Michigan Summer Bucket List 2021

Ahhhh Summertime in Northern Michigan. Is there anything better? Let me answer that one for you… No. No, there is not. (Just ask Kid Rock.)

Growing up, Northern Michigan was my backyard. And I personally believe it’s at it’s best in the summer. Summer in the Mitten tastes like cherries, sounds like waves, feels like sunshine and looks like paradise.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to book a ticket to the Mitten State and cross off your Michigan Summer Bucket List! (As long as you wear a mask and socially distance, of course.)

Michigan Summer Bucket List 2020 

Eat Ice Cream. It was Number 1 on my list last summer, and it’s Number 1 again this summer. Why? Because ice cream is the quintessential summer treat, and Michigan makes some of the best there is. My favorites Up North are Moomer’s in Traverse City and House of Flavors in Ludington. But my overall favorite in the entire state is Hudsonville Ice Cream! (No surprise to you, I’m sure!) I’ve shared tons of Hudsonville Ice Cream recipes over the past year, so if you’re looking for a sweet treat this summer, be sure to click below!

The Sweetest Start To Summer

3 Ingredient Ice Cream Pancakes

Hot Chocolate Floats


Apple Cider Floats and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cast Iron Apple Crumble

Indulging in Summer

Take a Hike. Hiking is good for the soul. Whether you’re trying to escape into nature, clear your head, or just looking for something fun to do, hiking is always the answer. While we might not have mountains, we do have picturesque dunes, rocky lakeshores and lush forests you can explore. You’ll find hundreds of hikes around our great state, but I think some of the best call the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks home.  PS… IMO Keens are the BEST choice of footwear for hikes in Northern Michigan. (People ask me what I recommend all the time.) Why? Because chances are, you’re going to encounter sand on your hike and it won’t get all stuck in your shoes. Plus they’re super comfy and can get wet in one of the many lakes you’re bound to encounter! Find mine (similar) here.) Need some hiking inspiration?! Click here! You’ll find my favorite hikes not just in Michigan, but all over the US!

Muddy hike to Chapel Rock, Pictured Rocks.

Head to the beach. It’s not summertime in Northern Michigan without a beach day… or 10. Grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic and go enjoy a perfect day at the beach.

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Lake Michigan

Catch a festival. Michigan has SO.MANY.FESTIVALS. Think of Star’s Hallow… only on a grander scale. If you’ve never been, The Cherry Festival should be your number one choice! Or, find a small town packed with charm and check out their local festival. (If it has the word “Days” behind it, it’s probably going to be good. No joke! Bear Lake Days, Arcadia Daze, Onekama Days… maybe thats just a Northern Michigan thing, but small town festivals rock.) This year, festivals are starting to come back to Michigan! Our covid restrictions will be few and far between by July 1st, so a lot of festivals are doing a lighter version of what they normally would do. Just be sure to check out your favorite festivals Facebook page for all the important updates as they get closer!

Manistee National Forest Festival, Manistee, MI

Cheer on the Tigs at Comerica Park! Because basbeball is back in Detroit and better than ever!

*Not what we look like at Tigers Games this year. HAHA 

Go fishing. In the words of pretty much everyone in my family… “Eat.Sleep.Fish.Repeat.”

Play in a waterfall. The UP is full of them! Click here to see my favorite waterfalls across our UP!

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Laughing Whitefish Falls; Rock River Township, MI.

Find a Summer Brew. Michigan is home to hundreds of incredible craft breweries! Most have special summer brews. Take some time to taste as many as you can to find your new summer favorite. Might I suggest Short’s Soft Parade Shandy, or Bell’s Oberon and Larry’s Latest Flamingo Fruit Fight? Those are my three favorite summer beers!

Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, MI. 

Find Your Park. The National Park Service encourages everyone to find their park. And while I’ll tell you without hesitation my favorite national park is Grand Teton (find all my Jackson Hole posts here) my heart belongs to The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If you don’t fall in love with The Dunes the second you step foot on them, you just may not have a heart. 

Empire Bluff Trail, Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

Get Picture(d) Perfect. Pack up your family (friends, or yourself!) and head to Munising. I promise you will not be disappointed! (See my Pictured Rocks posts here!) I literally can not think of a more perfect summer vacation, especially this year. You can social distance v. easily while still getting out and enjoying one of the prettiest places my great state has to offer!

Miner’s Castle, Pictured Rocks.

Find a hidden gem. Michigan is filled with Hidden Gems. Get out there and find them! (And then tell me what you find so I can go explore them too!) My most recent favorite hidden gem? Kitch-iti-ipi! (Read all about it here.)

Looking into the water at Kitch-iti-kipi.

Get on island time. One of my absolute favorite summer trips in my great state is to Mackinac Island. Click here to see everything I love about this place in the summertime!

Biking around the island. 

Go Shopping at a Farmer’s Market. Fresh coasts = Fresh flavors. With thousands of farms, orchards and vineyards, Michigan is one of the best places to get the freshest ingredients for your summer dishes. While there are some awesome big ones in bigger cities, I love the little local markets that are sprinkled up and down M22!

Seek a pleasant peninsula. LOL taking our state motto super literally here… but seriously.  Our state has so many places that were basically made for your summer vacations! Just click here and start scrolling… I guarantee you’ll find the most perfect place to explore this summer!

Bet ya can’t guess where I am! HAHA

Eat Outside. Something about summer just makes me want to eat outside. Whether it’s picnics in the park, food trucks on the side of the road, or picture perfect patios, food tastes better under the sweet summer sunshine.

Snuggle up by the fire. Arguably my favorite summer tradition is sitting around the fire with my family. We sit there for hours laughing, talking and playing lawn games. Some of my favorite memories are around the fire. And if you already have a fire roaring, you might as well…

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Make Hobo Pies. Is this what everyone calls them? Or just us Northern Michiganders? I’ve heard them called campfire pies too. Either way, grab your fillin’s and make a delicious treat! In my family we like to have Hobo Pie night and make all sorts of dinner ones, like pizza or nachos. But we almost always have everything we need on hand to make dessert Hobo Pies any night of the week.


Catch a sunset. Because Michigan Summer Sunsets are the prettiest in the whole entire world.

Explore Detroit. I know trekking around a city on a hot summers day might not sound the most appealing. But my city is pretty dang awesome. And I think summer is the perfect time to experience all it has to offer!

View of Detroit from Belle Isle Park!

Spend a Day On The Lake: Grab a boat and get out onto one of our great lakes. You’ll have the best, most “summer” day ever.

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And there you have it my friends. My Michigan Summer Bucket List… guaranteed to make sure you make the most out of your summer in Michigan!

What are your plans to make the most of your summer?! Are you changing your plans because of the coronavirus still? We’re sticking close to home because we were afraid to plan too far ahead and not be able to actually go on vacation back when things were still so unsure. However, I’m lucky to live in a state where we can have the perfect summer by packing up the car and driving to the lakeshore 🙂

Alright my loves, I’m signing off for the weekend! It’s supposed to be super nice here all weekend, so we’re planning to spend it outside! I’ll be back on Monday!


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