Things To Do In Michigan
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100+ Best Things to Do in Michigan This Year

Affectionately known as the Great Lakes State, Michigan is clearly a land of opportunity. There are so many things to do in Michigan throughout the entire year, you may find it hard to narrow down your itinerary or determine what to add to your Michigan Bucket List.

One of the best ways to plan a visit to The Mitten is to consider the season that you want to explore the state, and then start looking for the best things to do in the region where you will be visiting.

Each region of Michigan offers a unique atmosphere, a distinct culture, and a variety of attractions for people of all ages and interests.

These are some of the best things to do in Michigan, no matter where you are heading or when you are going.

Round Island Lighthouse - Upper Peninsula Lighthouses
Round Island Lighthouse | photo via @levante_drone_festival

Start Building Your Spring Michigan Bucket List

If you are the type of person who thrives on spontaneity and doesn’t mind a dose of unpredictability, then spring in Michigan may be the perfect season for you.

No two springs in this state are alike, and the weather is notoriously volatile. One day you may be soaking up the sun on a perfect 65-degree day, and the next day, you might find yourself shoveling 4 inches of snow off of your sidewalks. 

Regardless of the weather, however, spring is breathtaking in Michigan. These are some of the best things to do in Michigan throughout the springtime season: 

Campus Martius - Springtime - Detroit, Michigan
Campus Martius – Springtime | photo via @arrow1318

Spending Spring in Southern and Mid-Michigan

Spring arrives first in southcentral Michigan, so there are plenty of things to do during this exciting time of year, such as:

Ride on Falling Waters Trail

Take a bike ride on the Falling Waters Trail in Jackson. Featuring a paved trail, the Falling Waters Trail is ideal for people of all ages and skill levels. If you and your family are looking for something to do outdoors on a warm spring day, this trail is the perfect option.

Enjoy March Mannequins

Check out the March Mannequins in St. Joseph. Every year in March, community volunteers in St. Joseph create living mannequin displays in storefront windows. It’s a tradition that everyone enjoys witnessing.

Spend a Day at Binder Park Zoo

Spend a day at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit the Binder Park Zoo, which is one of the largest zoos in the state. At this time of year, the animals are often active and moving around their exhibits.

Falling Waters Trail - Jackson, Michigan
Falling Waters Trail | photo via @runfardvs

Springtime Fun in Metro Detroit

As Metro Detroit reawakens from yet another winter, you will find that there are many unique ways to make the most out of your spring, such as:

Catch a Tigers Game

Watch the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day at Comerica Park. Going to Opening Day in early April is a rite of passage for many Michiganders. It could be sunny and warm, or it could be snowing, but no matter what, everyone is ready for baseball to begin.

Go Back in History at Greenfield Village

Visit Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Greenfield Village is a living history museum that opens each year in the middle of April. During your visit, you could ride a carousel that is over 100 years old, take a trip on an authentic Model T and visit the home where Henry Ford himself was born.

Lend a Hand at Belle Isle

Help clean up Belle Isle. Each year in April, there is a Clean Up Day that is hosted on Belle Isle, and community members are invited to help freshen up this lovely island park off the coast of the city of Detroit.

Stop and Smell the Roses at Eastern Market

Purchase your favorite blooms at Eastern Market Flower Day. Eastern Market is a year-round market in Detroit, but Flower Day is perhaps the most famous day of the year.

Typically taking place in May, this event brings in flower vendors from around the state who want to sell their blossoming plants.

Comerica Park, Detroit - Spring In Metro Detroit
Comerica Park | photo via @drewhaack24

West Michigan Spring Activities

Spring is the most colorful time of year in West Michigan, with flowers blooming around every corner. These are a few of the best things to do during a West Michigan spring:

Experience Tulip Time

Go to Tulip Time in Holland. By the middle of April, you will begin to see hundreds upon thousands of tulips start to bloom in downtown Holland and at Windmill Park. But the pinnacle of the tulip season is Tulip Time, a week-long festival that celebrates all things Dutch in this charming city.

Stroll Through Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary

Visit the Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary. There is no better place to see Michigan wildflowers in their natural element than the Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary in White Cloud.

No two hikes at this sanctuary are the same, as there is always a new, colorful bloom to discover.

Experience the Butterflies at Frederik Meijer Gardens

Surround yourself with butterflies at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Migratory butterflies arrive in March to spend a short time at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Guests are invited to visit throughout the entire month of April to see these magnificent creatures fluttering about before they continue their journey.

Cropped-Veldheer-Tulip-Garden.png
Veldheer Tulip Garden | photo via @michigantravelist

Discover Spring Blooming in the Thumb

Practically a peninsula in its own right, the Thumb is the perfect place to experience spring. Here are a few activities you should consider:

Kayak to Turnip Rock

Kayak to Turnip Rock in Port Austin. For a peaceful and private journey to this popular tourist destination, consider kayaking to Turnip Rock during the quieter spring months.

Explore Bay City Flea Markets

Check out the flea markets in Bay City. The Bay City flea markets always have something new to discover, so this is the perfect activity for those who want to go shopping during spring.

Go Golfing in the Thumb

Play a round of golf before the summer rush begins. Spring is the start of golf season in Michigan, and the Thumb has no shortage of options. Consider playing a round at Century Oaks Golf Course in Elkton or Verona Hills Golf and Country Club in Bad Axe.

Kayak Lake Huron - Fall In East Michigan, Turnip Rock
Kayak Lake Huron – Turnip Rock | photo via @rachagainst_themachine

Experience a Cool and Crisp Spring in Northern Michigan

Some years, it feels like spring may never arrive in Northern Michigan — but eventually, the sun begins to warm the earth and the chill of winter fades away. These refreshing activities will allow you to enjoy this short but sweet season in Northern Michigan:

Attend the National Trout Festival

Attend the National Trout Festival in Kalkaska. The tiny town of Kalkaska comes to life in late April each year, when it celebrates a week-long festival dedicated to trout. The spring festival in Michigan includes a parade, a car show, a carnival, and of course, a fishing contest.

Hunt for Morel Mushrooms

Begin searching for the elusive yet delicious morel mushrooms. When the conditions are just right in late May and early June, morel hunters begin their hunts for their favorite fungi. Morel mushrooms can pop up just about anywhere, so always be on the lookout in Northern Michigan.

Catch a Glimpse of the Northern Lights

Go stargazing at Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City. The skies are particularly clear during the spring months, and April is actually one of the best times of the year to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Hike the Fern Lake Loop

Hike the Fern Lake Loop in Traverse City. Featuring waterfront views and blooming forests, this trail is the perfect place to get some fresh spring air.

Dark Sky Park, Mackinaw City - Spring In Northern Michigan
Dark Sky Park | photo via NPR

Find Springtime Joy in the Upper Peninsula

Spring shows up late in the Upper Peninsula, but you will find that your patience is rewarded. These are a few of the best spring things to do in the Upper Peninsula:

Visit a Maple Sugar Farm

Visit a maple sugar farm. The trees are tapped, and the syrup flows freely during March and early April, making spring the best time to visit a maple sugar farm and grab fresh, locally-made syrup. 

Take a Pictured Rocks Waterfall Tour

Go on a waterfall tour near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There are nearly a dozen waterfalls near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and all of them boast crushing flows during the spring thaw.

Beyond the fact that the falls are particularly full and beautiful, there are very few visitors during this time of year — meaning you will often have these natural wonders all to yourself.

Enjoy Bird Watching at Whitefish Point

Watch the birds migrate north at Whitefish Point near Paradise. The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is located at a natural migration corridor, and spring is one of the best times of year to see various birds taking their journeys north for the summer season.

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory - M-123 Tahquamenon Scenic Byway, Spring Things To Do
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory | photo via @this_is_my_fathers_world

Start Building Your Summer Michigan Bucket List

Summer is a magical time of year in Michigan, delighting both local residents as well as visitors with its sunshine-filled days, cool breezes, and panoramic lakefront views.

Summer is a fleeting season in this state, which means that it is treasured all the more by those who live here and those who are visiting from afar. 

Make the most of June, July, and August by checking out these summer things to do in Michigan:

Lighthouse Beach In Port Huron | Photo Via Leah Tennant
Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron | photo via Leah Tennant

Splash Into Summer in Southcentral and Mid-Michigan

In Southcentral and Mid-Michigan, summer is a bustling season. The weather is nearly always perfect for outdoor fun, so these are some of the best activities and attractions to check out in the summer: 

Enjoy a Jackson Coney Dog

Grab an authentic Jackson coney dog and spend an afternoon at Ella Sharp Park. Most people don’t realize this, but the original coney dog was invented in Jackson, and you can still get an authentic, Jackson-made dog to this day.

After you get a coney, head on over to the picturesque Ella Sharp Park, where you will find playgrounds and pretty gardens.

Take a Walking Tour of Historic Hillsdale

Take a walking tour of Hillsdale. Hillsdale is home to many historic buildings, most of which are within walking distance of one another, making this a great place to take an educational summer stroll.

Attend the Sunflower Festival at Uncle John’s Cider Mill

Visit the Sunflower Festival at Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns. Most people think of Uncle John’s Cider Mill as a fall attraction, but this agritainment venue puts on a Sunflower Fest each August where guests can cut their own flowers to bring home.

Explore the Howell Nature Center

Play and explore at the Howell Nature Center in Howell. The Howell Nature Center is an educational venue that focuses on animal rehabilitation.

When you visit, you can see some of the animals who call the nature center home, and children will love playing at the interactive Naturescape playground.

Uncle John's Cider Mill
Uncle John’s Cider Mill | photo via @skylerrrr.s

Embrace the Summer Heat in Metro Detroit

Summer heats up fast in Metro Detroit, but fortunately, there are plenty of ways to have fun near the Motor City during this season of sunshine:

Visit a Sprayscape/Splashpad

Let the kids splash in a sprayscape. Splash pads and sprayscapes have become increasingly popular in Metro Detroit over the last several years, and there are many to choose from.

Some favorites among locals include the Plymouth Township Park Splash Pad, the Mt. Elliott Park Splash Pad in Detroit, the Heritage Park Splash Pad in Farmington Hills, and the Dodge Park Splash Pad in Sterling Heights.

Hit the Beach on Belle Isle

Head to the beach on Belle Isle. Most people don’t think of Detroit as a beachfront destination, but the beach at Belle Isle is one of the most beautiful spots in the state to spend a day in the surf and sand.

Visit the Detroit Zoo

Visit with the animals at the Detroit Zoo. Located in Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo is a favorite destination for families of all shapes and sizes. Consider feeding the giraffes or checking out the penguins at the recently-reopened Polk Penguin Conservation Center. 

Kayak the Detroit Canals

Kayak the Detroit canals. Book a tour with Detroit River Sports and find out how easy it is to paddle your way through the heart of the city.

Belle Isle Beach - Detroit, Michigan - Belle Isle
Belle Isle Beach | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Enjoy the Coast in Western Michigan

Summer in West Michigan is all about spending time on the water. These are some of the best ways to enjoy the West Michigan coast during the summer months:

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Lakeside Emporium

Grab some old-fashioned candy in Muskegon before heading to the beach. In the heart of Muskegon, you will find a locally-owned candy shop that seems as if it was ripped straight out of the pages of a history book.

You’ll have a hard time choosing which candy you want for your day of fun in the sun in West Michigan.

Tour Lake Michigan Lighthouses

Visit some of the most iconic lighthouses in West Michigan. With hundreds of miles of Lake Michigan coastline, it’s not surprising that some of the most famous lighthouses in Michigan can be found in this region.

Some lighthouses that you may want to visit include Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, the North Pierhead Lighthouse in Manistee, and the Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier.

Climb the Dunes at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Climb the dunes at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. If you aren’t up for climbing the dunes yourself, you may want to consider booking a dune ride. There’s nothing quite as thrilling as soaring on top of the dunes on an all-terrain vehicle!

Lakeside Emporium
Lakeside Emporium | photo via @jennanibal

Soak Up Summer in The Thumb

Summer is a season of opportunity in Michigan’s Thumb, and there are so many things to do you may have a hard time fitting them all in. Here are just a few ideas to get your summer started in the Thumb:

Attend the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival

Become a Parrothead at Cheeseburger Festival in Caseville. Caseville is a small town located at the tip of the Thumb, but it’s becoming notorious for its annual Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival, which lasts for about 10 days each August.

For more than 24 years, the community has been coming together to allow guests to sample cheeseburgers, root for their favorite one, and watch dozens of Jimmy Buffet cover bands live. 

Sail in Saginaw Bay

Sail on a tall ship in Saginaw Bay. Bay City is famous for its tall ships, and now you can experience what it is like to sail on one of these grand vessels. BaySail offers sailing excursions onboard the Appledore tall ship.

Soak Up Lake Huron

Soak up the best views of Lake Huron in Harbor Beach. Harbor Beach is a quintessential lakeside Michigan town, with its charming downtown areas, spectacular views of Lake Huron, and towering Harbor Beach Lighthouse.

It’s one of the best places to go if you want to enjoy all that Lake Huron has to offer in one convenient location.

Cheeseburger In Caseville Festival, Caseville - Cheeseburger In Caseville Festival
Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival | photo via @caroldrinks_

Experience All That a Northern Michigan Summer Has to Offer

There’s just something special about spending a summer in Northern Michigan. It’s an opportunity to take a step back and enjoy a relaxed pace while soaking up the beauty that surrounds you. When you put these activities on your itinerary, your Northern Michigan summer will be off to a great start:

Enjoy a Meal at Boone’s Long Lake Inn

Enjoy a meal on the deck at Boone’s Long Lake Inn near Traverse City. This infamous local restaurant is tucked away from the downtown area, providing visitors with a respite from the business of the summer tourist season.

Its massive outdoor deck is one of the most relaxing places to grab a meal — and no matter which menu item you choose, you are sure to enjoy it.

Search for Petoskey Stones

Search for Petoskey Stones along the Lake Michigan shore in Petoskey. You may find the official state stone on the beaches at Magnus City Park or along the Petoskey Breakwall.

Catch a Movie at Cherry Bowl Drive-In

Catch a movie from your car at the Cherry Bowl Drive-in in Honor. This family-friendly drive-in has been welcoming cars full of people since the 1950s, allowing you to enjoy a nostalgic summer activity in Northern Michigan.

The Awesome Mitten (Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater)
Cherry Bowl Drive-In | photo via Eric Weir

See What Summer is All About in the Upper Peninsula

Summer in the U.P. is incredibly short but very sweet. The nights may be chilly, and the wind can be brisk, but these are some of the best things to do during your summer trip to the Upper Peninsula:

Visit Oswald Bear Ranch

Visit the Oswald Bear Ranch in Newberry. This bear ranch is the largest ranch of its kind in the country and is one of the few places where people can get an up close and personal look at the North American Black Bear in its natural habitat.

Bike Around Mackinac Island

Bike your way around Mackinac Island. With motor vehicles banned on the island, you have to use a bicycle to get around this Victorian island. The 8-mile paved trail that goes around the perimeter of the island is accessible to people of all ages, so even the youngest riders can enjoy the journey.

Explore the Apple Blossom Trail

Traverse the Apple Blossom Trail. Stretching between Caspian and Iron River, this two-mile trail not only showcases the beauty of the U.P. but also tells the story of the miners who once called this peninsula home. 

Oswald's Bear Ranch, Newberry - Oswald's Bear Ranch
Oswald’s Bear Ranch | photo via Awesome Mitten

Start Building Your Fall Michigan Bucket List

As the days begin to get shorter and the farmers begin to bring in their annual harvests, everyone knows that fall is on the way in Michigan.

This is a season of bounty and beauty, and it also feels as if it can slip right through your fingers — which is why nearly everyone in Michigan makes it a priority to make the most out of this ephemeral season. 

From apple picking in a local orchard to leaf peeping on a well-traversed trail, there are endless fall things to do in Michigan throughout the entire season.

Fallasburg Park, Lowell - Fallasburg Park, Covered Bridges
Fallasburg Park | photo via @amber.m.gibson

Watch Fall Come to Life in Mid-Michigan and Southern Michigan

Fall in Mid-Michigan and Southcentral Michigan is defined by warm breezes, golden hour sunshine, and spectacular displays of colored leaves. While everyone waits for the harvests, there are plenty of fun fall activities to enjoy in this region of the state:

Enjoy Oktoberfest in Frankenmuth

Usher in the fall season at Oktoberfest in Frankenmuth. Known to most locals as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, it’s no surprise that this German-inspired town prefers to begin the fall season with a traditional Oktoberfest celebration.

For more than 30 years, the annual Oktoberfest in Frankenmuth has brought in visitors from all over the state who want to wear their lederhosen (aka leidenhausen), sip a frothy beer, and listen to amazing bands.

Experience a Haunted Halloween at Cornwell’s Turkeyville

Embark on a haunted adventure in Marshall. If you are looking for spooky fun this fall, consider heading to Cornwell’s Turkeyville in Marshall, where you will take a frightful hayride to an area where there’s a ghoul-filled train, a haunted barn, and a spooky corn maze.

Take a Cider Mill Tour

Create your own cider mill tour in Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties. Some of the best cider mills in this part of Michigan include Young’s Orchard in Rives Junction, Dexter Cider Mill in Dexter (Michigan’s Oldest Cider Mill!), and K’s Acres Orchards in Hillsdale. 

Dexter Cider Mill, Dexter - Southcentral Michigan Apple Orchards &Amp; Cider Mills
Dexter Cider Mill | photo via @michiganbites

Enjoy a Busy Yet Beautiful Fall in Metro Detroit 

Metro Detroit may not have the same sprawling acres as the rest of rural Michigan, but there is still plenty of fall fun to be had in this happening corner of the state. Here are a few fall activities to choose from in Metro Detroit:

Meander the Corn Maze at Maybury Farm

Find your way through the corn maze at Maybury Farm in Northville. Maybury Farm in Northville is an operational, non-profit farm that creates a completely unique corn maze every year.

In addition to winding your way through the maze, you also can visit with the animals and grab cider and donuts at the farm.

Enjoy the Zoo Boo at the Detroit Zoo

Celebrate Halloween with the animals at the Detroit Zoo. The Zoo Boo event at this Royal Oak zoo is a favorite fall tradition of many local families. Dress up in your Halloween costume, bring a bag and trick-or-treat alongside the animals at this festive event.

Take Fright at the Terror on Tillson

Prepare yourself for the Terror on Tillson in Romeo. For a night that is more frightful than most, consider heading to Romeo and exploring Tillson Street — a residential street where residents have long been committed to creating some of the most terrifying Halloween displays in the state.

What makes this experience unique is that it’s a completely voluntary event that is created by neighbors who are carrying on a tradition.

Detroit Zoo - Zoo Boo, Royal Oak - Fall In Metro Detroit
Detroit Zoo – Zoo Boo | photo via @jenrhora

Soak Up Those Colorful Coastal Views in West Michigan

With its endless miles of shorelines and notoriously vibrant fall colors, West Michigan is one of the best places to spend the months of September and October. These are the top fall things to do in West Michigan:

Explore Massive Pumpkins at Frederik Meijer Gardens

Wander through a larger-than-life pumpkin patch at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.

Each year, gigantic pumpkins are brought into the outdoor gardens of the museum, and families are invited to walk through the display — children are even allowed to climb on these massive gourds.  

Take a Fall Color Tour on M-22

Begin a journey on the M-22 Scenic Highway in Manistee. Before you start your road trip along one of the most breathtaking fall color tours in the state, grab a meal at a restaurant along the Riverwalk in Manistee.

Experience a Fall Color Train Ride

See the fall colors by rail on the vintage Coopersville and Marne Railway. This historic railway provides guests with an opportunity to experience what transportation was like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in West Michigan.

During the fall, you can enjoy the fall colors on this ride. Families often prefer the Pumpkin Train, which takes young children on an entertaining train ride to a pumpkin patch where they can choose their very own pumpkin to bring home. 

The Coopersville &Amp; Marne Railway Co. - Fall In West Michigan
The Coopersville & Marne Railway Co. | photo via @mrxeman

See What Fall is All About in the Thumb

By the time October arrives each year, the colors of the leaves light up the Thumb in Michigan. With so many of the Thumb Area farmers pulling in their harvests for the season, there is a lot to celebrate at this time of year.

A few fall ideas for your fall visit to the Thumb include:

Attend the Tuscola County Pumpkin Festival

Spend a weekend at the Tuscola County Pumpkin Festival. The Tuscola County Pumpkin Festival embodies the spirit of a traditional hometown festival. Taking place over a four-day weekend in October each year, this festival brings in people not only from the Thumb but also from all over Michigan.

In addition to having a carnival and other classic attractions, this festival also boasts a pumpkin decorating contest, a pumpkin pie sale, a cornhole tournament, a beautiful baby contest, and more. Of course, the highlight of the festival is finding out who is crowned the Pumpkin Prince and Princess.

Hike the Trails at Port Crescent State Park

Hike along the trails at Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin. The trail system at this state park is ideal for those who are new to hiking, because most trails are paved, and they feature relatively easy terrains.

Families with young children and adults with dogs are all welcome on these trails, which are spectacularly beautiful in the fall once the leaves turn color. 

Port Crescent State Park, Port Austin - Fall Scenic Overlooks, Port Austin Lodging, Port Crescent State Park
Port Crescent State Park | photo via @ourwanderlostadventure

Go Leaf Peeping in Northern Michigan

With its endless waterfront views and vibrant fall colors, Northern Michigan is quite simply one of the best places to celebrate the arrival of autumn. There are so many fall activities to choose from, it can be difficult to choose. Here are a few options to consider for your fall getaway to Northern Michigan:

Sip Cider at Sutton’s Bay Cider

Sip a cider while admiring the views at Sutton’s Bay Ciders. With its unique hilltop location, Sutton’s Bay Ciders offers one of the most incredible views of Grand Traverse Bay.

In the fall, the colors of the leaves juxtapose the bright blue of the waters below, making it the best place to relax with a craft beverage in Northern Michigan.

Tour the Tunnel of Trees

Drive through the Tunnel of Trees to see one of the most breathtaking displays of fall colors in Michigan. The winding M-119 highway will take you through the famed Tunnel of Trees, where the brightly-colored leaves form a canopy above the road. 

Celebrate Halloween in Harbor Springs

Head to Harbor Springs in order to experience fall in a festive and frightening way. Harbor Springs has been declared as one of the best cities in the country to celebrate Halloween, and the town hosts a Halloween Parade as well as classic trick-or-treating.

Tunnel Of Trees - Ultimate Guide To The M-119 Tunnel Of Trees
Tunnel of Trees | photo via @travelmi

Head to the Upper Peninsula to See the Best that Fall Has to Offer

For the earliest glimpses of fall, head to the Upper Peninsula in September and October. The leaves start to turn in this region of the state before anywhere else, making it a favorite destination among those who simply can’t wait to start the season. 

These are the best fall things to do in the Upper Peninsula:

Enjoy a Scenic Drive on the Keweenaw Peninsula

Take a scenic drive along the Lake Superior coastline. The M-26 Highway in the Keweenaw Peninsula is the best way to enjoy both coastal views of the mighty lake as well as touches of fall color along the way. 

Explore Porcupine Mountains State Park

Visit Porcupine Mountains State Park for a fall color experience unlike any other. In order to enjoy the most incredible views from this park, choose one of its many hiking paths and get up-close-and-personal with nature along the way.

Go Apple Picking at Sunny G Orchard

Go apple picking at Sunny G Orchard in Stephenson. This family-owned apple orchard in the Upper Peninsula welcomes visitors throughout the fall who are interested in grabbing a bag of their favorite apples.

With 10 varieties to choose from, everyone will find the crunchy and delicious fruit that they are craving. 

Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountain - Fall Hiking Trails
Escarpment Trail – Porcupine Mountains State Park | photo via @jeffcaverlyphoto

Start Building Your Winter Michigan Bucket List

From the outside looking in, winter may seem like a daunting season in Michigan. Snow almost always blankets the entire state for the duration of the winter, and the temperatures frequently plummet below freezing.

However, there’s still so much to be had, it would be a tragedy to hibernate your winter away in Michigan. 

Whether you enjoy festival gatherings and frosty festivals, or you prefer to spend your winter months braving the elements and exploring the great outdoors, you will find that you won’t be bored because there are so many things to do in Michigan in the winter.

M-22 Winter - M-22
M-22 Winter | photo via @thehomesteadmi

Bundle Up for a Southcentral and Mid-Michigan Winter

Even in the southern reaches of Michigan, winter is a season filled with icy breezes and snowy days. However, all of that cold and snow doesn’t mean that you have to stay inside.

These are just a few of the ways that you can make the most out of winter in Southcentral and Mid-Michigan:

Attend the Coldwater Winter Fest

Attend the Coldwater Winter Fest. Rather than staying inside and hibernating for the winter, the people of Coldwater choose to celebrate the season with an annual winter festival. In late January, the community organizes a festival with a variety of events and activities, including live wood carving, sled dog presentations, and snowmen-building contests.

Go snow tubing at Hawk Island Park in Lansing. Snow tubing is like a taste of summer in the heart of the winter. At Hawk Island Park, a large hill structure is manufactured and packed with snow, allowing people of all ages to twist and twirl on a tube as they slide down it.

Hawk Island Park, Lansing - Tobogganing &Amp; Snow Tubing, Winter In Mid-Michigan
Hawk Island Park | photo via @dilemma.snapshots

Enjoy a Festive Winter in Metro Detroit

The winter season is anything but slow and quiet in Metro Detroit, which has plenty of fun festivals and activities to enjoy from late November until late March.

Attend the Plymouth Ice Fest

Wander through larger-than-life ice sculptures at the Plymouth Ice Fest. The Plymouth Ice Fest is an annual event that has become famous across the entire state, bringing in professional ice carvers as well as enthusiastic festival goers who want to watch these artists make a creation out of a block of ice.

Ice Skate at Campus Martius

Go ice skating at Campus Martius in Detroit. The Rink at Campus Martius is a favorite holiday break activity for many locals, but this public ice skating rink is actually open from late November until the middle of March, allowing you to go again and again throughout the entire winter.

Tour Meadow Brook

Head to Meadow Brook in order to enjoy a regal holiday experience. Located in Rochester Hills on the Oakland University campus, Meadow Brook is the historic home of the Dodge family, and it is beautifully decorated for the holiday season each year.

Members of the public can take indoor tours, or visit at nighttime to see the holiday light displays.

Campus Martius, Detroit
Campus Martius | photo via Lisa Ansteth

See What the Lake Effect is All About in West Michigan

Thanks to the moderating effect of Lake Michigan, West Michigan is almost always blanketed in several inches of snow throughout the winter.

This lake effect snow transforms this side of the state into a winter playground, allowing people of all ages to enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Some things to do in West Michigan during the winter include:

Shop at the Holland Winter Market

Shop at the Holland Winter Market. The Holland Winter Market is an indoor market that takes place twice per month from January through April. At the market, you will find fresh greens, handmade goods, artisan products, and baked goods. 

Go Snowshoeing

Go snowshoeing on a local trail. With miles upon miles of trails in West Michigan, this is one of the best places in the state to try your hand at snowshoeing. There is nothing quite like maneuvering along the snow-covered trails as you soak up the coastal views. 

Learn to Luge in Muskegon

Learn to luge in Muskegon. The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park is home to one of only four luge tracks in the United States. Not only can you try the luge, but you also can enjoy other winter recreational activities, such as cross-country skiing and ice skating.

Muskegon Luge Track, Muskegon - Winter Olympic Sports, Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, Muskegon - Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park | photo via of Josh Super

Witness Snow Blanketing the Ground Throughout the Thumb

The Thumb is often considered to be a summertime destination, which means that you will have plenty of room to roam when you head to this part of Michigan in the winter.

Here are a few ideas to keep you busy while you spend a winter weekend in the Thumb:

Snowmobile in the Thumb

Go snowmobiling throughout the Thumb. The Thumbs Up Snowmobile Club is a local organization that has advocated for snowmobile trails in the region, ultimately developing more than 50 miles of groomed trails. Thanks to their hard work and effort, you can have fun zooming through this winter wonderland.

Enjoy Cross-Country Skiing on State Park Trails

Try cross-country skiing along the many miles of trails in this region. You will find cross-country skiing trails in Port Crescent State Park, Wagener County Park, Sleeper State Park, and more. 

Snowmobiling, Houghton - Best Things To Do In Alpena, Snowmobiling In Michigan, Winter In The Thumb Area
Snowmobiling | photo via @portagelakecabins

Experience the Winter Playground in Northern Michigan

The locals who call Northern Michigan home find that winter is the most exciting season of the year because there are endless opportunities to get outdoors and explore. Here’s how you can enjoy the winter playground in Northern Michigan:

Explore a Winter Beach

Go to the beach. This is probably the last suggestion that you expected for a winter itinerary in Northern Michigan, but there’s honestly nothing quite like seeing the beach covered in chunks of ice and snow.

If you head to a local beach in Petoskey, you may even still be able to find a few Petoskey stones.

Float on the Sturgeon River

Try a guided float on the Sturgeon River in Gaylord. The Sturgeon River doesn’t freeze over, and there are local guides that will bundle you up, prepare you for the elements and take you on a mystical trip along the ice-drenched landscape.

Shack Up at a Ski Resort

Spend a weekend at a ski resort. There are several ski resorts in Northern Michigan that will allow you to add a touch of luxury to your winter outdoor fun. You might consider a stay at Boyne Highlands or Boyne Mountain Resort.

Boyne Mountain, Boyne Falls - Winter In Northern Michigan
Boyne Mountain | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Discover the Wonder of Winter in the Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula may seem unreachable during the winter season, but it’s very much open for business. In fact, winter is one of the best times of the year to explore this northern wilderness.

These are just a sample of some of the things to do during an Upper Peninsula winter:

Visit Nature’s Kennel Sled Dogs

Learn what dog sledding is all about and meet a few of the sled pups. Nature’s Kennel Sled Dogs is a company located not far from Tahquamenon Falls that provides visitors with an opportunity to experience dog sledding for themselves and even learn to care for the dogs.

Visit an Ice Cave

Visit an ice cave. The Upper Peninsula is famous for its ice caves, so no winter visit would be complete without a stop at one of these natural wonders.

The Eben Ice Caves, located near Au Train, are perhaps the most well-known ice caves in the U.P., and they are accessible to visitors. The ice caves typically freeze over in late December and will remain in place until late March.

Eben Ice Caves, Eben Junction - Caves
Eben Ice Caves | photo via Jacqueline S

You’ll Never Run Out of Things to Do in Michigan!

Michigan is considered to be the Water-Winter Wonderland of the United States, and with good reason! With all of the Great Lakes within reach and endless sights to see, there are things to do in Michigan throughout the entire year that appeal to travelers of all types. 

Whether you are looking to plan a weekend getaway to Northern Michigan or you are hoping to tour the coast of the Great Lakes State, now is the best time to begin building a bucket list for your next Michigan adventure.

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