Six Outdoor Activities to Try Year Round in Michigan

Michigan is the perfect place to visit any time of the year! Shop for alpaca yarn in the Upper Peninsula, golf on the water in West Michigan, eat homemade candy in East Michigan or visit the throwback that is Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan to experience a small slice of what the state has to offer. Check out some of the best Outdoor Activities in Michigan all year round.

If you want to plan a trip to Michigan, see more great attractions, activities, and restaurants around our great state in our free Michigan Vacation Guide!

See the Best of Michigan

Six Great Activities in Michigan

Winter

Shopping

You can shop anywhere in the world, but everywhere in the world is not Michigan! One of our favorite aspects about Michigan is how unique, and niche stores can be. When you are visiting the Upper Peninsula, check out the Rainbow Gifts & Yarns shop! Rainbow Gifts & Yarns is half alpaca farm half yarn store. Featuring balls of yarn, needles and hooks, socks, and more handmade items in their store, experience Heaven on Earth for alpaca lovers.

If you are in the mood for something a little sweet, North Country Candy & Gifts offers a wide variety of original candies and gifts. Located in Eastern Michigan, North Country is the perfect place to visit for gifts to bring home, candy for late nights, and ice cream to enjoy after a day out on the water.

Spring

Golfing

The ideal sport for leisure, Michigan has good golf courses scattered all across the Wolverine State. In West Michigan, visit the only Jack Nicklaus signature course on Lake Michigan. Harbor Shores Golf Course is a masterclass in backdrop diversity. Holes 1-6 start inland, while 7-9 feature dramatic dunes and a stunning view of Lake Michigan. Holes 10-13 swing into the woods, while the last five feature a wetland environment. It’s a true beauty that all golf lovers should visit while in Michigan.

On the Upper Peninsula, Indian Lake Golf Course is an 18 hole course nestled in the heart of the UP. Indian Lake is a great place to stop for golfers of all skill levels, featuring a collection of waterfront, wooded, and wide-open holes.

Summer

Mackinac Island

Known globally for its strict no cars, no chain hotels policy, Mackinac Island is the idyllic trip away from commercialized America that you need. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark as the Lake Huron island has witnessed American history for hundreds of years. From the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge to the Grand Hotel’s 660-foot wide porch, Mackinac Island has an array of historical treasures that make it ideal for a day trip from the mainland.

Bear Ranch

Deep in the forests of the Upper Peninsula is Oswald’s Bear Ranch. The UP attraction opens from Memorial Day to mid-October and features 40 bears strewn across four habitats. Owner Dean Oswald seeks to protect and conserve the North American Black Bear through education, rescue, and habitation. The 240-acre ranch is a sight to see for families looking to connect with a unique part of Michigan’s natural landscape.

Fall

Kayaking

In Michigan, Kayaking is a beautiful way to be one with nature on the water. Travel to the Upper Peninsula and take a kayaking trip with Pictured Rocks Kayaking on Lake Superior to see the massive rocks on the Lake. The tour launches you from a mothership in the middle of the lake to maximize your time.

Are you traveling to Western Michigan? Third Coast Paddling offers kayak rentals at three convenient locations on Lake Michigan!

Hiking

Michigan operates over 100 state parks on 306,000 acres that offer 900+ miles of trails to hike and explore. Naturally, we can’t highlight all 100+ state parks, but we can feature one from each part of Michigan that we think you will love.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is the jewel of the Upper Peninsula. Covering nearly 50,000 acres, the Park is home to the second-largest waterfall east of the Mississippi (Upper Tahquamenon Falls). Measuring 200’ wide and 48’ tall, the Upper Tahquamenon Falls churns through 50,000 gallons of water every second. The Park is home to a range of birds, several trails, and Ojibwa cultural sights.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is an interesting Northern Michigan attraction. Sitting on 550 acres of Lake Michigan shoreline, the Park was established in the late 1950s by Roger McCormick. A public park, the Headlands offers a natural darkness at night, making it an ideal stargazing spot. Headlands are the perfect place for all aspiring astronomers to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis), but keep in mind predictions for the phenomenon can only be made a few days in advance.

Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway is the best way to experience the most famous waterfall in Eastern Michigan. The Mackinaw State Forest trail features four loops: 2.85, 3.5, 4.6, and 6 miles of wooded terrain. The pathway is great for canines and makes for a great day trip while you explore the Oceque River basin.

Holland State Park is great if you are looking to camp out on either Lake Michigan or Macatawa in Western Michigan. Replete with two campgrounds, a boat launch, and a fish cleaning station, Holland State Park is perfect for all maritime adventurers looking for a fun day out on the lake fishing. If you are looking for great photo opportunities, the “Big Red” lighthouse and either of the two beaches at dusk are perfect for your Instagram feed.

Stay With Freshwater Vacation RentalsLost Lake Getaway front of house

Planning your trip to Michigan is easy when you book with Freshwater Vacation Rentals! Our collection of properties across the state means you can find the perfect rental near your destination. We have properties on the water, overlooking Mackinac Island, and anywhere else near to an outdoor adventure calling your name. Whether you are traveling solo or in a large group, a Freshwater Vacation Rental fits your needs.

Start planning your Michigan vacation by booking your property today! We look forward to welcoming you to the Great Lakes State!