Events remain elusive around the state, but many summer destinations and adventures are available again, so grab your mask and hit the road. Here are 12 fun options.
Hunt for Murals
Many museums are still closed, but that doesn’t mean we have a shortage of available art to admire. On the contrary, you’ll find an abundance, especially in certain cities. Flint has seen an increase of forty new murals recently. Jackson has been hosting a Bright Walls event the past few years that welcomed artists from around the state and the world to create new paintings downtown. Detroit is filled with incredible murals with tributes to civil rights icons, Motown artists, and more. Eastern Market is a particularly colorful destination. Plus, you can eat, drink, and shop very local while there.
Watch the Rocket Mortgage Classic
Many of us have been missing live sports, not just in person, but even on TV. Fortunately, they are starting to return and one of the earliest options is the Rocket Mortgage Classic taking place at the Detroit Golf Club July 2-5. While it is still not open to spectators, the event is being televised so tune in. As an added bonus, organizers are taking advantage of the opportunity to raise funds to bridge Detroit’s digital divide to make the internet more accessible to all Detroiters.
Eat Some Frankenmuth Chicken
For many families it wouldn’t be summer without a trip to Michigan’s Little Bavaria to eat fried chicken, stroll around town, and of course, explore the magnitude of Bronners Christmas Wonderland. The infamous holiday shop is once again open. Bavarian Inn is welcoming guests again too, both for meals and overnight stays. As with most restaurants, seating is now limited so reservations may be required.
Cruise Alongside Michigan Lighthouses
In addition to shuttling people to Mackinac Island, Shepler’s Ferry has a long tradition of scenic cruises through the Straits. This year they’ve added a new experience beginning July 19. The Extended Westbound Lighthouse Cruise includes expertise from a Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association guide as you explore seven Lake Michigan lighthouses along with stunning views of Wilderness State Park and the northern lower peninsula coastline. You’ll get a truly unique look at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, White Shoal, Gray’s Reef Light, Waugoshance, St. Helena Island Light, Squaw Island Light, and Lansing Shoal.
Sip a Flight
It’s Michigan Beer Month and we can hardly think of a better way to celebrate than sampling a flight. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a flight is a collection of small pours of a variety of beers, allowing you the opportunity to discover which ones you enjoy the most. Nearly every brewery offers flights of 4-6. If it is not listed on the menu as a flight, the option sometimes appears in the form of 2-oz pours. Head to a Michigan brewery and take flight. If you’re unable to visit then consider staying in and sampling from home. Many grocery and liquor stores offer the option to create your own 6-pack by purchasing a collection of individual bottles from different brewers. Cheers to Michigan’s great beers!
Go Back in Time at Greenfield Village
Model Ts, Edison’s lab, frozen custard…at long last, Greenfield Village is reopening to guests. Note that the weekend of July 2-5 they are only welcoming members back, but then the general public is invited beginning July 9. In this first phase of reopening, each facility will only be open Thursday through Sunday, with limited daily visitation. Timed entries may be purchased in advance online to ensure safe capacity is not exceeded. If you love those cultural icons, but are unable to visit, consider making a donation, becoming a member, or buying something from the online store. Sixty-five percent of The Henry Ford’s operating budget is earned revenue which includes admission tickets, memberships, food and retail purchases, nearly all of which was eliminated during the closure. These Michigan gems receive no public funding and are currently projecting a budget shortfall of $10-20 million, so any support is appreciated.
Kayak Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula is undoubtedly one of our state’s most glorious destinations. As beautiful as it is to explore up top and from a passing boat, there’s nothing quite like getting up close and personal in a kayak. Pictured Rocks Kayaking takes you out in a boat to get into the general vicinity and then gently drops you in your kayak right into Lake Superior to begin your adventure. Guides provide advice and company along the way. Reservations are strongly encouraged, as this is a very popular activity.
Explore Waterfalls in the U.P.
No visit to the Upper Peninsula is complete without checking out some waterfalls. There are about 300 from which to choose. Several are in the Munising area. If you make it further west, Bond Falls is particularly lovely. Consider continuing on to the Black River Scenic Byway. This gorgeous little drive is home to five waterfalls of decent size, and ends with a delightful park as the river empties into Lake Superior. Of course, if you can only make it to one, don’t miss Tahquamenon Falls. It’s easy to access, the view is spectacular, and you can even indulge in a cold one and some tasty BBQ at Tahquamenon Falls Brewery, which is right on site.
Try Your Hand at Disc Golf
You may have hit the links at some time to see if you can put a tiny ball into a small hole using the clubs of your choice, but have you ever tried getting a frisbee in a bucket? Disc golf uses the same general rules and terms of golf, but it’s held on its own distinct courses on which players throw flying discs into standardized targets. Courses are typically in serene, woodsy places with shrubs and trees providing the obstacles instead of sand traps. There are courses available all over the state.
Search for Freighters
One sure sign of summer, even in a strange one like this, is ships passing in the night, and better yet, in the day. Spotting freighters on a Michigan body of water is always a bit of a thrill. Whether your gazing out from a bench on the St. Clair River in Algonac or at Lake Superior from a lawn seat in Paradise, chances are high that a ship will eventually come your way. The viewing platform at the Soo Locks is currently closed due to COVID-19, but the park and the locks are open so you may even be able to spot a ship as it goes through the engineering marvel.
Pay a Visit to Your Favorite Furry Friends
It will be fun to see if the animals have missed our visits as much as we have missed their antics. Zoos across the state have reopened, though reservations are now required in most locations to ensure there aren’t too many people at any one time. Pack your masks as well. You can reserve a time online at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, John Ball in Grand Rapids , and Potter Park in Lansing. Binder Park in Battle Creek and Garlyn Zoo in Naubinway are not currently requiring reservations in advance.
Cheer on Port Huron to Mackinac Racers
Many sailing and other sporting events have been canceled this season, but not this epic sailing event. The Bayview Mackinac Race, the longest continually run freshwater long distance sailboat race, is a go for July 11. There are several places in the Port Huron area where you can bring a lawn chair or beach towel and watch these beautiful boats set sail. Similarly, if you are in the Mackinac area, it is a wonderful sight to see them descend upon the island in what will be the 96th competition. If you prefer to follow the results online visit bymack.com for satellite tracking and race updates.