March brings the welcome transition into spring across the state of Michigan. Here are my top recommendations for activities and attractions to enjoy this March to fully embrace the beauty of the mitten state.
1. Snowshoe Trails at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
While March heralds in spring, the month can still offer prime opportunities for snow sports and winter activities across northern Michigan before the snow fully melts later in April.
Located in the Upper Peninsula, this vast state park near Ontonagon is known as “the Porkies” and contains nearly 100 miles of wilderness trails that wind through the pristine forest.
I snowshoed along the 3 mile Summit Peak Trail last March and was rewarded with unbelievable panoramic views of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscape from the lookout point.
A recreation passport grants you access to the park’s winter trail system. Equipment like snowshoes, cross-country skis and boots can be rented at the trailhead from the visitor center. Trails are open daily but be sure to check snow conditions beforehand.
2. Glide Through Scenic Pinckney State Recreation Area
Just 30 minutes northwest of Ann Arbor, this park has beautifully groomed and maintained ski trails that wind through rolling wooded terrain. As a beginner cross-country skier, I stuck to the wide State Trail that forms a peaceful 3 mile loop, but more advanced trails extend over 17 miles.
Trails are open daily once adequate snow base develops. Daily or annual recreation passports are required for park entry. Equipment rentals and trail maps available at the warming hut.
3. Fred Knapp Maple Syrup Festival in Stanton
March is maple syrup production month across Michigan’s sugar bush farms. Take part in a heritage festival to learn how maple sap becomes sweet syrup. This family-owned farm in mid-Michigan offers educational demonstrations of traditional maple sugaring methods.
Tour their maple sugarbush in the forest via wagon ride to see the tapping and collection process firsthand. Then stop by their gold medal-winning sugarhouse and pancake restaurant.
4. Experience History at the Lebanon Maple Syrup Festival
Michigan’s oldest town, Lebanon brings its historic village buildings to life for a maple syrup celebration in late March.
Try horse-drawn wagon rides, sample pancake breakfasts, and see demonstrations of sap collection plus processing to finished syrup. The Hartwig Heritage Farm area distills syrup the old-fashioned way.
5. Plymouth’s Maple Syrup Festival
Plymouth’s weeklong maple extravaganza includes all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts at the Masonic Lodge, a maple syrup competition, and hands-on activities for kids like making maple sugar candy or taffy. You’ll gain an appreciation for the effort behind syrup production.
6. Indulge in Ice Cream at the MSU Dairy Store
Address: 474 S Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824
Sample Michigan’s finest ice cream at this working dairy plant inside Michigan State University’s campus. Their classic flavors like Cookie Dough Overload and Moose Tracks satisfy any sweet tooth. The store has an old-fashioned charm and plenty of seating. It’s cash only so come prepared.
7. Hike the Spring Awakening Trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes
One of my favorite outdoor activities in Michigan as winter transitions to spring is hiking across the scenic trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located along Lake Michigan near Empire, the park spans 35 miles of forested landscape dotted with towering dune formations.
In March, temperatures begin warming to comfortable hiking weather while the forests slowly start blossoming back to life. I’d recommend the 4-mile Cottonwood Trail loop that winds through the colorful Maple River valley over small footbridges surrounded by towering pines. Keep an eye out for eagles and deer along the path.
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is another excellent 7 mile hiking option as spring arrives. The road get closed to vehicular traffic in winter, creating peaceful walking along high dunes with panoramic lake overlooks.
No park pass is required for entrance. Be sure to stop by the visitor center for activity guidance and trail maps. Conditions can still be muddy, so wear appropriate footwear.
Wandering through Sleeping Bear’s tranquility as colors return to the forest and wildflowers slowly emerge created a serene hiking experience I’d highly recommend in March. Disconnecting from technology for a few hours while trekking over the towering dunes offered the perfect spring nature retreat.
8. Test Endurance on the Mackinac Bridge Run
Every March, runners get a unique opportunity to cross the iconic 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge on foot before it opens back up to vehicles for the season.
The annual Mackinac Bridge Run takes place on one weekend in March, allowing participants to experience the exhilarating challenge of running across the expansive bridge spanning Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
The start line is in St. Ignace, with runners crossing the entire length of the suspension bridge to Mackinaw City. It was an incredible feeling traversing the steep inclines of the bridge with sweeping water views all around.
The event is open to both competitive racers and casual runners. Aid stations are positioned along the route and a shuttle bus transports participants back over the bridge after finishing. Arriving well-rested and wearing proper running shoes and layers is key to an enjoyable crossing.
Completing the Mackinac Bridge run offered a fun physical challenge paired with scenic vistas. Crossing this Michigan icon on foot is an unforgettable March experience for any adventurous runner or athlete. The sense of accomplishment reaching the finish line is well worth the muscular burn!
9. Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides Through Holland’s Tulip Fields
A favorite springtime activity of mine is taking a peaceful horse-drawn carriage ride through the blossoming tulip fields surrounding Holland, Michigan. During their annual Tulip Time festival each May, Holland explodes with over 6 million vibrantly colored tulips planted across the town.
But the flowers begin emerging as early as late March and early April. To admire the initial blooms, I booked a private carriage ride through Holland Carriage Company. A team of handsome horses clips down the streets while the driver narrates interesting facts about Holland’s Dutch heritage and flowering bulbs.
The elegant carriages have blankets to keep you warm as you tour neighborhoods bursting with thousands of red, pink, yellow and purple tulips. The flower patterns and arrangements are meticulously planned each year. It feels like gliding through a live floral kaleidoscope.
Carriage rides can be booked for various occasions beyond the festival. But springtime rides specifically allow you to watch the gradual transformation into a colorful tulip wonderland. Gliding by the blossoms beside a loved one created treasured memories I’ll cherish.
10. Marvel at the Maple Sugaring Process Firsthand
One of my favorite ways to embrace the arrival of spring in Michigan is by attending maple sugaring demonstrations at countryside farms and orchards. Throughout March, many locations host events to showcase the traditional process of tapping maple trees to collect sap and produce sweet syrup.
I learned so much by watching the end-to-end process firsthand at events like the Manchester Maple Syrup Festival. We toured the sugarbush forests to see the taps drilled into maples collecting clear sap dripping into buckets. Then saw how it gets boiled down into syrup over wood-fired evaporators in the sugar shack.
The demonstrations let you gain an appreciation for just how much effort and precision goes into making real maple syrup. Being able to sample the sweet result directly from local producers makes it even more meaningful. The smell of sap boiling and maple treats like sugar cakes or taffy transport you to a charming era of history.
March provides a pleasant and welcome transition into springtime across beautiful Michigan. In lively Detroit, embrace indoor cultural events and attractions before summer crowds arrive. Up north, make the most of late snowfall with winter sports.
And anywhere in Michigan, get swept up in beloved maple sugaring traditions, winery tours, and the first glimpses of spring. Shake off cabin fever and get out to enjoy the mitten state this March!