The Michigan summer is so fleeting … Blink and it’s back to school, back to work, back to short days and long nights. So, naturally, if we have the chance, we need to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the season! Not every vacation has to last a week or more. It’s just as nice to get away for only a day or two.
Living in Greater Flint puts us in an enviable position. We have nearly instant access to all of the major highways in the state and our mid-state location puts us within shouting distance of major cities, vacation spots and events. There is no reason why we can’t take a weekend or a day here and there and get out to enjoy time with our friends and family at new events and exciting places. Make the entire summer your own with a few end-of-summer day trips.
1. Caseville-Port Austin
Located at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb, this is a great place to spend a day. With beaches, parks and quaint little towns, the area feels like you’ve truly traveled “Up North.” Port Crescent and Sleeper State Parks offer hiking trails and beaches. If you really want to take a swim, beaches can also be found at Caseville, McGraw, Oak Beach and Philip County Parks.
2. Sanilac Petroglyphs State Park
Just north of Cass City in the middle of the Thumb, this park offers hiking, nature and history. It protects and holds Michigan’s largest known collection of early Native American teachings carved in stone. Conservationists are on hand for interpretation and identification of the many intriguing symbols and patterns.
3. Port Huron/Sarnia, Ont.
Fancy traveling abroad? Head straight east out of Greater Flint to find a whole new country and new experiences (as long as you have your passport or Enhanced Driver’s License, that is.) Ripe for a weekend getaway, Sarnia has art galleries, eateries, museums (such as the Stones ‘N Bones Museum), beautiful parks, wetlands and markets. Even if you don’t have the means of passage into Canada, Port Huron offers a bevy of museums, eateries, parks and beaches.
4. Ann Arbor
It’s so much more than the University. Ann Arbor is a great place for music, performance, eateries, bookstores and unique experiences. The Museum of Natural History and the Hands-On Museum are great for kids and families. Adults would enjoy the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Kelsey Museum of Archeology.
This location is much closer than most people think. Take a day or two to explore our state capital (have you ever seen our capital building?). Get the kids up in the morning, have lunch at Potter Park Zoo and then be back home to grill your supper. It’s that easy. Other experiences in Lansing include the Impression 5 Science Center, Olds Transportation Museum, the Fenner and Woldumar Nature Centers, Horrocks Market, eateries, distilleries and more.
1. Blake’s Sunflower Festival
Armada, MI • Aug 11-13
Visit Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill to shop for handcrafted art, enjoy wellness classes on a variety of subjects, and take a short walk to the sunflower fields to cut your own blooms. Live music, children’s activities and DIY workshops round out the festivities.
2. Thunder Over Michigan Air Show
Ypsilanti, MI • Aug 12-13
If you enjoyed the Wings Over Flint Air Show this summer and want a little more aviation action, take the trip an hour south to Ypsilanti for another display of speed and skill. Aircraft includes P-51D Mustangs, Boeing Superfortress, Flying Fortress, Corsairs, Liberators, B-25J Mitchells, Kaydets, Texans, Hornets, Raptors, Eagles and more.
3. 63rd Annual Howell Melon Festival
Howell, MI • Aug 18-20
This event celebrates a cantaloupe hybrid claimed to be found only in the area. Enjoy multiple vendors, a cornhole tournament, a Mascot Dash and music performed by Hello Weekend, Flint Scottish Pipe Band, Kaylyn Pace, and Electric Redline. Visitors may also take in the historic car show, farmers’ market and games for the kiddos.
4. Great Lakes Beer Festival
Midland, MI • Aug 19
This one is for the grownups, featuring over 70 breweries, each vying to become your new favorite. Sample new and established beers by Arbor Brewing, Bell’s, Dark Horse, Founders, Griffin Claw, New Holland, North Peak, Odd Side, Saugatuck and Witch’s Hat to name a very few. And, those who are still able to accurately toss a bean bag are welcome to participate in the annual cornhole tournament.
5. Blue Water Traditional Pow Wow
Port Huron, MI • Aug 19
Held at the Fort Gratiot Light Station, this free event celebrates Michigan’s indigenous culture and sheds light on the history of Michigan’s native peoples. Visitors can sample local indigenous food and shops while taking in the cultural dances and art of the past.
6. Wheatland Music Festival
Remus, MI • Sep 8-10
It’s time for a long weekend! Wheatland is one of Michigan’s premier folk festivals and it happens just two hours away in little Remus, just east of Mt. Pleasant. This year’s performers include Sam Bush, Eilen Jewell, Ruthie Foster, Adrian & Meredith, Scott Cook, Gasoline Gypsies, Claudia Schmidt and others. For tickets and directions, visit wheatlandmusic.org.
7. Frankenmuth Oktoberfest
Frankenmuth, MI • Sep 14-17
Pop Up North a bit to spend a day in Little Bavaria taking in an authentic German Oktoberfest experience with classic Bavarian food and entertainment. Enjoy live music, great beer, and the wiener dog races! It’s a great way to prepare yourself for the transition to fall.
8. Paul Bunyan Festival
Oscoda, MI • Sep 15-17
Head two hours north to Oscoda – one of Michigan’s hidden gems – for this year’s Paul Bunyan Festival. While enjoying the nature and beauty of Oscoda, don’t forget to amble through the carnival and vendors as you make your way to the chainsaw carving competition. The Paul Bunyan Festival will most likely be a new family experience you’ll enjoy year after year.
Our area of Michigan is packed with events and places that can help you make this summer completely your own. Get out there, make new memories, and enjoy the rest of the season!