I love summer time and all the opportunities for some outdoor summer fun! We love to adventure and check out new places. Michigan has a lot to offer, so if you live in this great state and haven’t been to some of these places or events I suggest you put them on your list! We have been all over the state and go back to many places time and time again. This list has some of my favorite destinations. I know we can’t do it all, so I made our bucket list and then added a few extra ideas for you to check out. For now, this list is only for the lower peninsula – there is so much more awesome in the UP, but we will have to leave that for another day. I know there are so many more awesome Michigan destinations and summer events, so leave me your favorites in the comments so I can add them to my list and more importantly, visit if we haven’t yet!
Our Michigan Summer Bucket List
1. Check out the new Penguin Center at the Detroit Zoo. There is also a really cool polar bear exhibit that you have to see!
2. Ride some rides and some water slides at Michigan’s Adventure. Admission gets you into both the amusement park and the water park!
3. Check out Fred Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI when everything is in bloom. We went earlier this year when they had the butterfly exhibit, but I want to check it out when it’s green!
4. Visit Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. The Henry Ford Museum is also right there if you’d like some air conditioned summer fun.
5. Go camping in one of Michigan’s state park campgrounds. We have reservations already for the 4th of July weekend 🙂
6. Get some ice cream and feed the goats at Moo-ville in Nashville, MI. They have a free petting farm with lots of different animals, a new playground, large sand area for kids to play, and a big bounce slide. And amazing ice cream.
7. Have a beach day at one of the Great Lakes. Maybe Holland, MI? I love the beach there!
8. Climb the sand dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
9. Catch a Tiger’s game at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI.
10. Dip your feet in the Ocqueoc Falls in Presque Isle, MI. This is one of my all-time favorite spots. These are not large falls at all, you can get right in and swim! It’s a little off the beaten path, but totally worth it. Bring a picnic lunch!
11. Watch as many fireworks displays as possible! I keep up with them using The Michigan Fireworks Display website.
12. Hear some great music at the Common Ground Music Festival in Downtown Lansing, MI. Tim McGraw will be there this year (all the heart eyes).
13. Spend the day on the beautiful Michigan State University campus. My alma mater and one of my all time favorite places. Get ice cream at the Dairy Store, feed the ducks on the Red Cedar River, snap a picture with Sparty, take a stroll through the Beal Botanical Garden or the 4-H Children’s Garden and reminisce about your good ol’ college days.
14. Visit Belle Isle in Detroit, MI. There is a lot to see there, including an aquarium and conservatory with free admission.
15. Go shopping in the Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, MI. I would also really like to take the Bavarian Belle River Boat down the Cass River. You also have to make sure you get a chicken dinner from Zender’s.
16. Hang out at the Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI. Wear a flower crown and eat a giant turkey leg!
17. Watch a movie at a drive-in movie theater. We live close to the US-23 Drive-in Theater. But there are others throughout the state!
18. Watch a Michigan sunset on the beach.
Other Destinations/Events to Add to Your Michigan Summer Bucket List
19. Run in a 5K Color Run. We have done this many times and it is a family friendly run. Lots of fun! They have runs in Lansing, Ypsilanti, and Grand Rapids this summer.
20. Take the zip line tour at Boyne Mountain. It is a blast! While you’re there you can also take your bikes up the chairlift and check out the trails at the top of the mountain! They even rent bikes. There is a water park there, a golf course and so many other things to do.
21. Stop at Cops and Doughnuts in Clare, MI on the way “up north”. SO many good treats, You won’t be able to chose just one. There are also some fun photo opps. There is also a new location in Gaylord, MI!
22. While you are in Gaylord, make sure it’s during the week of July 12-16 so you can make a stop at Alpenfest! It is a week long festival in July that closes down Main St. with vendors, and music, and carnival rides. There are lots of events throughout the week!
23. Visit Mackinaw City or take the ferry over to Mackinac Island. Take your bikes to the island, or rent them there. You will want a bike! Don’t forget to eat too much fudge.
24. Take the winery trail up the Leelanau Peninsula. It is so beautiful. You’ll also have to stop in Traverse City, one of my favorite beach towns in MI.
25. If you live in the Mid-Michigan area, Be a Tourist in Your Own Town in Lansing, MI has a lot to offer. Last year we took a tour of the capital and visited Impression 5 Science Center. There is so much to do but I was very pregnant and it was hot! It’s coming up soon on June 4th!
26. Take a river tubing trip down the Au Sable River or many other rivers in MI. Bring beverages and wear sunscreen because these trips can last all day! So much fun and very relaxing!
27. Hang out at a County Fair. Eat an elephant ear, play some carnival games, you can probably watch a tractor show and maybe even ride a pony!
28. Search for Petoskey stones on the beaches in Petoskey, MI. If you are brave you can jump off the breakwall into the bay!
29. Take the Shipwreck Tour aboard a glass bottom boat in Alpena, MI at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The water is so clear here and you will learn a lot about the famous shipwrecks as long as some Lake Huron history. It’s really interesting! And you can see a quite a bit of the shipwrecks up close because they are close to the shore.
30. And last, but not least, we can’t forget the Michigan Great Lakes Lighthouses. There are 129 you can visit. Some you can even climb up, like Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington, MI State Park. It is a bit of a hike to the lighthouse, so wear your walking shoes!
Did I leave out your favorite place? Let me know so I can add it and visit!
Love em all!!! We always head north to Gaylord for a week in the summer!!
I love Gaylord! I used to actually live there for a couple of years. Right across the street from Otsego Lake!
Cascia Talbert says
It sounds like there are a lot of fun things to do in Michigan.
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I was just thinking of taking Parker down to feed the ducks on campus today! He’s still so little I sometimes struggle for ideas for (inexpensive) things I can do with him on my own. If you’re in the area get ahold of me, we’re in williamston.