Michigan is home to a long winter, but when May rolls around, it is the height of the spring season and considered the start of summer. Tourists and locals alike emerge to enjoy the climbing temperatures and wealth of events in May in Michigan.
No matter what you’re interested in, there is something for everyone to do. Check out one of these amazing events and activities during your next trip to Michigan in spring.
Attend a Spring Festival
Festivals of all kinds are held throughout May in Michigan — from the Tulip Time Festival in Holland to the annual Food Truck Festival in Frankenmuth. As the weather warms up and the flowers begin to bloom, it is the perfect time to enjoy a community event.
Many of these festivals take place in the vicinity of the lakes, but you will find spring festivals going on all over Michigan. Whether you are interested in local food, cultural events, holiday celebrations, or musical performances, you can find it all.
Forage for Mushrooms
May is mushroom season in Michigan, and you’ll find mushrooming enthusiasts hitting forests and fields all over the state to take part. The biggest attraction is the morel mushroom, which is widely considered a local treasure. But you don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) hit the trail on your own.
Mushroom festivals take place all month, including the National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City and the Mesick Mushroom Festival in Mesick Michigan. Here, you’ll get the chance to hit the trail with experienced guides, learn about mushrooms, and try them in expertly-prepared dishes.
Enjoy Some Wine
Michigan’s wine country might not be as well known as that of California or New York, but it is absolutely worth a visit. The winds of the Great Lakes provide a unique area that is perfect for growing some of the Midwest’s best wines.
Springtime is the perfect time of year to visit one of Michigan’s great wineries, enjoying some local vintages while taking in the view of the surrounding lake country. May is Michigan Wine Month, so you’ll definitely want to stop into a vineyard, such as Black Star Farms or Tabor Hill.
You’ll find adventurous people striking out into the Michigan wilds during winter, but for the most part, people stay put until the spring. Fortunately, the natural world comes alive in late spring, and May in Michigan is the perfect time to hit nature trails and explore stunning parks.
Isle Royale National Park is a particularly popular one. Located in Lake Superior, the park closes for the winter but reopens in April, giving you the chance to see wildflowers and breathtaking views of the lake.
Visit a Garden
Michigan is home to some stunning botanical gardens, which are all bursting into blooms in the spring. Some of the most famous tourist attractions of the state include the Fredrick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan.
Though these Michigan gardens are open with limitations throughout the winter, it isn’t until the height of spring that they are at their most glorious. You might be surprised at the amount of time you spend wandering these stunning floral displays, themed gardens, and forests.
Roam Through a Farmer’s Market
Michigan has plenty of farmland, so it is always worth it to hit up a local farmer’s market. Things really get going in the late spring when you’ll find delicious early crops, like asparagus, blueberries and strawberries, parsnips and peas, beets, and much more.
Local farmer’s markets often feature homemade baked goods, jams and jellies, and other rustic goods. You never know what you are going to find, and there is nothing like spending a weekend exploring in the May sunshine. Markets typically open through the winter but really pick up in the spring.
Get Onto a Great Lake
It goes without saying that visiting the lakes in Michigan is an unmissable experience. Though the chill of winter might still be lingering in May, there is still plenty to do on the lake.
As May arrives, you will find Michiganders flocking to the lakes to enjoy boating, fishing, and exploring beaches. Anglers can catch local freshwater fish, such as coho salmon, brown trout, Chinook salmon, steelhead, and pink salmon.
Even if you’re not into fishing, you will find plenty of interesting things to do at the lakes in Michigan, whether it’s taking a canoe out or hunting for Petoskey stones.
Birding enthusiasts will enjoy exploring Michigan in May. This is the time of the year when migratory birds return to Michigan for the warm weather, making it the perfect time to spot native species. You might be lucky enough to spot Canadian geese, sandpipers, red-winged blackbirds, and yellow warblers.
If you want to make the trip, several places throughout the state are considered ideal birding locations for the spring. One of these is Whitefish Point Bird Observatory near the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point. There are several locations near Mackinaw City too.
Hit Up a Water Park
Cool temperatures sometimes linger into May in Michigan. Even if it is still too chilly to visit the beach, you can visit one of the amazing Michigan indoor water parks.
These enormous parks draw visitors from all over the country with acres of watery fun — all in a heated interior space that lets you enjoy splashing no matter the temperature outside.
Listen to Some Live Music
It should come as no surprise that, as the weather warms up, crowds turn out for music festivals. You will find live concerts happening throughout May in Michigan, including some truly famous bands. These will vary from year to year, so you never know who you might have the chance to see.
In addition to famous musicians, some fascinating music festivals give you the chance to explore musical styles and cultures that you may have never heard before.
FAQs About May in Michigan
What are the most popular events in May in Michigan?
Things really start to pick up in Michigan in May with temperatures rising and people looking forward to the summer.
Spring festivals around the state are extremely popular, especially those that celebrate music, food, and native flowers and plants. Also, you’ll find one-of-a-kind events, such as Balloons Over Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth.
What can you do on Memorial Day weekend in Michigan?
Memorial Day is widely considered the start of the summer season. There are countless things to do in Michigan during this long weekend, which falls within the last few days of May.
You’ll find music festivals in Detroit, car shows, patriotic parades, and much more.
Is May a good time to visit the Upper Peninsula?
The Upper Peninsula has a significantly cooler climate than most of the Midwestern states, so you might be surprised to find it chilly, even in May in Michigan.
The ideal time of year to visit is between Memorial Day and Labor Day when temperatures rise to their annual peak.
Nevertheless, May in the Upper Peninsula is beautiful no matter the temperature, and it is definitely worth a visit.
Is it warm enough to swim in May in Michigan?
Depending on the year, you may be able to swim in May in Michigan. Most of the time, though, water temperatures may be too low to be comfortable.
In Lake Michigan, the average annual water temperature is between the high 30s and mid 50s (degrees Fahrenheit), making it quite chilly for most swimmers.
However, this is all highly variable depending on many factors, so you may be able to swim elsewhere in May in Michigan.
What is the best month to visit Michigan?
Official sources usually recommend that tourists visit Michigan between late May and mid October. During this time of year, most of the state is warm and pleasant, with plenty of sunshine.
However, you might find some unexpected adventures if you visit earlier or later in the year because Michigan always has something new and lovely on offer.
Discover Great Things to Do in May in Michigan
May in Michigan is a fantastic time to explore traditional and new activities with family and friends. Alongside the above ideas, you could attend sporting events at Michigan ballparks, go camping in a state park, and so much more.