20+ Things to Do in Michigan: Your Ultimate Spring Bucket List
After a cold and snowy winter, all of Michigan celebrates the arrival of spring. Consider adding these things to do in Pure Michigan to your spring travel bucket list.
1. Pick (and Taste) Morel MushroomsLocals are pretty tight-lipped about where to harvest Michigan’s best morels. However, you can learn mushrooming secrets at the annual Mesick Mushroom Festival, a favorite for its guided morel hikes. There is also Boyne City’s National Morel Mushroom Festival which focuses on dining, allowing visitors to dig into area chefs’ morel-themed creations. Both festivals are in May.
2. Attend a Flower Festival
Spring blossoms brighten Michigan’s landscape as soon as the snow melts. Release your inner gardener—or shutterbug—at colorful festivals like Wineries of the Old Mission Peninsula Blossom Day. The annual festival takes place among 2.6 million blooming cherry trees. Holland celebrates its Dutch heritage with Tulip Time Festival, an annual festival that includes more than 5 million of the stunning spring flowers.
3. Go GolfingSpring is tee time at the nearly 800 golf courses scattered across Michigan. Golf on the Lake Michigan shore at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club or Bay Harbor Golf Club; challenge yourself at Tom Fazio’s only Michigan course at Treetops Resort; check out the reversible Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon; or head to the Marquette Golf Club for an unforgettable day on the course.
4. Ride in a Model TMid-April marks the opening of the Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn with over 80 acres of historic homes and buildings collected by automotive giant Henry Ford. Tour the property in an authentic Model T for a glimpse of Thomas Edison’s laboratory, the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop and a Cotswold cottage.
5. Toast Michigan Wine MonthMay marks Michigan Wine Month, when the state’s nearly 150 wineries take their place in the spotlight. Order a glass of Michigan-made Riesling, Gewürztraminer or Pinot Noir with dinner, or visit wineries like Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse or Tabor Hill for special wine dinners and discounts.
6. Return to Isle Royale National Park
Michigan’s most remote national park sits solitary all winter long, save for the moose and wolves. Park rangers and ferry service return to Isle Royale National Park in April for a season of wildflower hikes and Lake Superior paddling, rugged hiking trails and serene, starlit nights at Rock Harbor Lodge.
7. Dust off your BicycleMore than 1,300 miles of bike path crisscross Michigan, ranging from smooth asphalt urban routes to hilly cycle paths and craggy mountain bike trails. The whole family can manage the 8-mile flat, paved bicycle route around Mackinac Island, while 35 miles of rugged single track attract mountain bikers to the challenging Copper Harbor Trails on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.
8. Open Mackinac Island’s Grand HotelAfter a long winter under wraps, Michigan’s favorite warm-weather retreat, the Grand Hotel, opens for the season in April. The rest of Mackinac Island comes to life, too, as cottagers return, downtown restaurants, boutiques and fudge shops reopen, and islanders get ready for the spring’s Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival.
9. Revisit a Farmers Market
Michigan is famous for its locally-grown produce and farmers markets. Buy spring’s fresh rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries and cut flowers at Detroit’s Eastern Market, the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids and the Flint Farmers Market, among many others.
10. Visit a Botanical GardenFlowers bloom in great, colorful swaths at Michigan’s finest botanical gardens. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park pairs world-class artworks with Instagram-worthy flower plantings. In Midland, the Dow Gardens feature spring blossoms, towering hardwood and pine forests, delicate Japanese bridges and the nation’s longest Canopy Walk on its 110 acres.
11. Start up your BoatBoating season arrives with spring, and with some 3,200 miles of shoreline—more than any state except Alaska—Michigan ranks as a boater’s paradise. Sail the Great Lakes, paddle the Les Cheneaux Islands or go waterskiing in inland lakes like Silver Lake and Lake St. Clair.
12. Catch a Baseball GameAmerica’s national pastime resumes in April, when the Detroit Tigers open the season at Comerica Park. Minor league ball begins in spring, too, including the Lansing Lugnuts, the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, the Traverse City Pit Spitters and the West Michigan Whitecaps in Grand Rapids.
13. Find your Rod and Reel
Fishing season opens in spring for Michigan’s native species. Charter a fishing trip off the shore of Grand Haven, power your own boat out of Bay City or try your hand fly fishing the Au Sable or Manistee Rivers to fish large- and smallmouth bass, pike, walleye and trout, among others.
14. Enjoy Eastern Market Flower DayDetroit’s most famous market has welcomed spring for more than 50 years with Eastern Market Flower Day, a day-long sale held the Sunday following Mother’s Day. Choose from thousands of violets and pansies, daisies and lilies, annuals and perennials at this downtown market that sprawls across four and a half acres.
15. Hunt for Petoskey StonesAs temperatures rise Lake Michigan reveals a trove of Petoskey stones, Michigan’s state stone. Tossed onto the beach by winter storms and then hidden by thick ice and snow, the stones become visible with the spring thaw, the perfect Michigan souvenir.
16. Spend Spring Break at a Water Park
If Michigan’s beaches aren’t warm enough for spring escapes, the state’s water parks are. Multi-story water slides, splash pools, flush tanks and spray toys keep families entertained at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark , Great Wolf Lodge and Avalanche Bay.
17. Enjoy Music OutdoorsAcross the state, Michiganders celebrate the warm weather at outdoor music venues. The music begins in the spring at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids; Meadow Brook Amphitheatre or DTE Energy Music Theatre in metro Detroit; Kresge Auditorium at Interlochen Center for the Arts near Traverse City; and Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant.
There’s nothing quite so satisfying on a warm day than homemade ice cream. Indulge in a scoop or two at the MSU Dairy Store in East Lansing; Uncle Ray’s Dairyland in Fenton; House of Flavors in Ludington; or Moomers Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City.
18. Eat an Ice Cream Cone
19. Hike a Wildflower TrailLady’s slippers and violets, trilliums and Dutchman’s breeches add welcome color to Michigan’s wooded hiking trails in the spring. Experience wildflower hikes at the Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary near Baldwin; the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City; and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula.
20. Lace up your Running ShoesSpring marks the beginning of racing season across Michigan. Gear up for races ranging from 5K to marathon distance including the Martian Invasion of Races in Dearborn; the Wheatlake Festival of Races in Big Rapids; the Town Crier in Saugatuck; the Bayshore in Traverse City; and the Probility Ann Arbor.
21. Watch the Soo Locks OpenOnce winter’s ice has melted, the Soo Locks reopen in late March for a new season at one of the world’s largest and busiest lock systems. Crowds of onlookers celebrate the event at Sault Ste. Marie’s Soo Locks Opening Day with freighter viewings, visitor center exhibitions and refreshments.
22. Scout Migrating BirdsJoin in the annual counts as Michigan’s resident birds return north for the season. In northern Michigan, visit the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory and the birding trails near Mackinaw City. Belle Isle Park is a hotspot for migrating birds near busy downtown Detroit.
23. Attend a Music Festival
Weekend-long music festivals set the mood for the coming warm weather. Attend the BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival in mid-May in St. Joseph. Movement Detroit celebrates techno music in the city that invented it each Memorial Day weekend on Hart Plaza.