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20 Things To Love About Michigan Summers

MichiganSummerLove

Summer is officially over and the days are getting shorter and the nights chillier. The end to the summer season prompted me to think about the things I love most about the season, especially in my home state.

Growing up a Michigander, I relished the summertime. Sure, it was partly because school was out and snow wouldn’t be anywhere in sight for months. But, it took moving away from the Great Lakes State to realize how truly wonderful a summer in Michigan can be.

Realizing this, I wanted to share my love for Michigan summers with you. I sat down with my Moleskin journal to jot down a list of 10 reasons why I love this season, and before I knew it, the list had doubled. So, I give you 20 things I love about Michigan summers …

1. The Great Lakes

Lake Huron looking crystal clear on a stormy summer day.

Lake Huron looking crystal clear on a stormy summer day. (Photo by Erin Klema)

This seemed like the most obvious place to start since so many of the summer activities to love in Michigan revolve around the lakes and lake towns. During a Michigan summer, you can sunbathe on the beach, or kayak, boat, jet ski, swim and fish these clear bodies of freshwater.

2. Sleeping Bear Dunes

The view of Lake Michigan from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Beautiful, isn't it? (Photo by Erin Klema)

The view of Lake Michigan from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Beautiful, isn’t it? (Photo by Erin Klema)

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a gem. You can take in expansive views of Lake Michigan and the sand dunes from scenic lookouts. For the adventurous folks, bike the trails, hike up a dune or go boating.

3. Summer Art Fairs

The Ann Arbor Art Fair takes place in downtown Ann Arbor every July. (Photo by Erin Klema)

The Ann Arbor Art Fair takes place in downtown Ann Arbor every July. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Throughout the summer, many Michigan cities host art fairs. My favorites to visit are the Ann Arbor Art Fair and Milford Memories.

4. Summer Festivals

Cheeseburger in Caseville attendees really get into the festival spirit. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Cheeseburger in Caseville attendees really get into the festival spirit. (Photo by Erin Klema)

A thriving festival lineup keeps Michigan visitors entertained all summer long. It seems there is a festival for everything — cherries, Parrotheads and cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches, jet skiing, craft beer, art, jazz and country music to name a few!

5. Fireworks

Fireworks burst over downtown Grand Rapids over the Fourth of July weekend. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Fireworks burst over downtown Grand Rapids during the Fourth of July weekend. (Photo by Erin Klema)

The Fourth of July weekend is full of fireworks displays, but you’ll also catch fireworks throughout the summer at local festivals, after Detroit Tigers games on Friday and Saturday nights, and the annual Detroit Fireworks in June.

6. Michigan Cherries

Sweet cherries grown in Michigan are a favorite local snack during the summer months. There even is a national festival dedicated to these cherries every summer in Traverse City!

7. Seasonal Craft Beer

Founders' All Day IPA is great beer for summer. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Founders’ All Day IPA is a great beer for summer. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Drinking craft beer can be enjoyed at any time of year in Michigan, but there’s nothing quite like sitting outside on the patio at Founders with an All Day IPA on a summer night. Another great Beer City USA summertime beer is Perrin’s Grapefruit IPA. Happy drinking!

8. Baseball Games

Fans enter Comerica Park in downtown Detroit for a Tigers game on July 4, 2014. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Fans enter Comerica Park in downtown Detroit for a Tigers game on July 4, 2014. (Photo by Erin Klema)

In addition to Detroit Tigers games, Michigan has several minor league teams, including the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Great Lakes Loons and the Lansing Lugnuts.

9. Late Sunsets

The sun sets over Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

The sun sets over Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Not only are Michigan sunsets beautiful, but they are late. That means it’s light outside until nearly 10 p.m. some summer days!

10. Vacations Up North

Vacations "Up North" often revolve around a lake. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Vacations “Up North” often revolve around a lake. (Photo by Erin Klema)

In Michigan, we head Up North during the summer. It’s not a direction — it’s a destination. A trip to Northern Michigan is almost like a Kid Rock song. It’s all about the great outdoors, the beach and cute lake towns.

11. Visiting Greenfield Village

Bicyclists peddle back in time at Greenfield Village. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Bicyclists peddle back in time at Greenfield Village. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Watching base ball as it was played in the 1800s and cyclists riding by on the bikes pictured above, riding a 101-year-old carousel and in a Model-T, and visiting a working farm are just a few of the family-friendly activities that take you back in time at Greenfield Village, part of The Henry Ford in Dearborn.

12. Days at the Zoo

A trio of cubs at the Detroit Zoo in June 2012 (Photo by Erin Klema)

A trio of cubs at the Detroit Zoo in June 2012. Aren’t they cute? (Photo by Erin Klema)

The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids and the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak are fun-for-all-ages day-trip destinations in Michigan.

13. Bonfires and Roasting Marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows over the bonfire for s'mores is a summer tradition that keeps you asking for s'more. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Roasting marshmallows over the bonfire for s’mores is a summer tradition that keeps you asking for s’more. (Photo by Erin Klema)

In Michigan, we love our bonfires. We have them while camping and at our quintessential backyard barbeques once the sun goes down.

14. Skipping Rocks

My cousin Jack apparent had enough with skipping rocks into Lake Huron and decided to simply throw this rock instead. (Photo by Erin Klema)

My cousin Jack apparently had enough with skipping rocks into Lake Huron and decided to simply throw this rock instead. (Photo by Erin Klema)

One of the simplest pleasures of a Michigan summer is finding flat stones along the beach to toss sidearm and watch as they hop, skip and jump across the water.

15. Boating

Sailing Lake Michigan past the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Sailing Lake Michigan past the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Sailing, floating on a pontoon and zooming across the lake on a speed boat are all a part of summer on the Great Lakes.

16. Fourth of July Celebrations

Cheers to America! (Photo by Erin Klema)

Cheers to America! (Photo by Erin Klema)

Like the rest of America, Michigan honors our country’s independence with festive and patriotic celebrations. In Cass City, you can watch a Fife & Drum band march in the annual parade. Lakes are filled with boaters partying in a redneck-yacht-club style, and backyards host barbeques among families and friends.

17. Green and Lush Gardens

Beautiful roses in the lakefront garden of a family friend's home. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Beautiful roses in the lakefront garden of a family friend’s home in Lexington, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Michigan summers are so beautifully green. Gardens are full of blooming flowers, and lawns are patches of lush, green grass.

18. Catching Fireflies

Another simple pleasure of the Michigan summer, especially as a child, is chasing the lightning bugs, catching them in your hands and watching them light up.

19. Beautiful Outdoor Weddings

My friends, Bryan and Ashley, wed at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

My friends, Bryan and Ashley, wed at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Michigan has some truly beautiful settings for outdoor weddings, including lakefront beaches, green golf courses, rustic farmland and bountiful gardens. The temperatures can be high in July, but early and late summer weddings often have warm weather and sunny skies.

20. Outdoor Concerts

Lastly, outdoor concerts are such a novelty. Spring and fall are often too chilly for outdoor concerts, so this is strictly a summertime favorite in the Mitten. Major tours come to DTE Energy Music Theatre, where I love to picnic on the lawn.

There you go. Twenty reasons why I love Michigan summers!

What do you love about summertime where you live? Tell me about it in a comment below!

Wish you were here,

Erin

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don’t forget to pick up some fudge from Kilwin’s, search for Petosky stones on the shores of Lake Michigan, visit the Soo Locks, and hop a boat for a view of the Pictured Rocks off Lake Superior.

    October 1, 2014

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