Summer in Michigan, the State with the Most Freshwater Shoreline
Did you know that Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world? It also has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska. And from Grand Haven to Holland to our very own St. Joseph, here in West Michigan we have quite the list of beach towns to make your summer enjoyable.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that most of the activities on our list involve enjoying your Michigan summer on the water in one way or another.
Here are 10 ways to love your summer in Michigan.
1. Explore Mackinac Island.
Quaint Mackinac Island is located between the upper and lower peninsulas and can only be reached by ferry—which certainly adds to its charm. Enjoy the island for a weekend or two by booking a cozy bed and breakfast or waterfront hotel.
The island may be just eight-miles long, but it has more than enough on offer to quickly fill up your itinerary. You can spend your week enjoying boat races, horseback riding, cruising around on bikes, visiting the butterfly house, or taking a painting class or two.
2. Stay overnight at a lighthouse.
Michigan may come in second when it comes to the most shoreline, but when it comes to lighthouses—we’re number one. We have more lighthouses than any other state in the country.
And you can even stay in one overnight at a lighthouse bed and breakfast.
Or if you have two weeks free, you can volunteer to become a lighthouse keeper at Tawas Point Lighthouse or Forty Mile Point Lighthouse. You’ll be put to work giving guided tours and manning the gift shop to earn your keep.
3. Visit Air Zoo.
Take a day trip to the Air Zoo aviation museum in Portage. It’s been voted “Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners” and “Best Place to Spend a Day with Your Family” for three years in a row!
Inside you’ll find rare, historic air and space artifacts from as early as the 1780s that will be sure to capture your imagination. There’s also amusement park-style rides, flight simulators, and a theater to keep you and your family entertained for a full day of aviation fun.
4. Escape to Binder Park Zoo.
At Binder Park Zoo, there is always something to do! Spend the day at Binder Park Zoo with the kids, sign them up for safari day camp, or enjoy a night out at one of their adult-only events.
Hand-feed giraffes at Twiga Overlook and take a ride on the Z.O. & O. Railroad or the wilderness tram. Learn more about each of the animals’quirky behaviors during dedicated Zookeeper Tails times.
5. Take a stroll, swim, or sink a basket in St. Joseph’s Parks.
You don’t need to go far to have a good summer in Michigan! Stay local and enjoy the many parks St. Joseph has to offer.
Those looking for variety will want to head to Kiwanis Park which is considered a “full-service” park. It boasts tennis courts, a softball field, horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts, a basketball court, and a skateboard center.
Silver Beach County Park is perfect for families to spend the day together. It has play areas, life-guarded swimming area, volleyball courts, and pier fishing. The park also hosts outdoor concerts throughout the summer so be sure to bring a blanket or some chairs!
Margaret Upton Arboretum has some more unique park offerings including sculptures, gardens, and a gazebo. Trails connect several of the waterfront parks together. The park is host to the popular Venetian Festival and Tri-State Regatta in July and August.
6. Take a ride at Action Wake Park.
No boat? No problem! Action Wake Park is the first and only full-size watersport cable park in the state. Learn how to wakeboard, water ski, and kneeboard in a controlled environment.
Wondering how it all works? Watch their Youtube channel to learn about how the cable system syndicates the lake boat experience.
The park offers summer camps for kids interested in water sports. They even host competitive events that anyone can watch and cheer on!
7. Sip wine at Warner Vineyard.
Founded in 1938, family-owned Warner Vineyards is Michigan’s second oldest winery. Their wines have won awards and even been served at the White House and 2 Super Bowls.
Located along the riverbank in downtown Paw Paw—the heart of Michigan’s wine country—Warner Vineyards has turned the old water-works building into it’s Wine Haus. Inside, you’ll find the visitor tasting room featuring a stunning re-creation of a functioning European Champagne Cave. There’s more to do than sip wine at the vineyard, they also host food trucks, paint dates and yoga classes.
8. Splash around at Surfari Joe’s.
Get out of the sun while enjoying a day by the water at Surfari Joe’s Indoor Wilderness Waterpark. The park spans 18,000 square feet packed with fun. It boasts two extreme slides that funnel outside of the park before bringing you back inside to land with a big splash.
Take a relaxing ride around the Zambezi River Run or swim in Lino’s Lagoon activity pool. The Pygmy Pond Play Place is an adventurous playland with slides for littles. It’s topped off with a large dumping bucket for tons of laughs and fun.
When you’re ready to take a break from the water, there’s the Rip Curl Arcade filled with over thirty games. Or grab something to eat on the upper deck at the Water Hole Grill and Bar which is also a full-service bar.
9. Spend a weekend in the Grand Rapids.
Spend a weekend in Grand Rapids and save big on tickets with their culture passes. The passes include general admission to seven art and history museums as well as discounts on live entertainment.
Art buffs will want to take advantage of the passes’ access to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. Families will love that they can get into both the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and John Ball Zoo. And those looking to learn something new over the summer will want to stop at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.
10 Seek thrills at Michigan’s Adventure.
For thrill seekers, you’ll find roller coasters and water park fun at Michigan’s Adventure.
Hop on family classics like the scrambler and carousel. Or throw your hands up while you enjoy the old-school charm of one of their wooden coasters. You can always expect to find the massive steel rollercoaster mainstays of modern-day parks such as the corkscrew.
And on those hottest of hot summer days, you’ll want to live at the water park. You’ll find slides, cabanas, a tidal pool, and splash lagoon—more than enough to keep you entertained for a full day on their own.
Visit your favorite dentist office.
While the kids are out of school and you’re taking time off work (hopefully), make an appointment that will continue to benefit you and your family long after summer has ended. You can visit us at our Berrien Springs or St. Joseph location. We look forward to seeing you there.