Things To Do In Michigan During The Summer
ichigan's growing, Michigan has wonderful
problematic financial world-class Museums from art to
future, including the science to history. Standouts
decline in automotive industry include the Detroit Institute of
jobs (not to mention the higher Art (did you know that it is the
cost of fuel), spells financial fifth-largest fine arts museum in
insecurity for many Michigan the country?), and the Grand
families, making it harder to Rapids Art Museum. The Detroit
afford long-distance vacations Science Center is geared to kids,
and high-priced recreational and offers a host of
activities enjoyed so much in the family-friendly exhibits and
past. This has led me to wonder, galleries, not to mention the
“How do we entertain ourselves astonishing sensory experience of
and our families and fully enjoy the museum’s IMAX dome theater.
summer break for less money? Your kids will thank you.
Better yet, how do we support Michigan.org is a great resource
Michigan’s economy in these tough for finding these museums.
economic times?” By enjoying the
grass (and water) in our own 2. Lighthouses. Michigan has more
backyard and partaking in all lighthouses than any other state.
that our state has to offer. Bordered by the Great Lakes, the
sheer multitude of these historic
I have compiled a list of gems mean they have become an
activities that won't break the icon for our state, and their
bank, and will provide tall, slender columns grace
interesting ways to have some fun everything from our shorelines to
close to home this summer. picturesque wall calendars. These
lighthouses – many of which have
1. Museums. When was the last been renovated and some which
time you visited a museum? have become public museums –
continue to educate and serve as shops, and ice cream parlors make
a reminder of our state’s grand these required destinations!
maritime history. Don’t miss the
opportunity to visit them! If 4. Parks. Take advantage of the
nothing else, you and your family many well-maintained and diverse
will be treated to nature’s grand Michigan Metro Parks. Pack a
brushstrokes of a sweeping, picnic lunch for the day, and
maritime landscape. don’t forget to pack the s’mores.
These wonderful chocolate,
3. Beaches. With our abundant marshmallow, gram cracker treats
coastline, beaches are everywhere are a must-bring for a
in Michigan and easy to love Michigander’s picnic feast.
during the humid, late summer
months. Some beaches are better The Michigan Metro Parks provide
than others, and so it’s a myriad of family-fun
important to pick the right one. activities, including swimming,
From personal experience, paddle boating, fishing, and
southwest Michigan and northwest loads of scenic picnic settings.
Michigan truly offers some of the And most have paved and wooded
best beach experiences. South trails, making them ideal for
Haven (the magnificent hiking, biking, roller blading,
century-old lighthouse still and bird watching. Plan to take
stands at the end of south pier), bats and a ball for a friendly
Grand Haven, St. Joseph, and the baseball game.
Traverse City / Leland areas are
home to remarkable beaches. Long 5. Festivals. Michigan offers a
stretches of soft, white sand, variety of outdoor summer
clean, blue water for swimming festivals which draw people from
and boating, and quaint, lively all walks of life and from all
towns brimming with restaurants, corners of the state; from the
cultural (Ann Arbor Arts Fair) to
heritage festivals (Holland’s For the novelty and experience,
Tulip Time) to national visit a local fruit farm and pick
extravaganzas (Traverse City’s your own cherries, blueberries,
National Cherry Festival), and and the like for use now and in
everything in between. Most the colder months ahead. Bring
Michigan communities will host along the family; children always
some form of festival throughout get a kick out of picking their
the summer months. For a complete own fruit and dropping them into
list, go to Michigan.org. pails! It also gives them an
appreciation and respect for
6. Produce Picking – Take Your nature and God’s beautiful
Pick! I can’t say enough about creation.
the produce grown here in
Michigan. Across the state, and After the harvest, have the
especially on the west and family participate in baking
northwest sides, abundant crops something delectable and sweet.
of blueberries, tart cherries, Cobblers, crisps, and shortcakes
strawberries, peaches, apples and always satisfy during the hot
grapes are grown each year. The summer months. Or, teach kids to
fruits are then sold at various can or package & freeze the fruit
farmers markets and roadside for the months ahead (bubbling,
stands throughout the state. tart cherry pies always seem to
There is nothing like eating hit the spot when the weather
farm-fresh fruit (or vegetables turns cool).
for that matter). The sweetness
and flavor of the produce is far And one last word of advice: Save
superior to anything found in the fruit pits! You can have your
your grocery aisle. And since very own fruit tree if you wrap
it’s grown locally, it’s fresh! the pits in moist paper towels
until they start to spawn how rewarding gardening can be.
seedlings, and then transfer them 8. Family Cookouts. Get family
to your own back yard! and friends together for a pot
luck or backyard barbeque. Plan
7. Gardening. Gardening is a some fun games for the kids, as
great outdoor activity that the well as the adults. Have everyone
whole family can become involved bring a dish. You will have a
in. The wonderful Michigan summer virtual feast.
weather provides optimal planting
conditions. It does not matter If cooking for yourself and
what size garden you decide to immediate family, find a new and
plant - a large vegetable garden challenging recipe. Experiment
or an oversized container garden with using fresh herbs from the
- it can be very rewarding for garden to add an earthy, pungent
the whole family to share in the flavor to your meals. Or - next
planting and harvesting of a time you’re doing the grocery
garden. shopping - give exotic fruits and
vegetables a try. My family is
To get started, make a trip to partial to sliced mangos, and
the local library and get some this fruit pairs especially well
good books on the subject. Then, with Mexican-inspired fish tacos.
plan your garden - just what kind Cooking something new can provide
of plants to plant, and where? not only an activity, but a tasty
Time to visit the nursery to reward for all who partake in the
purchase your plants. Get the meal.
whole family involved in choosing
just the right plants. Make sure 9. Scavenger Hunts. Whatever
everyone has a hand in the happened to the old-time
planting and caring for the new scavenger hunt? Organize a
garden. You may be surprised just weekend scavenger hunt with
friends. Plan and place your limit!
clues, and get that old
competitive spirit out, and play Knitting is also a great craft,
to win! and easy to learn. Nowadays,
there are so many scrumptious
10. Exercise. Get out and start textures and colors of yarn, and
that outdoor exercise program you so many unique patterns, that
have been promising yourself knitting as we know it has been
since New Year's Eve. Walk, jog, completely revitalized! Spend a
bike, whatever...Just get out and few afternoon hours teaching a
"do it"! Head into fall with a child the rewards of making and
leaner, more revitalized “you”. wearing something made from the
heart and the hands.
11. Crafts. Crafting can add
hours of fun for adults and kids 12. Reading. Reading can be a
alike. Visit a near by Craft luxury for some. People leading
store - you will be sure to find hectic, stressful lifestyles may
many exciting crafting projects want to just sit back and catch
for you and your children. Or, up on some reading. Take that
you might just have something special book out of doors; your
lying around the house to inspire yard, the beach, or a great shady
the imagination. For instance, park. You might be surprised how
polish the dust off a collection much that outdoor setting can
of miscellaneous seashells and make it all the more relaxing.
glue them to flower pots,
mirrors, unpainted furniture, and Speaking of settings, I can’t
wooden boxes to create exquisite think of a more appropriate
nautical treasures. Embellish summer book to read than “Gift
with sea glass and milky-green from the Sea” by Anne Morrow
coats of paint. The sky’s the Lindbergh. This poetic piece was
written half a century ago by I have provided just a few
Charles Lindbergh’s wife. Her activities that won't break the
meditations on life, love, bank. Yet these activities will
solitude and contentment are made still provide some fun times for
against the oceanic backdrop of you and your loved ones this
Captiva Island (before the loads summer while also supporting
of tourists) and a tiny, Michigan’s economy. Just use your
weathered beach cabin. Her muse? imagination, and I am sure you
None other than the tiny can come up with many more fun
seashells she collected from the activities that will provide some
beach outside her cabin door. wonderful summer memories for
Truly a soul-inspiring read. you, your family and friends.
About the Author:
Sharon Stajda has been lifelong resident of Michigan. For further information on great Michigan cities, visit Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
Read more articles by: Sharon Stajda
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