After a long Midwest winter, Michigan bursts into color and activity each spring. From exploring quaint small towns to hiking lush forests, there are endless ways to make the most of the warmer weather.
I look forward every year to classic spring activities like tulip festivals, camping trips, and foraging for morel mushrooms. From exploring quaint small towns to foraging for wild mushrooms, many quintessential spring experiences await in the Great Lakes State.
Whether you want a relaxing or adventurous getaway, Michigan offers something for everyone in the springtime. In this article, I’ll share my top picks for making this spring in Michigan your best one yet.
1. Bask in Beauty on Mackinac Island
No spring visit to Michigan is complete without a trip to magical Mackinac Island. Accessible only by ferry, this unique locale bans cars and transports visitors back in time with its historic backdrop.
Wander through downtown Mackinac Island, passing brightly-colored Victorian homes and shops selling fudge, taffy, and souvenirs. Stop into old-fashioned general stores and confectioneries for a nostalgic experience.
The best way to explore is by bike or horse-drawn carriage. Pedal or trot the flat, 8-mile perimeter and take in stunning views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge connecting Michigan’s peninsulas. Stay overnight at a quaint B&B if you can.
I’ll never forget watching the ferries depart in the evening, signaling the island’s magical transition to a peaceful, car-free evening retreat. Mackinac Island in spring has a certain charm you won’t find during crowded summer months.
2. Pick Perfect Apples at Orchards
Westview Orchards Address: 65075 Van Dyke Rd, Washington, MI 48095
Erwin Orchards Address: 61475 Silver Lake Rd, South Lyon, MI 48178
For generations, Michigan families have headed to apple orchards each spring to pick buckets of ripe, juicy apples straight from the tree.
Two of my personal favorite orchards are Westview Orchards in Washington Township and Erwin Orchards in South Lyon, both less than an hour from Detroit.
Wearing bags around our necks, my family wanders under the pink blossoms until I find branches weighed down with bright red apples ready for picking.
The apples snap right off, emitting a fresh sweet scent before crunching perfectly between your teeth. I fill bag after bag, then head to the market to buy apple pies, turnovers, donuts, and cider.
The kids run off steam in the play areas and petting zoos while Isip warm cider and nibble apple doughnuts. Before leaving, I stock up on jams, baked goods, and produce too. You simply can’t match the flavor of apples straight from the orchard.
3. Camp Under the Stars
Camping in Michigan’s state parks allows you to fully soak up the arrival of spring. With over 100 state parks, you’ll find options ranging from secluded, walk-in tent sites to full-amenity RV campgrounds.
I recommend two of my favorite spring camping destinations: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park way out west in the Upper Peninsula for incredible scenery with 60,000 acres to explore, and Interlochen State Park near Traverse City which offers a peaceful, wooded retreat.
Most campgrounds open in early May, so spring is the perfect time to secure your site and unpack without fighting summer crowds. Spend sunny days hiking, biking, fishing, birdwatching and foraging for mushrooms.
At night, bundle up for a campfire complete with s’mores under a starry sky. Wake to the soothing sounds of songbirds outside your tent. With bathrooms, showers, electricity and more, state park campgrounds let you comfortably commune with nature each spring. You’ll quickly shake off the winter blues!
4. Sip and Savor in Southwest Michigan Wine Country
St. Julian Winery Address: 716 S Kalamazoo St, Paw Paw, MI 49079
Round Barn Winery Address: 10983 Hills Rd, Baroda, MI 49101
Trade hibernation for a taste of paradise in southwest Michigan’s wine country as spring blooms. Follow the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail to hit the best wineries, like St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, Michigan’s oldest winery dating back to 1936.
Sample their sweet fruit wines and drier vintages inside a cozy tasting room. Nearby Round Barn Winery is aptly set inside a circular barn with wine-making facilities on the lower level. Their tasting room provides sweeping vineyard views as you sip.
I recommend planning a designated driver and spending a full day touring 3-4 wineries. Most offer cheese boards, paninis, and other small plates to complement tastings.
Walk through the barrel rooms and production areas for a behind-the-scenes look before purchasing a few bottles in the winery gift shops. Michigan’s wine country dazzles each spring with budded vines, unique architecture, and of course, fantastic vintages. Don’t miss this blossoming scene!
5. Snap Photos of Tulips in Holland
A spring trip to Holland means one thing – spectacular tulips! Each May, millions of vibrantly colored tulips bloom throughout town, drawing crowds for the annual Tulip Time Festival.
While summer is busy, spring allows more time to leisurely stroll the floral displays and take gorgeous photos. Buy tickets in advance for the Dutch-inspired gardens at Windmill Island Gardens, showcasing patterns of red, yellow, pink and orange tulips artfully planted by expert horticulturists.
I like attending on a weekday to avoid the biggest crowds. With blooms more brilliant than any filter, Holland’s dazzling tulip displays make the perfect Michigan spring road trip.
6. Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Comerica Park Address: 2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Soak up spring sunshine and the sights and sounds of baseball at a Detroit Tigers game! Their home field, Comerica Park in downtown Detroit, comes alive each April through September for exciting MLB action.
I prefer upper deck seats behind home plate for the best views of the downtown skyline. But with amenities like carnival games and standing room areas, you can’t find a bad seat.
Arrive early to see players warm up and try catching a ball during batting practice. Eat a classic ballpark dog and peanuts while cheering on the Tigers. Kids can run on the outfield after Sunday games too.
With a lively, festive atmosphere, Tigers games are a perfect family-friendly spring activity in the city. Stay overnight nearby before or after for concerts, restaurants, and urban exploring. Play ball!
7. Paddle Local Water Trails
Looking for spring adventure? Grab a kayak or canoe and hit one of Michigan’s designated paddling trails. For an easy day trip from Detroit, head to the Clinton River Water Trail which runs through Oakland and Macomb Counties.
Launch from Yates Park and paddle downstream through peaceful wooded areas and vibrant wetlands teeming with wildlife. Test your skills on Class I rapids near Auburn Hills. Pack a picnic to enjoy lakeside between paddling sections.
Up north, try the Les Cheneaux Islands Water Trail with entry points in Hessel or Cedarville. Weave through sheltered channels and bays surrounding 36 islands perfect for birding and viewing wildlife.
You’re almost guaranteed to spot herons, loons, mink, deer and more from the serenity of your kayak. These and other mapped trails make spring paddling in Michigan easy and enjoyable.
8. Behold Waterfalls on National Park Hikes
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Address: 333 Lake Shore Blvd E, Munising, MI 49862
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Address: 9922 W Empire Hwy, Empire, MI 49630
Michigan’s national parks showcase phenomenal diversity, making them ideal for spring hiking. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, moderate trails like Miners Falls and Chapel Loop lead hikers past crashing waterfalls and multi-colored cliffs towering over Lake Superior.
Meanwhile, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore features the towering Dune Climb and stretches of beach hiking along the crystalline Lake Michigan shoreline.
Spring is an optimal time for hiking these parks before crowds arrive. Pack a picnic lunch to refuel at a scenic overlook. Don’t forget your camera to document the unforgettable sights!
9. Shop Local at Amish Markets
Montcalm County Amish Flea Market Address: 11400 Peake Rd, Greenville, MI 48838
Centreville Amish Market Address: 138 S Main St, Centreville, MI 49032
From jams to quilts, Michigan’s lively Amish markets are springtime shopping paradise. Two of my favorites are the Montcalm County Amish Flea Market and the Centreville Amish Market, both easy to access from Grand Rapids or Detroit.
Wander the large indoor shopping areas filled with hearty artisanal breads, handmade furniture, toys, baked goods, and unique crafts. Talk to skilled local artisans as you watch them craft items by hand right on-site.
The markets come alive each spring with vendors featuring maple syrup, seasonal produce, beautiful hanging baskets and starter plants. Don’t forget to try samples of fudge and cheese too! The friendly community vibes and unique finds keep me coming back to these markets year after year.
10. Behold Brilliant Spring Wildflowers
Tahquamenon Falls State Park Address: 41382 West M-123, Paradise, MI 49768
Lewis Spring Nature Preserve Address: 6801 Bunker Hill Rd, Johannesburg, MI 49751
Each spring I anxiously await hitting the trails to see dazzling wildflower displays at Michigan parks and nature areas. These ephemeral blooms only stick around for a short window before disappearing until the next year.
One exceptional spot is Tahquamenon Falls State Park near Paradise, where the forest floor explodes with trillium, trout lily, bloodroot and hepatica near Upper Falls in April.
Lewis Spring Nature Preserve in Johannesburg is another spring favorite, with over 300 floral varieties lining footpaths through the hardwood forest. Wander quietly and you may catch a glimpse of rare species like blue-eyed Mary, Dutchman’s breeches and birdfoot violet
I enjoy bringing a wildflower field guide and putting my identification skills to the test. With new blooms each week, I find something unique and beautiful on every wildflower walk.
11. Find Small Town Charm
For quintessential spring charm, spend a sunny day or two exploring one of Michigan’s postcard-perfect small towns. Some favorites like Petoskey, Saugatuck, and Grand Haven entice visitors with walkable downtowns full of galleries, shops, public art, and harborside views.
Stroll down streets lined with colorful Victorian homes and independent boutiques. Browse antiques stores, craft studios, bookshops, and bakeries.
Grab an outdoor table for lunch at a local cafe. End the day photographing historic lighthouses and taking in a pink-hued sunset over the marina. Michigan’s small towns shine each spring before crowds arrive, offering laid-back exploration and scenery.
12. Forage for Forrest Gold – Morel Mushrooms!
For me and thousands of others, spring in Michigan means one thing – morel mushroom hunting! These tasty wild mushrooms with a distinct nutty, earthy flavor start popping up in forests across the state each April and May.
I eagerly await the first 70-degree day to start tromping the woods in search of morels. Look around dead elm trees, apple orchards, and areas that burned the previous year.
Pack a mesh bag and carefully pick and store any morels you find. Leave plenty behind to repopulate for future seasons. Back home, wipe clean with a damp cloth, slice in half lengthwise to check for bugs, then sauté in butter for an amazing wild edible treat.
Join fellow foragers in experiencing this beloved rite of Michigan spring... or maybe keep your favorite spots secret!
With warmer weather, blooming wildflowers and sunshine-filled days, spring is a special time to be in Michigan. Hike, bike, camp, and explore while embracing the new season.
From lilac-scented small towns to sandy Lake Michigan beaches, countless adventures await this spring in the Great Lakes State.
With helpful trip-planning details, my guide features memorable ways to celebrate the fleeting but fantastic season that is spring in Michigan. Just bring your sense of adventure!