How To Have Fun In Michigan This Summer
Michiganders, you rock. You put up with things like “I-696,” “February,” and “Ohio State Fans.” You endure endless ridicule for extending your left hand when someone asks where you live. You understand the sheer GENIUS that is the “Michigan Left.” And you friend, are fully aware that “Vernors” is every grandmother’s cure for what ales you. You’re not afraid of a little snow and you can correctly pronounce weirdo city names like “Ypsilanti” & “Mackinac.” You return cans for 10 cents a piece and you know that “Rock n Rye” kicks “Red Pop” in the butt every. day. of. the. week.
And, if you’re anything like us, you look forward to Summer with longings that some would deem as inappropriate. It’s such an exciting time of year!
Memorial day weekend welcomes summer with open arms. And here in Michigan that means beautiful weather #finally #PTL, open pools, outdoor grills coming out of hibernation, bright green grass, the steady chirping of baby robins, trips “up north,” eating outside, lots of long walks, AND NFL training camp right around the corner folks (and you have just now realized that Chris is the primary author of this post.)
It’s about this time of year when you realize that the next 5 months, are the BEST 5 months in the state. And if your No Small Life:
* happens to call the mitten state home
*and is looking to live a full, well-rounded and meaningful life…
you NEED to set aside some time to have FUN!
Summer extends to each of us an invitation: savor life, enjoy it and live it to the full!
Today I’m bringing you 5 ways that you can have a blast in Michigan this summer. And no worries if you’re not a Michigander, we are just a road trip away. AND when you do come, you should rock a T-shirt like this:
Visit a downtown area
Just about everywhere you go in MI you’ll find some great walkable downtown areas just waiting to be explored. Some of our favorite downtown’s like Rochester, Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Milford are pretty much in your backyard if you live in the SE area of the state.
Each of these cities have amazing farmer’s markets each weekend with fresh fruits and veggies, live music and the obligatory homemade salsa stand where they “strongly encourage” you to try their samples. Taste test multiple varieties of Mexican food for free? Life is hard.
We try to go a few times every Summer. But one time, without exception, I go to the farmer’s market and purchase fresh cubanelle peppers, homemade Italian bread from the bread dude and I make myself a fried bologna and pepper sandwich that instantly brings me back to my childhood.
(Warning: too many fried bologna sandwiches will deteriorate your health. But once a year, it is pure bliss.)
Our favorite downtown area is Rochester. They have great restaurants like Kruse and Muer, if you are going “fancy,” (the bread alone… Fuggedaboutit) or Chomp if you are craving something more casual. After dinner you can stroll over to Desert Oasis and get the best cappuccino in the area, seriously, they’ve won awards (don’t forget to look at the latte art and take a selfie with it for your instagram #bestcap #coffeeisbae) or Sanders for a great ice cream, (it’s no Ermas-see below-but it’s still pretty good 😉 ), or head over to Bean & Leaf for a great cup of loose leaf tea or a milkshake. Sounds weird, but that tea house make a mean milkshake! From there, take a long walk (to work off that bread) around Rochester park or down 3rd and 4th street to take in some of the beautiful homes in the area.
Eat Erma’s Frozen Custard
I might be biased and all opinions are of course subjective, BUT I believe there is no better frozen custard in all of the world. Keep in mind, I have only had frozen custard in about a dozen different locations, but still. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Erma’s has a few locations now but the original, which is literally nothing more than a shack, is near downtown Utica. The line will be L-O-N-G in the evenings, but it is worth the wait! Ok, now my mouth is watering. I’m thinking I’ll finish this post later because when an Erma’s craving strikes…
Visit Partridge Creek
The outdoor mall at Partridge Creek is always full of life! You can shop, dine, or let your kids play in the water area. They also have live bands playing every Thursday-Monday throughout the Summer (including our favorites, Ricky and Dayna Leider–they played our wedding and are basically AWESOME.) The non-stop people watching alone is well-worth it!
Go to Stoney Creek Metropark ALL THE TIME
This year Megan and I bought a park pass for Stoney Creek Metropark for $35. Best $35 investment ever! That pass gives you year-round unlimited access into the park. Which includes miles of trails, paved bike paths, boat rental, swimming, fishing, use of their outdoor grills, disc golf and even, wait for it, a golf course (come on somebody.)
*Side note: I would have put “take a golf trip” on this list but I didn’t want to alienate the non-golfers, or as I refer to them, “those people.”
*Side-side note: This is Megan. I am “those people.”
We have been loving venturing up to Stoney in the early evening. Sometimes we’ll walk a couple miles on a trail, or ride our bikes or just sit by the water and take in the incredible views.
We can’t believe we haven’t taken advantage of having this beautiful park so close to us before. That’s not a mistake we are going to make this year.
Visit Traverse City
Recently, we took a little trip up to Traverse City and we loved every minute of it. In Michigan, “Up North” is where you want to be in the summer time. February? Not so much. But come Memorial Day, you betcha.’ (Please imagine that in my BEST Yooper accent.)
My one complaint with traveling “up north” is that you usually have to sacrifice good food and activities to be close to the water. Not so in Traverse City.
Traverse offers incredible views from both the Leelanau and Mission Point Peninsulas. You get that “up north” peaceful-away-from-everything feel, but you also have access to so much more.
For our Anniversary we stayed at Hotel Indigo which is located right downtown Traverse City. The beauty of this hotel is that you are overlooking the bay, which means you are walking distance to the public beach, but also to tons of restaurants (legit good food you guys), entertainment, shopping, olive oil and vinegar stores (of which Megan makes us stop in them all), food trucks, and tons more.
While there, we hopped on a bus to Suttons Bay and rode our bikes down the 17 mile trail through the Leelanau Peninsula. (Check it out on our Facebook & Instagram.) Along the way, we made it a point to stop at some beautiful wineries with incredible, take-your-breath-away kind of views. We had so much fun!
Fair warning: you prices vary depending on time of year and holidays. We snuck up there before Memorial weekend and saved hundreds per night on our hotel room. #insidertip #welcome
So there you have it, 5 things you can do in MIchigan to have all the fun this summer. I could have written another 5 more no problem, but I got a little lazy. A couple of other favorites are, in no particular order: watch fireworks, grill, grill, grill, and grill some more, go to a baseball game at Comerica park or Jimmy John’s field in Downtown Utica, visit downtown Holland, Grand Rapids or Grand Haven, and eat outside as much as humanly possible, to name a few.
So here’s our charge to you, Michigander aka “Michigangster” (it’s on a shirt so it must be a thing):
get together with your friends and family and ENJOY the next few months because they will go quickly!
And here is the best part, most of the things we mentioned are inexpensive or FREE! Entertainment on a Budget. Boom. Take advantage of the America’s high five this year.
What are some things you love to do in Michigan? We LOVE getting new recommendations!
Until next time,
Chris & Meg (aka one of “those people)
*Side note: we are not getting paid to recommend any of these place. We just like them!
*side-side note: this post does contain affiliate links for that T-shirt recommendation, but SERIOUSLY don’t you kind of want one?
Pin me for later so you don’t forgot all the awesome the Mitten State has to offer.
or pin me, I’m kinda “pinable” too