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Michigan is full of year-round travel destinations, but it’s an absolute paradise to be in during the summer season because there are so many fun ways to get outside, enjoy a festival, and keep the whole family entertained. People from all over the Midwest and from other parts of the country come here to soak up the pleasant weather and laid-back vibe. To inspire you for the summer season ahead, here are some of the best things to do in Michigan in the summer.
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Relax on a Beach
What Is It? Michigan has some amazing beaches that you’ll fall in love with this summer.
Why Do It? The lakeside beaches in Michigan offer lots of sand to relax on, water that’s warm enough for swimming, and endless recreation opportunities for boats, canoes, and kayaks.
Good to Know: Silver Beach in St. Joseph stretches 2,450 feet along Lake Michigan and is a summertime favorite because of its public swimming area and watersport rentals. Other great Michigan beach areas to check out include Esch Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Dune Beach at Leelanau State Park, and Ottawa Beach Parks in Holland.
Stay Overnight at a Local Glamping Spot
What Is It? Camping is a popular pastime in Michigan, but you don’t have to be rugged outdoorsman or sacrifice your comfort for an authentic experience in nature.
Why Do It? There are lots of fun ways to go glamping in Michigan. You can choose to stay in a cabin, luxury tent, yurt, treehouse, or pick any of the other unique venues.
Good to Know: Consider Rocky Top Farms in Ellsworth for different glamping options in this fruit-growing region of Michigan that’s known for its cherries. The Wild Cherry Resort, Paddlers Village, Mount Bohemia, and the Fields in South Haven are other glamping options that travelers love in Michigan.
Spend Time at Belle Isle
What Is It? One of the best things to do in the Detroit in the summer is to spend time at Belle Isle.
Why Do It? This island is off the Detroit shoreline and about a mile by three miles in size. There’s green space for walking, an aquarium, and a museum here.
Good to Know: Other ways to spend your time on Belle Isle include the golf range, zoo, and Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse.
Visit a Michigan Winery
What Is It? Michigan has a robust winemaking industry with lots of wonderful wines being produced each year.
Why Do It? In the summertime, it’s fun to visit a local winery and perhaps do a tour and tasting to learn more about the venue’s operations and specialties.
Good to Know: Popular wineries to plan your trip around include St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant in Buchanan, and Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery near Traverse City.
Hike in a Michigan State Park
What Is It? The state parks in Michigan are among the very best in the country if you enjoy hiking, camping, and water recreation.
Why Do It? With lots of trees to provide shade, you can hike in many parts of Michigan all throughout the summer even on the warmest of days. The various state parks here offer camping for tents and RVs, as well as opportunities to find solace in the backcountry.
Good to Know: Some parks have small museums and visitor centers where you can learn more about the area too. To enjoy the unique aspects of nature that Michigan has to offer, plan to visit as many state parks as you can, such as Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Muskegon State Park, Ludington State Park, and Maybury State Park.
Explore the Grand Rapids Museums
What Is It? On summer days when it is too hot, humid, or rainy to be outdoors, plan to spend some time at a fun and educational museum.
Why Do It? One of the best destinations in Michigan for museum-lovers is the family-friendly city of Grand Rapids.
Good to Know: Check out the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum while you’re here.
Photograph the Lighthouses
What Is It? Michigan is also known for its historic lighthouses, which provide picture-perfect backdrops for your photography pursuits in the summer.
Why Do It? One popular spot is the Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park. The 112-foot lighthouse is along Lake Michigan and offers tours, as well as a state park beach house nearby.
Good to Know: You can also visit the Point Betsie Lighthouse area in Frankfort, Michigan for beach and water access, as well as a semi-guided or self-guided tour of the lighthouse. The Tawas Point Lighthouse is another popular lighthouse destination that is along Lake Huron.
Celebrate the 4th of July
What Is It? The 4th of July holiday is a fun time to be in Michigan because of all the festive local celebrations that take place here.
Why Do It? Cities like Grand Rapids have impressive fireworks displays and other family festivities to attend. Meanwhile, small towns in Michigan are full of charm around Independence Day with their own parades, music concerts, food vendors, and fireworks.
Good to Know: For your 4th of July getaway, it’s fun to take a trip to Ann Arbor, South Haven, or Boyne City.
Take the Family to Mackinac Island
What Is It? Mackinac Island is a must-visit destination in Michigan in the summertime, especially if you’re looking for a family vacation or a romantic getaway.
Why Do It? This tourist spot has lots of restaurants, historic sites, shopping, and world-famous fudge. It’s fun to stay in a B&B here as you indulge your foodie side, get active on the trails and waterways, and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Good to Know: Horse-drawn carriage rides and fishing charters are also popular here.
Experience the Sand Dunes
What Is It? Michigan is home to numerous sand dunes that are open to the public and fun to climb, hike through, and even ride a sandboard down.
Why Do It? Anyone who is under the impression that Midwestern landscapes are boring and all the same clearly hasn’t explored the sand dune regions of Michigan.
Good to Know: Warren Dunes are close to Chicago and a fun place to play in the sand. Saugatuck Dunes State Park has dunes, a beach, hiking, and birdwatching opportunities.
Attend a Traverse City Festival
What Is It? Traverse City is a fun city in Michigan to visit in the summer because there’s always something exciting going on.
Why Do It? The Traverse City Film Festival is a summertime favorite that has been an annual tradition since 2005 and takes place in July and August.
Good to Know: This is also home to the famous National Cherry Festival that features over a week of food and family fun in July. Rosé Between the Bays on the Old Mission Peninsula and the Leland Wine & Food Festival are food-themed festivals in the area, while arts and craft fairs are popular here as well.
Stay at a Luxury Resort
What Is It? If camping isn’t your thing, then you’re in luck because Michigan also has some awesome luxury resorts that put you in fun places with all the amenities you could dream of.
Why Do It? To be near the coast, stay at the Bayshore Resort at Sleeping Bear Dunes in Traverse City.
Good to Know: The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Marina Grand Resort in New Buffalo, Lake Ranch Resort in Holland, and Lake Shore Resort in Saugatuck are all great resort options as well to treat yourself to a vacation getaway.
Enjoy a Zoo with the Kids
What Is It? If your little ones love animals, then definitely add a Michigan zoo to your summer itinerary.
Why Do It? There are several recommended zoos in the state that teach you and your kids about different species, habitats, and conservation efforts.
Good to Know: One zoo is the John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids, which also has a zip-line and sky trail ropes course. Meanwhile, the Detroit zoo has over 2,000 animals across 230 species and spans 125 acres of land.
Watch a Tigers Baseball Game
What Is It? Summertime is always a great time to be in Detroit if you love baseball.
Why Do It? The Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team plays at Comerica Park, which is a fun place to attend a game.
Good to Know: The park offers tours when there aren’t games scheduled as well. The park is also famous for its Ferris wheel and carousel. Check the team’s schedule online to see if a game is going on while you’ll be in town.
Cool Off Near a Waterfall
What Is It? Despite its northern location in the U.S., summers in Michigan can get pretty hot and steamy. One of the best ways to cool off is to hike in a shaded forest and feel the cool mist of a waterfall on your skin as you pass by.
Why Do It? Michigan is home to many stunning waterfalls that you can see while exploring the various state parks and natural areas.
Good to Know: One impressive waterfall is Tahquamenon Falls, which is one of the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River and surrounded by forests and streams.
Go for a Boat Ride
What Is It? There’s also just something fun and exciting about being on a boat in Michigan in the summer.
Why Do It? Fortunately, there is no shortage of places where you can take your own boat out on the water or rent one from a local marina.
Good to Know: Some of the top boating areas in the state are the Les Cheneaux Islands of Lake Huron, Torch Lake in Alden, Big Manistique Lake in Curtis, and Gull Lake in Battle Creek.