Traverse City Cherry Orchard
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15 Awesome Spring Things to Do in Northern Michigan

There’s something magical when springtime comes around, especially in Michigan. Spring brings with it a sense of optimism, the blooming of flowers, and a chance to get out of the house after a long winter. If you’re ready to enjoy the thaw, start with a list of spring things to do in Northern Michigan.

Here, you’ll find plenty of fun spring activities and opportunities to get in touch with nature. Whether you’re looking for Michigan spring break destinations or are just looking to enjoy some of the best things to do in Michigan spring, Northern Michigan has something for you!

Go Hunting for Morel Mushrooms in Northern Michigan

After a long and cold winter, there’s nothing better than getting outside, and there’s no better springtime outdoor activity than hunting for morel mushrooms. You can find them all over Northern Michigan, but locals aren’t likely to give away their favorite mushroom hunting spots.

If you’re unfamiliar with morels, try to go hunting with an experienced hunter, and keep your eyes peeled. They can be found in wooded areas, backyards, and lots of other random paces.

Hunting with an experienced hunter is a good idea because you’ll get a sense of what to look for and avoid picking false morels, which can be poisonous.

If you want to celebrate all things mushroom, head to Mesick for its annual Mushroom Festival or Boyne City for the National Morel Mushroom Festival. Both events are held in May.

Morel Mushrooms - Spring In Northern Michigan
Morel Mushrooms | photo via @scenehappy

Go to a Spring Flower Festival

Nothing brightens the springtime like blooming flowers. If you love the sight and smell of flowers, there are several flower festivals in springtime worth attending.

Many of the wineries in Traverse City and Old Mission Peninsula celebrate Blossom Day. You can explore the different wineries and experience the breathtaking beauty of Northern Michigan’s cherry trees while you sip.

If you can’t get to a festival, hiking among wildflowers is still a great spring activity. The Loda Lake National Wildlife Sanctuary in White Cloud offers a great chance to see spring colors, but you can also visit state parks in Northern Michigan.

Wildflowers add color and surprise to a run-of-the-mill hike. You may just find a new favorite hidden gem as you explore more of Michigan.

Traverse City Cherry Orchard - Spring In Northern Michigan
Traverse City Cherry Orchard

Head to a Northern Michigan Beach This Spring

Nothing says goodbye to winter more than blue skies, sunshine, and hearing waves crashing into or lapping against the lakeshore. Even if it’s not warm enough to sunbathe or swim, you can still head to the beach in the off-season for a walk or to help your dog burn off some energy.

Where you go depends on your preference. Traverse City’s beaches at East Bay Park and Bryant Park are great Lake Michigan beaches for beachcombing. But, Tawas City Shoreline Park and Oscoda’s Beach Park are great Lake Huron beaches to visit on the Sunrise Side.

Ossineke Beach - Spring In Northern Michigan
Ossineke Beach | photo via @sofotography85

Spring Onto a Golf Course in Northern Michigan

Did you know that there are nearly 800 golf courses throughout the Mitten State? You can find great golf just about anywhere you look, but Northern Michigan offers some truly unique golf courses in the state.

You can golf along the Lake Michigan shore at Arcadia Bluffs. Or, play with friends at any of the challenging courses at Treetops Resort in Gaylord.

If you want to experience British-style links golfing, head to Oscoda and Lakewood Shores Resort to play the Blackshire — a course that will make you feel like you’re in the British Isles. Not to be outdone, you can head to Roscommon and Forest Dunes Golf Club to play a reversible loop.

Crystal Mountain Golf Resort, Thompsonville - Spring In Northern Michigan
Crystal Mountain Golf Resort

Go Spring Kayaking or Take a Cruise

Spring is the perfect time to pull out the life jackets and paddles for kayaking. With more than 11,000 inland lakes and 120 major rivers, you’re never far from a kayaking spot.

Kayaking is a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and enjoy the water. There are plenty of spots to put in, but the Manistee River is a good spot to start. It’s great whether you’re a beginner or planning a guided trip.

If you don’t want to kayak, you could take a trip down the Au Sable River, which starts in Grayling and runs east through Mio before flowing into Oscoda and Lake Huron. One of the most fun ways to explore the Au Sable is to take a ride on the Au Sable River Queen.

This is the only paddlewheel riverboat of its kind and offers interested folks a variety of tours on a two-hour round trip. It opens in late spring (Memorial Day through mid-October) and provides live music on weekends.

Au Sable River Queen Cruise, East Tawas - East Tawas #Mittentrip, Spring In Northern Michigan
Au Sable River Queen Cruise | photo via Nina Thomas

Go to a Northern Michigan Water Park

There’s no shortage of fun outdoor activities in Michigan to enjoy in spring, but the Mitten State also has some fun indoor water parks in Northern Michigan. This is a great way to have some water-based family fun and give the kids a chance to burn off some energy while splashing around.

The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City and Avalanche Bay in Boyne Falls are great places for a fun-filled vacation in Michigan as you wait to hit the beach in the summer.

Great Wolf Lodge, Traverse City - Spring In Northern Michigan
Great Wolf Lodge

Enjoy Springtime Fishing in Northern Michigan

With so many inland lakes and rivers close by, fishing is a favorite pastime of many Michiganders. In Northern Michigan waters, you can cast your line for a variety of species — salmon, walleye, bass, and bluegill. Just make sure that what you’re fishing for is in-season and that you have a valid license.

If you’re looking to get away from the big lakes for a more peaceful experience, the Au Sable River is a great place to experience trout fishing. Higgins Lake near Roscommon and Crystal Lake near Scottville are fantastic inland lakes for fishing too.

Houghton Lake Fishing - Spring In Northern Michigan
Houghton Lake

Go Skiing Before Spring Melts All the Snow

Make no mistake that springtime is all about warmer temperatures and saying goodbye to winter. But, different parts of the Mitten State warm up at different times in the spring. Northern Michigan generally stays cold long enough for outdoor enthusiasts to get in some skiing in March and April.

A spring skiing adventure often results in fewer crowds and warmer temperatures. In Petoskey Michigan, you can visit Nubs Nob, Boyne Mountain Resort, and Boyne Highlands to ski until your heart’s content. You can enjoy other Michigan ski resorts as well.

Nub's Nob, Harbor Springs - Spring In Northern Michigan
Nub’s Nob

Grab a Beer at Northern Michigan Breweries

In recent years, Michigan has gained a reputation as the home of some really amazing breweries. It seems like you can find great Michigan beer just about anywhere you go. But if you’re in Northern Michigan, there are lots of good spots to go for a brew after a day of exploring.

The Petoskey area is home to several breweries worth checking out. Or, visit some of the microbreweries and breweries in Traverse City.

You can find some great IPAs and truly unique flavors that will satisfy every taste bud. You can pair a delicious local beer with a burger, a sandwich, or a pizza. Is there any better way to spend a spring day than with food and beer?

Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City - Spring In Northern Michigan
Right Brain Brewery | photo via @traversecitytourism

Watch the Stars in the Spring Sky

In Mackinaw City, you’ll find Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Here, there’s little or no light pollution, making it the perfect place to go stargazing. The park is open 24 hours a day and offers lots of events and programs to teach visitors about stargazing.

While camping isn’t permitted in the park, you can bring sleeping bags, chairs, food, beverages, and just about anything else to make the most of your trip. Keep in mind that, since you’re by the lakeshore, the spring weather is likely to be chilly, so make sure to bundle up.

Dark Sky Park, Mackinaw City - Spring In Northern Michigan
Dark Sky Park

Get Outside and Go Geocaching

If you love being outdoors in the spring, Northern Michigan is one of the best places in the state to go geocaching.

What is geocaching? Think of it as a real-world treasure hunt, where you use GPS to move from location to location. Along the way, you find geocaching containers full of small trinkets. Geocachers can also leave trinkets of their own.

If you want to play, it’s easy to get started. You can download an app, create an account, and enter your zip code to find geocaches in your area. Who knows, you may have dozens of geocaches in your area.

Visit a Local Yard Sale in Northern Michigan

If you’re looking for the perfect excuse to get outside and mingle, a yard sale is the perfect spring activity!

Many Northern Michigan communities have community-wide or city-wide garage/yard sales, especially around holidays like Memorial Day.

Keep your eyes peeled on your local community Facebook pages and newspapers for specifics on when yard sales are being held.

It’s been said that one man’s trash is another person’s treasure. Even if you’re not looking for anything specific, you never know what sorts of interesting treasures you may find.

This is also a great opportunity to have a yard sale of your own if you’re looking to do some spring cleaning!

Participate in a Community Easter Egg Hunt

Easter egg hunts are a fun way to celebrate Easter and many Northern Michigan communities hold their own Easter egg hunts.

These events are the perfect family-friendly activity, offer plenty of activities for kids, and most, if not all of them, are free. 

Depending on which Easter egg hunt you attend, you may see a guest appearance by the Easter Bunny, free food including hot dogs and snow cones, photo ops, the egg hunt of course, craft projects, and much more.

It’s never a bad thing when you can get the family out of the house for a day of frolicking and fun, and these are the perfect community events to attend.

Take a Lake Michigan Boat Cruise

When the weather finally warms up in Northern Michigan, there’s nothing better than spending time on the water.

All of the Mitten State’s Great Lakes are awesome, but Lake Michigan may be No. 1 in the hearts of many Michiganders. It’s not hard to see why with its sandy beaches, magnificent sunsets, and deep blue water.

One of the best spring activities on Lake Michigan is taking a boat cruise and the Tall Ship Company in Traverse City offers a chance for visitors to relax and have fun in the boat of their choice.

Open seasonally, starting at the end of May, the company offers cruises on the Manitou, an 1800’s coasting cargo ship. There’s also the classic yacht Scout, as well as windjammer cruises.

Spent a Day Bird Watching

One of the surest signs of spring is the sound and sight of birds arriving back home after winter migration.

In Northern Michigan, there are lots of great spots to go to catch glimpses of eagles, hawks, ospreys, and other fine species.

One of the best spring bird-watching spots is at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs. This 30-acre preserve is home to many bird species, including gulls, warblers, and chickadees, and there are three different trails for visitors to traverse.

So grab your binoculars and your birding book and keep your eyes peeled. You never know what you’ll see on your next birding trip.

Discover More Spring Things to Do in Northern Michigan

You can go anywhere in Michigan in spring and have a great time. But if you’re looking for more wilderness or water-based adventures, Northern Michigan is the place to be.

With its scenic hiking trails, peaceful lakes, beaches and rivers, and top-notch golf courses, there are no limits on how much fun you can have in spring!

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