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If you’re trying to find a list of the best things to do in Michigan in summer, you’ve come to the right place!
Perhaps you’ve survived the winter and are anxiously awaiting those warmer months.
Well, no matter what type of activities you and your family members enjoy, this guide has you covered!
It’s packed with must-try, fun things to do in Michigan in the summer.
Use the Table of Contents above to jump to the sections you think fit your family best!
9 Adventurous Things to Do in Michigan in Summer
Michigan is a year-round outdoor lovers’ paradise that shines brightest in summer.
Here are nine adventurous things to do in Michigan in the summer!
1. Go Rock Climbing
Oak Park in Grand Ledge is the best spot in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan for climbing, boasting over 100 top rope climbing routes!
2. Surf the Great Lakes
I bet you don’t often think of surfing as an activity in Michigan, but don’t underestimate the vastness of the Great Lakes. All five lakes combined have thousands of miles of shark and salt-free shoreline!
The best surfing seasons for the Great Lakes are in the fall and winter, when the waves are the largest.
But the small waves of summer make it an excellent time to learn.
If you need to become more familiar with how to stay safe while surfing, head up to Empire and sign up for lessons at Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak.
✅ Best Spot to Surf in the Upper Peninsula: Marquette.
✅ Best Spot to Surf in the Lower Peninsula: Muskegon, Grand Haven, St. Joseph, and Empire (Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore).
3. Whitewater Raft the Menominee River
You also might not associate Michigan with class III and IV rapids, but the Menominee River that rides the Michigan and Wisconsin border does, in fact, have world-class whitewater rafting similar to what you’d find on the Colorado River!
It’s best to visit in late summer. The Menominee stays high when the water level on other rivers across the nation starts becoming low.
Check out rafting trips at Northwoods Adventures.
4. Dune Buggy Across Sand Dunes
There’s nothing like letting lose on the open sand in a dune buggy.
Michigan has over 300,000 acres of sand dunes; however, the 500-acre scramble area at Silver Lake State Park is the only area in Michigan you can traverse on your own in an off-road vehicle.
Want to hit the sand but don’t own a dune buggy? Silver Lake Buggy Rentals has you covered.
5. ORV or ATV on Drummond Island
Is sand not your thing? Are you more interested in getting muddy and traversing rock ridges amid forests, wildflowers, and wildlife?
Then you must check out the state’s most extensive closed-loop trail system on Drummond Island, with over 100 miles of ATV trails and ORV routes.
There’s something for everyone, whether you’re brand new to the adventure or you’ve been ORVing for years.
6. Dive Among Shipwrecks
In the summer, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary places mooring buoys at over 30 shipwrecks along the northeastern edge of the lower peninsula of Michigan.
Boat out to one of the buoys and scuba amongst a collection of shipwrecks from over the last two hundred years of commercial shipping on the Great Lakes.
Not certified in scuba? Lots of the shipwrecks are shallow enough to snorkel!
7. Take a Ride Down Michigan’s Only Alpine Slide
While there, make an all-day fun-filled adventure for the whole family, enjoying the pool and water playground, climbing wall, adventure course, laser tag, disc golf, and more!
8. Mountain Bike the Copper Harbor Trails
The Copper Harbor Trails contain 37 miles of cross-country, downhill, jump, and flow singletrack mountain biking trails within the ruggedly beautiful and quiet Upper Peninsula setting that will surely get any mountain biker’s heart pumping.
9. Look Through the SkyBridge’s Glass Floor
Reasonably new to Michigan is the SkyBridge at Boyne Mountain Resort, which opened in the fall of 2022. It is the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge, coming in at 1200 feet long, 118 feet high, and 5 feet wide, complete with glass flooring to see all the way down in the middle of the bridge.
Those adventurous enough to tackle the heights will be presented with panoramic valley views between the McLouth and Disciples Ridge mountain peaks.
6 Off-Grid Places to Explore in Michigan in Summer
The mitten state is full of hidden gems.
Why not get off the beaten path when considering summer destinations in Michigan?
Here are six off-grid places worth exploring.
10. Kayak Camp through an isolated National Park
“Kayakers on Tobin Harbor. Rock Harbor, Isle Royale National Park, Michigan” by Corvair Owner is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .
Isle Royale National Park was the fifth least visited National Park in 2022, with just over 25,000 visitors.
However, this park is not low in guests because it lacks beauty or adventure. It’s because:
1️⃣ Isle Royale National Park is closed for part of the year, only being open from April 16th – October 31st annually.
2️⃣ You can only reach the National Park via private boat, seaplane, or ferry.
Those bold enough to make the journey are treated to 165 miles of trails, 36 backcountry campgrounds, and plenty of wildlife spottings, including possibly seeing moose, beaver, otter, and wolves!
11. Swim at Michigan’s most remote State Park
Craig Lake State Park in Champion is Michigan’s most remote state park.
If you like hiking, swimming in lakes, and looking for moose in secluded backwoods, Criag Lakes’ 9,700 acres are waiting for you!
It’s one of only three Michigan state parks with reservation-only backcountry camping, so be sure to get those reservations early. They also have yurts and cabins that are rentable.
12. Backcountry Camp on an Island amongst the Dunes
North and South Manitou Islands are part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Maple City, run by the National Parks Service.
Camping is allowed on both islands, with backcountry camping on North Manitou and designated reservation camping on South Manitou.
Both islands have plenty of dunes and hiking. Each one even has a ghost town to visit as well.
When heading to the islands, add some extra time to explore the Fishtown historic fishing district in Leland, where the ferry service that runs to the islands is located.
13. Stay in a Rental on one of these two Sleepy Islands
Bois Blanc Island
If you’re looking for access to a few amenities while still being off-grid, Bois Blanc Island is worth your consideration.
This island prides itself on being a peaceful place where people coexist with nature and live at a slower pace.
Over half of the island is a forest preserve owned by the state.
The island boasts one general store, restaurant, and tavern, less than 100 year-round residents, and a couple of hundred summer visitors and residents.
Another semi-remote rental house option is Beaver Island.
Beaver Island is one step up in civilization from Bois Blanc Island while still being reasonably off-grid.
This island has a year-round population of 600 people. Amenities on the island include a health center, grocery store, hardware store, spa, convenience stores, gas stations, and other businesses and restaurants.
14. Camp or Rent a Cabin on an Island that’s entirely a National Recreation Area
This island is an outdoor adventurer’s dream, with no paved roads, over 40 miles of biking and hiking trails, ample opportunities for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and canoeing, dazzling scenery of the sandstone cliffs of the area, old-growth forests, and beaches abound.
There are no paved roads on the island, and no vehicles are allowed except for the summer tour bus. You can camp or stay in a cabin while there.
15. Meander a Deserted Island
Lastly, if you’re looking for a bushwacking hiking adventure where you’re almost guaranteed to see no one else, Garden Island, the next island north of Beaver Island, is the place to be.
The island is unoccupied, making it the most off-the-grid place in this lineup.
There is an abandoned post office from the brief time a town named Success, Michigan, was established on the island, along with an Indian burial ground where it’s estimated thousands have been buried.
Deer, rabbit, coyote, partridge, and nonpoisonous snakes inhabit the island, and it is covered in poison ivy, so bring appropriate protection.
7 Incredible Hikes to Traverse in Michigan in Summer
Michigan is a trail trekker’s paradise with 1712 trails on AllTrails for hiking alone.
Here are seven of the state’s most beloved trails:
16. Empire Bluff Trail
The Empire Bluff Trail passes through a forest, leading to a coastal bluff with iconic Michigan dune views. This trek has a few climbs, but the views over Lake Michigan make them worth it.
- Alltrails Rank: #2 in Michigan
- Distance: 1.5 miles
- Route Type: Out & Back
- Elevation Gain: 170 Feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 36 minutes
- Pet-Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed.
- Parking: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore charges a $25 per vehicle fee to enter this area.
17. Pyramid Point Trail
The Pyramid Point Trail is a shorter, more accessible option that still provides epic views of the sand dunes and Lake Michigan.
- Alltrails Rank: #20 in Michigan
- Distance: 1 mile
- Route Type: Out & Back
- Elevation Gain: 226 Feet
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: 31 minutes
- Pet-Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed.
- Parking: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore charges a $25 per vehicle fee to enter this area.
18. Manistee River Loop Trail
According to Alltrails, the Manistee River Loop Trail is considered “one of the best backpacking trails in Lower Michigan.” On this trail, you’ll wander rolling hills, pass through wetlands, cross bridges over creeks, see a waterfall, and encounter countless spots for dispersed camping.
- Alltrails Rank: #4 in Michigan
- Distance: 19.2 miles
- Route Type: Loop
- Elevation Gain: 1,824 Feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 7.5 hours. Great for a weekend backpacking trip.
- Pet-Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed.
- Parking: Multiple access points. The Upper River Trailhead parking area is the least busy in summer. Visit Manistee County’s website for the best tips on hiking this route.
19. Sugarloaf Moutain
Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most popular trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Follow the rocky trail and staircases to gorgeous elevated views of the shoreline and Lake Superior.
- Alltrails Rank: #8 in Michigan
- Distance: 1.4 miles
- Route Type: Loop
- Elevation Gain: 295 Feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 42 minutes
- Pet-Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed.
- Parking: There is a parking lot at the trailhead.
20. AuSable River Trail
The AuSable River Trail is for those looking to be lost amongst the trees. The AuSable River Trail is an easy trail comprised of densely packed old-growth pine trees, wooden bridge crossings, and views of a crystal-clear river.
This under-the-radar trail is often referred to as one of the best trails in Michigan by those “in the know.”
- Alltrails Rank: #161 in Michigan
- Distance: 3.2 miles
- Route Type: Loop
- Elevation Gain: 88 Feet
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: 1 hour
- Pet-Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed and may be off-leash in some sections of the trail.
- Parking: Paved parking lot at the trailhead. Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry.
21. Mosquito Falls and Chapel Falls via Chapel Loop
This epically beautiful Mosquito Falls and Chapel Falls via Chapel Loop Trail is ranked #1 in Michigan for a few reasons:
- It has cliff-edge views of Lake Superior along the route.
- The loop passes by two waterfalls: Mosquito Falls and Chapel Falls.
- The path also stops at two beaches: Mosquito Beach and Chapel Beach.
This ten-mile hike can be done in under four hours but is worthy of a full-day adventure.
- Alltrails Rank: #1 in Michigan
- Distance: 10.2 miles
- Route Type: Loop
- Elevation Gain: 754 Feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 3.75 hours
- Pet-Friendly: Dogs are not allowed.
- Parking: Large parking area at the trailhead.
22. Escarpment Trail
Arguably the most popular trail in “the Porkies,” the Escarpment Trail is a challenging trail that rewards you with beautiful views overlooking the area’s mountains as well as the state park’s most visited attraction – the Lake of the Clouds.
- Alltrails Rank: #21 in Michigan
- Distance: 8.4 miles
- Route Type: Out & Back
- Elevation Gain: 1,666 Feet
- Difficulty: Hard
- Duration: 4.25 hours
- Pet-Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed.
- Parking: Three trailhead entrances with parking areas. The Lake of the Clouds parking area will be most busy. Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry.
3 Incredible Road Bike Paths Worth Riding in Michigan in Summer
23. Mackinac Island Outer Loop
Don’t go to Michigan and miss out on Mackinac Island; you’ll be bummed!
As a matter of fact, in 2022, Travel & Leisure readers ranked Mackinac Island the “#1 Island in the Continental US.”
It’s not hard to see why. Mackinac’s old-school charm is hard to compare to anywhere else. With no cars, chain hotels, historical significance, and miles of biking paths, it truly is one of a kind.
This bike path is Mackinac Island’s 8-mile outer loop. It is undoubtedly the most popular path on the island. With almost no elevation gain (88 ft) and beautiful views the entire time, it’s no wonder why.
However, keep exploring if you can. Over eighty percent of the island is a state historic park, making the island full of less explored biking opportunities.
24. The Detroit International RiverWalk & The Dequindre Cut
Detroit’s 3.5-mile riverwalk, which can be walked or biked, is sprinkled with ample opportunities for summer fun, including splash fountains, parks, restaurants, and a carousel highlighting animals from the Detroit River area.
Day or night, this path will reward you with international views of the Detroit River, Detroit, and Windsor.
Also, near the middle of the riverwalk, it connects to the Dequindre Cut, a 1.65-mile greenway that can be taken to Eastern Market.
25. The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail
The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail is almost 93 miles long, making it Michigan’s second-longest rail trail.
The bike trail goes through the 16 towns the rail line used to accommodate, starting in Grand Rapids and ending in Cadillac.
These towns offer ample opportunities for rest and meals, making this trail a great way to explore much of the forest, farms, and communities West Michigan provides.
7 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer on the Lakes & Rivers
With over 11,000 inland lakes and over 50,000 miles of river, there’s no denying it, Michigan has a tremendous amount of water!
And all that water is best enjoyed when it’s warmest during the summer months.
While there are endless water activities and spots to be enjoyed in the state, these seven activities are worthy of every Michigander’s bucket list.
26. Sail Among an Archipelago
The Les Cheneaux Islands along Lake Huron in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula are notorious for being a sailor’s delight providing quiet channels with stunning scenery, plentiful white sand beaches, and sheltered bays.
If you need to get sailor ready, why not sign up for summer lessons from one of these ASA-certified schools?
27. Paddle a Canoe Trail
The Hamlin Lake Canoe Trail in Ludington State Park is a four-mile marked water trail perfect for kayakers and canoeists alike.
Along this trail, it’s not uncommon to see carp, ducks, geese, and herons.
Rental options are available at the trailhead if you need a water vessel.
You can also sign up for guided canoe trips with a Michigan DNR specialist on this trail at Dune Grass Concessions.
28. Kayak Michigan’s Thumb Coast
A kayaking trip to Turnip Rock near Port Austin should be on everyone’s Michigan bucket lists.
Along the way, you’ll also see sea caves and Thumbnail Point.
Be sure to spend some time in the quaint Michigan vacation destination of Port Austin while you’re in the area.
29. Tube the Rogue River
Gently floating down a river in a tube with your friends and a cold drink is an excellent way to cool off during those hot summer days and a Michigan rite of passage.
If you float the Rogue River with AAA Canoe Rental, you can rent inner tubes for either a two or four-hour float, with the trip ending in downtown Rockford, which is an excellent spot for dinner and drinks along the river’s edge!
Other popular tubing rivers in Michigan include the Chippewa, Thornapple, Muskegon, Huron, Rifle, AuSable, White, Pine, Big Manistee, Betsie, Manistee, Lower Platte, Sturgeon, Cedar, Manistique, AuTrain, and Menominee Rivers.
30. Swim in the clear Caribbean-looking Torch Lake
Crystal-clear water and abundant sandbar space make Torch Lake epically beautiful and fun!
If the drive to Torch Lake is too far north, Higgins Lake is another deep, clear lake worth considering.
31. Fish for Bass in a Top 10 Bassmaster-ranked Lake
Lake St. Clair is known to be one of the best spots in the United States to catch smallmouth bass, sometimes even topping Bassmaster Magazines’ list of best bass fishing lakes in the world.
Anglers are allowed to catch and release largemouth and smallmouth bass year-round on the United States side of this lake.
Catch and keep season starts this year on June 17th and runs until December 31st.
This lake has plentiful boat charter options if you don’t have a boat of your own.
Other popular fish to be caught in Michigan throughout the year include trout, catfish, walleye, crappie, salmon, perch, muskie, pike, panfish, and sunfish.
32. Rent a boat to see Pictured Rocks
The beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is best seen from the water.
If you have a boat, bring it with you, you’re going to want to put that bad boy in the water up there.
If you do not, there are many options available for all budgets to get out there and see the stunning waterfalls and cliffs that cover the coastline in this area.
💲 The cheapest option is going on one of the authorized concessioner boat tours.
💲💲 For a bit more, you can go on the speedy powerboat tours.
💲💲💲 At a pricer cost, yet also more adventurous, there are kayak tours.
💲💲💲 However, if you don’t have a boat and there are two or more in your party, there is one more option. Why not rent your own personal pontoon? A half-day rental with Seaberg Pontoon Rentals is equal to the cost of two people taking a kayaking tour.
Sidenote: I cannot recommend this pontoon option enough. We had one of the best days of our life on our pontoon rental!
We stopped in a cove with other boats and went for a swim near a waterfall, and I kayaked in my own inflatable kayak along some of the prettiest spots on the coast for no additional cost!
4 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for Beach Lovers
It’s hard to beat summer on a Michigan beach.
Temperatures are warm but not sweltering like the rest of the United States.
Michigan also has the longest freshwater coastline in the US, with over 3,000 miles of shoreline, tons of those miles boasting sandy beaches.
33. Spend a week in a West Michigan Lake Town
Holland, Grand Haven, South Haven, Muskegon, Saugatuck, St. Joseph, and Traverse City.
What do all of the below places have in common?
They are all lovely Lake Michigan beach towns found along the coast of West Michigan.
You can’t go wrong spending time at any of them.
Each one has its unique small-town charm, and you’ll surely find great shopping, delicious craft beer, lighthouses, and striking sunsets at every one of these towns.
34. Visit a State Park with a Beach
There are 85 state parks in Michigan with water access!
Some of the most beloved Michigan state parks with beaches include Warren Dunes State Park, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Tawas Point State Park, Petoskey State Park, Leelanau State Park, Ludington State Park, and Grand Haven State Park.
35. Stay at a Lighthouse
Point Betsie Lighthouse offers a more exclusive experience with week-long stays in the summer in the entire Keeper’s Quarters for one group of up to six people.
On the other hand, Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast has seven rooms that are rentable nightly throughout the summer and a few more amenities, including an on-site massage hut.
36. Live and Work at a Lighthouse
Spend a month caring for one of Michigan’s historic lighthouses while living in your own space on the property.
You can apply to the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Guest Keeper’s Program if you have an RV to live in.
Nearby are hiking and biking trails into the center of Rogers City, dunes to scramble, lake access, and even a century-old shipwreck that has washed ashore.
4 Fantastic State Parks to Visit in Michigan in Summer
Michigan hosts over 350,000 acres of state park land.
With 243 state parks, recreation areas, and state forest campgrounds, there are plenty of options; however, these are a few of the most popular:
37. Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, located atop the Keweenaw Peninsula in Copper Harbor, is an excellent spot to camp, learn and soak in the summer days.
They have a modern campground, two lighthouses, access to Lake Superior, Lake Fanny Hooe, and Lake Manganese, and a restored army outpost with a living history program that helps visitors experience what it was like for soldiers living at the fort in the 1800s.
38. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon is Michigan’s largest state park, and it’s a hiking and boating paradise.
Beautiful views, an old-growth forest, mountains, waterfalls, camping, and trails annually bring visitors to what is lovingly referred to as “the Porkies” by Michiganders.
39. Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise is home to a 200-foot-wide waterfall called Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.
After sightseeing at Upper Falls, head to Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub and get yourself one of their beer floats!
Then wrap up your afternoon and evening at Tahquamenon Falls’ Lower Falls, where you can swim and relax in the water.
If you’re still chomping at the bit for more waterfalls, here’s a map of 200 more just in the UP!
40. Tawas Point State Park
Tawas Point State Park, also known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” boasts lake-side camping, with ample opportunities for sailing, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
9 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for Urban Tourists
Only some people want all their adventures in the great outdoors.
Vacationers who want more city life and culture in their tourism will find plenty to entertain themselves in Michigan’s metropolises.
41. Visit the Motown Museum
Stand in the exact same spot musical artists such as The Supremes and The Temptations stood when recording albums in Studio A at Hitsville U.S.A., now known as the Motown Museum.
42. Laugh at the Fox Theatre
Originally a movie theatre, the ravishing Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit now functions as a performing arts center that’s home to musicals, concerts, family-friendly theatre, and comedy shows.
This summer, you can catch the Impractical Jokers there.
43. Enjoy a Broadway Show
Visit the Croswell Opera House, Michigan’s oldest theatre, for Broadway hits.
This summer, they’ll perform Jersey Boys, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and Mary Poppins!
44. Visit a Museum
There will always be rainy summer days, so having a few indoor things to do in Michigan in your back pocket is always a good idea.
Southwest Michigan also offers some fantastic museums, including the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
Lastly, why not check out Michigan’s State Capitol if you’re in South Central Michigan?
45. Paddle Detroit
Detroit River Sports features kayak and stand-up paddleboard tours of Detroit and nearby areas and islands via the Detroit River & Lake St. Clair.
Paddle options include trips down Detroit’s historic canals, sunset paddles with city views, tours that end with dinner at Coriander, full moon paddles, and even trips out to Belle Isle.
46. Tour Detroit via Bike
Wheelhouse Detroit has an eclectic variety of tours that touch on Detroit themes, ranging from 4 to 8 miles long.
Ride with their guides while learning about Detroit’s historical significance in topics such as the Underground Railroad and America’s Music Heritage.
47. Charter a Yacht
For those looking for the ultimate boujee Detroit experience, look no further than Infinity-Ovation Yacht Charters.
This company offers yacht trips along Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, with food and international views of both Detroit and Windsor.
If chartering an entire yacht seems a bit much, you can join them for a classy night out on one of their Summer Cruise Series trips.
48. Play in the Sand at Campus Martius Park
Campus Martius Park is a beautiful park that has won the International Urban Land Institute Urban Open Space Award.
It’s a lively meeting space in Detroit, with plenty of grassy areas, seating, and an outdoor fountain.
In the summer, they bring in sand and make half the area a beach! (And in the winter, it becomes an ice rink.)
It’s a great spot to grab a bite or beverage with friends in Detroit.
49. Leave Your Mark at Graffiti Alley
For the artistically inclined, Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor offers an outlet to leave your mark or snap an artsy selfie.
5 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for Car Enthusiasts
It was in Michigan that Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford changed the automotive industry with the assembly line process, making the state the birthplace of mass production in the American automotive industry.
There’s no better state in the union to experience car culture.
50. Drive a Model T
With your registration for the class, you’ll also receive admission to the car museum and go home with a certificate of completion.
51. Or Visit the Birthplace of the Model T
“File:Ford Piquette Avenue Plant – Model T Assortment.jpg” by Jackd�1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 .
If learning about the Model T sounds more up your alley than knowing how to drive one, take a trip to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum.
You can join a tour or freely peruse the museum focused on sharing “Detroit’s automotive heritage and spirit of innovation.”
52. Attend the Woodward Dream Cruise
If you restore historical vehicles, own one, or simply love looking at them, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Woodward Dream Cruise.
What started as a fundraiser for a soccer field in 1995 has turned into “The World’s Biggest Cruise,” attracting over one million car enthusiasts and 40,000 vehicles from all over the globe annually.
This cruise is a must-do event for many every summer.
53. Spend Father’s Day weekend at the Motor Muster
Every Father’s Day weekend, Greenfield Village hosts the Motor Muster, an auto show featuring historic cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and military vehicles from the 1930s to the 1970s.
The show prides itself on picking vehicles from owners who have put immense effort into preserving and restoring them. It also includes a “pass-in-review parade” where specialists speak to the history of each vehicle.
54. Tour Ford’s Truck Assembly Plant
The Ford Rouge Factory Tour is for you if you’re more inclined toward trucks.
Their self-guided factory tour takes a look back in time, at current sustainability practices implemented by Ford, and gives you a look at the Dearborn Truck Plant’s F-150 assembly line in action.
Watch a truck be built from beginning to end in one minute!
5 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for Sports Aficionados
It’s not news that summer and baseball go hand in hand, like ice cream and a cone.
Michigan has multiple baseball viewing opportunities but also a few other sports-related summer attractions worthy of your consideration.
55. Watch a Tigers Baseball Game at Comerica Park
Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers, is known for its baseball pod Ferris wheel, tiger carousel, and the lack of an upper deck in the outfield, giving it a spectacular view of downtown Detroit.
You can’t go wrong catching a Detroit Tigers game in this spectacular ballpark!
56. Or take in a Whitecaps Game at LMCU Ballpark
Or, if you’re visiting the west side of the state, you can take in a minor league West Michigan Whitecaps game instead at LMCU Ballpark.
57. Tour The Big House
“Michigan Stadium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .
While football’s on pause for the summer, take the opportunity to tour the largest collegiate stadium in the United States, Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor!
Tours include seeing the locker room, trying on parts of the uniform, passing through the tunnel out onto the field, throwing a ball into the end zone, and getting a photo on the 50-yard line.
58. Disc Golf at Flip City Disc Golf Park
Disc Golf is a big deal in Michigan! With 260 courses and 215 leagues, you can find a spot to play almost anywhere in the state.
However, both The Disc Golf Scene and UDisc rank Flip City Disc Golf Park as the best disc golf course, giving it an A+ rating and claiming it’s “One of the most beautiful courses you will ever play.”
59. Enjoy a race at the Michigan International Speedway
For the 2023 season, the Michigan International Speedway, or MIS, will host the FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race and the NASCAR Xfinity Series 250 race, among others.
Camping amidst the action is also popular. In fact, the speedway property is home to Michigan’s largest registered campground with nearly 10,000 campsites.
5 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for History Buffs
60. Fire a cannon at Fort Mackinac
(It should be noted you must reserve your date ahead of time and pay a $75 fee for this luxury.)
Even if firing the cannon isn’t of interest to you, you should still check out this fort along with the rest of Mackinac Island State Park.
Fort Mackinac has historical significance in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.
These days, the fort is lively with demonstrations, costumed interpreters, and buildings all set to evoke the feeling of stepping back in time to what it was like at the fort for soldiers and families in the 1880s.
61. Take a Day to learn about Freighters
Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to visit if you’d like to learn more about the cargo shipping industry of the Great Lakes.
With an abundance of tourism options in town, here are three great ways to learn more about freighters while in town:
Museum Ship Valley Camp
The Museum Ship Valley Camp is a fascinating historical steamship turned museum.
While aboard, you can not only get an idea of what life on a cargo ship is like but you’re also treated to hundreds of maritime artifacts placed throughout the ship’s cargo holds.
Soo Locks Visitor Center & Observation Deck
The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie are an engineering marvel created to lift and lower cargo ships between two of the great lakes – Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
In Soo Locks Park, you’ll find the Soo Locks Visitor Center, which hosts exhibits about the construction and operation of the locks, as well as an observation deck where you can watch freighters be raised and lowered with your own two eyes.
Soo Locks Boat Tour
“Going and coming, Soo Locks Visit, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan” by Tatiana12 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .
If looking at the Soo Locks isn’t cutting it, you can experience the locks up close and feel what it’s like firsthand to be lowered and raised in the Soo Locks on one of the Original Soo Locks Boat Tours.
As you look up at freighters cruising alongside you, you’ll feel like an ant.
62. See the Bell Lifted from the Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck
No visit to Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast is complete without a stop at The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Whitefish Point Light Station.
The museum focuses on teaching visitors about the dangers inherent to Lake Superior and documenting shipwrecks that have occurred in the area, including the Edmund Fitzgerald.
For those interested in learning more about the history of ships on the Great Lakes, also consider checking out Alpena’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
63. Explore a Ghost Town
Fayette Historic State Park is the site of a once-busy industrial community that now functions as a restored historic ghost town.
A tour throughout this park is rewarding with beautiful views and offers a glimpse of what it was like to live here in the late 19th century.
64. Visit the Museums of the Henry Ford
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation contains artifacts representing important moments throughout American history.
Popular exhibits include Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House, the bus Rosa Parks stood up for justice for all in, the rocking chair Abraham Lincoln sat in at Ford Theater on the night of his assassination, and a slew of historical presidential vehicles.
Greenfield Village is an outdoor space comprised of buildings of historical significance that have been removed from their original locations all over America and transplanted into the park’s 90 acres of space.
The village’s goal is to show what living and working through different times in America was like.
It has buildings ranging from the 17th century to the present day and is exceptionally interactive, with staff members acting out life from each period.
7 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for Foodies
Michigan has a few unique foods and food-related destinations you must taste and explore while in the area.
Here are seven ideas for Michigan visitors who like to plan their trip around food.
65. Shop at Eastern Market
Eastern Market in Detroit is much more than a spot to pick up your produce and flowers (although it is also fantastic for that)!
The area is also dotted with restaurants and spots to get a drink and an excellent place for enjoying art and shopping.
66. Dine in Detroit’s Most Up-and-Coming Neighborhood
The Corktown neighborhood of Detroit is the city’s oldest neighborhood as well as its most prominent rising star.
Those looking to be on the up and up will find an eclectic mix of fantastic dining options in this area.
Check out Eater’s recommendations here.
67. Stop by a U-Pick
U-picks in Michigan are often associated with apples, cider, donuts, and fall leaf peeping.
However, Michigan is rich in agricultural industry, making for plenty of summer fruit and flower U-pick options across the state too!
Here are a few options:
🍒 Cherries: Fruit Acres Farm & U-Pick in Coloma
🍓 Strawberries: Rowe’s Produce Farm in Ypsilanti
🔵 Wild Blueberries: Hiawatha National Forest in Gladstone
🔴 Raspberries: Slow Farm Organic in Ann Arbor
🍑 Peaches: Stover’s Farm in Berrien Springs
💜 Lavender: Lavender Hill Farm in Niles
68. Enjoy a Pasty
Pasties were first introduced to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the 1800s via Cornish miners coming to the area for work, and their influence has remained.
69. Find Your Favorite Mackinac Island Fudge
Tasty treats are a staple of any trip “up north.”
Every year, “fudgies” from all around ferry over to Mackinac Island to sample fudge and watch it be created on marble slabs.
Seven competitors currently sell fudge on the island, the original being Murdick’s.
Spend a day sampling the ever-popular chocolate from each one, so you can figure out your favorite fudge shop.
70. Experience a Coney Island Hotdog from both American & Lafayette Coney Island
Meat chili, white onions, and mustard have been a Michigan staple atop hot dogs since 1914.
While each restaurant is known to have its subtle differences, they are frequently acknowledged as the two best spots to get a Coney Island hotdog in Detroit.
After you’ve grabbed one from each spot, head over to the Lafayette Greens Garden next door (recently voted the best garden in Detroit) for a great place to sit and enjoy your coney dogs.
71. Drink a Vernor’s
Michigan pride for Vernor’s runs deep.
This delicious ginger ale beverage was created by a Detroit pharmacist, James Vernor, and became available to the public back in 1866, making it one of America’s oldest soft drinks.
An absolute must-do for your Michigan summer bucket list is ordering a Boston Cooler at any local ice cream shop — a Vernor’s and vanilla ice cream float.
4 Things to Do in Michigan in Summer for those who Enjoy Quality Beer, Wine & Cider
If you aren’t aware, Michigan is a paradise for those who love an excellent adult beverage.
72. Tour Founders
Grand Rapids, aka Beer City USA, is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys a beer!
And the Grand Rapids brewery that reigns king is Founders Brewing Co.
America’s fastest-growing microbrewery has evolved into a fortress throughout the last 20+ years. A tour of their facility will teach you about Founders’ history as a brewery and their brewing and packaging procedures.
Another honorable mention to visit while in Grand Rapids is Brewery Vivant, a chapel-turned-brewery that offers tours.
73. Go on a Leelanau Peninsula Bike Tasting Tour
The Leelanau Peninsula & Old Mission Peninsula possess many incredible breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cider houses.
An excellent bike trail and bus system (the Leelanau Trail, the TART, and the BATA) connects many of them, specifically in the Suttons Bay area, producing the perfect recipe for a fun day of biking and taste-testing Michigan’s finest adult beverages.
74. Experience a Bike and Kayak Brew Pub Tour
Another epic way to experience the mass amount of quality food and beverages in the Traverse City area is by going on one of The River Outfitters’ KaBrew bike and kayak tours.
These tours start with peddling on a cruiser bike from brew pub to brew pub. Then, after a quick lunch break, you switch to a kayak for the rest of your stops.
75. Explore one of the Many Beer, Wine & Spirits Trails or Join a Guided Tour
Michigan takes great pride in its local craft beer, wine, and spirits. Join one of these tours, depending on what area of Michigan you’ll be in:
9 Things To Do In Michigan in Summer for Families with Young Kids
76. Watch an Outdoor Movie at New Center Park
Free Friday night movies are shown in New Center Park in Detroit throughout the summer.
Grab your favorite lawn blanket and settle in for a movie under the stars with the whole family.
77. Visit Exotic Animals
Many wildlife viewing opportunities exist in Michigan, with over 20 aquariums, zoos, and wildlife sanctuaries.
The Detroit Zoo is the most popular and Michigan’s largest paid family attraction, with over 1.3 million annual visitors.
Prominent animals in the 200+ species that live at the zoo include four different species of penguins, polar bears, kangaroos, wallabies, grey wolves, and red pandas.
78. Raft Across Michigan’s Largest Freshwater Spring
And thrusting the crank-propelled raft across this freshwater spring will surely highlight any kid’s UP summer vacation.
As a lucky someone turns the giant wheel, the rest of the spectators are free to look 40 feet down at all the fish swimming in the crystal-clear water.
79. Watch Hot Air Balloons Soar
Every summer, Howell hosts the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest, where families can watch hot air balloons race during the day and glow at night.
The event is topped with entertainment, including a carnival and family fun tent.
80. Sail on a Pirate Ship
For some fun-filled pirate adventure on the water, sign the family up for one of these two sailing excursions:
PS: The Mackinac Island trip also has an adult-only Nauti Cruise for parents looking for some kid-free pirate fun.
81. Peruse Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is an outdoor sculpture park combined with a 158-acre botanical garden in Grand Rapids.
It’s easy to spend an entire day here no matter who you are, but if you’re looking for something to do with kids, the children’s garden possesses an impressive play area, including an incredible treehouse.
82. Make a Splash at Millenium Park
Millenium Park in Walker is the stuff urban park summer dreams are made of.
The park’s 1,400 acres make it one of the largest county parks in the country. Inside its borders, you can find 18 miles of trails and 6 miles of Grand River shoreline.
But for kids, the highlight of this park is the six-acre beach and splash pad area.
A summer season pass is $60 for a family and worth every penny!
83. Go on a Glass-bottom Boat Shipwreck Tour
Glass-bottom Boat Shipwreck Tours are an excellent way for kids to see the shipwrecks at the bottom of the Great Lakes without anyone getting wet.
84. Ride the Giant Slide at Belle Isle
Belle Isle Park is a 1.5-square-mile island park within the Detroit city limits.
It boasts a Nature Zoo, Great Lakes Museum, Conservatory, Aquarium, and even a giant slide you probably recognize from TikTok!
With so many things to do, it’s the perfect place to spend a day with the kids or on a date.
6 Things To Do In Michigan in Summer for Families with Teenagers
85. Ride Rollercoasters
Those looking for exhilaration in Michigan must book a trip to Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park and WildWater Adventure Waterpark.
The amusement park has 37 rides, more rides than any other park in the state.
Teenagers looking for speed will be satisfied with the thrill coasters Shivering Timbers and Thunderhawk.
And the waterpark has everything you could need for wet fun on a hot day.
86. Water Ski without a Boat
If WildWater Adventure Waterpark wasn’t enough, there are plenty of other waterparks worth checking out in Michigan.
Action Wake Park in Hudsonville is a full-size cable park, the first of its kind in the state.
Visitors can wakeboard, water ski, and kneeboard without a boat.
Also new for 2023 is the addition of an inflatable water playground!
87. Climb and Zip Amongst the Trees
The program focuses on “building friendships, strength, and confident adventurers.”
88. Ride the Dune
Mac Wood’s Dune Rides have been a family vacation favorite since 1930.
Guides take you on an exhilarating, picturesque 7-mile, 40-minute Silver Lake sand dunes tour.
89. Take a Trip to the Wild West
The Double JJ Ranch and Resort in Rothbury is a ranch-style resort nestled in the trees of West Michigan.
The resort features Old West activities like cattle drives, cowboy cookouts over an open fire, and an 1800s-themed town complete with a saloon, general store selling hand-dipped ice cream, and a jail.
They also have many modern-day amenities, including two 18-hole golf courses, an indoor and outdoor waterpark, equestrian activities, mini-golf, an arcade, and nature trails.
90. Spend a Day at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets
Sometimes we all need a good old-fashioned mall day, and with over 180 stores, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills has enough shopping available to please any teenager.
But Great Lakes Crossing isn’t just any old mall. They have a bit of something for everyone, including a movie theatre, carousel, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Peppa Pig World of Play, Bowling, and Michigan’s largest Aquarium, SEA LIFE.
11 Things To Do In Michigan in Summer for Couples
91. Stay at the Luxury Resort
A stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is always peaceful and relaxed. With no cars, afternoon tea, formal dining, nighttime dancing, and rocking chairs along the world’s longest porch, it’s easy to feel you’ve stepped back in time while here.
92. Spend a Night on the Lake in a Tug Boat
Looking for a more unique lodging option in Michigan?
Try a Tug Boat!
This one has fantastic reviews, is nestled within a beach town community, and is less than one hour from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Traverse City.
93. Have a Date Night on the Water
With so many lakes and rivers, why not spend an evening on the water with dinner and drinks?
🚤 Paddling Michigan’s Grand Island Dinner Cruise in Christmas (near Pictured Rocks)
🚤 The Holland Princess in Holland
94. Experience a Spooky Four Course Dinner at the Whitney
The historic home of David Whitney Jr., the Whitney in Detroit, Is now a spot for tea service, garden parties, paranormal tours, private dining, and champagne tours.
For $199 a person, you can go on the ultimate spooky summer date night, starting with a champagne tour of the mansion, a four-course dinner with drinks, and ending with a paranormal excursion throughout the property.
95. Tour one of Michigan’s Historic Homes
“Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .
One of Michigan’s most famous historic homes to tour is that of Edsel (son of Henry Ford) and Eleanor Ford, located in Grosse Pointe Shores. This mansion was designed by Albert Kahn and was styled after English Cotswold cottages.
Some other famous historic homes in Michigan include:
🏡 Honolulu House in Marshall, Michigan
🏡 Meyer May House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, restored by Steelcase) in Grand Rapids, Michigan
🏡 Saarinen House at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
🏡 Alden B. Dow Home & Studio in Midland, Michigan
🏡 Smith House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for middle-class school teachers) in Bloomfield Township, Michigan
🏡 Thompson House in Hudson, Michigan
🏡 W.K. Kellogg Manor House in Battle Creek, Michigan
🏡 Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan
🏡 Turner-Dodge House in Lansing, Michigan
🏡 Meadowbrook Hall & Gardens in Rochester Hills, Michigan
🏡 Cranbrook House & Gardens in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
🏡 Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix, Michigan (Privately owned, outside walking and car touring only.)
96. Or Tour and then stay the night in one of Michigan’s Historic Homes
The Hoatson House, now known as the Laurium Manor Inn in Laurium, is the largest mansion in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Thomas Hoatson Jr. hired architect Charles Maass to design the house in 1908 as a surprise for Thomas’ wife and children.
If you decide to stay the night after your mansion and grounds tour, the admission cost is deducted from your stay!
97. Plan a Date Night at a Historical Spot in Detroit
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge has been operating since 1934. It’s now known as “The World’s Oldest Jazz Club” and is a fantastic spot for a night of soul food and live music.
The Grand Trunk Pub
A restaurant now, the Grand Trunk Pub space once operated as a ticket station for the Grand Trunk Railway.
98. Take a Day Trip to a Noteworthy Garden
There are many gardens worthy of your time across Michigan, but here are a few of the best:
🌸 Windmill Island Gardens in Holland
🌸 W. J. Beal Botanical Gardens in East Lansing
🌸 Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor
🌸 The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City
🌸 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids (mentioned above)
🌸 Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek
🌸 Dow Gardens in Midland
99. Stargaze at one of Michigan’s Internationally Designated Sky Parks
Did you know Michigan has six dark sky preserves and three internationally designated dark sky parks?
Head to one of these three spots (with little light pollution) for epic night sky views:
Wanting to see the Northern Lights?
Your best bets for seeing them are between the end of August through the beginning of April.
Wanting to see summer meteor showers?
🌟 Delta Aquarids: July 29th-30th
🌟 Perseids: August 11th-13th
100. Take a Summer Trip to Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth is a popular Bavarian-themed town in Michigan that is most commonly associated with two things: Christmas and Chicken.
However, Frankenmuth is actually a great summer destination as well!
101. Hire a Private Horse Carriage on Mackinac Island
For $39 a person, you can also jump aboard one of Mackinac Island’s classic narrated group carriage tours.
But for those looking for a more romantic experience, book a private horse-drawn carriage experience for two.
3 Musical Events to Attend in Michigan in Summer
102. Dance at the Electric Forest Festival
“The Accidentals – Jubilee Stage Electric Forest Festival 2015” by TheAccidentals is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 .
The Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury is a four-day music festival in June located in the woods of West Michigan, focusing on electronic and jam band entertainment.
103. See an Outdoor Concert at Pine Knob
The Pine Knob Music Theatre is an outdoor amphitheater in Clarkston. It has a jam-packed schedule for the 2023 season with a little something for everyone.
Some of the performing acts stopping by include Tim McGraw, The Cure, Weezer, TLC, Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Snoop Dogg, Fall Out Boy, Kidz Bop, Nickelback, The Offspring, The Lumineers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Foreigner, Beck, Pentatonix, Alice Cooper, and more!
104. See a concert at Little Caesars Arena
In the summer, Little Caesars Arena, the home of the Detroit Red Wings & the Detroit Pistons, turns into an epic spot for music.
Performing acts stopping by this year include Paramore, Bryan Adams, Drake, and two Michigan natives – Madonna and Kid Rock.
Things to do in Michigan in June 2023
🎟 Palmer Park Art Fair, June 3rd-4th
🎟 Art on the Grand, June 3rd-4th
🎟 Lyon Township International Kite Festival, June 5th-6th
🎟 The Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival, June 8th-11th
🎟 Lilac Festival, June 9th-18th
🎟 Art, Beer and Wine Festival, June 10th
🎟 Motor Muster, June 17th-18th
🎟 Grand Haven Art Festival, June 23rd-25th
Events & Fun Things to Do in Michigan in July 2023
🎟 National Cherry Festival, July 1st-8th
🎟 Traverse City Film Festival
🎟 W.T. Rabe Stone Skipping Contest, July 4th
🎟 Art in the Park, July 7th-9th
🎟 Charlevoix Venetian Festival, July 15th-22nd
🎟 National Baby Food Festival, July 19th-22nd
🎟 Ann Arbor Art Fair, July 20th-22nd
🎟 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, July 22nd
🎟 Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, July 28th-August 6th
🎟 Orchard Lake Fine Art Show, July 29th-30th
Events & Things to Do in Michigan in August 2023
🎟 Belle Isle Art Fair, August 5th-6th
🎟 Motor City Car Crawl, August 5th-8th
🎟 Corvettes America Car Show, August 12th
🎟 Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show & Festival of Arts, August 12th
🎟 Great Lakes Surfing Festival, August 13th
🎟 Woodward Dream Cruise, August 19th
🎟 St. Clair Art Fair, August 19th-20th
🎟 Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, August 25th-27th
🎟 Hazel Park Art Fair, August 26th-27th
The Best Thing to Do in Michigan on Labor Day
🎟 Mackinac Bridge Walk, September 4th
Visiting Michigan in Summer: FAQs
Answers to a few questions I frequently get asked about Michigan in the summer.
Is Michigan a good place to visit in the summer?
Michigan is a fantastic place to visit in summer! While the rest of the United States is heating up, temperatures remain warm but cooler than in many other states.
Michigan is also a nature lovers’ paradise, full of adventures to be experienced in the great outdoors, especially on the water.
Is Michigan worth visiting?
Of course! Whether you’re looking for an urban area to explore or are more interested in the great outdoors, Michigan has something to please everyone’s interests.
What is Michigan’s number one tourist attraction?
What is the number one tourist city in Michigan?
Mackinac Island once again wins this title as well.
What is Michigan known for?
Lots of things!
✅ The Auto Industry
✅ Vernor’s, Fudge, Coney Island Hot Dogs, and Pasties
✅ Camping & Backpacking
Conclusion: Best Michigan Summer Activities
And those are the best things to do in Michigan in summer!
I hope this list has inspired you to add a few activities to your summer bucket list for 2023!
What’s on your list for this year?
Do you feel I missed something? I’d love to include it! Email me and let me know.