50 fun things to do in Michigan this summer

Photo courtesy National Park Services
Photo courtesy National Park Services

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Whether you’re in the U.P., the thumb, or on the lakeshore, Michigan has so much to offer you and your family this summer. Michigan has more than 100 historic lighthouses ready for you to tour, and while you’re there, take a dip in Lake Michigan or one of the other four Great Lakes! If the kids are acting like animals, consider a trip to the zoo.

Summer is a great time for bike riding, but don’t just take a normal bike ride, take a bike ride around Mackinac Island, or better yet, a horseback ride! This summer can be filled with education by completing this list of fun and historic things to do around the state Michigan. Happy trails!

  1. Climb the big dune at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.
  2. Spend the day at Mackinac Island.
  3. Catch a Tigers game at Comerica Park.
  4. Take a copper mine tour in the U.P.
  5. Visit Fort Michilimackinac with your kids.
  6. Go for a swim in Lake Michigan.
  7. Go camping at one of the numerous state or private campgrounds.
  8. Take the family and watch the synchronized musical fountains of The Cascades in Jackson.
  9. Climb Castle Rock in St. Ignace.
  10. Tour the Valley Camp Ship museum in Sault Saint Marie.
  11. Take a hike in the Porkies – The Porcupine Mountains that is.
  12. Drive one of the Great Lakes Circle Tours.
  13. Bike around the 8 mile highway, M-185, on Mackinac Island.
  14. Love cherries? Get your fill at The Cherry Hut in Beulah, Michigan. It started out as a roadside pie stand in 1922.
  15. Cross the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck via one of the oldest hand-cranked chain ferries in America.
  16. Visit the Roadside Attractions store in Metamora.
  17. Take in a movie at the Capri Drive-In in Coldwater. Rated one of the Top 10 Drive-In movie theaters in the country.
  18. Hike or bike the Kal-Haven Trail.
  19. Ride the S.S. Badger Car Ferry from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
  20. Take a couple of days to visit The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village.
  21. Watch a Great Lakes freighter pass through the Soo Locks.
  22. Spend some time hiking around Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
  23. Visit one of Michigan’s 115 Historic Lighthouses.
  24. Play a pickup game of baseball at the Tiger Stadium site at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit.
  25. If you happen to be driving along U.S. 2 in the Upper Peninsula, stop in for a refreshing glass bottle of soda at the Hog Island General Store just east of Naubinway.
  26. Stay the night at a working lighthouse on Lake Superior – Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast.
  27. Drive across the Mackinac Bridge. For only $3.50 for a car you, too, can earn the badge of honor of being able to say, “yep, I drove across that bridge.”
  28. Visit one of Michigan’s numerous farmers markets. Find a Michigan Farmers Market near you.
  29. Spend a day at Michigan’s Adventure. It’s the perfect size amusement park for young families. You get all of the rides plus their huge waterpark for one admission fee.
  30. After Michigan’s Adventure stop in at a classic drive-in, Dog-N-Suds in Montague.
  31. While I’m on the subject of food – if you are ever near New Buffalo, do yourself a favor and try a burger at Redamak’s.
  32. Give some love to the overlooked Great Lake – Lake Huron. Drive along M-25 and M-23 and discover all of the great places on Michigan’s east side.
  33. Take in a concert on a Thursday in South Haven along the river. The Community Riverfront Concert Series is all summer long and starts at 7 p.m.
  34. Get the tastiest and freshest whitefish at Scalawags Whitefish and Chips in downtown Mackinaw City or Traverse City.
  35. Get all Bavarian up in Frankenmuth.
  36. Go for a ride on the dunes with Mac Wood’s Dune Rides in Mears.
  37. Do some beachcombing along Michigan’s 2,147 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. You never know what you will find.
  38. Go fishing!
  39. Consider a trip to the zoo. John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, the Detroit Zoo, and Kalamazoo (not a zoo, but still a fun town!).
  40. While you are in Kalamazoo, how about the Air Zoo (technically in Portage, but who’s counting?)!
  41. Go blueberry eating!
  42. Want to see some Michigan black bears up close, but not be in any danger? You have to go to Oswald’s Bear Ranch near Newberry.
  43. Tour a Michigan ghost town. The Fayette Historic State Park is a unique opportunity to walk through a wonderfully preserved abandoned town site from the early days of iron mining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
  44. There are 197 waterfalls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. You won’t have to travel far to find one!
  45. Do yourself a favor and visit Traverse City, one of Michigan’s most beautiful beach towns.
  46. Stay at one of Michigan’s numerous Indoor Water Park Hotels.
  47. Shoot for par at one of Michigan’s golf courses.
  48. Spend the day at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners just minutes from Kalamazoo. More than 200 cars of all eras to gawk over, grab something to eat at a 1940s era diner, and see what a gas station looked like in the 1930s.
  49. Canoe the Platte River near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
  50. Ride into history on the Little River Railroad in Coldwater. Take a ride on a steam-powered locomotive for a unique experience the whole family will love!
  51. Bonus! Stop in at one of Michigan’s 14 Welcome Centers and come up with hundreds of ideas for great things to do in Michigan.
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