The problem with a typical Michigan summer travel guide is that if you lived here long enough, you could have seen it all and did it. That’s why we decided to create a list of unexpected and unforgettable experiences to rock the summer when brainstorming our annual travel summaries. Read our suggestions, start some bookings and get ready to enjoy the best summer ever.
Explore underground mines: The helmet first suggests that a tour at Adventure Mining Co, the historic Keywinor copper mine that operated from 1850 to 1920, is unusual. Some tour types offer experiences of all ages and abilities, from simple guided walking tours to rappelling and crawls, hiking deep into the mine.
Ride the dunes buggy: Almost a century ago, Malcolmwood offered Silver Lake’s first “Dun Scooter” expedition on a quarter-board ride on the reconstructed Ford Model A. Although dune buggies have evolved since then (think four-wheel drive vehicles and aircraft tires), McWood’s Dune Ride is a family-friendly roller on the coastal sand mountains of western Michigan. Brings coaster-style fun.
Hiking the UP “Grand Canyon”. Canyon Falls and Gorges is one of the rare opportunities to see impressive natural phenomena with the slightest effort of a visitor. A simple, scenic 15-minute trail through hardwood forest leads to the location of UP’s Sturgeon River, which flows from a series of rapids into a waterfall and plunges into a deep, narrow canyon of towering trees. If you’re cruising the US-41 near Reims, it’s just beautiful and a must-see.
Visit a ghost town: Once a bustling industrial community at the forefront of UP’s Garden Peninsula, Fayette is now a ghost town in Fayette Historic State Park. Guided and self-guided tours are available. Stay overnight in a modern campsite on site.
Go to torrent rafting: Adventure seekers don’t have to leave Michigan to find world-class torrents. The wild and beautiful Menominee River at the westernmost tip of the UP has exhilarating Class III and IV rapids, and you can take a public or private guided rafting tour at the True North Outpost based in Norway, Mississippi. .. Sturgeon is not a complete torrent, but as the fastest river on the Lower Peninsula, it still offers fun and rewarding paddles. Check out Indian River’s Big Bear Adventure for a river trip.
Kayak McKinack Island: To be sure, biking around Mackinac Island is a classic Michigan experience. However, some of the best views of the island come from the water, so consider swapping pedals for paddles on a guided kayak tour this year. The Great Turtle Kayak Tour route introduces the island’s sunrises and sunsets, as well as arch-rock-like landmarks. Paddle boards can also be rented.
Drive the Model T: Driving the Model T Ford, which became one of the world’s first mass-produced cars a century ago, is not as easy as simply grasping the steering wheel. For beginners, there is no accelerator pedal. The Gilmour Automobile Museum’s Model T Driving Experience puts you in one of these iconic and authentic “Tin Lizzie” and features a certificate commemorating your cruise throughout history, how to drive it. I will teach you.
Walk through the primeval forest: The logging boom of the late 1800s turned much of Michigan into a sea of desolate tree stumps, but some valuable areas of pristine forest escaped from the ax. Thanks to individuals and communities who recognize its importance, we can pay homage to these ancient forests. Find dilapidated pine trees in Copper Harbor’s Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary, Grayling’s Heartwick Pines State Park, or Roscommon’s Red Pine Natural Area. Virgin beech maple forest in the Warren Woods National Monument of Three Oaks. A dilapidated oak hickory forest in the Russ Forest National Natural Region of Kas County.
Lake Michigan Surf: Who says surfing is strictly for the ocean? Empire’s Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak offers surfing instruction here in our big, beautiful, salt-free waters. Even if Lake Michigan doesn’t eat up the rapids on the day of the lesson, you’ll enjoy a lot of laughter along the way and take away the basics and new respect of the sport.
Discover new aspects of Detroit. Detroit emerged in the early 20th century as the wealthy industrial city left an incredible collection of historic buildings, from Art Deco skyscrapers to gorgeous and gorgeous theaters. Learn the inside story of these places on a guided walking tour of Conservation Detroit, the city’s oldest conservation organization. Most tours take place on Saturday mornings and private tours are also available.
Look at the shipwreck from above: The Great Lakes can be notorious for being unfriendly to ships, resulting in thousands of shipwrecks scattered throughout our waters. Many of them have not been discovered. On a Munising glass-bottomed shipyard tour, you can peek into the depths of Lake Superior with two specific shipwrecks below, like an underwater museum one foot below the surface. Reservation is recommended.
Escape to a natural paradise: Michigan is full of beautiful parks and reserves, but Berea’s Grass River Natural Area is special. The 1,500-acre nature reserve offers an incredible amount of flora and fauna habitat, including rare orchids and 147 species of birds. With programming for all ages, a nature center, and an accessible section of the trail with Braille explanatory signs, this is a magical escape for everyone.
Catch a concert in a hidden forest: Some are nature reserves and some are outdoor sculpture galleries, all hidden within the Crystal Mountain Resort grounds. Michigan Legacy Art Park is the definition of a hidden gem. The 30-acre park adds even more magic to the Friday night of the Summer Sound series, where musicians set the stage in a rustic outdoor amphitheater. Is fireflies mixed with live music in the woods? Perfect.
See another aspect of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Skip the park’s hottest spots this summer and explore the tranquility of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. Here are some ideas to get you started: Take a day trip to South Manitou Island to see lighthouses, ghost towns, shipwrecks and more. See the adorable but endangered Piping Plover on the Guided Piping Plover Walk of Sleeping Bear Dunes Tour Co. Hiking the park’s new Kettles Trail. This trail is a three-mile trail (some parts accessible from anywhere) in a unique glacier-engraved landscape.
Navigating the inland sea on a pirate ship. Aye — Kids and their adults can live like pirates for hours on a theme cruise in several ports in Michigan. In St. Ignace, Starline Ferry is hosting a family-friendly “Voyage Pirates” (aged 21+) cruise to and from Mackinac Island on the pirate ship Good Fortune. In Traverse City, a replica tall ship of the 1800s, Manito, offers live music sails featuring jigs and ballads from ice cream cruises and life at sea. A 19th-century replica of the Michigan Maritime Museum, Friends Good Wilschooner has a child-friendly “pirate chaser” sail throughout the summer.