Growing up in Michigan, I spent many lazy days at the beach soaking up the sun and hunting for treasures of beach glass and Indian beads along the shore. It was the perfect way to spend summer. As a little girl and now with my own family, I have adventured all around the state. I guess you could say I’m a little partial to The Great Lakes State, but there is no doubt it is an amazing summer destination! Here are my Top 5 Fun Family Michigan Summer Favorites.
2. South Haven
We have spent vacations and weekend stops in South Haven just to hang out at the beach and have yummy food. Just north of Harbor Country is South Haven with a sweet little downtown and beautiful boardwalk along the Black River Channel to Lake Michigan and South Beach. From here you can walk out to the iconic South Haven Lighthouse. On the other side of the channel lies North Beach. South Haven is known to be the blueberry capital of the world and hosts an annual Blueberry Festival (August 9-12, 2018). A trip to South Haven would not be complete without a visit to Clementine’s, an old bank turned restaurant. Clementine’s is usually packed, but their onion rings on a stick are worth the wait.
3. Traverse City
Our family loves Traverse City because there is so much to do in and around the town and there is always something fun happening! A much longer drive north will bring you to the Cherry Capital of the world, Traverse City. A vibrant downtown home to the National Cherry Festival (July 30-August 7, 2018), complete with cherry pies and cherry pit spitting contests. Traverse City is set on two bays – the East and West, offering water activities sheltered from the sometimes wild waves of Lake Michigan. In between the bays is Mission Peninsula which boasts the 45th parallel. This peninsula is a beautiful drive with views of the water on both sides at times. Along the drive stop for samples at the wineries as this is a perfect climate for wine growing. Have a tasty dinner at Sleder's and kiss the moose for good luck!
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes
This is a favorite because we love the huge dunes and the beautiful view. A view you wouldn’t expect in Michigan. West of Traverse City is the land of Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Leelenau Peninsula. You will find rolling hills, lakes, beautiful scenery and more cherries and wine. Don’t miss the Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor with more gourmet cherry products and gifts than you can imagine. Sleeping Bear Dunes is an incredible national park and was named after a legend of a mama bear and her two cubs. These dunes are so incredibly beautiful that Good Morning America appointed the park “The Most Beautiful Place in America”. Take a canoe or tube down the Crystal River and end at a gorgeous beach in the middle of the park for a picnic.
5. Mackinac Island
Out of the many places our travels have taken us, Mackinac Island is one of our absolute family favorites! It is peaceful, relaxing and like no other island in the world. Just a few hours north of Traverse City, park your car in Mackinac City and take a ferry across to Mackinac Island. No cars are allowed on the island, only bikes and horses. With a circumference of 8 miles, the bike trail around the island is a nice beautiful ride. Make a stop at Arch Rock and along the route to spend some time stacking rocks on the shore of the cold and crystal clear water. After the ride, walk the quaint main street for some shopping and fudge tasting. Head up the hill to the Grand Hotel and gaze at its historic beauty and two football field long porch. A stay at the Grand Hotel is an incredible treat, as decadent as it’s infamous “Pecan Ball”. You can stay in Mackinac City and just ferry across for a day or two, but to stay on the island and have it all to yourself after the last ferry leaves is magical.
Visit any of these 5 favorites to make some incredible and lasting summer memories. And while you are there, don’t forget to try Blue Moon ice cream – one of our Michigan traditions and another one of my favorites!
Please share YOUR Michigan summer family favorites in the comments section below!
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