The Best Time to Visit Michigan
Outdoor activities, natural beauty, and tons of fun—these are all things you can expect during a visit to the Wolverine State. But that also begs the question, when is the best time to visit Michigan? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about each of our seasons and regions before planning your next vacation to our beautiful state!
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A Season-by-Season Guide to Michigan
Spring is one of the best times to visit Michigan to begin your outdoor adventure. The snow begins to melt, and everything starts to bloom from the UP to the western shores.
The Upper Peninsula offers many unique places to explore, and we recommend heading to a chain of islands in Lake Huron. Les Cheneaux Islands consists of 36 pieces of land dotting the lake where families and adventurers can dive into a bevy of activities. Spring in Michigan is the perfect time to enjoy boating, kayaking, biking, hiking, and much more!
Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Northern Michigan is a fantastic place to soak in the pristine night sky. Little to no light pollution make this patch of land along Lake Michigan the perfect place for viewing the night sky. The park provides programs and events to teach guests about stargazing and much more!
When you head to Eastern Michigan in spring, you can expect blooming flowers, fast-flowing rivers, and tons of serene landscapes. The Au Sable River serves as the heart and soul of the wilderness in the area, and there’s nothing like taking a relaxing cruise on the water with the Au Sable River Queen.
In West Michigan, we recommend spending at least one beautiful spring day exploring one of the most prominent cities in the state. You can spend days in Grand Rapids and still not see and do everything. This burgeoning city has an excellent sculpture and garden park in addition to a fantastic craft beer scene.
The Wolverine State is best known for its wide range of outdoor activities. Summer is the best time to visit Michigan to take advantage of the great outdoors. Each corner of the state has its own unique things to do and places to see!
The UP is home to dozens of hikes through miles of remote wilderness. The Porcupine Mountains, Marquette area, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore all provide fantastic hiking paths and experiences. If you’re looking for a full-day trip, take the ferry to Isle Royale National Park and traverse the Greenstone Ridge Trail for a challenging hike.
Summer is one of the best times of the year to explore Mackinac Island from Northern Michigan. You can also check out the fascinating lakeside town of Charlevoix. Architect Earl Young built a series of mushroom-shaped cottages around the city, each with a unique design. Take a walking tour of the area to explore these odd structures, and you’ll also discover why Ernest Hemingway spent summers in Charlevoix. It’s a charming place to enjoy a sunny Michigan summer day.
Summer in Eastern Michigan means more relaxation with you, your thoughts, and plenty of serene nature. The winding Au Sable River is famous for having some of the best trout fishing in the world. Take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend at the beginning of June!
Fall is the best time to experience a mirage of unique colors in Michigan. From the shores of the UP to the apple orchards of West Michigan, you can’t go wrong with a visit during this special time of the year.
While outdoor activities reign supreme in the Upper Peninsula, we recommend checking out a classic fall festival if you’re in the area. No fall season is complete without attending an Oktoberfest celebration. This famous fall festival is the largest beer and wine event on the UP. In addition to featuring tons of the best local beer and wine, you can enjoy live music, brewing demos, free food, and plenty of games!
Fall is the last chance to scratch your fishing itch before the cold weather begins in Eastern Michigan. This is a mecca for fishing enthusiasts looking to catch some monster trout.
Fall may be the best time to go to Northern Michigan. If you want to experience the gorgeous foliage here, take a drive along the M-22. This highway runs along Lake Michigan’s shore, passing Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and several lighthouses on the way. We recommend stopping to explore small towns and sights to make it a fun day trip.
College football and apple picking are the best fall activities in West Michigan. Whether you want to hop over the Indiana border to take in a Notre Dame football game or stay for a smaller but still enjoyable Western Michigan University game, football is in the air this time of the year. Of course, nothing says fall like apple picking. West Michigan has plenty of places to pick apples during fall in Michigan, and spots like Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery outside of Grand Rapids feature delicious fresh cider and warm donuts on the menu.
Winter is the best time to visit Michigan if you want to enjoy snowmobiling, skiing, and soaking in snow-covered scenery. The Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan provide the most winter activities during this time of the year.
Snowmobiling in the UP is a long-standing winter tradition. There are four main trail systems in the UP: Munising, Sault Ste. Marie, Paradise, and Marquette. A couple of these trails connect so you can start your journey in Munising, stop in Marquette for lunch, zip up to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and then head back to Munising! A day (or a few days) of snowmobiling is a classic way to enjoy Michigan at its finest during the wintertime, especially for adrenaline junkies! It’s why this is arguably the best time to visit the Upper Peninsula.
The UP is also home to many waterfalls that freeze over, providing a unique viewing experience. Munising, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park all have tremendous waterfalls that freeze over in the winter. You can watch daring outdoors enthusiasts climb frozen water cascades near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and in some cases, there are free clinics offered for beginners.
Northern Michigan also has plenty of ski areas that provide fantastic settings for you and your family to hit the slopes. Crystal Mountain and Nub’s Nob offer the widest range of activities and the largest concentration of ski slopes.
When Will You Visit the Wolverine State?
Whether you want to tour lakeside towns, take long walks on the beach, or explore stunning waterfalls, Freshwater Vacation Rentals has the perfect property for you and your family. We offer an array of rentals across the state, from the Upper Peninsula to Western Michigan. Of course, if you’re staying in the Northern Michigan area, you can check out our rentals and the Things to Do page, highlighting the top activities and attractions.
Start planning your trip to the Wolverine State today by booking one of our properties. We look forward to welcoming you to the Freshwater Vacation Rentals family.