Michigan Day Trips To Take In March

12 Must-Take Michigan Day Trips in March

As winter begins to thaw and spring whispers the promise of warmer days, March in Michigan offers a unique blend of end-of-winter activities and early-spring adventures. Whether you’re a local looking to explore your home state or a visitor seeking new experiences, Michigan in March has something for everyone.

Here are a dozen Michigan day trips across the Great Lakes State that are perfect for this transitional month…

Pierce Stocking Drive-Sleeping Bear Dunes
Pierce Stocking Drive | photo via mytravels4477

Visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

As winter’s grip loosens and spring begins to unfold, a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore emerges as a captivating choice for those eager to witness the natural transition.

This national treasure, located along the northeastern shores of Lake Michigan, is renowned for its majestic dunes, expansive beaches, and crystal-clear waters. The cooler temperatures of March serve as an advantage, significantly reducing the number of visitors and offering a more solitary and introspective experience of the park’s vast beauty.

The landscape of Sleeping Bear Dunes is a marvel to explore during this time of year. The dunes themselves, some towering over 400 feet above the lake level, provide panoramic views that are simply breathtaking.

The contrast of the lingering snow patches against the stark, sandy expanses creates a unique visual spectacle, enhancing the sense of adventure as you hike or snowshoe across the trails.

March is a time when nature slowly awakens from its winter slumber, and at Sleeping Bear Dunes, this transformation is both subtle and beautiful. Early signs of spring can be spotted in the budding flora and the return of migratory birds, adding a soundtrack of chirps and songs to the serene landscapes.

The park’s trails, such as the Empire Bluff Trail and the Pyramid Point Trail, become pathways to discovery, offering varying degrees of difficulty and rewarding explorers with unmatched views of the lake and surrounding countryside.

Detroit Institute Of Arts-Detroit
Detroit Institute of Arts | photo via lenaaa.af

Explore Detroit’s Cultural Gems

March in Detroit brings with it the unpredictability of transitioning seasons, making it an ideal time to explore the city’s rich array of indoor attractions.

From world-class art collections to interactive science exhibits, Detroit offers a variety of experiences that are perfect for those looking to dive into culture, history, and innovation, regardless of the weather outside.

Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)

Start your indoor adventure at the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the premier art museums in the United States.

Home to over 65,000 works of art, the DIA’s collection spans the globe from ancient to modern times. Notable highlights include Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals, which paint a vivid picture of the city’s manufacturing history, and the museum’s impressive European, American, African, Asian, and Indigenous art collections.

The DIA is not just a place to view art; it’s an immersive cultural experience that offers lectures, workshops, and guided tours, making art accessible to all ages and interests.

Michigan Science Center

For those with a curious mind or families looking for an educational outing, the Michigan Science Center is a must-visit.

This interactive museum makes science fun and engaging through hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium. Explore the wonders of space, delve into the complexities of the human body, or get hands-on with physics and engineering exhibits.

The Michigan Science Center is a place where questions are encouraged, making it an enlightening experience for visitors of all ages.

Eastern Market Crop
Eastern Market | photo via rachel.randolph

Eastern Market

After immersing yourself in art and science, head to the historic Eastern Market, the largest historic public market district in the United States. On Saturdays, the market comes alive with vendors selling everything from fresh, locally sourced produce to unique artisan crafts.

The market is not just a place to shop; it’s a vibrant community hub where you can experience the flavors and creativity of Detroit. Explore the surrounding murals, grab a bite to eat from one of the many food trucks or local eateries, and enjoy the lively atmosphere that embodies the spirit of the city.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library &Amp; Museum-Grand Rapids
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum | photo via capitaylor

Discover Grand Rapids’ Museums

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, is a treasure trove of cultural and historical attractions, making it an ideal destination for a day trip in March.

With its array of indoor venues, the city offers visitors the chance to dive deep into art, history, and politics, all while comfortably shielded from the unpredictable March weather.

Here’s a closer look at what makes the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum must-visit destinations, along with a few additional suggestions for your itinerary.

Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM)

Nestled in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the GRAM stands as a beacon of art and creativity. With its focus on both traditional and contemporary art, the museum boasts a diverse collection that includes everything from Renaissance paintings to modern installations.

The GRAM is not just about viewing art; it’s about experiencing it. The museum offers a range of educational programs, artist talks, and interactive workshops designed to engage visitors of all ages. Its architecture, a masterpiece of sustainable design, provides a serene and inspiring backdrop for exploring the artworks on display.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

For history buffs and those interested in American politics, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is an invaluable resource. The museum chronicles the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, offering insights into his leadership during a tumultuous time in American history.

Exhibits cover significant events such as the Watergate scandal and the end of the Vietnam War, providing a comprehensive look at the challenges and achievements of Ford’s presidency.

Beyond its historical significance, the museum serves as a center for civic education, encouraging visitors to reflect on the values of leadership, integrity, and public service.

Grand Rapids Public Museum-Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Public Museum | photo via steviebro18

Additional Indoor Attractions in Grand Rapids

  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum: A fantastic stop for families, this museum is dedicated to interactive, hands-on learning experiences. It’s a place where children can play, learn, and explore in a variety of educational exhibits.
  • Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA): For those with a taste for the avant-garde, the UICA showcases contemporary art across a range of mediums, including visual arts, film, music, and performance. It’s a space where art meets social commentary, challenging visitors to think critically about the world around them.
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum: Offering a journey through time, this museum features exhibits on natural history, culture, and science. Highlights include a planetarium, a carousel, and a replica of an 1890s Grand Rapids street, making it an engaging visit for anyone interested in the story of West Michigan and beyond.

Grand Rapids, with its rich assortment of indoor attractions, provides a perfect blend of education, culture, and entertainment, making it an excellent choice for a March day trip.

Whether you’re drawn to the artistic allure of the GRAM, the historical depth of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, or the interactive fun of the city’s other indoor venues, Grand Rapids promises a day filled with insightful and engaging experiences, all in the comfort of the great indoors.

Mari Vineyards-Traverse City
Mari Vineyards | photo via tylertaylored

Embark on a Wine Tour in Traverse City

The wineries around Traverse City are known not just for their scenic locations, but also for the exceptional quality of their wines. With a climate moderated by Lake Michigan, the area is particularly conducive to viticulture, producing a diverse range of varietals.

From robust reds that capture the complexity of the region’s terroir to delicate whites that reflect the crispness of the surrounding air, each tasting offers a glimpse into the artistry and passion of local winemakers.

Visitors to Traverse City’s wine country can look forward to more than just wine tastings. Many wineries also offer tours that provide insight into the winemaking process, from the cultivation of grapes to the art of fermentation and aging.

These experiences are enhanced by the wineries’ warm and welcoming staff, who are eager to share their knowledge and passion for wine with guests.

Beyond the vineyards, Traverse City itself offers a charming escape, with its boutique shops, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants. The city’s culinary scene is a testament to its location in one of Michigan’s most bountiful agricultural regions, with many establishments featuring locally sourced ingredients that complement the local wines perfectly.

Ski or Snowboard at Boyne Mountain

As March ushers in the transitional whispers of spring, Boyne Mountain Resort stands as a haven for winter sports enthusiasts not yet ready to pack away their skis and snowboards.

Nestled in the heart of Michigan, this premier resort offers some of the most exhilarating late-season skiing and snowboarding experiences in the state, making it the perfect destination for those looking to seize the final thrills of winter.

The charm of Boyne Mountain Resort extends beyond its slopes and snow-covered hills. The resort’s village atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a variety of dining options that range from cozy cafés to gourmet restaurants. Each establishment offers a taste of Northern Michigan, with menus crafted to warm the body and soul after a day in the cold.

For those seeking relaxation after a day on the slopes, Boyne Mountain’s indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay, or the luxurious Solace Spa provide the perfect retreat.

Air Zoo-Kalamazoo
Air Zoo | photo via mrszablowsellshomes

Visit the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo

The Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum in Kalamazoo is an exciting destination for families and aviation enthusiasts alike. With a wide array of aircraft, simulators, and interactive exhibits, it’s a great way to spend a day learning and having fun.

Whether you’re marveling at the historic aircraft, taking the controls in a flight simulator, or engaging with the interactive exhibits, the Air Zoo offers a day filled with discovery and adventure. The museum’s vibrant atmosphere and diverse attractions make it a place where memories are made, and dreams of flight are fueled.

In addition to simulators, the museum features hands-on exhibits that explore the principles of flight, the physics of space travel, and the science behind aviation technology. These interactive displays engage visitors in a fun and educational way, sparking curiosity and a deeper understanding of aerospace science.

Miners Castle-Pictured Rocks-Munising-Winter
Miners Castle – Pictured Rocks

Enjoy the Quiet Beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with its dramatic cliffs, pristine forests, and the vast expanse of Lake Superior, presents a breathtaking spectacle in every season.

However, a visit in March offers a unique opportunity to witness the natural beauty of the area as it transitions from the deep freeze of winter to the early whispers of spring. This time of year, the park’s famed ice formations and frozen waterfalls reach their most majestic state, creating a frozen wonderland that is both awe-inspiring and serene.

The trails of Pictured Rocks, covered in a blanket of snow and ice, provide serene walks through landscapes that seem to belong to another world. Hiking or snowshoeing these trails allows for intimate views of the park’s icy expanse, with the silence of the surrounding forest punctuated only by the crunch of snow underfoot and the occasional call of winter birds.

The tranquility of the park during this time offers a meditative experience, inviting visitors to reflect and rejuvenate amidst the beauty of the natural world.

Eben Ice Caves-Eben Junction
Eben Ice Caves | photo via the.average.wanderer

Explore the Eben Ice Caves in the Upper Peninsula

Visiting the Eben Ice Caves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in March is an adventure that combines the beauty of winter landscapes with the excitement of exploring natural ice formations.

These caves, located near the small town of Eben Junction, are formed by the freezing over of water seeping down the face of rock outcroppings, creating a stunning display of ice curtains and columns that attract visitors from all over.

The Eben Ice Caves in the Upper Peninsula offer a spectacular winter adventure that extends into March, weather permitting. Visitors should be prepared for a hike through snowy conditions, so proper winter gear is essential.

March is a particularly interesting time to visit, as the transition between winter and spring can offer a mix of conditions that enhance the experience.

Butterfly Close Up - Meijer Gardens Butterfly Exhibit
Meijer Gardens Butterfly Exhibit photo via Leah Tennant

Visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids

While outdoor gardens might still be waking up from winter, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park offers indoor attractions like the Tropical Conservatory, which is warm and lush year-round.

One of the most anticipated events at Meijer Gardens is the “Butterflies Are Blooming” exhibition, which typically runs from March through April. This exhibition is held in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory and is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. Visitors can walk among thousands of live butterflies from tropical regions around the world, flying freely in the conservatory.

The exhibition includes a variety of species, offering an up-close look at their vibrant colors and delicate beauty. It’s a magical experience for visitors of all ages and a true highlight of a March visit.

Attend the Ann Arbor Film Festival

The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) is a pioneering event in the world of independent and experimental filmmaking, celebrated for its dedication to showcasing innovative, avant-garde, and thought-provoking films.

Founded in 1963, it holds the distinction of being the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America.

The festival takes place annually in Ann Arbor, Michigan, typically in late March, and has grown to become a critical platform for artists to present their work to a diverse and engaged audience.

Beyond the festival’s screenings and events, Ann Arbor, known for its lively arts community, university town atmosphere, and culinary delights, offers plenty of activities and attractions to complete your Michigan day trip itinerary. 

Zingerman's Deli - #Mittentrip - Ann Arbor - The Awesome Mitten
Zingerman’s Deli | photo via Lyndsay Israel

Explore the University of Michigan Campus

  • University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA): One of the oldest and largest university art museums in the country, UMMA features a comprehensive collection that spans cultures, eras, and media. It’s a great place to appreciate art before or after enjoying the film festival.
  • Nichols Arboretum: Take a peaceful stroll through Nichols Arboretum, especially as spring begins to bloom. Known locally as “The Arb,” it offers beautiful natural landscapes, walking trails, and a serene escape from the festival buzz.

Dive into Ann Arbor’s Culinary Scene

  • Kerrytown Market & Shops: This historic district offers a charming collection of markets, shops, and eateries. Don’t miss the Ann Arbor Farmers Market if you’re there on a Wednesday or Saturday.
  • Zingerman’s Deli: A visit to Ann Arbor wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Zingerman’s, known for its gourmet foods, exceptional sandwiches, and an extensive selection of cheeses, breads, and other delicacies.
  • Local Breweries and Cafés: Ann Arbor is home to a vibrant coffee culture and several craft breweries. Take some time to explore the local brews and beans, offering the perfect break between film screenings.

Discover Ann Arbor’s Bookstores

  • Literati Bookstore: This independent bookstore is a hub for literary enthusiasts, offering a wide range of titles, author events, and a cozy atmosphere for book lovers.
  • Dawn Treader Book Shop: Dive into the stacks of this used and rare bookstore, where you can find everything from vintage paperbacks to first editions.
Bell's Brewery
Bell’s Brewery | photo via drinktraveler

Take a Brewery Tour in Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids

Michigan’s reputation as a hub for craft beer enthusiasts is well-earned, with Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids standing as pivotal cities in the state’s beer culture.

These cities are celebrated for their rich brewing history and innovative craft breweries, making them prime destinations for anyone looking to explore the art of beer making.

A day trip to these locales offers not just a taste of Michigan’s finest brews but also an immersive experience into the craft beer community.

Kalamazoo: A Brewery Haven

Kalamazoo, a city with a storied brewing history, is home to a diverse array of breweries that cater to all tastes.

From stalwarts like Bell’s Brewery, one of the oldest and most respected craft breweries in the country, to newer establishments pushing the boundaries of flavor, Kalamazoo offers a comprehensive beer experience.

Bell’s Eccentric Café, adjacent to the original brewery, not only serves an extensive selection of Bell’s beers but also hosts live music and events, making it a must-visit for beer lovers.

Other notable breweries in Kalamazoo include One Well Brewing, known for its welcoming atmosphere and innovative beer selection, and Arcadia Brewing Company, which specializes in British-style ales.

Many Kalamazoo breweries feature taprooms where visitors can sample a wide range of beers, from classic styles to experimental brews, and often offer behind-the-scenes tours that delve into the brewing process and the stories behind the beers.

Grand Rapids: Beer City USA

Grand Rapids, affectionately known as “Beer City USA,” lives up to its name with an impressive concentration of breweries that have collectively garnered national and international acclaim.

Founders Brewing Co., one of the most recognized names in the craft beer world, calls Grand Rapids home. Their taproom is a pilgrimage site for beer enthusiasts, offering a vast selection of their renowned beers, including limited edition and taproom-exclusive brews.

But Founders is just the beginning. Brewery Vivant, set in a refurbished historic chapel, offers a unique ambiance to enjoy its Belgian-inspired beers. Meanwhile, The Mitten Brewing Co., a baseball-themed microbrewery housed in a Victorian-era firehouse, combines America’s pastime with craft beer, serving up pizza and brews in a cozy, nostalgic setting.

Cropped-Vermontville-Maple-Syrup-Festival-Parade-2014-024.Jpg

Celebrate at the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival

A sweet addition to any March itinerary in Michigan is the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival. Held annually in the small town of Vermontville, this festival is a celebration of all things maple syrup and marks the start of spring in a uniquely Michigan way.

Although the festival traditionally takes place in late April, planning a day trip to Vermontville in March can still offer a delightful preview of the maple sugaring process.

Visitors can explore local maple syrup farms in the area, many of which start their syrup production in March as the sap begins to flow. These farms often offer tours, demonstrations of syrup-making processes, and, of course, samples of fresh maple syrup. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about the tradition of syrup making and to support local producers.

While in Vermontville, take the time to enjoy the scenic countryside, which is slowly waking up after the winter months. The anticipation of the festival can be felt in the town’s preparations and the warm welcomes from local residents.

Although the full festivities, including parades, craft shows, and pancake breakfasts, are reserved for the festival itself, a March visit provides a quieter, more intimate experience of Michigan’s maple syrup heritage.

Remember, while the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival is a highlight, the charm of Vermontville and the surrounding area, with its rich tradition of maple syrup production, can be appreciated throughout the early spring. It’s a perfect day trip for those looking to indulge in the sweet side of Michigan’s agricultural bounty and experience the early signs of spring in the countryside.

More to Explore in Michigan This March

March in Michigan is a time of transition, offering the last whispers of winter alongside the first hints of spring.

These Michigan day trips provide a mix of indoor and outdoor activities that celebrate the unique beauty and cultural richness of the Great Lakes State during this special time of year.

Each of these activities offers a unique way to experience Michigan in March, from outdoor adventures that make the most of the tail end of winter, to indoor events and attractions that provide warmth and entertainment regardless of the weather outside. Always check the latest travel advisories and opening hours before planning your trip.

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