Labor Day Weekend Ideas for Every Personality

The end of summer is near but there is still plenty of time to enjoy the warm weather. Whether you plan to relax on the lake or attend a festival this weekend, there is something for everyone. We put together a few ideas on how to spend your Labor Day weekend in Pure Michigan.

The magnificent Tahquamenon Falls. As seen on Google maps street view.

The magnificent Tahquamenon Falls. As seen on Google maps street view.

For The Road Tripper

Take a road trip to the Upper Peninsula and visit Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. This waterfall always leaves us awestruck.  After your hike, get refreshed at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery.

Looking to head over to the West side of the state? Check out Grand Rapids for a variety of offerings. Dazzling art and culture, awesome dining and nightlife, inspiring natural beauty and exhilarating community spirit. Stroll downtown where you will find more than 100 restaurants, clubs, theaters and museums.

Have a beach weekend getaway at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. The magnificent dunes are divided into three sections, the northern section is for off-road vehicles, the center is for hiking/walking, including Lake Michigan and Silver Lake beaches and the southern is home to Mac Woods Dune Rides. There is something for everyone and a definite beach paradise.

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

For The Relaxer

Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem. The 987-acre island park features a nature zoo, conservatory, golf practice facility, maritime museum, an aquarium, picnic areas and more. The park includes three lakes, 150 acres of wooded area and spectacular views of the Detroit and Windsor skyline.

Get ready to watch the sunset at Tunnel Park. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is a great place to catch a sunset and take a swim. Climb the stairs to the top of the dune or take the concrete tunnel through the dune to get to the beach.

Do you love wine? Then with more than 100 wineries nestled among 15,000 acres of scenic vineyards, Michigan truly is wine country. Paired with fresh, local ingredients found in local cuisine, a Pure Michigan wine tasting trip is something you can’t find anywhere else.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @dsliceoflife.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @dsliceoflife.

For The Photographer

Explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! You will find multicolored sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, wildlife and much more on Lake Superior.  Whether you decide to take a boat ride, hike or swim you will have breathtaking views wherever you are.

Check out striking views of the Porcupine Mountains. Parallel to the Lake Superior shore and overlooking Lake of the Clouds, enjoy scenic vistas, waterfalls and old growth forest. Take your camera and start exploring, you won’t regret it.

Find Keweenaw Peninsula’s rock formation, Bare Bluff, looping around a three mile hiking trail. The views from the top of the bluff are stunning and on a clear day you can see all the way to the tip of the Keweenaw.

Take a different approach to getting a wonderful picture and head to Port Austin. With spectacular shorelines, views, amazing cliffs and rock formations, Port Austin is a must kayak destination.  Grab your camera and don’t forget to set time aside to kayak to Turnip Rock, a must see!

Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @beatbeat.heartbeat

Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @beatbeat.heartbeat

For The Active Vacationer

Explore Isle Royale, a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale offers unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. Here, amid stunning scenic beauty, you’ll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Climb to the top of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! And if that isn’t your thing  swim at one of the many beaches, or take a hike through the Maple/Beech forest to some beautiful overlooks. Or spend some time in the museums and tour Port Oneida to learn about the rich history and culture of the area.

Arts, Beats & Eats. Photo courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

Arts, Beats & Eats. Photo courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

For The Festival Goer

If you like art, music or food, we have the place for you! Arts, Beats & Eats will feature more than 200 performances, an art show and local restaurants.  It’s something fun for the entire family.

Enjoy the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival which occupies two million square feet of downtown Detroit from Hart Plaza on the riverfront, three blocks north to beautiful Campus Martius Park. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the variety of festive music.

Indulge in the Fruits of Labor over the long holiday weekend. Find your favorite specialty cocktail, wine or craft brew while live bands will be clocking in for your entertainment. Drink specials and delicious fare from our Grille will be offered. Bring the whole family and enjoy the bounce house, inflatable slide and yard games.

What do you plan to do this Labor Day weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

PS: Want to shake up your fitness routine this Labor Day? The Michigan Fitness Foundation offers events all year to keep you moving, and the Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk is no exception.

Ten Beautiful Pure Michigan Campsites like No Other

With summer in full swing and Independence Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take an idyllic Pure Michigan camping trip! Escape the hectic city life, spend quality time with family and develop a new found appreciation for Mother Nature at one of these beautiful and fun campsites.

Photo courtesy of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

Photo courtesy of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Take in the sights of one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The Upper Falls stretches 50 feet high and more than 200 feet wide, deservingly making it a must-see attraction. But with more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area, there’s more to love about the park than just its majestic waterfall.

Tahquamenon Falls – Photo courtesy of Michigan Nut Photography

Porcupine Mountains State Park – Be sure to bring a map when traveling in the “Porkies” to help navigate the state park which is the largest of its kind in Michigan, comprising 60,000 acres. Take your pick from a variety of campsites including modern, rustic and yurt lodging. Enjoy scenic waterfalls, trek across miles of hiking trails, or feel the sensation of stepping back in time as you explore the ancient Porcupine Mountains. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Explore the enormous sand dunes by taking a guided tour or wandering on your own. Swim at one of the park’s many beaches or take in the sweet smell of maple syrup while walking through a lush beech-maple forest. Adventurous kids can take part in a “rescue mission” of shipwreck survivors at the Maritime Museum.

SleepingBear

Sleeping Bear Dunes – Photo courtesy of Neal Weaver Photography

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Behold the beauty which lies in the park’s dramatic, multicolored sandstone cliffs. Hike alongside comely wildflowers and ride the waves of Lake Superior in a kayak. For another priceless view of the lake, travel atop the Au Sable Light Station towering 87 feet above ground. Wilderness State Park – Participate in a host of recreational activities including hiking, fishing and biking across 10,500 acres of campground. Enjoy 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and watch amazing sunsets over pristine water. The air is so clean here that breathing is a kind of luxury.

Wilderness State Park – Photo courtesy of Pearsons Cottages

Ludington State Park – Lace up your hiking boots or grab your bike and hit the camp’s 18 mile trail for personal encounters with wildlife. Set sail across the picturesque Lake Michigan or soak in the sun along the sandy shoreline of Hamlin Lake. You also can catch folk musical artist Mark Dvorak at the park’s Amphitheater this Fourth of July weekend.

Lakeport State Park – Take pleasure in a wide variety of outdoor activities. From canoeing to shooting hoops to tossing horseshoes – there’s something for everyone. Gaze into the unbridled waters of Lake Huron and take comfort in modern amenities offered at one of 250 campsites.

South Higgins Lake State Park – Take a swim in the crystal-clear Higgins Lake or grab a metal detector and try your luck searching for hidden treasures along the shoreline. Experience tranquility and observe wildlife while traveling the camp’s nature trail.

Sleepy Hollow State Park – Watch in quiet amazement the unspoiled beauty of the park’s natural habitat that’s home to more than 228 species including the Blue Jay and Bald Eagle. Walk along trails which take you through prairie grasses, hardwood forest and stands of pine trees.

Huron – Manistee National Forest – Get lost in the peacefulness of Jack Pine trees and fall in love with miles of sparkling rivers and streams. Have a quality canoeing experience along the Pere Marquette or catch fish from the Benton Lake. Take delight in examining the forest’s remarkable ecological features including dry sand prairie remnants, coastal marshlands, dunes, oak savannahs, fens, bogs and marshes.

What are you favorite campsites for a weekend getaway? Let us know below!

Some of the Best Beaches on the West Side of the State

The dawn of summer brings many people out to beaches all over Michigan and along the Great Lakes. Today, guest blogger Aaron Cruz from The Awesome Mitten shares some of the best beaches on the west side of the state along Lake Michigan.

Tisconia Park Beach in St. Joseph is a hidden gem. Less crowded then nearby Silver Beach, Tisconia’s shallow water right along the shoreline is perfect for children. You will find picnic shelters but no concession stands on this city beach. Great views can be had walking down the North Pier towards the lighthouse along the south end of Tisconia Park. You will pass by many fishermen at this popular fishing spot. Many boaters will dock in the water just past the swimming areas just adding to the atmosphere of the season. The parking fee is nominal.

Tisconia Park Beach in St. Joseph. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Tisconia Park Beach in St. Joseph. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach: As you emerge out of the forest in this state park between Holland and Saugatuck, you will realize the ¾ walk down a sandy path was more than worth it. Two-and-a-half miles of secluded, undeveloped beach and shoreline is backed by tall coastal dunes and rolling hills. There are no amenities other than some outhouses, so it is just you and nature. After some swimming in Lake Michigan and relaxing on the beach, hop on a trail which will lead you back at this day use park. We recommend doing some research or grabbing a map as some trails are longer than others.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Grand Haven State Park Beach: A quick walk from downtown Grand Haven, this entire state park is a sandy beach. There will be crowds in the summer, but you will also have the adjoining boardwalk and pier along the Grand River and the historic Grand Haven lighthouses at your disposal. Plan ahead, bring the kids and set up a camper on one of the 100+ paved campsites alongside. Climb the dunes at the end of the beach for some panoramic views. You will find picnic tables, bathroom facilities, concessions and more at this popular summer destination.

Grand Haven State Park Beach. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Grand Haven State Park Beach. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Hoffmaster State Park Beach. If you are around Grand Haven and are looking for a quieter scene, head just ten miles north to the Muskegon area and this state park. Upon making the short stair climb to the top of the forest covered dunes from the main parking area, your feet will be the sand. Vast beach, Lake Michigan, dunes and panoramic views will be front and center at Hoffmaster State Park. Hang out on a park bench at the top to soak it all in, then head down to the three miles of relatively undisturbed shoreline. After spending some time in the water and on the spacious clean sand, take a hike on the miles of trails in the area and you will find numerous other spots to take in the lake and beach. This is a pet friendly beach and park, as dogs are allowed.

Hoffmaster State Park Beach. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

Hoffmaster State Park Beach. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz.

What other Michigan beaches would you recommend along Lake Michigan?

Aaron CruzAaron Cruz is a lover and long time resident of The Mitten. When he is not out on the open road, he’s probably drinking coffee in a random indie coffee shop. He loves taking photos and road trips, along with checking out skylines, the seasons, shorelines and hanging around water which makes Michigan the perfect place to live. You can find him on TwitterInstagram and on his personal travel blog.