Michigan is beautiful all year long, but there’s something undeniably magical about the Great Lakes State during summertime. With seemingly endless activities and attractions to enjoy, it can be tough to narrow down your warm-weather destinations. Never fear! We’ve compiled a list of amazing small towns in Michigan that will absolutely charm you this summer.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
This tiny town nestled along the shores of the Kalamazoo River is just a stone’s throw from beautiful Lake Michigan, and it will delight you in every way imaginable. Take a stroll along the boardwalk, check out a few art galleries, or grab dinner and drinks at the Butler. There’s no shortage of summer fun to be had in this one-of-a-kind waterfront town.
If you’re searching for family fun, a small-town atmosphere, and amazing beachfront adventures, Caseville might just be the perfect spot for you. Whether you rent a cottage or set up camp at Caseville County Park, you’re guaranteed to love your time here. Caseville even hosts an annual "Cheeseburger In Caseville" festival, which celebrates all things Jimmy Buffett! Talk about fun.
This tiny town houses approximately 500 residents, but don’t let its small size fool you! There’s plenty to see and do in and around Harrisville. Catch a stunning sunrise over Lake Huron, embark on a day boating on the water, or bring your camping gear and spend the night at Harrisville State Park. For outdoor enthusiasts, this little town is an absolute dream.
This small town is home to beautiful Hillsdale College, so perhaps you’ve heard of it. But the community itself boasts a plethora of attractions that visitors of all ages will appreciate. Check out the farmer market throughout the summer, enjoy one of several outdoor celebrations, or do some shopping at a locally owned and operated shop. It’s tough to imagine a more picturesque spot.
Venture to this gorgeous lakeside town when you’re seeking the perfect combination of natural and manmade excitement. Spend a few hours perusing the area’s downtown shopping district or grabbing a bite to eat at Dinghy’s Restaurant and Bar. Of course, the real star of Frankfort is its Lake Michigan beachfront and towering dune lands — once you arrive here, you might never want to leave.
6. Suttons Bay
A trip to Suttons Bay truly feels like stepping back in time. The town is nestled away in the heart of Michigan’s wine country, so it’s the perfect spot for a summertime getaway. Hit the beach with a trip to Marina Park, take a stroll through the town’s quaint shopping district, or marvel at boats as they dock at the marina. For visitors young and old, Suttons Bay is completely charming.
With a population of just under 400 residents, you might not think that Empire has much to offer — but you’re wrong! This small community is the central point for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which frequently tops lists of Michigan’s most beautiful places. Enjoy sunny days on the Lake Michigan shoreline and catch breathtaking views from atop the dunes, then head back to town for pizza and live music at Empire Village Inn.
8. Mackinaw City
Mackinaw City is sometimes overshadowed by Mackinac Island itself, but trust us when we say that this little town has an awesome atmosphere all its own. Check out stunning views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge, learn about history at the Old Mackinac Point Light, or take a journey back in time at Fort Michilimackinac. There’s so much to see and do in this beautiful waterfront community.
This Oceana County town is small but mighty, featuring some of the most gorgeous waterfront views imaginable. Peruse the Lake Michigan beachfront, check out one of the area’s golf courses, or relax with a few hours of boutique shopping downtown. When you’re ready to call it a day, head back to a local bed and breakfast to round out your perfect Michigan getaway. What’s not to love?
10. Port Sanilac
If you love Lake Huron, you’ll be completely enamored with Port Sanilac. Rent a cabin or campsite along the beach or grab a bite to eat at The Stone Lodge restaurant. This quaint community is filled with friendly faces and plenty of fresh air to help you rejuvenate and relax — why not add it to the top of your summertime must-visit list?
Celebrate all things Bavarian when you head to Frankenmuth, which undoubtedly stands out as one of Michigan’s most unique and famous small towns — and with good reason! Whether you’re indulging in a chicken dinner at Zehnder’s, appreciating the uniquely Bavarian architecture downtown, or getting into the Christmas spirit year-round at Bronner’s, there’s nothing not to love about Frankenmuth.
12. Copper Harbor
Copper Harbor is the perfect spot for visitors seeking to appreciate the beauty of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Stop here before heading on to gorgeous Isle Royale or stay a while and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re biking down one of the area’s many trails or learning about the history of copper industry with a visit to Delaware Mine, you're guaranteed to have a blast. We could go on and on, but we think you should see for yourself — Copper Harbor is truly magical!
Did we leave any of your favorite summertime small towns off the list? We’re always eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Share your comments below, and happy summer!