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#MIAwesomeList

The Ultimate Michigan
Spring Bucket List

Michigan's Spring Bucket List Adventure

#MIAwesomeList is the ultimate spring bucket list in Michigan where you can experience Michigan to its fullest – from unique twists on the classics to the hidden gems and haunts known only to the locals.

We believe ALL of Michigan is great and we want to help you experience it to the fullest this season. And, now is the perfect time to explore in your own big, backyard – Michigan all while supporting local businesses and attractions!

The bucket list includes over 25 ways to explore Michigan with links off to more detailed guides to help you plan your experience.

#MIAwesomeList is brought to you by the Awesome Mitten.

We can’t wait to see what memories you create this spring!

Click on an item below to zip right down to that adventure!

Bucket List Table of Contents

Our Partners

#MIAwesomeList wouldn’t be possible without the generous support from our dedicated partners. These organizations truly investing into all that is uniquely Michigan. Learn more about them below and give them your support!

michigan farmers market

#1

Visit Michigan Farmers' Markets

Spring is the perfect time to visit a Michigan farmers’ market. In the spring, local farms bring the first fruits of their labor to the community, from spring peas to early flowers.

There are farmers markets across the entire state – we’ve got more than 240 on our interactive map

Flint has one of the best farmers’ markets in Michigan. This nationally-recognized farmers’ market features vendors of every kind, from local farms to butchers, fresh cheeses, locally-made craft beer and wine, baked goods, art pieces, and more.

As you browse the vendor stalls, you’ll spot local goods from beekeepers, farmers, and other producers throughout Michigan. Though the market is open throughout the year, you’ll definitely want to hit it up in the spring to access those early crops including lettuce, peas, asparagus, rhubarb, spinach, beets, strawberries, and flowers galore. 

It’s also worth exploring the other features of the market, including fresh eggs, meat, and other homemade goods!

tulip time festival in holland michigan

#2

Stop and Smell the Flowers at Tulip Time

True to its name, the town of Holland has a strong connection to its Dutch heritage. That means that when spring comes around, it’s time to celebrate tulips.

The annual Tulip Time festival takes place in the second week of May. This unique festival has been a part of Holland since 1929 and features hundreds of thousands of tulips in many varieties. It’s the chance for people of all heritages to celebrate the arrival of spring in an explosion of flowers! 

Aside from the tulips themselves, the week long event is a celebration of all things Dutch, from food to music, dancing, costumes, and more. Everyone is welcome to see the parade, explore the tulip immersion gardens, enjoy live music performances, and even buy local crafts and tulip bulbs.

The event takes place throughout the entire city. It features markets, flower and craft shows, concerts, fireworks, and more.

wildflowers on a michigan prairie fen

#3

Take a Hike on a Prairie Fen

Exploring the prairie fens of Michigan is a quintessential spring experience. These unique ecosystems are alive with new animals and plants, many of which you may never have seen before!

Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve in Mattawan is one of the best destinations in the state. Once designated for a housing development, researchers discovered that the preserve was fed by the nearby Paw Paw River, providing an amazing environment for both land and water animals and plants.

Today, the prairie fen is a protected area full of rich soil and rare plants. The unique and fertile growing environment also means the chance to spot unique wildlife! Throughout the year, you’ll find rare songbirds, huge trout, snakes, and turtles.

Spring is an especially beautiful time here as flowers bloom and the sun comes out. It’s the perfect time to take a hike through the fen’s 2 miles of developed trails.

running a 5K race in michigan

#4

Participate in a 5K Race

Whether you’re an avid runner or just love to get out and get moving for a good cause, Michigan 5K races are sure to get your blood pumping this spring! 

Many people enjoy running Michigan 5K races as they are short enough for amateur runners to successfully complete, fast enough for experienced runners to test their speed, and long enough to require a large amount of aerobic endurance. Thus the 5K race has become a popular race for both novices and experts alike.

Signing up for a 5K race in Michigan is a great way to challenge yourself and create accountability for your desired fitness goals. Starting to train in early spring when the weather warms up is a great way to get outside and enjoy spring in Michigan!

michigan baseball teams take the field in spring

#5

Attend Detroit Tigers' Opening Day at Comerica Park

Sports fans will want to clear their calendar to attend Tigers Opening Day in Detroit. The celebration kicks off the entire season for one special day in early April and takes place in the team’s own Comerica Park. This event is in high demand, so you’ll need to get tickets ahead of time!

The day features a wide selection of events and activities. The main draw, of course, is the first baseball game of the season. However, the celebration extends far beyond the reaches of the park, with many bars and restaurants also participating.

Tigers fans also get the chance to enjoy food, drinks, and live entertainment at businesses throughout Detroit, including a multi-block party encompassing several nightclubs. In 2021, the party included 12 DJs and dozens of businesses throughout downtown Detroit and the city’s Greektown complex.

maple syruping in michigan

#6

Enjoy Michigan Maple Syrup

March is an especially sweet time of year and dubbed Michigan Maple Syrup Month. All over the state, you can find maple syrup festivals, tours, producers, and parks all dedicated to the sweet stuff.

Do you love dousing your pancakes, French toast, or waffles in a sea of sweet maple syrup? Do you find yourself saving a piece of maple candy or going wild when you bite into a maple-glazed doughnut?

If you love maple syrup — and let’s be honest, it’s hard to deny how good and sticky it is — you should hit the road for an adventure. If you’ve ever wondered how maple syrup is made, you’re in luck. Springtime is Michigan’s time to shine when it comes to all things maple syrup.

traverse city cherry blossoms

#7

Seize Fruit Blossom Photo Ops

Traverse City is known far and wide for its breathtaking fruit blossoms in the spring. Though these happen at different times throughout the season, each is worth the visit and provides unique photo opportunites.

The region is full of apple and cherry trees, and when these burst into bloom, they draw visitors from all over the Midwest to enjoy the stunning view.

Apple trees in and around Traverse City blossom starting in late April and may last through the middle of May. Cherry blossom season is shorter, lasting only a few weeks throughout May.

Despite their short life, cherry blossoms are beautiful enough to draw people to enjoy fruit tree “tours,” driving or hiking around the local farmland to view the beloved signs of spring.

Don’t fret if you missed the start of the window. Fruit trees in and around Traverse City bloom slightly earlier or later depending on the conditions of their environment.

spring lake in kensington metropark near milford michigan

#8

Experience the Spring Festival in Milford

The Spring Festival in Milford is everything you’ve ever imagined about an old-world, classic spring celebration. From baby animals to flowers, music, live entertainment, and more, this annual event is simple family fun that’s perfect for welcoming spring.

It takes place every year in late April, just when the weather is beginning to warm up. The main events are sheep shearing, touring the farm that hosts the event, and getting to see newborn farm animals up close.

The Kensington Living History Village also participates, providing living history reenactments of the daily tasks of the pioneer days. You can catch a hayride around the farm on your way out or catch a kid-friendly performance by Roscoe the Clown.

If you love a classic, timeless experience of celebrating the arrival of spring on the farm, the Milford Spring Festival should be at the top of your list!

gazebo at hidden lake gardens near jackson michigan

#9

Explore Hidden Lake Gardens

The Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton are some of the most beautiful and fascinating in the state. The gardens, which are owned by Michigan State University, consist of 755 acres of land surrounding Hidden Lake and a conservatory. Along the way are 6 miles of walking trails and 12 miles of hiking trails, all of which are open throughout the year.

Spring is a particularly beautiful time to visit and explore — new bulbs are beginning to emerge and the weather is getting warmer. During this time, you might spot the beginning shoots of wildflowers and even young animals and birds throughout the gardens.

Late March brings the annual Spring Flower Bulb Show in the conservatory, where visitors can view and learn about all kinds of spring bulb flowers, including daffodils, amaryllis, hyacinths, tulips, and more. Guided tours are available throughout the year with registration two weeks ahead of time.

If you’re looking for a “Michigan garden near me” to visit this spring, don’t miss Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in West Michigan and Matthei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum in Southeast Michigan.

rockhounding on michigan beaches in the spring - hunting for petoskey stones

#10

Go Rockhounding for Petoskey Stones

If you’ve been in Michigan long, you might have heard of rockhounding. To outsiders, this activity might sound baffling — after all, what’s so special about looking for rocks? You might be surprised to learn that Petoskey Michigan is one of the top sites for rockhounding in the Midwest!

Even more, the Petoskey stone (and the somewhat lesser-known Charlevoix stone) are totally unique to the region of the Great Lakes. These ancient stones are actually fossils of rare prehistoric coral and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Depending on where you are, it may be illegal to take them from the beach — but don’t worry. There are plenty of places where they’re free for the taking. With patience and a pair of sharp eyes, you may find one of these fascinating ancient fossils along the shore of Lake Michigan.

lilac trees on mackinac island

#11

Stop and Smell the Flowers at the Lilac Festival

If you could attend one spring festival in Michigan, the Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island is the place to be. The island is a top tourist destination throughout the year, but it’s absolutely unmissable in the spring.

During this time, the island blooms with lilacs. The stunning color and amazing smell are so abundant that the flowers are celebrated with their own 10-day-long festival every June.

This festival has been an important part of life on Mackinac Island since 1949 and is the largest event celebrated there annually, with thousands of visitors enjoying the view. Events include activities for every age and interest, from a kids’ fun run to sailing.

On top of that, it features a Lilac Court with festival royalty, a parade, music, food, kite flying, and dancing in the street. Visitors can see the art museum for free, meet local artists, explore Mackinac Island State Park, and learn about the stunning flowers that cover the island too.

mini-golfing in michigan

#12

Score a Hole-in-One

Mini-golfing is a fun family activity that you can enjoy almost anywhere, and it’s perfect for springtime! If you’re looking for a great place to go mini-golfing in Michigan, check out Craig’s Cruisers in Norton Shores Michigan.

This combination mini-golf facility and arcade offers all kinds of family fun for a spring day. The mini-amusement park chain has four locations throughout the state, each with its own unique offerings! 

The 18-hole course in Norton Shores is open to visitors of all ages and features a digital scorecard that you can access on your phone. If you’re looking for other activities, try out the facility’s bumper boats, racetrack, go-karts, and batting cages.

Additionally, the facility offers group packages and birthday party bookings. There’s plenty to do, making this the perfect family outing for a day in spring in Michigan.

michigan waterfalls in spring

#13

Explore Michigan Waterfalls

Michigan is known for its breathtaking waterfalls, which draw thousands of visitors throughout the year. During the winter, many of these waterfalls freeze, allowing people to explore the hidden sites in and around them that are inaccessible throughout the rest of the year.

But the waterfalls are worth visiting in the spring too. During this time, the rising temperatures and spring rain add a lot of water to the falls. As a result, they’re heavier and more thunderous than any other time of the year.

Any of the falls around the state are worth visiting, but Black River Falls in Ishpeming should be at the top of your list! These stunning Michigan waterfalls are an amazing display of white water that falls more than 30 feet. The falls are located close to Lake Superior and connect to several hiking trails.

spring skiing in michigan

#14

Experience Spring Skiing

You might think that skiing is only a winter activity, but it continues well into the spring! Spring skiing is a popular activity throughout Michigan, featuring milder temperatures and fewer crowds to contend with. 

Pine Mountain Ski & Golf Resort continues to draw visitors explicitly for the purpose of skiing well into the spring. While it’s far from the only option for skiing and snowboarding, it’s one of the best resorts in the Upper Peninsula!

During spring in the Upper Peninsula, you can generally expect to find fewer crowds, shorter lines, and lower booking rates, which makes spring the perfect season for visiting! The snow sticks well into April thanks to the climate of the mountains (and the help of snow machines).

This makes Pine Mountain and many other Upper Peninsula Michigan skiing destinations a great choice for spring break in Michigan or even further into the warm months of the year.

planting a flower garden

#15

Plant a Backyard Garden

You don’t have to be in a specific spot or even have a green thumb to plant your own garden at home in Michigan. A home garden can be outside in your yard, an array of pots on your porch or balcony, or even a couple of planters in your living room.

No matter how much experience you have or what your space looks like, a spring garden is a great option.

To start, do some research about the kinds of plants that will thrive in a Michigan garden. Some of this will depend on where in the state you live because the average temperature and climate can vary. If you plant garden items indoors, you’ll have much more leeway in terms of what and when to plant.

Some great options for a spring garden in Michigan include lettuce, peas, spinach, radishes, beans, beets, cantaloupes, watermelons, dahlias, gladiolus, and lilies. 

Drummond Island ferry dock on Lake Huron

#16

Catch a Fish on Drummond Island

It should come as no surprise that Michigan, with its many lakes, is prime fishing country. In the spring, you’ll find anglers flocking to the Great Lakes to cast their lines for smelt and perch. Drummond Island is one of the best places in the state for fishing and has been nicknamed the Gem of the Huron.

The beginning of April brings the annual smelt run, which is when the native fish migrate for the purpose of breeding. This is the perfect time to go night fishing since smelt are active when the sun goes down! On certain nights in the spring, you might even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Of course, fishing is far from the only thing to do here — you’ll also find plenty of people visiting for bird-watching, hiking, camping, boating, and even scuba diving!

Michigan wildflowers

#17

Hike Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary

Spring in Michigan is wildflower season. The Huron-Manistee National Forest’s Loda Lake and the surrounding area are some of the most breathtaking wildflower sanctuaries in the state. This is largely because of its unique and varied ecosystem.

With a lake, wetlands, marsh, oak forest, and pine forest, the area is ideal for native plant growth. In the spring, that means wildflowers galore. Starting in April, visitors walking the hiking paths will notice new plants blooming.

Throughout May and June, these will continue in an explosion of colors and scents. You may spot Michigan wildflowers such as pink lady’s slipper, columbine, swamp milkweed, jack-in-the-pulpit, trailing arbutus, and round-leaved sundew.

The trail, which features many educational posts with information about the local plant and animal life, is an easy trek of about 1.5 miles. Because of that, it’s ideal for hikers of almost all ages and abilities.

indoor waterpark

#18

Slide into the Pool at an Indoor Waterpark

Michigan is full of great places to go swimming, from natural beaches to outdoor water parks. But in the spring, the cold sometimes tends to linger. That means that it’s a great time to grab your bathing suit and hit one of the state’s amazing indoor water parks, such as Avalanche Bay in Boyne Falls.

This one-of-a-kind indoor water park features 88,000 square feet of watery fun, rides, pools, and games — all in a warm and comfortable indoor facility. That means that it’s great for visiting any time of the year!

Try riding down one of the park’s thrilling waterslides, floating down the lazy river, surfing in a rip zone simulator, or playing under one of the waterfalls. There are also kiddie splash pads and pools to provide safe fun for visitors of every age.

And if you visit while the snow is still flying (because it is spring in Michigan after all), sneak in some spring skiing at nearby Boyne Highlands or Boyne Mountain Resort!

Au Sable River

#19

Take a Hike on the Au Sable River Trail

The Au Sable River Trail is a moderate hiking trail that winds through Hartwick Pines State Park. The trail is only 3.9 miles long, making it perfect for hikers of almost any age. This is a great spot for kids since it’s not only easy for them to hike but also educational!

The river trail features 23 posts with information about the history, nature, and culture of the area. You can enjoy the sights of the forest and river along the way without feeling like you’re too far from the rest of the world. 

Spring is a particularly beautiful time in Hartwick Pines, with wildflowers blooming along the trail and animals beginning to emerge from their shelters. If you keep an eye out, you can spot arethusa, marsh marigold, trailing arbutus, yellow lady slipper, wood anemone, spring beauty, and other flowers.

Michigan trail near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

#20

Bike on the Fred Meijer Mid-West Trail Network

Biking is a top outdoor activity in Michigan, and it continues through all the seasons of the year. In the spring, you’ll find more and more people flocking to trails for biking as the weather warms.

One of the most famous and popular is the Fred Meijer Mid-West Michigan Trail Network. The whole network encompasses a total of 125 miles of trails, featuring a huge variety of scenery, development, and wildlife. Some parts of the trail are paved, while others are rocky and challenging.

Depending on where you hit the trail, you could see sights that range from forest to valley, suburban areas, waterways, and more. The trail is also a popular spot for hiking, and in the winter, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Spring is the perfect time to visit, offering glimpses of melting waterways, new animal life, and blooming wildflowers. 

Michigan Butterfly House - tropical paradise

#21

Flutter Your wings at a Michigan Butterfly House

A butterfly house is worth a visit at almost any time of the year, and there are plenty of great ones throughout Michigan! However, the GT Butterfly House and Bug Zoo in Williamsburg is a famous one, and it’s particularly worth visiting in the spring.

During this season, you may have the chance to spot a lot of young butterflies, many of which are rare tropical breeds. Some of the butterflies will be familiar to you, such as the monarch. Others will be completely new since the GT Butterfly House houses species from all over the world, including many tropical butterflies.

Additionally, you may want to stroll through the Bug Zoo to observe amazing invertebrates, such as beetles, honey bees, frogs, tarantulas, and axolotls! This is a great family trip that offers the chance to see insects both native to Michigan and from all over the world.

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail - grapes on a vine

#22

Tour the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail

Lake Michigan is widely known as the wine country of the Midwest. Each season offers something unique, but spring is a great time to make a trip. As the weather warms up, the scenery around the lake is absolutely breathtaking, providing the perfect backdrop as you sample the best wines of the region.

The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is known far and wide, featuring 15 top-quality wineries between Saugatuck and Union Pier. Each of these has one-of-a-kind experiences and offerings, all sourced from the region’s 10,000+ acres of wine-growing land.

As you travel the trail, you get to enjoy the unique tastes and smells of Michigan wine country, all against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful sites in the world.

Any of the wineries along the trail is worth visiting on its own, but a road trip to hit up all 15 locations is even better. And, taking this tour during Michigan Wine Month in May is sure to be a unique springtime experience!

hunting for morel mushrooms in michigan

#23

Forage for Morel Mushrooms

From exploring the Great Lakes to playing golf to going canoeing or kayaking, there’s no shortage of springtime activities in Michigan. If you look forward to exploring the woods, hiking, and getting in touch with nature, morel mushroom hunting in Michigan is one of the best springtime activities.

Believe it or not, you can find more than 2,000 kinds of wild mushrooms in the Mitten State, and morels are among the safest. Of course, morels require just the right mix of moisture and temperature to grow. But with the right conditions, the month of May is prime morel mushroom foraging season.

indoor playground

#24

Stay Dry at an Indoor Playground

Michigan temperatures drop well below freezing in the winter and, depending on the year, often stay chilly through the spring as well. But kids will be kids, and they still have energy to work out no matter the temperature.

Luckily, when the weather is too cold to go to an outdoor playground, there’s the option of going to an indoor playground! There are many of these throughout the state, but one of the best is Yoyo’s Fun Center in Westland Michigan.

Here, kids can enjoy all the activities they would normally experience outdoors in a safe and warm environment. Additionally, there are jungle gyms, ball pits, and trampolines.

For a special occasion, take your children for an age-appropriate pottery class, or book a birthday party, where you can order food and beverages while the kids have fun. Indoor playgrounds are the perfect answer to winter and spring cabin fever, for kids and parents alike. 

clock tower in Greenfield Village - Dearborn Michigan

#25

Visit Greenfield Village & Henry Ford Museum

If you want to learn about some local Michigan culture and history, pay a visit to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. This 80-acre village features some of the most significant sites in the history of American invention, including the lab where Thomas Edison developed the first lightbulb.

Visitors can experience live reenactments of some of the most important historical developments of our country too. Also, you can hitch a ride on an authentic Model T Ford or a steam-powered locomotive train, eat a meal straight out of the 1830s, or learn how to blow glass like in the mid-19th century.

The seven distinct historical districts in the village offer the chance to experience the invention of America’s important cultural developments, including basketball as it was played in 1867 and historic farming methods. History and tech lovers alike will enjoy visiting this one-of-a-kind museum!

"This list was amazing. We haven't taken a trip together in the ten years we've known each other... We decided life was too short and there were too many great places we were missing because we weren't making adventures a priority. I’m sure this sounds super cheesy, but having this list was a true blessing for us.”
Love on Lake Michigan.
Amber
Past #MIAwesomeList Participant

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