Top 12 Epic Summer Adventures in Michigan

Summer Adventures in Michigan
Michigan in Summer 

Discover the ultimate Michigan summer bucket list, including hiking national parks, touring wineries, enjoying beach towns, and more adventures. Experience the best of the Great Lakes State during the summer months with a variety of outdoor activities and attractions. From the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to the lush forests of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan offers endless opportunities for summer adventures. Here are some must-do activities to add to your summer bucket list in Michigan. Explore the top summer adventures in Michigan and make the most of the sunny season. Please join Let’s save Michigan to learn more through this article.

1. Hit the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park

Summer Adventures in Michigan
Cedar Point amusement park / Source: The Blade

Address: 1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH 44870

For thrilling rides and family fun, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is a classic summer destination, just an hour from Toledo.

I eagerly awaited my annual trip to the “roller coaster capital of the world.” Ranked one of the best amusement parks nationwide, Cedar Point has 18 immense roller coasters, including Millennium Force with speeds over 90 mph!

Summer Adventures in Michigan
Millennium Force 

Beyond rides, it offers live shows, kids areas, lake swimming, and more. Buy tickets in advance online to save money and plan your attack. Arrive early and either use Cedar Point’s Express Hotel for early entry, or sprint to the most popular rides first before lines get long

Scream your way through roller coasters, then relax on the beach mid-day when crowds peak. Stay hydrated and refuel with classic park snacks like funnel cakes. A day at Cedar Point with its unique coastal setting provides summer thrills for all ages!

2. Relax at Lakeside Vacation Rentals

Summer Adventures in Michigan
Michigan’s inland lakes 

For a quintessential Up North vacation, rent a house on one of Michigan’s inland lakes. With thousands to choose from, you’ll find everything from rustic log cabins to luxury homes with private beaches.

I prefer staying on the west side of the state near towns like Manistee, Muskegon or Traverse City where you get stunning sunsets over the lakes each night.

Sunset over Grand Traverse Bay
Sunset over Grand Traverse Bay 

Search rental sites like VRBO for your perfect summer retreat. Look for amenities like porches, hot tubs, outdoor patios with grills and fire pits.

Spend your days kayaking and swimming right off the backyard dock. Roast marshmallows at the water’s edge and sip wine under the stars. Having a rental makes for easy days reading on the deck between dips in the lake.

Take the rental boat out at sunset or try your hand at fishing for walleye, bass and perch. With amazing convenience, selection, and views, lakeside summer rentals let you live the Up North dream.

3. Explore Quaint Beach Towns

Michigan Beach Towns
Michigan Beach Towns 

Dotting Michigan’s coastline are charming beach towns that come alive in the summer. Some of my favorites include South Haven, Saugatuck, Frankfort and Grand Haven.

Stroll the downtowns full of colorful shops, galleries, bakeries and restaurants. Snap photos of historic lighthouses and ornate churches. Watch boats come and go from the lazy riverfronts. Of course, don’t forget lots of time to relax on the wide public beaches and kayak out to offshore sandbars.

Weekly farmers markets sell fruits, vegetables and flowers from nearby farms. Hop aboard fishing or sunset cruises in the evenings. Outdoor patios at breweries and cider mills provide great spots for a drink with lake views.

Withlaid-back vibes, stunning beaches, and small town character, Michigan’s beach towns shine in the summer. Each has its own charm worth experiencing.

4. See the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions

Royal Lipizzaner Stallions
Royal Lipizzaner Stallions 

Address: 5235 Davison Rd, Genesee, MI 48437

A unique summer activity is seeing the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, known for their graceful movements and aerial ballet. Shows take place at their summer home, the Ankney Farm near Genesee, just outside Flint.

Enjoy an up-close look as the magnificent white horses perform choreographed routines set to music. Marvel at their agility as they trot, canter sideways, jump, and lie down on command. After the show, kids can meet and pet the gentle giant horses.

Between shows, visitors can picnic in the pines, hike nature trails winding through the farm’s pine forest, or visit the gift shop. This affordable family outing makes for a memorable summer afternoon.

Don’t forget your camera to capture these majestic horses showing off their classical dressage talents against the beautiful backdrop of a Michigan farm.

5. Hike National Parks for Epic Scenery

Pyramid Point Trail Sleeping Bear Dunes
Pyramid Point Trail Sleeping Bear Dunes 

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

Lace up your hiking boots and head to one of Michigan’s national parks to experience epic scenery this summer. At Sleeping Bear Dunes, hike the Pyramid Point Trail overlooking expansive Lake Michigan then take the exhilarating Dune Climb up a towering sand bluff.

Or hit the trails at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to see multi-colored sandstone cliffs, secluded beaches, and booming waterfalls. The Chapel Loop and Lakeshore trails are classics.

Arrive early to beat crowds and heat. Carry plenty of water and sun protection. Make time to also explore beaches, take ranger-guided programs, and try kayaking.

With backdrops from shoreline to forest, the parks offer diverse landscapes among the most beautiful in the Midwest. Watching the setting sun from these panoramic viewpoints will create lifelong summer memories. Don’t forget your camera!

6. Pick Fresh Fruit at Orchards

U-pick farms
U-pick farms

Erwin Orchards Address: 61475 Silver Lake Rd, South Lyon, MI 48178

What tastes better than juicy cherries, peaches, pears and apples picked straight from the tree? U-pick fruit orchards are a popular summer activity across Michigan.

At Erwin Orchards near South Lyon, walk under shady trees heavy with ripe produce ready for picking. Carry buckets through the grove filling them with your harvest – sweet and tart cherries, fuzzy peaches, Asian pears, and acres of apples.

The intoxicating smell inside the fruit barns amid boxes of just-picked fruit is unforgettable. Kids love playing on tractor rides, hunting for the secret gnome village, and feeding goats in the petting farm.

End your visit with a slice of hot apple pie with ice cream, the perfect summer treat. With reasonable prices and farms across the state, orchards make summer fruit-picking a must!

7. See the Stars at Michigan Fireflies Festival

Michigan Fireflies Festival
Michigan Fireflies Festival

For natural wonder, attend the Michigan Fireflies Festival each July near Traverse City. As darkness falls, thousands of lighting bugs start glowing in the fields and forests of the Elk Rapids Day Forest.

This free event includes educational talks on firefly biology while encouraging their conservation. Kids can catch and temporarily observe the flies up close before releasing them unharmed.

Later, join a magical Firefly Walk into the dark woods illuminated solely by the synchronous flashing of the fireflies surrounding hikers. Or afterward, unwind with live music and food trucks under the summer stars.

Firefly Walk
Firefly Walk 

Enjoying Michigan’s state insect lighting up the night provides lasting summer memories. Don’t forget bug spray!

8. Tour Wineries and Breweries

Brys Estate Vineyard
Brys Estate Vineyard 

Brys Estate Vineyard Address: 3332 N West Bay Shore Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe Address: 355 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

No Michigan summer is complete without visiting local wineries and breweries. In Traverse City, stop by Brys Estate Vineyard for stunning views over Grand Traverse Bay while sampling dry Rieslings and buttery Chardonnays.

Nearby Black Star Farms offers a massive equestrian estate with wine tasting in a castle farmhouse. Downstate near Kalamazoo, take a craft beer tour through Bell’s Eccentric Cafe and Arcadia Ales.

Bell's Eccentric Cafe
Bell’s Eccentric Cafe

Most wineries and breweries provide outdoor patios perfect for imbibing with panoramic views. Treat yourself to wood-fired pizzas, cheese boards or tapas to complement your drink. Chat with the passionate winemakers and brewmasters.

I love exploring cellars lined with barrels and fermentation tanks. With at least 300 wineries and over 350 craft breweries statewide, tours make fantastic summer outings after a day on the water or hiking. Cheers!

9. Camp in the Great Outdoors

Bewabic State Park
Bewabic State Park

Interlochen State Park Address: M-137, Interlochen, MI 49643

Bewabic State Park Address: 424 S Front St, Crystal Falls, MI 49920

Michigan’s immense wilderness allows you to truly escape into nature while camping. The state has hundreds of public and private campgrounds ranging from rustic, walk-in tent sites to full-service RV parks with every amenity.

Some favorite summer destinations are Interlochen State Park for its shaded, peaceful sites close to Traverse City, and Bewabic State Park near Crystal Falls nestled on the shore of Lake Superior.

Spend sunny days fishing, boating, and hiking, then relax around a crackling campfire at night. Wake to the sound of loons calling across the lake. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows under a sky of twinkling stars. Many campgrounds offer conveniences like showers and electricity too.

With reasonable rates and gorgeous scenery, camping is the quintessential summer lodging choice. You’ll make lifelong memories beneath the tall Michigan pines. As these memorable adventures show, few places match Michigan for variety and beauty in the summer.

10. Cheer on the Tigers at Comerica Park

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers

Take me out to the ballgame! Cheering for the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park is a time-honored summer tradition.

Their home stadium in downtown Detroit comes alive from April through September for Major League action. Upper deck seats behind home plate provide great views of the game and Detroit skyline, but there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Eat classic ballpark food like hot dogs, nachos and popcorn while watching players round the bases and pitch strikes. I love hearing the crack of the bat and cheers after big hits.

Arrive when gates open to see the Tigers’ pregame warmups and try catching a fly ball. Kids are invited down to run the bases following Sunday games too.

Fireworks and themed giveaways make for entertaining nights. With lively crowds and excitement, Tigers games capture the essence of summer. Catch a game after exploring other downtown attractions like museums, concerts at Comerica Park, or bars and restaurants.

11. Experience History and Nostalgia on Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Once the snow melts, Mackinac Island transforms into a bustling summer resort. Take a ferry over to this unique, car-free island located in Lake Huron and step back in time.

Tour the impressive Grand Hotel and Fort Mackinac for a glimpse into 19th century history as a fur trading and military outpost. Then stroll through downtown’s lively main street lined with fudge and taffy shops, museums, galleries and more.

Fort Mackinac
Fort Mackinac

Pedal the flat, 8-mile perimeter and feel the breeze off the sparkling Straits of Mackinac. Stop at Arch Rock, a natural 150-foot limestone arch, for photos.

Don’t miss scenic overlooks like Point Lookout, where the views stretch for miles. The island has a nostalgic, old-fashioned charm.

Stay a night or two at a Victorian-style B&B to fully soak it up once the crowds of day-trippers have departed on the ferries. Summer is Mackinac Island’s most popular season, so book accommodations early.

12. Attend Summer Concert Series – Summer Adventures in Michigan

Summer Concert Series In Michigan
Summer Concert Series In Michigan

See big name artists rock out under the stars at Michigan’s scenic outdoor concert venues. Major series include DTE Energy Music Theatre north of Detroit with lawn seats for affordable tickets.

Or see shows at Soaring Eagle Casino’s outdoor stage in Mount Pleasant. Many cities and towns also host free summer concert series at parks and amphitheaters.

Pack a picnic and bug spray then dance the night away to live music beneath Michigan’s starry skies. It’s an unbeatable way to experience local culture and entertainment.

Whether you seek relaxation or heart-pounding thrills, quintessential summer experiences await within Michigan’s state lines. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

With these trip ideas and itinerary details, I hope this guide helps you make the most of summer in one of America’s most pristine peninsulas.

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