Weird Roadside Attractions in Michigan

Find something funky to see this year at these weird roadside attractions in Michigan.

Looking to hit the road and take the kids on a kooky adventure this summer? You don’t have to venture very far to treat them to an experience they’ll treasure for the rest of their lives. 

Michigan’s roads are dotted with all kinds of oddities and hidden treasures that kids will get a kick out of seeing.

From a giant tire along the freeway (yes, that one) to a historic statue of Paul Bunyon and a tunnel of trees, here are 11 weird roadside attractions in Michigan that you can — and frankly, should — visit with your kids. 

Note: Some of these attractions may be on private property. Check before you head out, and remember it’s never OK to climb on art installations unless there’s a sign that specifically says you can. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland

This year-round retail shop is any Christmas lovers paradise that features 27 acres trimmed with beautiful holiday displays. The store itself spans 96,000 square feet full of lights, decorations and Christmas gifts.  

 
 
 
 
 
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Dinosaur Gardens

Take a walk through a pre-historic jungle filled with scenes one might imagine came from Jurassic Park — without all the hungry T. rexes. Admission is $10 and kids under 3 are free. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

This educational hub honors the lives lost on our Great Lakes. Standout items at the museum include the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald, a full-sized replica of a Beebe-McClellan surfboat and a restored lighthouse keeper’s quarters. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for kids 5-17, and free for kids under 5. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Heidelberg Project

Local artist Tyree Guyton took the abandoned homes, vacant lot trash and broken down cars in this area and transformed it into artwork. The Heidelberg installation has been the victim of arson in recent years but you can still swing by and see some of the houses turned into art.  

 
 
 
 
 
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Musical Fountain

This fountain is 230-feet long and features colored lights and 1,300 nozzles as it entertains visitors with synchronized light, water and musical performances.

 
 
 
 
 
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Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Statue

We all know the tale of Paul Bunyan and his big, blue ox named Babe. In the 1940s, Paul N. Domke brought the story to life with a 25.5-foot statue of the lumberjack and a 10.5-foot version of his blue companion. Check it out, but remember climbing on either installation is a misdemeanor. 

 
 
 
 
 
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St. Ignace Mystery Spot

Is it magnets, construction or something supernatural that gives this spot its powers? No one knows. What we do know is that this spot has been denying all we know to be true since 1953. Admission is $9 ages 12 and older, $7 ages 5-11 and free under 5. 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Gates of Hell

Interested in a trip to Hell? Take Highway 36 through Pinckney and look for the signs to Hell. You’ll know you’re there when you reach the gate that says “Gates of Hell.” Other attractions in this town include the Locks of Love Bridge, Hell Hole Diner and the Creamatory at Screams. You can even become the mayor of Hell for a day. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Tunnel of Trees

Families that drive through this famous scenic stretch of road feel as though they’re entering into another realm as beautiful trees hug around on either side of them. It’s particularly gorgeous when the leaves change color but a must-see destination all year round.

 
 
 
 
 
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Uniroyal Tire

OK, OK. As Metro Detroiters, we’re sure you’ve seen this attraction before but as the world’s largest tire, we couldn’t leave it off. This 12-ton and 80-foot-tall tire served as a Ferris Wheel at the 1964 World’s Fair. It’s on private property but you can still enjoy it in all its glory as you drive on by.

 
 
 
 
 
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World’s Largest Weathervane

Weathervanes are typically mounted on top of structures and show the direction the wind is coming from. Michigan’s world’s largest version (there are others claiming to be bigger) stands at 48-feet-tall and features a lumber schooner on top that catches the wind with its sails. 

Do you know of other weird roadside attractions in Michigan? Share them with us in the comments. 

This post was originally published in 2020 and is updated regularly.


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