Ann Arbor Art Center

12 Exciting Michigan Day Trips From Detroit

Detroit has numerous experiences to enjoy, with a wide range of activities for people of all ages. Yet, there’s much to do throughout this region, and a few day trips from Detroit can broaden the horizon of activities well worth exploring.

If you want to explore a bit more of what Michigan has to offer, the good news is that there are plenty of fantastic options. Take a look at some of these day trips from Detroit that we think you shouldn’t miss out on exploring.

Ann Arbor Art Center
Ann Arbor Art Center | photo via kesslerneal

Find Art & Treasure in Ann Arbor

45-minute drive from Detroit

Ann Arbor Michigan may not seem like that much of a destination, but just 45 minutes from Detroit, you could spend a weekend or longer exploring all the fun that the city has to offer, especially if you love the arts.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art is a fantastic place to get started. The exhibits change often but tend to be very beautiful.

Then, head to the Ann Arbor Art Center. If you plan your trip right, you could take an art class here. The Ann Arbor Art Fair also takes place each summer here and displays lots of local artisan pieces.

Plus, you’ll find some great food choices in Ann Arbor, such as Zingerman’s for delicious sandwiches and Metzger’s German Restaurant for authentic German cuisine.

Bike & Kayak at Kensington Metropark of Milford

45-minute drive from Detroit

It’s not a long drive to get to Milford from Detroit, but there are lots of things to do here. Kensington Metropark is one of the best destinations, with over 4,400 acres that you can bike, canoe, or kayak through.

This year-round destination is a good place to go sledding during the winter months or to swim when the summer just gets too hot. You can camp here, enjoy some disc golf, and check out the wildlife too.

R.e. Olds Transportation Museum
R.E. Olds Transportation Museum | photo via exploremichiganmore

Take in the History of Lansing

1-hour, 25-minute drive from Detroit

Lansing Michigan is an exceptional city with a strong historical focus. It is home to the Michigan State Capitol building that dates back to 1870, which you can tour. Also, it is home to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, which features fantastic old cars.

The Michigan History Center is full of hands-on experiences that showcase the history of the region and state. For those who want to get in some more educational fun, the Impression 5 Science Center and Potter Park Zoo are also in Lansing.

Related: Explore the Lansing River Trail

Spend a Day at the Beach in Lexington

1-hour, 25-minute drive from Detroit

Get up early on a warm summer day, and head to Lexington Michigan, a fun beach town on the shores of Lake Huron. Lexington Park is a good place to picnic and enjoy the beach and waterfront itself. That makes for a simple and affordable Michigan day trip from Detroit.

Also, you can head to Lexington State Harbor for some fishing or watching the boats come in and out of this busy harbor. The sunset views are worth staying for as well. And, you can play in the sand, enjoy a meal at one of the locally owned restaurants nearby, and shop at some of the artisan shops.

Lexington Beach | photo via emash119

Find Yourself Captivated By Frankenmuth

1-hour, 30-minute drive from Detroit

Most people think of Frankenmuth Michigan as a city for tourists, and it certainly has its draw. Yet, for those in Detroit, this is a day trip you don’t want to miss out on at any time of the year.

Frankenmuth is notable for its Bavarian-style architecture and German roots, but there’s much more to explore here than just the Christmas experience the area is known for.

There are events throughout the year and plenty to do otherwise, including the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, Heritage Park, and the Frankenmuth Aerial Park, which offers a zip line and rope course.

Related: Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland: A Michigan Day Trip Destination

Have Some Fun in the Water in Bay City

1-hour, 50-minute drive from Detroit

Bay City Michigan sits at the base of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. It is a small waterfront community with a lot of charm to offer.

The downtown historic area is a fantastic place to spend a long Saturday touring the artisan shops and enjoying some fantastic coffee houses. There’s a lot of antiquing to do as well, including at The Americana Company Antique Mall.

For those who want more extensive fun, visit the waterfront for some boating. Or, go fishing during the winter months when catching walleye is at its best. Several charters take people out onto the water.

On top of that, there are some great walking trails at Auburn City Park, and you cannot miss the Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum.

Green Door Distilling Co
Green Door Distilling Co | photo via beartracksmusic

Do Some Shopping & Eating in Downtown Kalamazoo

2-hour, 15-minute drive from Detroit

The downtown Kalamazoo area is bursting with fun things to do and see, especially just getting out and walking up and down this very friendly area. You will find numerous shops here, including a few artisan shops, fantastic boutiques, top-notch Kalamazoo restaurants, and other family-owned places to visit.

This people-focused area is known for Bell’s Brewery, which is certainly one of the best places to grab dinner. Check out the handcrafted drinks at Saugatuck Brewing Company and Green Door Distilling Company as well.

While here, you can check out the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and stroll through Bronson Park too.

Related: Take This Craft Brewery Tour in Downtown Kalamazoo

Soaring Eagle Waterpark, Mount Pleasant - Winter In Mid-Michigan
Soaring Eagle Waterpark | photo via @as.oaks.grows

Plan a Family Day Trip in Mt. Pleasant

2-hour, 25-minute drive from Detroit

For those who want to have an active few days of fun with the whole family, check out Mt. Pleasant Michigan. This city is home to a wide range of things to do.

Start with a visit to Soaring Eagle Waterpark, the perfect destination for cooling off during the summer. Spend some time checking out the stunning butterflies and animals at Florence Maxwell Audubon Woods Preserve next.

Also, you can take to the ice and do some skating at Martin Ice Arena. The Lawrence A. McDonald Wildlife Sanctuary is another must-see attraction.

Related: How to Plan the Perfect Family Fall Weekend in Mt. Pleasant

Finny The Whale - Grand Rapids Public Museum
Finny the Whale – Grand Rapids Public Museum | photo via Leah Tennant

Enjoy Some of the Best Craft Beer in Grand Rapids

2-hour, 30-minute drive from Detroit

Grand Rapids Michigan is noted for many things, especially the over 40 craft beer destinations. It has been called America’s Best Beer City for a reason.

To have some fun with it, check out the Beer City Ale Trail. It’s a good way to check out some of the best breweries in the area.

There’s more to do here too, including checking out John Ball Zoo, Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum.

Turnip Rock-Port Austin-Kayak
Turnip Rock | photo via shesoutwandering

Take to the Water in Port Austin

2-hour, 30-minute drive from Detroit

Port Austin is a very small city located on the northern tip of the Thumbcoast. It has some of the best beaches in the region that are perfect for those who love to paddle. There is something special about the sunsets here too.

Those who visit can take in such a wide range of things to do, including several water trails, fishing, and exploring some sea caves. Turnip Rock is also a popular must-see natural land formation.

The Port Austin State Harbor provides boating options for those who want to take to the lake for some of the best relaxation. For those who want to sunbathe, McGraw County Park is the best spot.

Hike & Fish at Roscommon State Forest

3-hour drive from Detroit

A more remote area than many, Roscommon State Forest is a good location for those who want to get away from the busy lifestyle of Detroit Michigan.

It is the perfect place for camping, with several campsites and RV campgrounds available. There are a number of hiking trails here and areas for cross-country skiing. Keep in mind that some areas are designated for hunting during various times of the year.

Huron National Forest-Winter Hike
Huron National Forest | photo via puremichigandog

Hike Through the Huron-Manistee National Forest

3-hour to 3-hour, 20-minute drive from Detroit

The Huron-Manistee National Forest sits between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Split into two sections, with Manistee National Forest in the west and Huron National Forest in the east, it spans nearly 1 million acres combined and offers some of the most beautiful views in the entire country.

Over 5,700 acres of wetlands cover the lower portion of the Michigan peninsula. No matter which side you visit, you can camp for the best opportunity to see natural beauty. It is also a popular destination for hiking, with numerous hiking trails throughout the area.

Many people come to fish, canoe, or explore the park during the winter months. The Corsair Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing Trail on the Huron side is one of the best areas to explore, but don’t overlook the nearby Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area for its ecological uniqueness.

Day Trips From Flint Michigan

Exploring the Perfect Michigan Day Trips From Detroit

Michigan day trips from Detroit can take you throughout the state and offer lots of enjoyable experiences. Plenty of fun things can be found for couples’ getaways and family trips. You can even make an overnight weekend getaway out of it or an entire weeklong trip.

Detroit is a fantastic jumping-off point for lots of adventure. And, there are even more Michigan day trip ideas that you can explore!

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