It’s summer. The days are long but time runs by too quickly anyway. It’s easy for the days to get full as we work busily on our outdoor chores or prepare for our next camping expedition. So take a moment to stop. Think. What would you really like to see this summer? What would you really like to do? These eight to-do’s made our Summer Bucket List. But if you can’t fit them all in this summer, no worries. The fall is a gorgeous time, too, and usually with fewer crowds and less congestion.
- Jump in all five Great Lakes. Yes, all of them, even lonely Lake Ontario that doesn’t share a Michigan coastline. This one takes a bit of planning, but with your handy GPS and maybe with a little help from some travel apps, you’ll be able to reach each shoreline safely – and have the ultimate road trip along the way. If you need ideas of where to stop, check out the various driving tours on our website and see if any of the suggested spots are worth visiting.
- Enjoy Michigan wine. There are so many wines available from Michigan wineries that you’ll need to sample as many as you can. Make a night of it and have a tasting party, complete with snacks and music. Go on a tour at one of the wineries for the inside scoop and a taste testing. Or, simply, pick up a bottle here and there to enjoy at the campsite in the evening hours. Keep a notebook handy so that you can remember which ones you like, but try new ones frequently. Ask for other opinions: They could lead you to your next favorite beverage.
- Fish the Two-Hearted River. Or at least look for wildlife. Made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s story, this Upper Peninsula waterway is deserving of prose. It stretches for a hundred miles, wild, crystal-clear, and full of fish. You’ll also see birds and otters and the occasional bald eagle. A cooler of Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale is the perfect pairing for a day on its namesake.
- Go stargazing. We don’t take enough time to just sit and gaze at the stars. This was of great importance to our ancestors, and they marveled at the vastness and beauty of the night sky. It reminds you of how small you are in the grand scheme of life, yet how connected we all are in sharing this experience. Bring along your family or some close friends, a blanket, and a couple water bottles. You don’t need to go anywhere until sunrise. The Headlands International Dark Sky Park in northern Michigan near Mackinac City is the perfect spot, but there are dark sky areas all over Michigan.
- Climb a lighthouse. Michigan has the most lighthouses out of any state in the Union, and many of them are open to the public for a small fee. Historic lights, many of which no longer guide vessels floating in the Great Lakes, often have small museums and lighthouse keeper programs, where you can sign up to live in the lighthouse and manage the daily visitors. Lighthouses give you some of the best views of the majestic Great Lakes. Where do you start when there are more than 200 lighthouses? This list will give you a place to begin.
- Shop at Eastern Market. This famous outdoor market has everything and was the place for Detroiters to do their shopping back in the day. It’s still a popular spot with some of the best flowers, freshest produce and meats, and handcrafted wares. It can be easy to spend a lot of time and money here, so it’s best to go in with a budget and cash only. As with any city setting, parking can be difficult, especailly with a large coach. If possible, consider leaving your rig at the campsite and using your toad or tow vehicle for the day. Here are some more things to do in southeast Michigan.
- Search for beach glass. “Mermaid tears” can be found along Lake Michigan throughout the summer, especially at the southern end of the lake. Lake Erie is also a popular beach glass hunting spot. A couple tips for success: Search early in the morning for the best pickings. Try to plan your search to take place after a storm or rough weather so that more of these treasures make their way to the beaches. Bring a shovel and a sifter, too, as you will need to dig from time to time to fill up your basket. Since you’re already looking for beach glass, you might as well look for Petoskey stones, too. Here are some tips.
- Hike to a waterfall. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is sprinkled with sparkling waterfalls, some of which are easy to get to while others require a little effort – but it’s all well-worth it! Some of the most beautiful falls are within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Tahquamenon Falls State Park has the upper and lower falls – and they should not be missed. Munising and the Marquette area have an abundance of waterfalls worth exploring. The wild and remote Keweenaw Peninsula has waterfalls, too, including Haven Falls and Upper Copper Falls. This handy map will help you track down all the cascades you could ever dream of seeing.