Interlochen State Park
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Spend a Day (or More) at Interlochen State Park

Interlochen State Park was the first state park established in Michigan, and it has become one of the most beloved parks in the entire state. Located just outside of the bustling northern Michigan town of Traverse City, this park offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the Cherry Capital of the World and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region.

Add Interlochen State Park to Your Michigan Summer Bucket List

This state park is the perfect one to add to your summer bucket list because it is filled with opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Nearly every recreational activity that you can imagine can be enjoyed in this park, making it the ideal MI bucket list destination for people of all ages, stages, and skill levels.

Interlochen State Park
Interlochen State Park | photo via @louieseven.5

Inland Lake Beaches at Interlochen State Park

Many of the visitors who head to Interlochen State Park want to spend their day on the beach. Fortunately, there are two lakes located within the park. Both Duck Lake and Green Lake are swimming lakes with beaches, meaning that there is always enough space for everyone to splash in the water and swim along the shore. In addition to swimming in the lake and playing on the beach, you will quickly find that this park is the perfect fishing destination. During the summer, most people cast their reels and pull in bass, pike, and bluegill, which they can bring back to the campsite for dinner.

Watersports at Interlochen State Park

Those who would rather be on the water rather than in the water will be pleased to know that there are boat launches on both Duck Lake and Green Lake. In addition to the boat launches, there also is an accessible kayak launch on Duck Lake that is conveniently located between the boat launch and the picnic area. Kayaking is particularly popular on the lake, as it is a calm inland lake that lends itself to paddlesports.

While this may be the oldest state park in Michigan, it certainly boasts plenty of contemporary amenities and modern facilities. You will find well-maintained, modern bathrooms in this park, as well as a playground, picnic area, and a picnic shelter.

More to Do Near Interlochen State Park

Interlochen Center for the Arts

After you have explored the length of this park, you will want to pay a visit to the Interlochen Center for the Arts, which is an educational facility focused on music, theater and the arts. It is situated on the land that borders the northern portion of Interlochen State Park, and it has become one of the most iconic institutions in the region.

Interlochen Center for the Arts was established as a summer camp for students who were passionate about the arts, but it has evolved into a year-round educational experience that allows students to immerse themselves in the world of arts and culture. Typically, the Interlochen campus is open to the public, but it is currently closed to visitors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are interested in experiencing the campus safely can take a 360-degree virtual tour.

Interlochen State Park
Interlochen State Park | photo via @bngbarrelracing

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Not far from Interlochen State Park is another natural wonder to discover in northern Michigan. The Sleeping Bear Dunes is a National Lakeshore that features towering sand bluffs along the shores of Lake Michigan. These massive sand dunes are the perfect playground for children and adults alike. Whether you want to attempt to climb up the steep, sandy hills or you want to hike throughout the lakeshore, you will find that this place is simply breathtaking.

Nearby Dining Options | Interlochen Restaurants

For a hearty meal to complete your MI bucket list adventure, consider dining at Boone’s Long Lake Inn. This restaurant is nestled between Traverse City and Interlochen. Off the beaten path, it is a favorite among locals and feels like a hidden gem to travelers. After dinner, don’t forget to head over to Moomer’s for the best homemade ice cream in the state. You can enjoy your ice cream scoop while you watch the dairy cows graze in the distance.

Camping In and Around Interlochen State Park

For the best camping experience, you should consider staying at Interlochen State Park. There are several campgrounds located within the park’s boundaries, including:

No RV? No Problem!

We've included local campgrounds in most of the #MIAwesomeList posts to help you get the most out of your Michigan summer bucket list adventures!

No RV? No worries. You can save up to 25% on your travel costs this summer by renting an RV through RVshare!

Whether you want to pull it behind you or have it all set up at your destination, renting an RV is the best way to enjoy all your summer adventures in Michigan!

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Non-Camping Lodging Near Interlochen

If camping isn’t your thing but you’re wanting to extend your Michigan summer bucket list adventures in northwest Michigan, here are some additional lodging options near Interlochen State Park:

Photos of Interlochen State Park

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