July in Michigan is finally here...and there is so much to enjoy!
1. Mackinac Island
Cannons booming, the Mackinac Bridge in the background, and Fort Mackinac standing guard, Mackinac Island is a slice of Victorian history right here in the middle of Michigan.
Horses and bicycles abound since motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on the island. The island offers a huge variety of things to do with the family from tasting the world-famous fudge, cycling around the island, riding horses, hiking on nature trails, and visiting Fort Mackinac.
2. Petoskey, Castle Farms, and Lavender Hill Farm
Michigan’s state rock is the Petoskey stone. There are two beaches in particular that are hotspots for the unique stone: Petoskey State Park and Magnus City Park Beach. Stroll downtown Petoskey for a fun vibe with niche shopping. Within walking distance of downtown is Bayfront Park. Kids will enjoy playing at the waterside playground.
Plan a trip to nearby Castle Farms in Charlevoix to view the 100-year old castle and grounds that offers family fun such as a hedge maze, reflection pond where you can feed rainbow trout, museum collections, and the largest working outdoor model railroad in Michigan with over 70 trains!
Only a little over an hour away from Kalamazoo is this beautiful city that packs both modern fare and old world. There are plenty of reasons to visit Holland, notably the Tulip Festival every spring where there are over 4.5 million tulips abloom as well as parades, shows, and special activities for children.
Afterward, head over to Nelis’ Dutch Village and try on a pair of wooden shoes. If you can’t go in the spring, Holland’s Dutch Village is still open and worth the visit. Enjoy the beautiful Dutch architecture, canals, watch artisans make cheese and candles and go down the wooden shoe slide. There’s also a petting zoo, and rides for kids.
4. Visit a Michigan Lighthouse
With 129 still standing, Michigan boasts the most lighthouses of any state in this country.
Many are located in or around state parks, perfect for a family vacation. No two are alike from the color of the light to the shape of the tower.
Some lighthouses have museums where you can learn the lighthouse’s history and/or are open to allow visitors to climb to the top for a stunning view over the lake. Steps to the top are on average between 80-130 and worth the exercise.
5. Frankenmuth and Bronner’s
Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth, is an ideal getaway any time of the year. A perfect blend of indoor and outdoor fun awaits.
Enjoy the famous all-you-can-eat chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Make sure to watch the historic Glockenspiel tell the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Don’t miss the lower level of the Bavarian Restaurant Inn for unique shopping or to purchase a bag of taffy.
Visit the outdoor River Place Shops, a unique german-themed shopping mall. Hop aboard the Bavarian Belle paddleboat for a one-hour tour.
Kids will love the indoor water parks at Zehnder’s Splash Village or the Bavarian Inn Lodge (make sure to try the indoor putt-putt at the Bavarian Inn Lodge).
6. Lake Michigan Dunes
Lake Michigan is home to some of the most impressive sand dunes in the country. What better way to enjoy it than visiting breathtaking views of dunes and racing down them while enjoying the beach?
There are seven sand dune areas on Lake Michigan, including the famed Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Also popular, Silver Lake Sand Dunes, where the family can enjoy a thrilling guided dune buggy tour.
8. Tahquamenon Falls
Make it a point to visit these waterfalls (aptly nicknamed the Root Beer Falls by locals) that are arguably the most beautiful in all of Michigan.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is almost entirely undeveloped wilderness without roads or power lines.
9. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village
Detroit is known for Motown music and its cars and there’s no better way to see Detroit’s history and dominance in the early automobile scene than the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn.
Make sure to take the Ford Rouge Factory Tour and see the F150 being made. Adjacent to the museum is Greenfield Village, created in 1929 as an educational and historical village. Here you can see the original light bulb, an old working farm, and artisans practicing their trades from years past.
10. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Hugging Lake Superior’s shore for about 40 miles is the country’s first national lake shore. The sandstone cliffs are a marvel of colors and shapes due to the streaks of mineral stain decorating them.
There is no better way to see them than a two-and-a-half hour boat cruise on the lake from mid-May through October. Feeling adventurous? Kayaking is a popular activity and way to view the cliffs.
Have a safe and fun July!