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60 Days of Michigan Summer

Click on image to see edited/printed version.
Click on image to see edited/printed version.

Compiled by Dianna Stampfler

With two peninsulas, more miles of freshwater shoreline than any other state and countless opportunities from the thriving urban centers to the sprawling rural spaces, Michigan offers a wealth of ideas to keep you busy this summer season.

  1. Climb a lighthouse tower. Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, at nearly 120. The oldest, Fort Gratiot near Port Huron, is the oldest dating back to the 1820s.
  2. Go bird watching.
  3. Look up at the stars and Northern Lights at the Headlands Dark Sky Park, located along Lake Michigan just southwest of Mackinaw City.
  4. Check out the new Penguinarium at the Detroit Zoo.
  5. Watch and listen to the World’s Largest Musical Fountain in Grand Haven.
  6. Cross the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge.
  7. Take in a sunrise over Lake Huron and a sunset over Lake Michigan, in the same day!
  8. Show your team spirit at a Detroit Tiger Game, at Comerica Park.
  9. Climb to the highest point on Mackinac Island at the newly re-constructed Fort Holmes.
  10. Visit the ghost town of Fayette, on the Garden Peninsula in the UP.
  11. Ride the Crystal Clipper alpine slide at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.
  12. Ride the new North Western State Trail, from Petoskey to Mackinaw City.
  13. Take part in Paddle for Pints in Traverse City, where you kayak from brewery to brewery.
  14. Spit a Cherry Pit at the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship in July, at Tree Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Clair.
  15. Go to a drive-in movie like the Capri in Coldwater or the Getty in Muskegon.
  16. Drink a root beer float at Dog-n-Suds in Montague.
  17. Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, in the Petoskey – Walloon Lake area.
  18. Sample craft brews in Beer City USA—Grand Rapids.
  19. Climb 282 steps to the top of Mount Baldhead (Mt. Baldy) in Saugatuck.
  20. Walk through the halls of Cell Block 7 at the former Michigan State Prison in Jackson.
  21. Travel to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the UP.
  22. Tour the home and studio of Alden B. Dow in Midland, then walk through the scenic Dow Gardens nearby.
  23. Go island hopping: Mackinac, Beaver, Drummond, South Manitou, North Manitou, Isle Royale.
  24. Dive wreck sites at the Thunder Bay Underwater Dive Preserve in Alpena, also known as Shipwreck Alley.
  25. Visit a locally-owned bookstore and purchase a title by a local author, to enjoy at the park or beach.
  26. Sample wine at St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, Michigan’s oldest and longest-operating winery—celebrating 90 years this year.
  27. Golf the 9-hole, Par 3 Mountain Flowers course at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, with views of Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
  28. Walk in the path of author Aldo Leopold, one of Michigan’s earliest conservationists and environmentalists—in the Les Cheneaux Island area of Cedarville and Hessel.
  29. Watch the tall ships as they travel through Bay City during Tall Ship Challenge.
  30. Play foot golf at any number of Michigan golf courses, including Shanty Creek in Bellaire and Elmwood Golf Course in Traverse City.
  31. Drink Oberon at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo.
  32. Visit Ocqueoc Falls—the only publicly accessible waterfall in the Lower Peninsula.
  33. Listen to The Ragbirds perform on the shore of Torch Lake in a concert to benefit the Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire.
  34. Try to consume a “Pig’s Trough” banana split, all by yourself, at Sherman’s Ice Cream in South Haven.
  35. Jump off the black rocks in Marquette, into Lake Superior.
  36. Take part in Engineers Day at the Soo Locks, in Sault Ste. Marie.
  37. Take a ride on the historic boat, The Pointer, at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs.
  38. Check out the 400+ vendors at the Allegan Antique Markets—held the last Sunday of each month at the Allegan County Fairgrounds.
  39. Take a zipline ride at Cannonsburg Ski Area, northeast of Grand Rapids.
  40. Scour the beach for Leland Bluestone, Petoskey Stones or Puddingstones.
  41. Look to the sky at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Hot Air Balloon Festival or the Michigan Challenge Balloon Festival in Howell.
  42. Check out an old time baseball game between the Lah-De-Dahs and other teams of the Vintage Baseball Association, at Greenfield Village in Dearborn.
  43. Take Model T Driving Lessons at Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners.
  44. Visit one of Michigan’s National Parks, in celebration of the 100th anniversary in America.
  45. Walk through the Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.
  46. Take in a performance at Interlochen Center for the Arts, southwest of Traverse City.
  47. Stock up on goodies at the Muskegon Farmers Market, the largest market in West Michigan.
  48. Attend the Buy Michigan Now Festival, Aug. 5-7, in Northville—featuring only Michigan producers, artists, entertainers, food and beverage.
  49. Hike the 462 steps (or just over two miles) to the top of Avalanche Mountain Preserve in Boyne City, for unparalleled views.
  50. Ride the self-operated observation raft at Kitch-iti-kipi Springs at Palms Book State Park near Manistique, Michigan’s largest natural freshwater springs.
  51. Drive the 200-mile US-23 Heritage Route, from Mackinaw City south to Standish, along the Lake Huron shoreline.
  52. Check out the 10-day Jimmy Buffet-inspired “Cheeseburger in Caseville” festival, held each August.
  53. Take a ride on the Star of Saugatuck, one of several historic sternwheel paddleboats that operate in Michigan.
  54. Kayak the 7-mile round-trip Point aux Barques trail out to Turnip Rock in Port Austin, one of Lake Huron’s most scenic spots.
  55. Explore the 982-acre Belle Isle, Michigan’s 102nd state park, located in the Detroit River between the mainland U.S. and Canada.
  56. Purchase hand-made quilts, wood works, baked goods and other handcrafted items in the Amish community of Clare.
  57. Watch, or take part, in America’s Largest Flag Day Parade—on Sunday, June 12—in Three Oaks.
  58. Learn how to Stand Up Paddleboard.
  59. Ride the coasters at Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon.
  60. Have dinner at one of the food trucks that operate around the state.
  61. Explore the state’s largest aquarium—Sea Life—in Auburn Hills, home to 5,000 creatures.
  62. Walk through the Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.
  63. Explore your adventurous side by white water rafting Piers Gorge, a stretch of the Menominee River near Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula.
  64. Visit Iargo Springs, located on the River Road Scenic Byway near Oscoda—considered a holy place by Native Americans, with breathtaking views of the AuSable River.
  65. Go charter fishing on one of the Great Lake.
  66. Take a dune buggy ride in Saugatuck or Silver Lake.
  67. Visit the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace.
  68. Drive your own buggy, or go horseback riding, on Mackinac Island.
  69. Visit the 240-acre Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry, in the Upper Peninsula.
  70. Take a picture of the Cross in the Woods National Shrine in Indian River.
  71. Eat a Coney Dog at Lafayette Coney Island and/or American Cony Island in downtown Detroit.

What other ideas do you have for the summer of 2016? Share your thoughts, and photos, on facebook.com/MiBlueMag.


Reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of Michigan BLUE Magazine.