Northern Michigan Things To Do This Weekend – In Michigan, it’s in our backyard. I grew up in Great Lakes Ontario and crossing the border from Detroit was a regular occurrence. We always thought it was easy to cross the border in Canada, but in 2020 everything changed. With the borders closed for so long, we’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic about our many road trips to Michigan. We understand that we have the opportunity to do some amazing things and encourage you to visit, so we want to share the best things to do in Northern Michigan. I think it will surprise you.
This Northern Michigan travel guide takes you through the Upper Peninsula (or UP as it’s called) and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. There are plenty of things to do in Northern Michigan to fill your summer. We begin our tour of northern Michigan in Charlevoix and proceed counterclockwise. Charlevoix is a four-hour drive from Detroit and a great place to start your road trip through the Great Lakes region. But when you have the freedom to drive, you can choose to go anywhere in Michigan. From Lake Superior to Lakes Huron and Michigan, you’ll love exploring Michigan’s Upper Glove.
Northern Michigan Things To Do This Weekend
It feels like a mini Caribbean vacation during the summer season with beaches, diving, snorkeling and jump climbing fun. But the Upper Island also has plenty of history and mayhem, and we’ll cover all the things to do in Northern Michigan. Let’s go!
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The city of Charlevoix is one of our favorite places to visit in Northern Michigan. Charlevoix is a beautiful town with a beautiful beach, microbrew bars, restaurants and beaches. Create a home base here to explore some of Northern Michigan’s top attractions.
Did you know you can visit Hobbiton in Michigan? Forget going to Charlevoix, New Zealand, you can visit the amazing mushroom houses designed by Earl Young. He designed 30 unique homes in Charlevoix over a 30-year period. Today you can visit the mushroom houses to see the 28 buildings that are still standing. Check out our full tour of Charlevoix Mushroom Houses – all hobbits are welcome in Michigan!
Michigan has a castle! That’s right, you don’t need to travel to Europe to explore a castle, you can enter the French Renaissance castle of Castle Farms just outside of Charlevoix. Built in 1918 by a vice president of Sears, Roebuck & Company, Castle Gardens has been restored to its original design. In the 1970s, it became a sensation when the rock group Arthur Rebel bought it and attracted famous acts such as Metallica, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys. You will see all the relics from its glory days in tourism. Plan your visit to Kota Farms on their website.
One of our favorite things to do when we travel the world is to find all the places where Ernest Hemingway got stuck. He came from Pamplona to Havana, Cuba and Key West to Kenya. But did you know he spent years building in Upper Michigan? As you explore the mushroom houses of Charlevoix, you’ll see his marriage certificate at the Harsha House before hitting the road to explore Michigan’s 11 Hemingways.
What’s Happening In Northern Michigan: Holiday Events West Michigan Tourist Association
Hemingway spent 21 summers in Petoskey, Michigan, and you can follow in Hemingway’s footsteps when you visit Northern Michigan. From Perry’s Hotel to Potter’s Rooming House or his favorite fishing spot on Horton Creek, he fascinates. We took a tour to explore the Hemingway Trail with a guide inspired by scenes around Northern Michigan from Hemingway’s book ‘Nick Adams’.
We love spending time in Petoskey biking the beach trails, searching for the Petoskey Rocks, and exploring the beautiful downtown Bayfront Park. There was a stone beach at the Petoskey Breakwall where we looked for Petoskey stones and tried our hand at it, but we couldn’t even find green stones in New Zealand, so I bought a beautiful necklace in Petoskey.
Everyone thinks you have to go to Iceland to see the northern lights, but when we were in Michigan, we saw them dance across the sky. At Headlands International Dark Sky Park, not only did we get a chance to see the spectacular night sky and the Milky Way, but we also got to see a beautiful display of the Aurora Borealis. Check the Headlands International Dark Sky website for details
Lake Charlevoix was voted the second best lake in America after Lake Tahoe by USA Today. With 56 miles of beaches and several marinas for boating, it is also considered the best lake east of the Mississippi.
Northern Michigan Archives
While we’re on the subject of castles, why not visit the old kingdom of Beaver Island. Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan and there are many things to do there. We took a floatplane to the deserted Beaver Island, where King James J. Strong ruled the country like a veritable emperor from 1848 to 1856. He finally killed two men and sentenced them to flogging. He leaves once. Residents of the surrounding settlements overthrew his supporters, so today, Beaver Island is a beautiful place in Lake Michigan. Check out more things to do on Beaver Island on the official website.
Another great Beaver Island excursion is kayaking with Happy Paddle. The Great Lakes are unpredictable for kayaking, so hiring a guide is recommended if you’re a beginner. What we love about kayaking on Beaver Island is that the island has beautiful lakes when the weather is bad. We had very high tides during our day so we moved on to exploring the inland lakes which was a great excursion.
But actually, you can kayak anywhere in Michigan, four of Michigan’s five major lakes, it’s really freshwater land.
While on Beaver Island, schedule a day to scuba dive to the wreck in Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes are littered with shipwrecks and are mostly protected by fresh water. We booked a day with Paradise Bay Charters on Beaver Island and enjoyed the gentle wreck a few feet below the water’s surface. See Paradise Bay Dive Shop for more details.
Northern Michigan Video
Divers may also want to visit the world’s only freshwater temple. A monument was erected in honor of those who drowned in Little Traverse Bay, off the coast of Petoskey. It was originally built in 1962 as a memorial to local divers who died, but was expanded to include all those who died as more shipwrecks occurred in the Great Lakes.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the must-sees in northern Michigan. Known as Sand Mountain, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore offers 64 miles of sweeping sand and pristine beaches. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a 22-mile multi-use trail through the Sleepy Bear Lake Dunes National Seashore.
Mackinac Island takes you back to the old days of horse-drawn carriages and historic homes, making it one of the best places to visit in Northern Michigan. Mackinac Island can only be reached by boat or plane, making it a quiet and beautiful getaway. Be sure to visit Fort Mackinac, the oldest building in Michigan. A visit to Fort Mackinac offers a recreation of military battles from the 1800s.
We crossed the Mackinac Bridge several times. In fact, the Upper Michigan Pass is one of the best routes for Canadians to get to Northern Ontario. Contrary to popular belief, the bridge does not take you to Mackinac Island. (At least that’s what I thought before I visited) But be sure to stop at Bridge View Park to take a photo of the famous Mackinac Bridge. It is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world.
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The Old Presquely Lighthouse is one of the many lighthouses to visit in northern Michigan. Lighthouses played a major role in the navigation of ships on the Great Lakes. The old Presque’ile Lighthouse dates back to 1837.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a busy park with some amazing waterfalls. One looks like a mini Niagara Falls. It’s a beautiful park that deserves more than a quick stop. Spend a day or two hiking, swimming and enjoying the scenery. There are two waterfalls, upper and lower. The upper events are the larger and more beautiful of the two, but the lower events have the option of going on a boat or tour.
Coming off a long island in Lake Superior, we turned to look at it
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