The Best Outdoor Activities in Michigan

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Backpack the Manistee River Trail

Michigan / Manistee River Trail

Starting at the Red Bridge River Access Area just off North Coates Hwy (about 8 miles east of Brethren, Michigan) there is a small parking lot opposite of the trailhead where you can leave your car.

Collette Merriott
579 Saves

Kayak to Turnip Rock

Michigan / Port Austin Parking Area

Only accessible by a kayaking adventure, Turnip Rock is a one-of-a-kind natural wonder. Although it is close to shore, all land surrounding it is privately owned and therefore not accessible by foot.

Shalee Blackmer
459 Saves

Hike Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Michigan / Sleeping Bear Dunes

There are two approaches to conquering the Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You can run to the top (the preferred method for those under the age of 10).

Robin Pfeifer
443 Saves

Hike to Miners Falls

Michigan / Miners Falls Trailhead

A simple hike from the trailhead will take you through the woods and to the viewing deck of Miners Falls.

Shalee Blackmer
391 Saves

Backpack Isle Royale NP's Greenstone Ridge Trail

Michigan / Windigo Visitors Center

Isle Royale National Park consists of Isle Royale, a fifty mile long and nine mile wide island in Lake Superior, and about 45 smaller islands around (and within) it.

Joe Whitson
381 Saves

Backpack Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Michigan / Munising Parking Area

The time of the year is one of the most important factors of this trip. DO NOT under any circumstances plan this trip for a time during mid June - mid August.

Grant Piering
365 Saves

Camp in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness

Michigan / Nordhouse Dunes

The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is located south of Manistee along an extremely isolated shoreline.

Shalee Blackmer
353 Saves

Hike to Big Sable Point Lighthouse

Michigan / Ludington State Park, MI

Big Sable Point Lighthouse is perhaps one of the most scenic locations in Michigan. A 3.

Shalee Blackmer
335 Saves

Camp on South Manitou Island

Michigan / South Manitou Island Ferry, MI

South Manitou Island is situated off of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Lake Michigan. The island is only accessible by a two-hour ferry ride, which leaves once a day from Leeland.

Shalee Blackmer
320 Saves

Camp at Warren Dunes State Park

Michigan / Warren Dunes State Park

If you wish to enjoy Warren Dunes in peace and natural solitude, you'll arrive at the campground outside of the Summer season. You can make your reservationshere.

Brian Hetzer
245 Saves

Hike Chapel Loop

Michigan / Pictured Rocks Trailhead

The trail loop from Mosquito Beach to Chapel Rock takes hikers through woods, to the edge of cliffs, and to the bottom of beaches along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Shalee Blackmer
244 Saves

Explore Kitch-iti-kipi ("Big Springs")

Michigan / Kitch-iti-kipi

Kitch-iti-kipi is a beautiful and easily accessed attraction in the southern region of Michigan's UP. The springs are a short 11.

Sonja Saxe
227 Saves

Camp at White Pine Campground

Michigan / Peterson Road Parking Lot

This is one of the cheapest ways to stay near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore overnight. You'll have access to the beach right near your campsite.

wendy wernet
225 Saves

Bike around Mackinac Island

Michigan / Mackinac Ferry

Mackinac Island is accessible only by ferry, and there are no cars allowed on the island. While you can rent bikes over there, we opted to bring ours along on the Star Line ferry.

Jess Curren
223 Saves

Hike Superior's Pictured Rocks Shore to Au Sable Lighthouse

Michigan / N. County Trail (Miner's Castle)

This trip works best with two cars where the first is dropped off at the Twelvemile Beach Parking Lot), and carpooled over to the Miner's Castle Parking Lot.

Michael Wigle
210 Saves

Hike Sugarloaf Mountain, MI

Michigan / Sugarloaf Mountain Trailhead, Marquette

Located just outside Marquette, Sugarloaf Mountain offers stunning 360 views of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The trail is short with two route options: difficult and easy.

Shalee Blackmer
177 Saves

Watch a Sunset at Laketown Park

Michigan / Laketown Park

Laketown Park is located between Saugatuck and Holland Michigan. The parking lot is at the end of 142nd Ave, and is directly next to the stairs that take you up and over the dunes to the beach.

Rachel George
160 Saves

Hike or Bike the Potawatomi Trail

Michigan / Potawatomi Trailhead

The Potawatomi Trail passes over hills and by lakes, with sometimes sandy terrain and exposed roots to make for a technical challenge. Both hikers and bikers use this track.

Hiking Empire Bluff Trail

Michigan / Empire Bluff Trailhead

This moderately hilly boardwalk hike takes you to scenic viewpoints above Lake Michigan. The Sleeping Bear Dunes do not fail to impress, particularly at sunset. Photo Credit: xray10 and jimflix!

Hike the Escarpment Trail

Michigan / Lake of the Clouds Overlook Parking Lot

Upon arriving at Porcupine Mountains State Park (from Highway 107) in Ontonagon, Michigan, follow signs to the Lake of the Clouds Overlook parking lot.

Allison Herreid
115 Saves

Backpack 5 Nights on the East Side of Isle Royale

Michigan / Rock Harbor

The trip starts with a ferry trip to Rock Harbor. Depending on where you are coming from there are a few options. The ferries generally run from May through September and they are weather dependent.

Cameron Cech
89 Saves

Backpack to Blind Lake

Michigan / Crooked Lake Trailhead

Finding a quiet, relatively secluded place to backpack can be difficult in Southeastern Michigan.

Chris Young
86 Saves

Cliff Jump at Black Rocks Cove

Michigan / Presque Isle Park

Marquette, Michigan is known for its natural beauty and Presque Isle Park may be the loveliest place of all.

Robin Pfeifer
71 Saves

Kayak the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Michigan / Miners Beach

The best place to start a kayak tour of the main section of cliffs along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is Miners Beach, located just outside of Munising.

James Brady
68 Saves

Backpack from Chapel Basin to Beaver Creek

Michigan / Chapel Basin Parking Lot

This two day (easily extended if you want more time to explore) hike offers some of the best views in all 40 miles of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The days are split up into a 8.

Sonja Saxe
65 Saves

Hike the Presque Isle River Waterfall Loop

Michigan / Presque Isle River Waterfall Trailhead

This hike combines the East and West River Trails for a scenic hike along the Presque Isle River, which runs through the Porcupine Mountains State Park.

Allison Herreid
63 Saves

Explore Point Betsie Lighthouse

Michigan / Point Betsie Lighthouse

If you find yourself cruising M22 between Crystal Lake and Lake Michigan, be sure to check out this beautiful lighthouse. Turn off of M22 on to Point Betsie Rd.

Backpack to Moskey Basin

Michigan / Rock Harbor Campground

While it is only accessible by boat or plane, Isle Royale National Park is well worth the added travel arrangements.

Sam Patterson
55 Saves

Hike to Sturgeon Falls

Michigan / Sturgeon Falls Trailhead

The Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness is a remote and scenic section of the Ottawa National Forest.

Explore Munising Falls

Michigan / Munising Parking Area

Munising Falls is a 50' falls located inside the city limits of Munising.

Sonja Saxe
48 Saves

Hike to Hidden Beach, MI

Michigan / Hidden Beach Trailhead on Big Bay Road

This adventure starts at a trailhead on the North Trail just north of Marquette, Michigan leading you straight to a beach on Lake Superior.

Jake Lamons
44 Saves

Explore Wagner Falls

Michigan / Wagner Falls

Wagner Falls is an easy-to-reach waterfall right off of 94. There are parking areas on both sides of the highway so even when the trail is busy you will likely find a spot.

Sonja Saxe
43 Saves

Paddle the Flat River

Michigan / Whites Bridge Rd

This adventure starts as any kayaking trip does: the great car-kayak shuffle.

Rachell Leigh
41 Saves

Hike and Camp at Sand Lakes Quiet Area

Michigan / Broomhead Road Trailhead

Located in the Pere Marquette State Forest, Sand Lakes has numerous lakes and ponds, beaches, and hilly terrain for hiking and biking.

Backpack the Manistee River Trail Loop

Michigan / Seaton Creek Camp Ground

Day 1:  Arrive at Seaton Creek Campground and pay for parking for the number of nights you plan on hiking the loop. For this particular trip, I hiked the loop in 2.5 days and 2 nights.

Chris Young
38 Saves

Hike Scoville Point, Isle Royale NP

Michigan / Rock Harbor Lodge

At a pretty even elevation, this four mile trail ranks as one of the top trails in the National Park system. Begin your hike on the Stoll Memorial Trail and continue until you hit the Scoville Trail.

Alex Harrison
34 Saves

Hike Pyramid Point Trail

Michigan / Pyramid Point Trailhead

Beginning at the trailhead, the 2.8 mile round trip takes you on a gravel/sand trail up 570 feet.

Alex Harrison
27 Saves

Hike the Sleeping Bear Point Trail

Michigan / Sleeping Bear Point Hiking Trail

The Sleeping Bear Point Trail is a 2.8 mile loop through the sand dunes with amazing views of Lake Michigan and South Manitou Island. There is a 0.

Explore Bond Falls

Michigan / Bond Falls Parking Area

Very short hiking trail (walk) along the river to view the falls from various parking lots.

KayDee Johnson
21 Saves

Catch a Sunset at the America Dock, Isle Royale NP

Michigan / Rock Harbor

Take the Kneutson Trail next to the lodge for 700 feet and you will come upon the America Dock. This century old dock provides a great view of the bay area and other smaller islands at sunset.

Alex Harrison
15 Saves

Backpack Rock Harbor to Lane Cove

Michigan / Rock Harbor

If coming from Michigan, take the ferry to Isle Royale from Copper Harbor. After a three-hour journey you will arrive at the park via the dock in Rock Harbor around lunchtime.

James Brady
11 Saves

Backpack the Big Carp River and Lake Superior Trails in the Porkies

Michigan / Lake of the Clouds Overlook Parking Lot

We started our hiking in the afternoon at the Lake of the Clouds parking lot.

Matt Johnson
10 Saves

Hike to the Base of Agate Falls

Michigan / Agate Falls Parking Area

Outside of Agate, MI, this spot is a couple of miles west of the town on MI-28. With parking on the side of the road, follow the main path under the bridge to reach the wooden walkway to the overlook.

Matt Johnson
5 Saves

Hike to Dead River Falls

Michigan / Dead River Falls Trail

If you are looking to see numerous waterfalls without going too far off of the beaten path, the Dead River Falls are for you.

James Brady
5 Saves

Backpack to the Mirror Lake Cabins in the Porkies

Michigan / Summit Peak Scenic Area

The trip to Mirror Lake begins at the Summit Peak Scenic Area. To extend your hike, start at the Lily Pond trail-head farther south on Summit Peak Road (5.3 miles to cabin).

Matt Johnson
5 Saves

Hike to Tahquamenon Falls

Michigan / Tahquamenon Falls Trailhead

The waterfall is only a short stroll from the parking lot but is well worth the stop. It drops over 50ft and is 200ft wide. A stunning, powerful flow.

Alaina Donovan
4 Saves

Hike to Huginnin Cove in Isle Royale NP

Michigan / Windigo Visitors Center

Huginnin Cove is located on the west side of the island close to Windigo and is a great day hike.  Many people feel it's an even better overnight trip.

Mike Mihalik
4 Saves

Hike to Yondota Falls

Michigan / Yondota Falls Trailhead

Outside of Marenisco, MI, take Cty Rd 523 north of town. The trailhead is just north of the bridge over Presque Isle River, hidden away in the trees. We missed it our first pass over the bridge.

Matt Johnson
3 Saves

Drive the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Michigan / Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

A seven mile drive that offers views that are unbelievable. There are twelve stops along the way that correspond with an interpretive guide that is found at the beginning of the drive.

Payton Bartlett
2 Saves

Hike to Big Glen Lookout

Michigan / Alligator Hill Trailhead

Start at the Alligator Hill trail head and make your way up the hill for roughly .1 of a mile until you hit a marker. Turn left at the sign and keep on the trail for another 1.3 miles.

Alex Harrison
1 Saves

Hike Island Trail

Michigan / Hamlin Beach House

Start at the Hamlin Beach House and make your way down the dirt path until you hit marker #12. Take a right and the trail will become a boardwalk for roughly 3/4 of a mile until you hit marker #10.

Alex Harrison
1 Saves