Michigan is quite famous for being a popular outdoor adventure destination. You cannot miss out on the different types of terrain and scenery. If you love outdoor adventure, then Michigan should be on top of your must-visit list.
The state is home to over 11,000 inland lakes, four Great Lakes, and 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. There are plenty of opportunities to go kayaking, scuba diving, or snorkeling. You can also explore shipwrecks off the coast of Thunder Bay.
With so much to see and do, you’re sure to find the perfect destination for your next outdoor adventure. Moreover, the state’s underwater adventure is legendary, Thunder Bay Michigan, is marked as one of the popular locations.
For a truly unique Michigan experience, visit the state’s waterfalls and explore the great outdoors. To help you out, here we have listed the 10 most recommended outdoor adventuring destinations in Michigan that you can plan to visit with your friends and family.
Location: 11 miles off the main road
Outdoor Adventure: Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Boating, Kayaking
For an outdoor adventure in Michigan, make your way to the remote Point Abbaye Nature Area. Located about 11 miles off the main road, it’s a beautiful spot with sweeping views of Lake Superior and the Huron Mountains.
Access to the Western UP Water Trail and kayaking make this an ideal location for a day trip or overnight stay. The drive is worth it, especially if you love nature and adventure. From the town of Zeba, you’ll drive up the peninsula on Skanee Road, passing the quaint town of Zeba. The road then brushes the shoreline of historic Pequaming Bay before gliding through the town of Aura.
You’ll wind your way down Townline and onto Silver River from there. You’ll reach the tip of the peninsula in about two hours of scenic driving along this rugged landscape.
Little Presque Isle Marquette
Location: 5 miles north of Marquette, on County Road 550
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking, Lounging, Camping
If you want to spend an afternoon in Marquette, Michigan, you should take advantage of outdoor adventuring on Little Presque Isle. This small island is an excellent place for hiking or simply lounging around, as the shore is four miles long and boasts several habitats that are perfect for bird-watching.
Also, you can enjoy the six-mile Harlow Lake Nordic Ski Trail. There are many things to do on Little Presque Isle, so you should be sure to bring the whole family! The nearby Escanaba River State Forest is an excellent choice for those looking to explore a beautiful lake.
Two miles of Lake Superior frontage trails are available to explore, as well as rocky cliffs. You can also enjoy the beautiful scenery by renting a cabin at the Marquette DNR office. You’ll have a wonderful time exploring the natural attractions, and this area has something for everyone.
Black Rocks Marquette
Location: Near the tip of Presque Isle Park in Marquette
Outdoor Adventure: Cliff Jumping, Hiking
The first stop on any trip to Marquette should be Presque Isle Park, which features scenic overlooks and the infamous Black Rocks. These cliffs are a popular spot for cliff jumping into Lake Superior. While most visitors do not experience injuries during the plunge, they report that the thrill is worth it.
Here, you can enjoy a scenic hike to nearby Rock Island, a natural hot spring, or dip in the crystal-clear water. Another great spot for a day out in Marquette is Stucko’s, a classic sports bar and pub with outdoor adventuring during the summer and indoor seating during the winter.
You can even order a “Shoop” (a giant boot full of beer) if you’re in the mood for some cold beverages. Nearby, you can also visit Blackrock’s Brewery, located in a historic yellow house. A half-mile-long trail, which features benches and uneven terrain, allows you to take in the view.
Ocqueoc Falls Millersburg
Location: 0.3-mile out-and-back trail near Millersburg
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking, Swimming, Bird-watching
If you are in the mood for a waterfall, look no further than Ocqueoc Falls in Millersburg. The largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula is just a short distance away. There is a vault restroom available, as well as wheelchair and stroller accessibility.
Visitors can experience the roar of the waterfall during the summer months or enjoy a refreshing dip after a day of hiking or other outdoor activities. The trail is easily accessible, but you’ll need to purchase an annual park pass or buy a daily vehicle pass to enter the park.
Make sure to pack a change of clothes, as you’ll likely be outdoors for a while. Bring sunscreen and goggles since the river bottom is not as sandy as you’d find at a beach. Don’t forget to pack a towel if you plan to spend a few hours at the waterfall. Enjoy outdoor adventuring at your leisure.
Platte River Honor
Location: Northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Outdoor Adventure: Camping, Boating, Hiking, Kayaking.
If you’re looking for a unique Michigan outdoor adventure, consider camping in the small town of Honor. Located near Lake Michigan and the Platte River, Honor offers a variety of outdoor activities for all ages and abilities.
The town even holds an annual Coho Festival in August to celebrate the area’s most prized catch, the Coho salmon. The area has many excellent camping opportunities, including the Platte River State Forest Campground, which offers 26 sites for tents. No reservations are required for this campground. You can also boat on the river or hike along a 2.5-mile trail.
The Platte River is one of Michigan’s most iconic destinations for tubing. The river is located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You can hire a kayak or canoe and head to the mouth of the river, where you can catch a glimpse of the majestic lake.
Bald Mountain Recreation Area Lake Orion
Location: State park near Lake Orion, Michigan, off M-24
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking, Swimming, Picnic, Hunting, Fishing, Biking, Camping, Boating
If you’re looking for the best outdoor adventure in Michigan, consider a trip to Bald Mountain Recreation Area, a 4600-acre state park located just 40 minutes outside of Detroit.
The park features hiking trails, a swimming beach, and picnic areas, as well as hunting and fishing opportunities. For those looking for a more active adventure, the Bald Mountain trails offer fifteen miles of hiking and biking opportunities. The Bald Mountain State Recreation Area in southeast Michigan offers four-thousand acres of rolling hills with extensive trails.
The park has inland lakes, trout streams, wild game, and even two rustic cabins that can be rented out. It is open year-round, making it a great place for outdoor adventuring. The park also has a beach store and paddleboard rentals.
Miners Castle U.S. National Park Service
Location: 6 miles east of Munising on Alger County Road H-58 and 6 miles north on Miners Castle Road (H11)
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking, Fishing, Swimming, Birding
The rock face at Miners Castle is a geological treasure. This area has three major layers of sandstone. Ice and rain have molded the face, creating an array of colors. Some of the rocks are copper-colored. The lakeside town of Munising is a short drive away. The town is home to several interpretive exhibits and is a 17-minute drive from the park.
The best way to see the infamous sandstone landmark is by water. While the view is spectacular, the waterfalls are best viewed from the water. You can see the cascading falls from the lower overlook deck and the west end of Miners Beach.
Unfortunately, you cannot view them from the top or the North Country Trail. By the end of summer, the cascades are reduced to a trickle. Nevertheless, Bridalveil Falls is often featured in postcards featuring the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, making it one choice for outdoor adventuring lovers.
Turnip Rock Port Austin
Location: In Port Crescent State Park, which is 39 miles long
Outdoor Adventure: Kayaking, Paddling.
If you’ve never heard of Turnip Rock, you’re in for a treat. This amazing Upper Thumb rock formation is considered one of the top 10 places in Michigan. For thousands of years, it’s been separated from the mainland and carved by waves. It was recently named by CNN as one of the most beautiful rock formations in America. In 2016, Pure Michigan magazine included Turnip Rock on its cover.
Even international travelers arriving at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport have seen it. If you’re in the mood for outdoor adventuring, kayaking the waters of Port Austin is an excellent choice. Port Austin kayakers can kayak out to Turnip Rock and photograph it from the water. Port Austin Kayak rents kayaks and stand-up paddle boards so you can paddle out to the rock.
The trip can take up to four hours. You’re likely to see a wide range of wildlife while you paddle out and back.
Hogback Mountain Marquette
Location: 7 miles from Marquette center
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking
Located just north of Marquette, Michigan, Hogback Mountain is the southernmost peak of the Huron Mountains. The mountain is one of the most challenging hikes in the state. At nearly 600 feet above sea level, the summit is almost completely bare of vegetation.
This makes it as close to an alpine environment as you can get in Michigan. Hikers who enjoy a little solitude will find Hogback Mountain to be an ideal choice. From Marquette, MI, you can take a 2-mile hike up Hogback Mountain to take in the incredible views of Lake Superior.
The trailhead is located just off County Road 550. Half a mile beyond the trailhead are Sugarloaf Mountain and Wetmore Pond. After you have hiked Hogback Mountain, you can visit Sugarloaf Mountain and Wetmore Pond nearby.
Laughing Whitefish Falls Munising area
Location: 7 miles from Marquette center
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking, Boating
If you love waterfalls, the Laughing Whitefish Falls in Alger County, Michigan, the area may be just the place for you.
The waterfall is over 100 feet high and is one of Michigan’s most picturesque locations. Hikers can also take advantage of a mile-long trail to view the falls from an observation deck. The falls are accessible to people with disabilities, and dogs are allowed only if they are leashed on trails. There are several ways to see Laughing Whitefish Falls, the most popular of which is from the water.
Hikers can hike up the trail to reach the falls from a higher viewpoint, but it is much less crowded than other Upper Peninsula waterfalls. Laughing Whitefish Falls is formed by the Laughing Whitefish River, which flows into Lake Superior. The area is named for the rocks that resemble laughing fish.
If you want more places to be added to the list, then we bring a unique vacation destination, Michigan’s Mackinac Island. The island is surrounded by water and is free from traffic and smog, and you can even rent a horse and carriage to explore its many attractions. The island’s Victorian architecture, seasonal foliage, and lapping waves add to its old-world charm.
Moreover, Lansing, in Michigan, is not only the state’s capital but also one of the most exciting travel destinations in the Midwest. Lansing can also be the perfect destination for you and your family, whether you are looking for thrilling sports entertainment, a diverse cuisine, or outdoor adventure.
So, it is time to head towards Michigan and experience the extreme beauty and adventure. You can choose the best time – either summer or winter, as each season has something new to offer.
Either travel by foot or get on a horse or snowmobile; the choice is yours. There are many things to do in Michigan, and you’ll never run out of ideas! So, hurry up and get going for your next adventure.