Michigan International Speedway (MIS), home to the Pure Michigan 400 and located in the scenic Irish Hills, is a perfect destination for NASCAR enthusiasts who love the outdoors. The two-mile track is located on more than 1,400 acres near Brooklyn, a small-town community with unique attractions and destinations nearby.
Whether you are a lifelong fan, or this is your first race, there’s so much to experience during race weekend when visiting the Irish Hills. So rev up your engines and read more on how to plan your ultimate weekend at MIS.
Photo Courtesy of Craig Gardiner Photography
Things to Do
If you’re arriving to the area early, or staying a few days after the checkered flag drops, there plenty of activities that will make your visit complete.
Camping continues to be a huge part of the Pure Michigan 400 experience, and for good reason. MIS is a destination within itself, with ten campgrounds and nearly 9,000 campsites, it is the largest registered campground in Michigan. If you don’t have a camper or tent, take advantage of one of the RV rentals offered by the speedway.
The Cherry Creek Winery in Brooklyn makes homemade wine in a 100-year-old school house, as well as fresh butter fudge and Michigan cherry preserves. Staying on a historic note, the Walker Tavern Historic Site and Cambridge Junction Historic State Park is an iconic spot in the area, and offers one of the largest Farmers Markets in Southeast Michigan. Here, at crossroads where Sylvester Walker fed weary travelers in the mid-1800s, you’ll now find more than 50 venders offering fresh produce, baked goods, and locally produced crafts.
From 1836 to 1855, when a stagecoach ride from Detroit to Chicago was a long and arduous five-day trip, a favorite stopping place to relax and enjoy a meal was Walker’s farmhouse and tavern.
Just beyond the grounds of MIS, you can explore the US-12 Heritage Trail which bridges southern Michigan’s east and west shores. The US-12 Heritage Trail encourages travelers to journey its winding roads, meet its people, explore its places, and uncover its hidden treasure. Feed your travels at Randy’s Barbeque Shack, home of award winning smoked beef brisket, chicken and more.
Play some games on the grass at one of 32 golf courses within a half hour drive from MIS. Located in Brooklyn is Hills’ Heart of Lakes, one of the finest golf courses in the Jackson area- which also happens to be owned and operated by Senior PGA Tour Pro Mike Hill and his family! After the champion has been crowned and the crowds have cleared out, stick around to enjoy 18 holes at Clark Lake Golf Club with great weekday special rates as well as a full service restaurant and bar.
Photo Courtesy of Hills’ Heart of the Lakes
Explore the Area
The Irish Hills Area has more than 50 lakes, many of which have public access swimming and boat, canoe, and kayak rental options that allow you to explore Michigan’s inland lakes while unwinding from an exciting weekend at MIS.
You might fall in love with the small town feel that encompasses southeast Michigan as you explore the area. In addition to Brooklyn, Onsted, Tecumseh and Manchester are all welcoming communities with unique attractions and local charm.
About a half hour drive North West of Brooklyn is the historic city of Jackson which has much to offer in way of history and culture, and a lively arts district. Check out a historic prison tour at Michigan’s First State Prison. Adjacent to the prison is a must see in Jackson’s art district, ART 634, a true “Center for the Creative Spirit” with displays of music, dance, photography, painting and more.
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman, Permissions given by the Michigan Department of Corrections
Traveling east on I-94, you’ll find Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Ypsilanti has a great outdoors scene for golfing, mountain biking, canoeing and hiking as well as beautifully preserved historic areas and hotspots of arts, music, and shopping. Home of the University of Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor has a thriving art community, one of America’s Best Main Streets, nature trails, and restaurants that will satisfy any foodie. (We recommend a corned beef sandwich at Zingerman’s).
The Big Race!
The big event is undoubtedly the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 28. NASCAR’s biggest stars bring the drama and excitement to the fastest track in NASCAR as they make their final push to make the final Chase for the Sprint Cup.
A NASCAR race is fun for the whole family and definitely should be on everyone’s Pure Michigan bucket list. Purchase your tickets now and don’t forget to tag your photos with #PureMichigan and #PureMichigan400 while you’re there!
The Pure Michigan 400 provides thrills from start to finish
Have you ever attended the Pure Michigan 400? Share your experiences with us below!