One of the things we love about summer is the endless amount of time we can spend exploring our beautiful state. There are so many amazing spots to see and adventurous things to do! It can be hard to know where to start–that’s why we came up with the ultimate Michigan summer bucket list!
We put together a fun summer list for you and your family to work your way through, whether you want to choose one activity each day or focus on just a couple each week. The next time your kids tell you they’re bored, show them this post and have them choose their next adventure for the day. And don’t worry, we know Michigan weather can be unpredictable–there’s a rainy day activities section for that!
Whether you want to spend time with nature, grab a bite to eat at a new restaurant, add a new park to your park hop list, or just want to do something NEW, rest assured that our list will provide your family with endless hours of summer fun. This is also perfect for those out-of-town visitors that you want to show off our state to. So, get started! See how many activities you can check off of our Michigan summer bucket list!
The Ultimate Michigan Summer Bucket List:
For the animal lovers in your family, you’ll want to check out:
- Belle Isle Aquarium: the oldest aquarium in the country!
- Belle Isle Nature Center: closed indoors for remodeling, but open outdoors on Fridays and Saturdays
- Big Bug exhibit at Dow Gardens: starts July 15th!
- Creature Conservatory in Ann Arbor: open on the weekends
- The Detroit Zoo: recently reopened the penguin exhibit!
Farms + Nature
Definitely save this section for a gorgeous summer morning. Michigan is home to so many family farms and natural areas! Check out some of our favorites:
- Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve: pet-friendly and perfect for the whole family!
- Crosswinds Marsh: home to bald eagles and beavers!
- DeBuck’s Sunflower Farm: offers u-pick flowers
- Their Lavendar Festival takes place weekends in July!
- Their Sunflower Festival will be weekends in August and early September!
- Detroit Abloom Urban Farm: the perfect place to check out flowers, butterflies, and birds
- Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park: worth the drive to the Grand Rapids area
- Hazens Blueberry Farm: check out the on-site bakery–their blueberry crumble ice cream is so good
- Maybury Farm: has a picnic area and playground
- Michigan Airline Trail: perfect for bikes or the stroller/wagon
- Muddy Acres Flower Farm: the most gorgeous varieties of cut flowers!
- Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden: many varieties of flowers from the nineteenth and early twnetieth centuries
- Proud Lake hiking trails: head out for a walk to enjoy all that Michigan nature has to offer
- Romeo Lavendar Farm: perfect for lavender, sunflowers, and wildflowers; pick lavendar and then take some photos!
- Schell Family Farm: a fairly new farm with fun for the whole family
- Slow Farm Organic: a woman-owned u-pick farm and farmstand!
Food + Nights Out
If you’re looking for a new place to grab lunch or dinner, or something exciting to do at night as a family, here is where we recommend:
- Aloha tiki tours: for ages 12 and up
- Comerica Park: cheer on the Tigers and pose for a photo in front of the entrance
- Detroit Princess Riverboat: check out a full list of upcoming cruises on their website
- Downtown Street Eats: more than 75 food trucks (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) then go rollerskating at Monroe Street Midway
- Eastern Market: Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday markets
- The Fountain Detroit: beachside dining!
- Jimmy John’s Field: cheer on any of the four teams that play there!
- Mom’s Spaghetti: Eminem’s pop-up
- Qahwah House: stop in for spiced, Yemeni Adani tea
- QLINE: ride while exploring downtown; currently free!
- Detroit Rolling Pub: six rider minimum
- Southern Shaved Ice: over 50 flavors!
- The Belt: between Broadway and Library Street, perfect for photo ops!
- Walk the Riverfront: the #1 in the country!
- Woodward Coney Island: the best coney dogs
Kid-Friendly Outdoor Activities
Plan to check out some of these kid-friendly places earlier in the day, before it gets too hot:
- The Beach at Campus Martius Park: perfect for sandcastle building
- Blake’s Funland: be sure to go in the goat walk!
- Cooks Farm Dairy: so many cute animals, especially the baby cows
- Dequindre Cut: a bike trail and graffiti mural
- Edsel and Eleanor Ford House: Story Studio on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
- Glenlore Trails: “Pulse” takes place in June
- Greenfield Village: be sure to take a ride on the train before you head home
- Hines Park Trail: print off a nature scavenger hunt before you go!
- Huron-Clinton Metro Parks: 13 parks with beaches, biking, and more
- Livonia Library: outdoor storytime on Wednesday and Friday mornings in June and July
- Johnson Nature Center: a storybook walk perfect for kids
- The Art Attic Plymouth: lots of fun events and outdoor kid/family yoga during the summer
- Yates: grab donuts and cider, then see the farm animals
- Zip lining at Howell Nature Center: for ages five and older
Music + Festivals
Don’t forget a comfy blanket or lawn chair and some snacks when you stop in for these sights and sounds:
- Ann Arbor Art Fair: July 21-23, 2022
- Antique Yard Sale Trail: August 12-14,2022
- Marshbank Music: July 20th and 27th, and August 3rd
- Milford Central Park: summer concerts in July and August on Thursday nights
- Pine Knob Music Theater: get lawn seats for a show
- Plymouth’s Art in the Park: July 8-10, 2022
- Sonic Lunch: free outdoor concerts on Thursdays in Ann Arbor
- Tunes on Tuesdays: in Northville each Tuesday morning this summer!
Have you ever done a park hop? Add these parks to your list the next time you head out to play:
- Affholter Park | Trenton
- Bauveric Woods Park | Southfield
- Beacon Park | Detroit
- Booth Park | Birmingham
- Gainsboro Park | Pleasant Ridge
- Inglenook Park | Southfield
- Innovation Hills | Rochester Hills
- Kensington Metropark | Milford
- Marshbank Park | West Bloomfield
- Valade Park | Detroit
Summer is not complete without the photographic evidence. We’ve planned out the BEST spots to stop for photo ops, including:
- The Ambassador Bridge
- The Heidelberg Project
- The Monument to Joe Louis (“The Fist”)
- Madcap coffee and Parker’s Alley
- Spirit of Detroit statue
- Z-lot rooftop
Rainy Day Indoor Activities
We know Michigan weather can be unpredictable, so here are some spots to check out this summer when it rains:
- Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum: bring a change of clothes in case your kids play in the water area!
- DNR Outdoor Adventure Center: open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
- Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum: admission is free
- Michigan Science Center: over 220 hands-on exhibits!
- Pinspiration Berkley: walk-ins welcome!
- Troy Gym: the ropes course is a blast
- Sanders + Morley Candy Makers Factory Tour: free for all ages!
- SkyZone Trampoline Park: grab a summer pass to have fun all summer long
- UrbanAir Adventure Park: check their weekly activities schedule to see what they have planned!
- X-Golf: all ages and ability levels will have a blast
Save these for those HOT days when you want to be outside, but need a way to stay cool:
- Argo Cascades: grab a bite to eat at Zingerman’s after
- Belle Isle Beach: bring a picnic lunch and relax on the sand
- Heritage Park Splash Pad: admission is free!
- Jump Island: an outdoor inflatable water park sure to be a hit with all family members
- Lily Pad Springs: the largest splash pad in the state
- Stony Creek Metropark: paddle boarding and boating available
- Red Oaks Water Park: open Thursday-Saturday
- Silver Lake Water Ski Shows: Tuesday nights through August
- Blue Heron Bay Spray Park: there are pavilions available to rent
- Turtle Cove Aquatic Center: at Lower Huron Metro Park