So you probably visited Michigan this past winter because you heard all about their amazing ski resorts and amplitude of other fun outdoor winter activities. But I have a little secret to share with you. Summer time in Michigan is when the state really shines. Between taking a dip in one of their gorgeous salt free lakes, shopping in one of their many small downtown areas, eating at one of their many exquisite gourmet restaurants or sitting fireside sharing a locally made craft beer with friends – a summer spent in Michigan is like no other. Come check out what top ten Michigan summer destinations made our list and find out what makes them each so magical.


Arch Rock - Mackinac Island, MI / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Arch Rock – Mackinac Island, MI / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a place like no other because when you step off the boat taking you to the island, you step into a world without motor vehicles – a world with breathtaking natural sights, horse drawn carriage rides and a bustling downtown area smothered in the smell of freshly made fudge.

Fun Things to Do in Mackinac


1. Visit Arch Rock

2. Take a Carriage Ride

3. Tour Fort Mackinac and Fort Holms.

4. Ride a Horse or Bicycle Around the Island Trails.

Mackinaw City

Directly across the water from Mackinac Island is Mackinaw City – another Michigan town with its own rights to popularity. With its own fort, bustling downtown, peaceful campgrounds and spectacular view of the bridge, this quaint city deserves its own stop on the tour.


The Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum / Photo Credit: Mary Moore/ Retro TravelingMom

Fun Things to Do in Mackinaw City

1. Watch a Lumberjack Show.

2. Eat at Mama Mia’s Pizzaria – you can also visit their museum upstairs.

3. Visit Colonial Michilimackinac.

4. Check out the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum.

5. Shop Mackinaw Crossings

South Haven

For years people have been heading to the west coast of Michigan to spend their summers in the beautiful lakeside towns there.

Fun Things to Do in South Haven

1. Visit the South Haven Lighthouse and Beach

2. Take in a $4 Movie at the Historic Michigan Theatre.

3. Visit One of Their Many Wineries

4. Eat at Taste: Small Plates & Martinis – an amazing restaurant downtown.


Downtown Detroit / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom


If you’re looking for fun and entertainment, Detroit and its surrounding cities is the place to go. This retro downtown area is making a huge comeback. It’s definitely worth taking a second look.

Fun Things to Do in Detroit (and surrounding cities)

1. Try Your Luck at One of the Many Downtown Casino’s.

2. Take in a Detroit Tigers Baseball Game at Comerica Park.

3. Visit the Detroit Zoo, Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village.

4. Head to Belle Isle.

 Traverse City

If your looking for a place that has it all – shoreline beaches, shopping, culinary expertise, outdoor sporting, breathtaking sights, art and culture and night time entertainment – Traverse City is the place to go.

Fun Things to Do in Traverse City

1. See the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and Lake-shore.

2. Take a Wine Tour.

3. Try Your Luck at a Casino.

4. Golf One of the Many Breathtaking Courses.


Brewery Downtown Holland / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Brewery Downtown Holland / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, this lakeside destination is a cultural habitat of entertainment, discovery and relaxation. With roots in the Dutch heritage, this Michigan location prides itself on its Dutch architecture, cuisine and attractions.

Fun Things to Do in Holland

1. Check out Tunnel Park.

2. Walk Your Wooden Shoes Around Windmill Island.

3. Visit the Veldheer Tulip Gardens.

4. Eat and Drink at the Downtown Breweries.


Drive into Frankenmuth and enter Michigan’s Little Bavaria. This always bustling city is like a small slice of Germany with its uniquely designed buildings, authentic culinary options and fun year round festivals.

Fun Things to Do in Frankenmuth

1. Take a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Around the City.

2. Eat a Wiener Schnitzel at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant or Try the Chicken at Zhender’s.

3. Shop the Downtown Boutiques.

4. Take a Ride on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat.


Petoskey is another Michigan lakeside city with tons to offer visitors looking to relax and have a great time. With beautiful views, fun shopping and tons of natural beauty, this destination definitely deserves a spot on our Michigan summer top ten list.

Fun Things to Do in Petoskey

1. Search for Petoskey Stones.

2. Enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan and Visit the Lighthouse.

3. Eat Downtown at Roast & Toast Cafe.

4. Check Out the Vibrant Colors and Street Art in Downtown Petoskey.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a social hub of entertainment, arts and cuisine! This bustling downtown area is one of my favorites because there is always something to do or see. It is a hub of socialization.

Fun Things to Do in Grand Rapids

1. Relax and Enjoy the Beauty in the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

2. Visit Stella’s Lounge for an Award Winning Giant Stuffed Burger (plus their french fries are amazing!).

3. Take in a Comedy Show at The B.O.B.

4. Check out the Culture and Art Downtown.

New Buffalo

Relax on the Deck of the Harbor Grand / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Relax on the Deck of the Harbor Grand / Photo Credit: Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

In the southwest corner of Michigan sits a cluster of towns that together make an amazing destination for summer days spent relaxing in the sun. This area, as part of the Michigan wine tour, has numerous wineries, eateries, casinos and beach front properties.

Fun Things to Do in Southwest Michigan

1. Take a Wine Tour.

2. Visit the Chocolate Garden.

3. Kayak the Galien River Basin.

4. Relax on the Deck at the Harbor Grand Hotel and Watch the Ships in the Harbor.

What are your favorite things to do in Michigan in the summer? Share your favorite spots with us in the comments.