—Exit 1B
A pen that once held enslaved Black people before they were auctioned helps tell one of many important stories here. The National Underground Railroad museum stands along the Ohio River, a former boundary between slavery and freedom. An eternal flame symbolizes the ongoing fight for freedoms everywhere.
Related: Top Things to Do in Cincinnati