Things to Do In Michigan For A Long Weekend

Let us help you plan your perfect Michigan long weekend with our favorite ways to celebrate days off in the Great Lakes State, courtesy of The Awesome Mitten.

A man, woman and child hiking along water in a forest
Hiking in the Keweenaw Peninsula | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

Share This

1. Throw some Michigan whitefish on ‘the barbie'

From Marquette to Milan, grill chefs of all levels rejoice barbeque season. Whether you prefer Michigan farm-raised meat, fresh-caught Great Lakes whitefish or veggies straight from a small-town farmers market, know that almost everything tastes better grilled and that Michigan has a special connection to that bag of charcoal. Edward Kingsford, whose wife's cousin was the industrialist Henry Ford, worked with the auto industry leader in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, running a briquette factory that made pillow-shaped lumps of fuel from leftover sawdust and other mill waste. The fuel was first sold to smokehouses, but Ford and Kingsford eventually put together ingenious “picnic kits” and sold charcoal and grill kits out of Ford dealerships. The idea caught on. Fire up the grill, invite 20 of your closest friends to bring a dish or drinks to pass, pull your bocce ball and croquet sets out of storage, and bam! You have yourself a party with uniquely Michigan roots.

2. Get Yourself Outside

Whether you take a quick spin on one of Michigan's many paved bicycle trails or throw the kayaks on top of the car for a weekend-long adventure, make sure you enjoy the Michigan outdoors on your getaway weekend. Pop over to the sunrise coast and hike somewhere off of historic US-23 or head way up north to Keweenaw National Historical Park, an original blend of sites featuring mountain-like nature and the region's mining history. 

3. Celebrate Michigan's Culture at a Fair or Festival

Fairs and festivals run year round in Michigan. In Northwest Michigan, the festival season really kicks off once cherry blossoms are blooming and Mackinac Island throws its food and flower-themed party at June's Lilac Festival. There are so many unique summer festivals with parties celebrating Michigan food, drink, nature, history, sunsets and more. Towards the end of summer and into fall, celebrate at Michigan's many fairs and harvest festivals.

4. Cheer on Detroit Sports Teams

It almost doesn't matter who the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Lions or Pistons are facing off against, the energy of the crowd while watching the home team play is always a spectacular experience. If you're headed to Detroit for a game, look for special events that bring fireworks displays to the outfield of Comerica Park, arrive early to walk around Little Caesars Arena or attend the official Detroit Lions Tailgate on Brush Street in front of Ford Field.

5. Relax with a Book

What good is a long weekend if you don’t get to relax? Sometimes there’s nothing better than a hammock or blanket in the sunshine on a Michigan beach, a glass of ginger-mint lemonade, and a copy of The Great Lakes Book Project or anything by the late, great Michigan author Jim Harrison.


6. Raise a Mug

Grand Rapids has been named Beer City USA, Best Beer Town and Best Beer Scene and seems to be just getting started. Michigan is fifith in the nation in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, which means Grand Rapids isn't the only brew-centric city in the state - Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Detroit, Marquette, Lansing and Ypsilanti are all home to awersome breweries. Bolstered by the Great Lakes and nurtured by the glacier rich soil, Michigan was made to be a brewer's paradise. Beer enthusiasts make pilgrimages to breweries like Bell’s Brewery and Founders Brewing Co., but breweries are waiting to be discovered in every corner of the state. Journey along one of the state’s beer trails, or visit a local beer festival to experience the IPAs, stouts, porters and more that make Michigan the Great Beer State. 

7. Watch a Movie at the Drive-In 

Some of us may remember the summer nights when a typical pastime involved pulling up to the local drive-in theater and curling up in the driver's seat to enjoy a silver screen show. A trip to the movies is still a perfect way to spend an evening with family and there are many places to watch a drive-in movie in Michigan, you're likely to find one near you. 

About the Author: Erin Bernhard is the Managing Content Editor for The Awesome Mitten. She’s a northern Michigan twentysomething who loves good microbrews, great wine, summertime grillouts, and well-roasted coffee. She is also a dedicated yoga practitioner and outdoors explorer–and she’s always adding to the list.