Promote Michigan Blog

15 Michigan Travel Bucket List Ideas for 2015 (and then some…)

Just after the first of the year, I decided it was time to get back out there trying new experiences around the state of Michigan! When I launched Promote Michigan more than 10 years ago, I took this quest seriously — engaging in an aggressive “try something new every month” campaign. It worked, and for a while I even blogged about it pretty consistently ( — I even contemplated a book recapping the experiences (which still isn’t out of the question).

As life got busy, the kids got older and I moved to Traverse City (look at that, something new — moving away from my hometown), I found myself losing focus of the mantra in which I preach every day — EXPLORE MICHIGAN! So, with a new year, I’m back on track and I have a plan of attack!

Mackinac WinterIn early January, I sat down and came up with about 8 things I wanted to do this year…my bucket list if you will. Since it is 2015, I settled on 15 different things, places, and activities in Michigan that I’d talked about, but never actually done. And, having an active social media following, I set out to ask my friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues and others on my Facebook what I should add to the list.

Here’s where I started:

1. Visit Mackinac Island in Winter (hoping to make this happen in December, before the Straits freeze)

Les Cheneaux2. Kayak Les Cheneaux Island (have been contacted by several in the area and am planning a June trip).

3. Visit Keweenaw Peninsula in fall (planning a visit in September, to coincide with UP Fall Beer Festival).

4. Sail on Bernida in South Haven (hoping to do this in the summer)

Saugatuck Brewing5. Brew Beer at Saugatuck Brewing (on the books for Friday, March 6)

Belle Isle6. Visit Belle Isle

7. View Northern Lights & Milky Way from Headlands Dark Sky Park

8. Go to a Detroit Red Wings Game

Here’s what YOU recommended, that sounded good to add to the list (and there were more than 150 comments on this on the FB thread):

9. Take a cruise on the beautiful Sailing Yacht Scout! (let’s do this for my birthday in May)

10. Hot Air Balloon Ride (tried to do this in TC a couple summers ago, the weather did not cooperate so it is still on the list!)

11. Camp on North Manitou Island (definitely)

12. Sail in the Chicago to Mackinac Boat Race, or the Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race (I’ve been invited on the “starter boat” for the Bayview race this year and the after race party on Mackinac Island)

Round Island Lighthouse13. Visit Round Island Lighthouse (yes, want to do this for sure)

Comerica Park14. Go to a Tiger Game at Comerica Park

15. Drive an Aston Martin in Detroit

And then these that of course I’ll do, because they’re invitations to hang with friends!

Dark Sky Park1. Visit MBTB Tasting Room-Royal Oak (planning this when I’m in Detroit for beer fest in Oct (if not sooner)).

2. Go sailing with Kim and Karl. Our boat is aptly named “Lazy Racer.” Sails accompanied with wine. (um, no brainer…thanks Kim & Karl)

3. Go perch fishing (and eating) on Glen Lake (most definitely, I know just where to go for this experience…thanks Henri for the invitation!)

4. Come rent a kayak with me in downtown Lansing (didn’t know this was an option)

5. Smoking a Dragons Milk cigar and doing a pairing with the beer and the bourbon (just got one of these cigars – waiting for deck weather)

For the rest of the ideas:

6. Visit Porcupine Mountain State Park when you visit Keweenaw

7. Northern Lights from Pictured Rocks

8. Luge run at Muskegon Winter Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex, Muskegon State Park (have done this multiple times…I’m even a “bronze medalist” in the Mad Media Luge!

9. A visit to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum (went on the sub when I worked at WMTA years ago).

10. A visit to the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum

11. Getty Drive In Theatre (been to the Capri and the Cherry Bowl, but not the Getty)

12. While down in Saugatuck tasting the brewed beer you can take a climb up Mt. Baldhead that takes you to Oval Beach (I’ll be there in March, and that sounds like a lot of work)

13. Check out the dulcimer festival – the world’s largest dulcimer festival in Evart.

14. Ice festival in Rockford or Grand Haven?

15. Brewing beer as a community brewer at Unruly in Muskegon

16. Fat bike on the beach from White Fish Point to Crisp Point Lighthouse in the summer, picnic in the middle (you people seem to think I’m physically fit for such activities…LOL)

17. Fly fish the AuSable River

18. Snowshoe to Pyramid Point (I think this may have been my first locale for snowshoeing)

19. Cross-country ski on at least one new groomed trail

20. Tour the River Road Scenic Byway (been on this road, beautiful)

21. Drive the Sunrise Coast from Tawas to Mackinaw City (did this years ago, from Mac to Tawas)

22. Top of Ren Cen (been to the Ren Cen, but not the top)

23. Go to a weekend music festival: Wheatland, BlissFest, HarvestGathering….

24. Isle Royale – they have a nice lodge is you don’t want to rough it

25. Drive the Tunnel of Trees on the way to Wilderness State Park (have driven M119 several times – Legs Inn, Cross Village, Good Hart)

26. Walk the Mac (finally crossed that off my bucket list a few years ago)

27. Sleigh ride in Bay View (I bet that’s gorgeous)

28. Dune buggy trip on Silver Lake Dunes (can’t believe I’ve never done this)

29. Zingerman’s cooking class (I really want to go to Camp Bacon!)

30. For a spooky experience, stay a night at the haunted Sweet Dreams Inn and visit the equally haunted cemetery nearby. It’s in the thumb part of Michigan, I think in a town called Bayport. (only if my daughter will go with me!)

31. Overnight in a lighthouse (stayed at Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B in the UP – haunted, see above)

32. Go on some Snowmobile trek through the UP. (have only snowmobiled once, last winter, in Lake Ann)

33. Boat through the Chain of Lakes—it is crystal blue water you can see to the bottom

34. Mystery Spot in St. Ignace

35. Find The Jam Pot toward the end of 41 near Eagle Harbor in the Keweenaw.

36. Visit all the zoos in Michigan (been to a few, but not the Detroit Zoo)

37. Go to the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (I’ve ridden on the track as part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience, but not been to a race)

38. Winter rafting trip on the Jordan River or the Sturgeon (I’ve kayaked the upper Platte, in January)

39. Fly fish the scum line for Steelhead on Lake Michigan

40. Float tube out of the port of Manistee

41. Do the Ice Golf Scramble, on Lake MI, in St. Ignace

42. Whitewater kayaking on the Bear River in Petoskey

43. Tackle the 462 steps to the top of Avalanche Preserve in Boyne City

44. Play disc golf

45. Ballroom dance at Grand Hotel (danced there, not ballroom dancing though)

46. Drive your own buggy on Mackinac (good one)

47. Scream down the Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay – Michigan’s largest indoor Waterpark

48. Attend an awesome performance at Bay View?

49. And you really need to shoot the squash rocket at Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs. Don’t worry – they have wine there, too! (what is a squash rocket?)

50. You gotta see the ice caves (when they happen again, I will for sure)

51. MTU Winter Carnival

52. Skydive: Hastings. Epic. (been skydiving, out of Fremont)

53. Go to the viewing of the crucifix on Little Traverse Bay – with any luck and the bay freezes, it should happen in February (waiting on ice)

54. Climb to the bottom of the log slide (and back up)! Grand Marais

55. Polar Plunge (NEVER – well, except that time I kayaked the Platte in January, it was unintentional)

56. Testicle Festival in Deerfield, MI the Saturday after St. Patty’s Day! It is a crazy Legion festival (really, there is such a thing…only if Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is there fixing dinner)

57. Scuba diving the Lake Superior shipwrecks

58. Serve as lighthouse keepers at Crisp Point Lighthouse and serve as volunteer keepers (would love to do that…didn’t know they had a program at that light)

Of course, now that I’m an empty nester, I’m also thinking of exploring “beyond the Mitten” a bit this year as well — with trips to South Carolina, Chicago and California tentatively planned!

What about YOU? What do YOU want to try new this year? Where do YOU want to go? Maybe your travel plans will inspire me to add a few more things to MY bucket list…maybe!

Safe Travels!

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