As August marches on here in the Great Lakes State, it’s time to face the truth: summer is slowly winding down. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop exploring! With so many stunning natural attractions here in Michigan, you’d need endless summertime to see them all. Here are 11 beautiful spots throughout the state that you simply must check out before autumn arrives and life gets a little more hectic again.
This stunning natural spring in Manistique is absolutely breathtaking. With clear turquoise waters and a sense of wonder that permeates every inch of the surrounding forest, there’s nothing not to love about Kitch-iti-Kipi. No matter what your age, you’ll be overcome with a sense of magic.
2. Arch Rock
This natural bridge on Mackinac Island is a true geological gem. It can be seen clearly from the water by boat, but bicycle and hiking trails also lead to stunning viewpoints of the rock. Be sure to bring your camera as you catch a glimpse of Arch Rock — you’ll want to remember your journey to this limestone wonder!
3. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Dune buggy rides, waterfront lounging, and all sorts of natural beauty? Sounds like heaven! You’ll find it at Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Mears, where Lake Michigan meets the sandy shore in a magnificent way. Whether visiting the dunes is a family tradition or you’re a first-time explorer, we promise you’ll have an amazing summer day at this lovely destination.
4. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks is one of our state’s most gorgeous attractions, and it’s especially beautiful during the summer months. Hop aboard a boat tour to check out fascinating views of the rock formations as they jut into Lake Superior. There’s nowhere else in the state with such a unique appeal.
5. Platte River
Before the weather cools off, be sure to enjoy an afternoon of tubing, kayaking, or canoeing on this lovely river in Benzie County. Grab a few friends, put on your swimsuit, and float peacefully down this waterway, which eventually merges into Lake Michigan. Is there any more quintessential summer activity?
6. Tawas Point State Park
If you’re a fan of lighthouses, look no further. Tawas Point State Park houses one of our state’s loveliest, the aptly named Tawas Point Lighthouse. Book a campsite, take a dip in the calming waters of Tawas Bay, or simply lounge on the sandy beachfront while the kiddos play. What’s not to love?
7. Tahquamenon Falls
What’s more breathtaking than a rushing waterfall? We’re stumped! Make your way to the Upper Peninsula for an up-close look at one of Michigan’s most famous attractions. Whether you’re hiking through the surrounding park, snapping photos of both Upper and Lower Falls, or simply basking in the peaceful atmosphere, a trip to Tahquamenon Falls is an absolute must before summer ends.
8. Nichols Arboretum
This large natural oasis in Ann Arbor offers outdoor exploration all year long, but there’s something undeniably special about a summertime stroll along the Huron River. Marvel at everything from wildflowers to towering trees as you breathe in the fresh air of this hidden gem.
9. Porcupine Mountains
We know: Michigan isn’t particularly well-known for its mountain range — but it exists, and it’s well-worth exploring! Take a fascinating hike through the affectionally named "Porkies" during your next journey to the Upper Peninsula. Marvel at the Lake of the Clouds, camp among the wilderness, or simply make a day trip out of it. No matter how much time you spend here, you’ll be charmed.
10. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Summertime in Michigan simply isn’t complete without at least one visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire. This is Lake Michigan at its finest — the lake seems to stretch on endlessly into the horizon, boasting stunning blue waters and smooth sand dunes. Be sure to bring your camera: this might just be the most photogenic area in the entire state!
11. Turnip Rock
This quirky rock formation in Port Austin is a perfect destination for kayakers who want to make the most of warm weather before it fades with the arrival of fall. Located in shallow waters just a few meters offshore, this unique spot is certainly worth checking out as you plan your end-of-summer adventures here in the Great Lakes State.
Do you have a last-minute summer bucket list, Michiganders? We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below. Now, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy that waning summertime freedom!