9 Best Michigan Wildlife Viewing Destinations near B&B’s

Elk in Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area
Northern Michigan Elk

What makes Michigan Special for Wildlife Viewing

Michigan is located in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwest and is a sought-after tourist destination for wildlife viewing. The temperate state of Pure Michigan includes many lakes, nutrient-rich grasslands, freshwater coastal dunes, and immense forests, providing the perfect habitat for wildlife. There are many conservation efforts to protect the exciting fauna in Michigan, including conservation land, animal sanctuaries, state parks, and wildlife areas. Read on to learn about all the Best Michigan Wildlife Viewing Destinations and the Best Michigan Bed and Breakfasts to stay close by.

Bald eagle
Bald Eagle on the shores of Michigan

9 of our favorite places to see Michigan Wildlife Viewing

Michigan, often referred to as the  “Great Lakes State” serves as a vital habitat for many interesting species, including black bears, eastern gray wolves, deer, moose, bobcats, and migratory birds. Below are some of our favorite destinations to visit to see this wildlife up close and the Michigan Bed and Breakfasts close by.

  1. Port Huron State Game Area-Kimball

If you are a birdwatcher, you’ll want to grab your binoculars and head to the southeast part of Michigan to visit the Port Huron State Game Area. The Port Huron Game Area includes over 7,000 acres and lies along the Black River in St. Clair County. An abundance of natural grasslands helps preserve water and air quality and provides a natural habitat for all to enjoy. Here you will find deer, wild turkey, squirrels, rabbits, woodcock, and the occasional ruffed grouse in the forest; Along the river, cerulean warblers, Louisiana waterthrushes, and hooded warblers can be found in the spring and summer; The floodplains and wetlands along the river give wood ducks and mallards nesting and roosting places; The grasslands of the game area offer excellent habitat for ring-necked pheasants, field sparrows, willow flycatchers, deer, wild turkeys, Henslow’s sparrows, and upland sandpipers.

Best  Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Maple Cove Bed and Breakfast
Photo credit: Maple Cove Bed and Breakfast

 

 

Rufous Hummingbird
The Rufous Hummingbird
Photo credit: Audubon Action Center

 

2. Pte. Mouille State Game Area- Rockwood

This is one of the top bird-watching sites in Michigan and encompasses over 7,000 acres of hunting, recreational, and protected habitats for abundant waterfowl and shorebird migrations.  Here you will find rareties and not often seen wildlife. This Game Area is located at the mouth of the Huron River at Lake Erie and smaller outlying areas within the Detroit River.  Note: the site is closed from September-November and only open for waterfowl hunting.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Exterior of Robyn’s Inn
Photo credit: Robyn’s Inn

 

Canadian Geese near a lake
Canadian Geese

3. Allegan State Game Area- Allegan

The Allegan State Game Area is known for its abundance of and mass concentration of Canadian geese that assemble in the fall.  More than 100,000 geese will pass through the area each year.  The best roadside viewing is in the Fennville Farm Unit on the southwestern boundary of the property. This breathtaking area covers more than 50,000 acres of deciduous woodland, marshes, swamp, and woodland along the Kalamazoo River.

Best Bed and Breakfasts to stay nearby-

Exterior of Jade Estate Inn
Photo credit: Jade Estate

 

Kalamazoo House
Photo Credit: Kalamazoo House
Exterior of Kingsley House
Photo credit: Kingsley House

 

4. Huron-Manistee National Park- Mio

The Kirtland’s warbler breeds primarily in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.  The easiest way to see a Kirtland’s warbler is on tour, where there are two options:  the U.S. Forest Service runs tours (for a nominal fee) out of Mio, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service runs tours out of Grayling.  In addition to being taken to an area where up-close sightings are guaranteed, both tours provide interesting introductory programs on the natural history and conservation of this most unique of Michigan’s birds.  You’ll also see many other bird species on these tours as well.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Hanson House exterior
Hanson House in Grayling
Photo via Hanson House
  •  Hanson House– Grayling (Approximately 33 minutes away)

 

Sun shines on the front exterior of Always a Holiday B@B
Photo credit: Always a Holiday!

 

Huron House guest room

 

5. Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area-Pinconning 

This wildlife area is a bird lover’s paradise; With more than 1400 acres of wetlands and flooded cropland along the shoreline of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, this wildlife haven attracts many song and shoreline birds. The  Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area also includes interesting marsh nesting species, including least bitterns, American bitterns, black-crowned night-herons, Virginia rails, common moorhen, Caspian, and Forster’s terns.  Michigan’s most reliable breeding colony of yellow-headed blackbirds, a species typically found farther west, can be found here in spring and summer.  A pair of bald eagles have nested in the area as well.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Pohl Bison Bed and Breakfast exterior
Photo credit: Pohl Bison Bed and Breakfast

 

exterior of ginkgo tree inn
Photo credit: Ginkgo Tree Inn

 

Yellow fall leaves contrast with the blue of Saravilla’s exterior
Photo credit: Saravilla B & B

 

Historic Webster House
Photo credit: Historic Webster House

 

6. Saginaw Bay Birding Trail- Tawas State Park

On the Northeast Coast of Michigan, the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail is a fantastic place to see a large variety of birds. On the Sunrise Coast, it runs from Port Crescent State Park to Tawas Point State park, covering 142 miles. The distinct change in seasons and habitats makes it easier to see a variety of over 200 species of birds.

On a side note, this park has no light population, making for perfect stargazing. As a dark sky preserve, the best location to witness the twinkling stars is near the day-use parking lot, where you will also find a viewing platform.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Sun shines on the front exterior of Always a Holiday B@B
Photo credit: Always a Holiday!

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Trail
Sleeping Bears Dune Trail

7. Sleeping Bear Birding Trail- Sleeping Bay Dunes National Lakeshore

Heading over to the west side, the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail is another excellent place to visit if you love watching and examining different bird types. Stretching all 123 miles of the M-22 Highway, from Manistee to Traverse City, this trail is home to a diverse habitat and miles of shoreline. The Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird, has a home here due to the long sections of the beach.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Cottonwood Inn B&B in summer
Photo Credit: Cottonwood Inn

 

Exterior of Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast
Photo credit- Glen Arbor

 

8. Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1935, Seney National Wildlife Refuge was opened as a protection and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge area encompasses 95,238-acre of wilderness and is home to various species year-round.

Whether you would like to drive the self-guided auto tour, stop by the Visitor Center, walk the trails, go hunting or fishing, take photographs, canoe or kayak, you’ll enjoy yourself as you explore the area many species call home. From dawn to dusk, visitors can drive the Marshland Drive or walk the Pine Ridge Nature Trail to search the refuge pools for wildlife species. The Visitor Center and Marshland Drive are open daily each week from May 15 to October 15. However, the refuge is available to explore year-round.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby- the refuge is a vast expanse of land. We mentioned Big Bay Lighthouse as an excellent final destination when driving or spending time in the Refuge.

exterior view of Big Bay Lighthouse
Photo credit: Big Bay Lighthouse

 

9.  Pigeon River Country State Park- Brown City

Michigan is home to over 1,000 wild elk living in a 105,000-acre area in the northeast Lower Peninsula. The most popular time to view these majestic creatures is in the fall during the breeding season. The Pigeon River County State Park is the perfect destination to get a close-up view as they feed in the open grassy areas in this park. Additionally, you’ll also witness the especially vocal male elk sounds during this time of year.  Use the following guide to plan your Michigan Elk Siting Adventure-  elk viewing guide.

Best Bed and Breakfast to stay nearby-

Hanson House exterior
Hanson House in Grayling
Photo via Hanson House
  • Hanson House- Grayling (Approximately 32 minutes)

 

Exterior at House on the Hill

 

Exterior of Bellaire B&B
Photo credit: Inn at Breezy Hill Farms

 

Aerial view of Torch Lake B&B
Photo credit: Torch Lake Bed and Breakfast

 

Spring Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast
Photo credit: Spring Lighthouse B & B

 

What makes staying at a Bed and Breakfast so special?

Mixed berry stuffed French Toast

Shown above is the number one reason to choose bed and breakfast from the collection of Michigan Bed and Breakfast properties

  1. A delicious breakfast is included with your stay. Our innkeepers are culinary breakfast masters and love sharing a hearty breakfast with their guests.
  2. All of our properties are Quality Assured and inspected every three years. An independent reviewer has a 10-page checklist to ensure each property passes all aspects of safety, comfort, and other quality assurance measures.
  3. Enjoy the hospitality- each innkeeper loves what they do and is there to make sure your stay in #puremichigan is perfect!
  4. By #bookingdirect with each inn’s website, you are assured of the best selection and pricing and are privy to current promotions and specials.
  5. Experience the history, charm, and historic architecture of many Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association Inns.

Check out all of Michigan Bed and Breakfast properties here.

Explore the beautiful Great Lake State of Michigan and plan your visit around the nine best Michigan Wildlife Viewing areas. During your exploration, you will not be disappointed that you chose a “Lake to Lake” Bed and Breakfast property to stay at.