Best Locations For Nature Photography In Michigan

Last Updated on April 8, 2021

Michigan offers some amazing nature photography opportunities. From the rolling hills of the Upper Peninsula to the lakeshore in Grand Haven, there are plenty of scenic locations to capture. But how do you decide which locations are best? The following travel photography post reviews some of our favorite spots for capturing Michigan’s natural beauty.

Top Michigan Natural Areas For Nature Photography

sunset over sleeping bear dunes michigan

1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Lighthouse Bay, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore)

Natural Features: Waterfalls, Upland Ruins, and Beaches.

Photographs: This national park in the Upper Peninsula offers breath-taking scenery of the rugged limestone cliffs known as “Pictured Rocks”. Although it can be crowded during the summer months, Pictured Rocks offers a pleasant alternative to more popular parks/sites.

2. Mackinac Island State Park (Mackinac Island)

Natural Features: Lake, beaches, forests, and waterfalls.

Photographs: This popular tourist destination on the Straits of Mackinac is a popular summer destination for families. While natural features such as lakeside forests and beaches are aplenty, there are also great opportunities to take photographs of the city’s beautiful architecture.

3. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Northwestern Upper Peninsula, Michigan)

Natural Features: Waterfalls, Upland Ruins, and Beaches.

Photographs: Porcupine Mountains offers spectacular scenery of rugged cliff faces and forested hills. It is within the Porcupine Mountains State Park, which contains some of the most scenic hiking trails in the state. Some choose to hike around the perimeter of the park.

4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Empire, Michigan)

Natural Features: Lakes, beaches, and dunes.

Photographs: This national park contains some of the most beautiful natural features in the state. Beaches at Platte Point are some of the best places to capture images of Lake Michigan waves crashing against rocky cliffs.

5. Isle Royale National Park (Lake Superior, Michigan)

Natural Features: Lakes & Beaches.

Photographs: This remote island is a must-see for photographers looking to capture a rugged landscape of cliffs, ice fields, and misty forests. Popular during the winter months for ice climbing and skiing, this northern island is much more appealing in the summer months.

7. Craig Lake State Park (Champion, Michigan)

Natural Features: Lakes and waterfalls.

Photographs: While Craig Lake State Park has its fair share of lakeside scenery with forests, beaches and waterfalls, it also provides photogenic views migratory birds and remote pristine waters. This is the largest state park in Michigan and is little known outside of backpackers, fishing enthusiast, and kayakers.

8. Grand Haven State Park (Grand Haven, Michigan)

Natural Features: Beaches and water.

Photographs: One of the most popular parks and beaches in the Midwest, Grand Haven offers scenic views of Lake Michigan, forested hills and a picturesque harbor.


Michigan is a state with some very beautiful natural areas. The best places for nature photography in Michigan are typically dependent on your personal interests and desired location. If you’re looking for state parks with the most photogenic nature, consider Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Porcupine Mountains and Isle Royale National Park. If you’re looking for locations to capture scenic views of Lake Michigan or the Straits of Mackinac, then consider Grand Haven State Park or Mackinac Island.