Top 15 Unforgettable Things to Do in July in Michigan

Detroit fireworks / Source: Urbanize Detroit

July is prime time for summer fun in Michigan. With long sunny days, temperatures warming the lakes, and festivals happening statewide, there are so many great activities happening. Here are my top recommendations on things to experience in Michigan during the month of July.

1. Traverse City Film Festival

Traverse City Film Festival / Source: Wikipedia

Cinephiles will love attending the annual Traverse City Film Festival in late July. Founded by filmmaker Michael Moore, this independent film fest screens a diverse lineup of over 200 American indie and foreign films across downtown venues.

Visitors can attend screenings, discussions, panels, parties, andexperience the excitement and charm of this northern Michigan community coming together to celebrate cinema.

2. Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beer Festival

Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beer Festival / Source: The Eastern Echo

Beer enthusiasts can sample over 800 craft beers from 90+ Michigan breweries at this epic annual festival in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park. The lively Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beer Festival takes place over two days in late July.

Attendees receive tasting cards to sample beers while enjoying live music, food vendors, games, seminars from brewmasters, and a beautiful park setting along the Huron River. A must-do for Michigan craft beer lovers!

3. Upper Peninsula Waterfall Tour

Upper Peninsula Waterfall Tour / Source: Flashpacking America

See some of Michigan’s most spectacular waterfalls by taking a road trip across the Upper Peninsula. Rent a car to visit dramatic cascades like Canyon Falls, Hungarian Falls, Spray Falls, Manabezho Falls, Tahquamenon Falls, and more.

Some sights like Miners Falls are right roadside while others require short hikes. With summer rainfall, the falls are at their full splendor in July. Don’t forget your camera for these beauties!

4. Port Austin Kayak

Port Austin Kayak / Source: Port Austin Chamber of Commerce

For an amazing kayaking adventure, head up to Michigan’s scenic “Thumb” region to kayak along the shoreline cliffs near Port Austin.

Port Austin Kayak offers guided tours where you can paddle sea kayaks to explore the area’s stunning Lake Huron rock formations, sea caves, and forested coastline teeming with wildlife. It’s a bucket list Michigan paddling experience with incredible scenery!

5. Michigan Irish Music Festival

Michigan Irish Music Festival / Source: mlive

Experience lively Celtic culture during the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon. This huge 3-day event draws over 80,000 people to hear incredible live Irish bands on multiple stages, take Irish dance lessons, watch cultural demos, shop vendors, enjoy food and drinks, and watch kinetic Irish sporting events. It’s an awesome celebration of Irish heritage, music, and community.

6. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island / Source: Visit The USA

Take a step back in time with a summer visit to beautiful Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. This 3.8 square mile island banned cars way back in 1898, so visitors get around by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage.

Top attractions include the imposing Fort Mackinac, decadent Grand Hotel, quaint downtown filled with fudge shops, and the island’s peaceful, relaxed vibe. It’s one of Michigan’s most iconic destinations.

7. Detroit Riverfront Fireworks Displays

Detroit River fireworks show / Source: Windsor Star

Some of Michigan’s most spectacular 4th of July fireworks happen right along the Detroit Riverfront. Two incredible displays are the huge Ford Fireworks show with fireworks choreographed to music or the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing live at their River Lights celebration.

Arrive early to claim waterfront spots for dazzling views lighting up the Detroit skyline all along the riverwalk downtown. The fireworks last 25-60 minutes!

8. Salesman’s Samples and Vintage Paper Show

Vintage Paper / Source: Etsy

This unique show in Grand Rapids is a paradise for antique collectors and history lovers like myself. At the Salesman’s Samples and Vintage Paper Show, over 200 vendors sell rare salesman’s sample miniatures, vintage paper items like postcards, posters, magazines, and small collectibles.

It’s incredible seeing the historic pieces that dealers bring to this show held twice yearly. Admission gets you access to thousands of treasures.

9. Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth / Source: Travel + Leisure

Experience charming Bavarian-style architecture, shops, and dining in Michigan’s Little Bavaria town of Frankenmuth. This town goes all-in on its German heritage with floral decor everywhere, Fraktur signage, old-world buildings, and hearty family-style chicken dinners complete with live polka music.

Popular stops include the world’s largest Christmas store at Bronner’s, the Historical Museum, covered bridge, and sampling fudge. It’s a slice of Europe in Michigan!

10. National Cherry Festival

National Cherry Festival / Source: Grand Traverse Pie Company

Each July, Traverse City hosts their world-famous National Cherry Festival to celebrate the region’s iconic tart cherries. For over 90 years, this lively event has offered airshows, concerts, a cherry pit spit competition, parades, fireworks, cooking demos, and indulging in amazing cherry inspired foods and drinks.

Additional activities include a pie eating contest, arts fair, carnival rides, and the crowning of the National Cherry Queen. It’s one of Michigan’s most popular summer festivals and a must-do!

11. Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes / Source: National Parks Conservation Association

Hike towering sand dunes towering hundreds of feet above Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This scenic park has over 35 miles of gorgeous beach, forests, wildflowers, and bike trails.

Top sights are the Dune Climb with panoramic views and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive along blufftops. Go swimming, rent a kayak, take ranger programs, or camp within a pristine Michigan wilderness. It’s unforgettable!

12. Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo / Source: WXYZ

Visit the award-winning Detroit Zoo to see over 2,000 fascinating animals like Arctic wolves, penguins, kangaroos, snow monkeys, moose, tigers, camels, butterflies and more on 125 acres.

Summertime is a great time to catch active animals and baby animals being born. We loved touring the tiger, chimpanzee, giraffe, butterfly, penguin and camel habitats. The zoo offers fun activities too like ziplining, kayaking and camel rides!

13. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island / Source: Midwest Living

Take a step back in time with a summer visit to beautiful Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. This 3.8 square mile island banned cars way back in 1898, so visitors get around by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage.

Top attractions include the imposing Fort Mackinac, decadent Grand Hotel, quaint downtown filled with fudge shops, and the island’s peaceful, relaxed vibe. It’s one of Michigan’s most iconic destinations.

14. Ann Arbor Art Fair

Ann Arbor Art Fair / Source: Ann Arbor Local News

Peruse incredible artworks at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, voted one of the top art festivals in America.

Four different award-winning fairs take place simultaneously each July, collectively bringing nearly 1000 talented artists downtown to sell paintings, pottery, photos, jewelry, glass art, clothing, furniture, sculptures, textiles, mixed media, and more.

Exhibits at Ann Arbor Art Fair / Source: ClickOnDetroit

The vibrant fairs also feature live music, fantastic food, and family art activities. An amazing event for art lovers!

15. National Blueberry Festival

National Blueberry Festival / Source: Go Where When

Attend South Haven’s juicy blueberry bash at the annual National Blueberry Festival! This free family-friendly event celebrates South Haven’s status as a top blueberry producer.

Highlights include blueberry pie eating contests, a volleyball tournament, cooking demos, kids activities, blueberry foods, live music, craft vendors, and exhibits. It’s two days of delicious berry fun by the lake!

Michigan offers a multitude of activities and attractions for visitors in July. By exploring these destinations, you can create lasting memories and discover the hidden gems of Michigan.

Leave a Comment