23 Things to Do in West Michigan Before the Summer Ends

West Michigan is home to some of the best kept secrets and awe-inspiring attractions in America. No matter where you go, there’s something new to try right around the corner. To help you get the most out of this summer, we’ve compiled a list of things you’ll want to make sure you do in West Michigan before the summer ends!

1. Climb to the top of one of Lake Michigan’s many lighthouses, or volunteer for one of the keeper programs offered at a handful of the lighthouse museums in northwest Michigan.

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McGulpin Lighthouse, Photo Courtesy of WMTA

2. Complete the tree scavenger hunt on the Nature Trail at Stokes Homestead Farm Market in Grand Junction and get rewarded with a free ice cream cone!

3. Kiss a turkey at Cornwell’s Turkeyville in Marshall.

4. Drive the Tunnel of Trees to the end, where you can enjoy an authentic Polish pierogi overlooking Lake Michigan at Legs Inn in Cross Village.

5. Embrace your inner pirate when you sail on the tall ship “Friends Good Will” in South Haven, and visit the Michigan Maritime Museum when you’re back on land for a look into the past.

6. Hand feed a giraffe at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek or Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto.

7. Hike, swim, and explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with 64 miles of beaches, coves, islands, and hills on the west coast of the Leelanau Peninsula.

8. Hunt for the state stone, the Petoskey Stone, along the shores of Lake Michigan. No license required to pick up the fossilized coral, but what a cool feeling when you find one!

9. Cycle down the paved Leelanau Trail and enjoy a picnic lunch while you visit up to seven wineries just off the trail with Grand Traverse Bike Tours.

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Grand Traverse Bike Tours, Photo Courtesy of WMTA

10. Learn to Fly Fish at the Red Moose Lodge on the Pere Marquette River in Baldwin with their full day trips out on the river & cozy accommodations at night.

11. One of Michigan’s most visited shrines, the 55 foot tall Cross in the Woods in Indian River is a must-see.

12. Peddle your way around town on the self-propelled Great Lakes Pub Cruiser, the first and only “Green Pub” in Michigan, located in Grand Rapids.

13. Ride the Fins of a Windmill on Harry’s Windmill ride at Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland, which combines a restored 1940 Eli Bridge #5, 45ft high Ferris Wheel matched with a reproduction of a Netherlands windmill.

14. See the Big Yellow Dinosaur on US 31 at Kampvilla RV Park (her name is Sunny!).

15. Stay overnight aboard the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, which is officially credited with sinking 23 major Japanese ships and is considered the U.S. Navy’s most successful surviving World War II submarine.

16. Take a “Paddle n’ Pints” trip with Rockford Brewing Company, where you’ll fill up plastic growlers at the brewery before spending two hours floating down the river and enjoying the outdoors.

17. Take an outdoor adventure with friends and a good book with Outdoor Book Club, which hosts meet-up in various West Michigan cities.

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Outdoor Book Club, Photo Courtesy of WMTA

18. Tour a Coast Guard Ship, dance in the streets of Grand Haven at the yearly street dance, and then settle in to enjoy the fireworks and musical fountain from the waterfront at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival each August.

19. Try your hand at the Sporting Clay course at Blendon Pines Gun Club in Zeeland and see how many clay pigeons you can hit with a shotgun over twelve different shooting stations.

20. View many of Michigan’s remote lighthouses aboard a multi-day boat cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star, based out of Charlevoix.

21. Visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids and marvel at the 24-foot-tall bronze horse statue.

22. Visit the Headlands and the Dark Sky Discovery Trail in Emmet County, which is one of just 13 prestigious International Dark Sky Parks in the United States.

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Emmet County International Dark Sky Park, Photo Courtesy of WMTA

23. Watch a sunset from the middle of Lake Michigan with nothing to obstruct your view on Beaver Island.

Courtney Sheffer considers herself a professional when it comes to exploring all West Michigan has to offer. As Marketing Director for the West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA), Courtney is always on the lookout for new West Michigan experiences to share with visitors. Whether you live, work, or play in West Michigan, WMTA can help you discover something new that you’ll love!

Celebrate Summer with these 9 Pure Michigan Items

With literally thousands of lakes to kayak, canoe, and fish on (among many other things!), the Great Lakes state has countless ways to enjoy Pure Michigan Lake Effect, making our Michigan one of the best summer destinations. If you love showing off your Pure Michigan pride, check out a few practical summer items from the Pure Michigan Store perfect for yourself or gifting to a friend.

1. Pure Michigan Iceberg Cooler

This cooler has a unique design meant to capture everyone’s attention. Its hard sides are covered with custom Pure Michigan artwork that will remind you of our state’s beauty every time you look at it. Suitable for all of your cold drinks, it is fully insulated and includes an ice pack. Be the envy of your friends with this distinctive and durable cooler.

Perfect for: Camping, picnics, beach or cottage trip

Pure Michigan iceberg cooler

2. Pure Michigan Koozie 3 Pack – Assorted

Speaking of drinks, these koozies will keep you in style while hanging out at the beach. Each koozie in this pack has a different Pure Michigan design so you have a variety of options for showing off your pride!

Perfect for: Cold drinks at the beach, cabin or even at home!

Pure Michigan Koozie 3 Pack Assorted3. Pure Michigan Fruit Fusion Bottle

Stay hydrated this summer with this cool, portable water bottle. The 25-oz. bottle includes an infuser where you can insert strawberries, lemon, cucumber or whatever your heart desires for a flavorful boost to plain water. This makes it even easier to drink more water and keep from being dehydrated while having fun on the beach. As an added bonus, it has a recyclable PET body.

Perfect for: Anywhere!

Pure Michigan Fruit Fusion Bottle

4. Pure Michigan Grilling Spatula

This grilling spatula comes with a cool, unique laser cut design and is made of heavy stainless steel. Even better, at the top of the hard maple handle is a super convenient bottle opener, which would go great with your new koozies and cooler! You’ll be the talk of the party with this interesting piece.

Perfect for: Backwoods camping, beach and park barbecues and grilling at home

Pure Michigan Grilling Spatula

5. Pure Michigan Apron

Grilling wouldn’t be complete without this Pure Michigan apron. The two front pockets make it incredibly easy to store any important items so you don’t have to step away from the grill. Combined with the spatula, you’ll be adding a touch of Pure Michigan to all of your favorite summer dishes.

Perfect for: Outside grilling, indoor baking or just about any time you cook!

Pure Michigan Apron

6. Memories are Made in Flip Flops Wooden Wall Art

Previously, we shared a few Pure Michigan Lake Effect signs and this one remains a favorite. This wall piece, made from pine wood, has been hand painted by local Michigan artist Redeemed and Renewed. At 11×14, this summer wall art will remind you of what’s important: spending the summer with loved ones in Michigan.

Perfect for: Your cabin, cottage, workplace or home

lake sign flip flops

7. 3 Tray Tackle Box

Michigan is one of the best destinations to reel in a fish, no matter the season! The next time you go on a fishing excursion, take this all-weather, worm-proof tackle box to fit your necessities all in one place. There are 37 customizable compartments which makes it easy for different types of fishing trips.

Perfect for: Summer fishing and ice fishing

3 Tray Tackle Box

8. Pure Michigan Bucket Hat

If you are heading out on the water to reel in a big one, you need this bucket hat. Keeping your head protected from the sun has never been more imperative and this khaki hat will do just that. This is especially important for children who might be accompanying on an outdoor adventure.

Perfect for: Any summer outdoor activity, especially fishing

Pure Michigan Bucket Hat

9. Fishin’ Again in Michigan Toddler T-Shirt

Your little one will love this t-shirt. If they regularly join on fishing excursions, this is a perfect clothing item in which to dress them up. Pair with the bucket hat and they are good to go on a Pure Michigan Lake Effect adventure!

Perfect for: Toddlers with an affinity for fishing

Fishing Again in Michigan Toddler Shirt

Now you’re all set for a Pure Michigan summer outing! Check out the store for even more perfect summer items that demonstrate your state pride.

What is your favorite item on the list? Share with us in the comments below!

7 Charlevoix Waterways to Explore in 7 Days

If you seek a definition of Pure Michigan Lake Effect, simply look at Charlevoix. Surrounded by three different lakes and located within minutes of other area waters, Charlevoix has a reputation as the water enthusiast’s paradise. Here you can enjoy Michigan summers at their best: water, sun, and sand. Plan a vacation (or two) using the list of our favorite bodies of water and the activities to enjoy on each.

1. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan offers unlimited access to sailing, motor boating, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving and many other fun adventures. Spend the day exploring the coastline of Charlevoix, or head over to Beaver Island for an amazing day trip. Lake Michigan beaches in the Charlevoix area provide some of the best hunting ground in the state for the elusive Petoskey Stone. Make sure to see a sunset over Lake Michigan during your visit!

Stunning sunsets are just some of the beautiful views to be found in Charlevoix

Photo Courtesy of Mark Haveman

2. Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix was voted the best lake in the eastern half of the country, via a USA Today vote, for good reason. Nestled between Charlevoix, Boyne City, and East Jordan, Lake Charlevoix guarantees a day of adventure and beauty. If you’re a thrill seeker, Lake Charlevoix is great for wakeboarding, waterskiing and tubing. Paddlers can access the lake from the many beaches that dot the shoreline. Fishing on Lake Charlevoix is diverse because of the two distinct sections. After a day in the sun, enjoy the courtesy docks at the Charlevoix, Boyne City and East Jordan marinas to grab a bite to eat.

3. Round Lake

Located between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake is a gateway between waterways. Don’t let this small lake fool you! Be sure to check out the beautiful houses located on Round Lake and see if you can spot several Earl Young buildings. Paddle through the hidden river next to the Coast Guard Station to explore the wildlife and historic homes.

The lakes and waterways around Charlevoix are a boater's paradise

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Kazmierski

4. Torch Lake

Did you know that Torch Lake is the second largest inland lake in Michigan as well as one of the most popular boating destinations? Known for its amazing turquoise blue water, this lake is a must see. Stop by the large sandbar in the southern portion of the lake and enjoy a picnic in the sun.

5. Jordan River

Spend the day tubing, rafting or kayaking down the Jordan River. At a moderate pace, the Jordan River offers great meandering views of northern Michigan’s natural beauty in a serene setting. There are rentals available for kayaks, canoes, or tubes. Make sure you wear water shoes…this river likes to steal flip flops if you tip!

Explore the pristine waterways around Charlevoix on the coast of Lake Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Alan Leese

6. Walloon Lake

Walloon Lake is a perfect mix of natural beauty and boater’s paradise. This inland lake offers boaters and sailors the perfect opportunity for both exciting adventure or leisurely travel. Looking for a great place to fish? Walloon Lake is home to perch, walleye, northern pike, trout, and small mouth bass. If you’re looking for a great paddling destination, Walloon Lake is the perfect size lake to explore.

Explore the many waterways in and around Charlevoix via speed or sailboat

Photo Courtesy of Michael Murphy IV Photography

7. Chain of Lakes (Six Mile, St. Clair, Ellsworth, Wilson, Benway, Hanley, Intermediate, Bellaire, Clam, Torch, Skegemog, Elk)

This area is a hidden gem and a popular place to go fishing! The inland grouping of lakes winds its way through East Jordan, Ellsworth and ends in Elk Rapids. Spend the day exploring the waterways and waterfront towns. When planning, make sure to check which lake connections are navigable for your choice of watercraft.

Whether you are a motor boat enthusiast, beach lover, fisherman, kayaker, standup paddle boarder, adventure seeker, a sailor, or simply looking for beautiful water views, the Charlevoix area offers amazing water voyages. For more information on getting out on the water, renting or chartering boats and paddle sport equipment, or for planning your next summer vacation go to visitcharlevoix.com.

 What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Charlevoix? Share with us by commenting below!