THIS JUST IN: 2020 brings national accolades for Michigan as top travel destination

Friday, January 10, 2020

In just the first two weeks of 2020, Michigan has garnered attention from several national publications as a premier travel destination

Boyne Mountain | Photo courtesy of Pure Michigan

In just the first two weeks of 2020, Michigan has garnered attention from several national publications as a premier travel destination. In “Where to Go in 2020: The Best Places to Travel This Year,” TripSavvy named Michigan as the best destination for outdoor enthusiasts on its hand-selected annual list of 19 places around the world that appeal to various types of travelers. The national travel website highlights a number of Michigan’s outdoor gems including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, The Tunnel of Trees along M-119, Tahquamenon Falls, and Pictured Rocks, among others. “With more than 19 million acres of forest and 3,000 miles of shoreline, Michigan is an underappreciated outdoor playground,” TripSavvy says.

Lake Superior | Photo courtesy of Pure Michigan

Travel + Leisure included the Great Lakes on its “50 Best Places to Travel in 2020” list, an annual compilation of the best vacation spots around the globe. Included among such far-flung locales as Barbados, Qatar, and New Zealand just to name a few, the Great Lakes were cited as the “next hot cruise destination,” with a number of new small cruise ships that provide travelers with ample opportunity to explore the Lakes’ abundant fresh water. Travel + Leisure Editor-in Chief Jacqueline Gifford also appeared on the Today Show to share the list, giving a shout-out to both the Great Lakes and Mackinac Island.

St. Joseph North Pier | Photo courtesy of Pure Michigan

Michigan was also in good company on Condé Nast Traveler’s “20 Best Places to Go in 2020” list, which featured Southwest Michigan as a top destination for travelers this year. Citing the area’s “ocean-like coastlines and a laid-back vibe,” Condé Nast highlights Southwest Michigan’s burgeoning agritourism industry, including the numerous beer-, cider- and winemakers in the region and the vibrant foodie scene. The Today Show also hosted Condé Nast contributing editor Mark Ellwood, who called Southwest Michigan “a little secret that the Midwest tries to keep from the rest of us.”

And the Chicago Tribune placed Beaver Island/Charlevoix, Jackson and Marquette on its “Best of the Midwest: 10 places to go in 2020” list of Midwest getaways. The list includes spots from six states that are a “mix of well-known spots and under-the-radar destinations” with most of them “within a six-hour drive of downtown Chicago.” The Northern Michigan communities of Beaver Island and Charlevoix were included for their natural appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, beachgoers, and stargazers, while Jackson’s rich history, downtown public art, and charming local eateries are a few of the reasons to visit the Southern Michigan city. And in another nod to Michigan’s vast outdoor assets, the Tribune recognizes Marquette, calling it “an ideal base to explore the broader region – an area long known for natural beauty.”

“These accolades reflect what we’ve known all along – Michigan is a state that features incredible natural spaces, authentic destinations, hidden gems, and unique experiences that appeal to travelers from around the country and the globe,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “First-time travelers who visit Michigan from other states and countries are always amazed by Michigan’s many attributes, and we’re pleased that national travel publications are sharing our message with their readers.”

Michigan truly is a four-season travel destination, with activities and attractions unmatched anywhere else. For more than 13 years, the award-winning Pure Michigan marketing campaign has showcased Michigan as a premier and unique travel destination, driving increased travel spending in the state. A study released in 2019 by SMARInsights highlights key insights into both the economic impact and the effectiveness of the campaign in motivating out-of-state trips to Michigan for leisure travel. It found that in 2018, more than 2.1 million trips were made to Michigan from outside of the state as a result of exposure to the Pure Michigan campaign. These visitors spent $2.5 billion in communities and local businesses across the state. The result of these trips and visitor spending was a return on investment (ROI) of $9.28 for the Pure Michigan campaign in 2018, compared to $8.99 in 2017.

For more information, your trip begins at

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.