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.

670 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.

578 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).

548 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.

487 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.

475 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.

459 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.

454 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.

412 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.

393 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.

316 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.

301 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.

292 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.

282 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.

275 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.

258 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.

222 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.

219 Saves

Backpack to Blind Lake

Michigan / Crooked Lake Trailhead

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

207 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.

196 Saves

Hike 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.

180 Saves

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.

150 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.

130 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.

125 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.

121 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.

114 Saves

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.

110 Saves

Explore Munising Falls

Michigan / Munising Parking Area

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

105 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.

93 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.

93 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.

89 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.

82 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.

80 Saves

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.

78 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.

77 Saves

Paddle the Flat River

Michigan / Whites Bridge Rd

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

76 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.

74 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.

74 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.

73 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.

57 Saves

Explore Bond Falls

Michigan / Bond Falls Parking Area

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

50 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.

48 Saves

Hike Bird Hills Nature Area

Michigan / Bird Hills Nature Area Parking

Having lived in Michigan and the greater Detroit area for only one year, I'm still constantly looking for the next place to take my mind off the day-to-day work grind.

46 Saves

Hike Hogback Mountain

Michigan / Wetmore Pond Parking Area

The trailhead for Hogback Mountain sits 5 miles North of Marquette, Mi on County Road 550.

44 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.

43 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.

41 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.

40 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).

35 Saves

Photograph the Mackinac Bridge

Michigan / Colonial Michilimackinac Park

The upper peninsula of Michigan is connected to the mainland by the Mackinac Bridge. This bridge is quite impressive from a distance and it makes a great object for photography at any time of the day.

33 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.

28 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.

24 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.

24 Saves

Paddle Argo Pond

Michigan / Argo Park

You can launch from many points along Argo Pond (which is the name of this dammed portion of the Huron River), but the most abundant parking is located at Argo Park, Bandemer Park, or Huron Bridge Pa.

24 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.

22 Saves

Backpack Windigo to South Lake Desor, Isle Royale NP

Michigan / Windigo Visitors Center

This guide assumes that hikers have already made their journey by either float plane or charter ship to the Windigo Port on the West end of the island of Isle Royale National Park.

20 Saves

Hike the North Country Trail: Michigan 20 to South Nichols Lake Section

Michigan / North Country National Scenic Trail (W 1 Mile Rd)

The trail is recommended for use from April to October. Dogs are allowed on this trail if kept on leash.  Photos: Huron-Manistee National Forest Service

20 Saves

Hike the North Country Trail: Manistee River Section

Michigan / Manistee River Trail

Dogs are allowed on the trail, if kept on leash or within owner control. The North Country Trail winds through the United States for approximately 4,600 miles.

18 Saves

Hike the Canyon Falls Gorge and Jump into Canyon Falls

Michigan / Canyon Falls Roadside Park

Taking US Hwy 41 south of L'Anse, you can see the Canyon Falls Roadside Park and trail access to the Canyon Falls gorge.

17 Saves

Camp at Fisherman's Island State Park

Michigan / Fisherman's Island State Park

Located just south of Charlevoix is Fisherman's Island State Park. The park offers miles of biking/hiking trails, and campsites directly on the beach of Lake Michigan.

17 Saves

Backpack the Little Carp River Trail in the Porkies

Michigan / Little Carp River Trailhead

The Little Carp River Trailhead is located in the center of the Porcupine Mountain State Park, about 16 miles west of the park headquarters on S. Boundary Road.

16 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.

16 Saves

Paddle the Platte River

Michigan / Lower Platte River (Riverside Canoe)

Starting at Riverside Canoe Rentals (located near the intersection of M-22 and Lake Michigan Rd), or the small park across the river, this trip will take you roughly 3 hours to float, but shorter if .

16 Saves

Hike the North Country Trail: M20 to Echo Dr

Michigan / North Country National Scenic Trail (W 1 Mile Rd)

The North Country Trail is available for use year-round, and appeals to a variety of activities. The trail is well maintained.

16 Saves

Hike to Hungarian Falls

Michigan / Hungarian Falls Trailhead

Hungarian Falls is a set of three waterfalls, the largest being around fifty feet in height, on the Dover Creek, just outside of Houghton, Michigan.

15 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.

14 Saves

Photograph the Potawatomi and Gorge Waterfalls

Michigan / Potawatomi and Gorge Waterfalls

Potawatomi and Gorge falls are two of the most scenic waterfalls on the black river. These two waterfalls are an easy stop for anyone and both waterfalls are accessible for wheelchairs.

12 Saves

Hike to Lookout Louise

Michigan / Lookout Louise Boat Launch

Starting at the Tobin Harbor day use dock kayak/canoe northeast or out of the inlet towards Lake Superior. Stay on the left side of the inlet for roughly a mile.

9 Saves

Hike to Gabbro Falls

Michigan / Gabbro Falls Trailhead

Gabbro Falls is on the Black River and is as impressive waterfall.  This wild waterfall does not have any fences or barriers, so view with caution from above.

9 Saves

Snowshoe at Boyne Mountain

Michigan / Cross Country Center at Boyne Mountain

The trailhead for the snowshoe trail is located across the street from the Boyne Cross Country Ski center parking lot.

9 Saves

Hike to O Kun de Kun Falls

Michigan / O Kun de Kun Falls Trailhead

Located roughly 8 miles north of Bruce Crossing on Highway 45, the O Kun de Kun Trailhead is a small turnoff located on the right side of the highway.

5 Saves

Hike the Pioneer Loop

Michigan / South Marquette Main Trailhead

Take the Benson Grade trail to Pioneer Loop part 1 --> Freak N Nature --> Greywalls --> Mossy Connector.

5 Saves

Hike the Harlow Lake Loop Trail

Michigan / Harlow Lake Parking Area

Just outside of Marquette, Michigan, the Harlow Lake Loop offers a variety of activity options and scenic lake views.

3 Saves

Hike the Deer Lake Trail

Michigan / Al Quaal Recreation Area

A Daily or Season Trail Pass is required for cross country skiing and mountain biking. Passes can be purchased at the NTN, the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, Wilderness Sports and City Hall.

3 Saves

Hike or Bike the Grom Trail

Michigan / Forestville Trailhead

The Grom Trail is a side trail of the Carp River Loop in the Noquemanon Trail Network. This trail is perfect for day hikers, families, trail runners, and mountain bikers.

1 Saves

Hike the Iron Ore Heritage Trail: Marquette Bay

Michigan / Trailhead 11

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 48-mile, multi-use, year round trail. Activities include trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and backpacking.

1 Saves

Bike the Morgan Creek Loop

Michigan / Noquemanon Trail Network

This trail is for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers, and it is recommended that hikers and trail runners find another section of the Noquemanon Trail Network to enjoy.

0 Saves

Bike the Mount Marquette Loop

Michigan / Mount Marquette Loop

Starting at the trailhead, the loop is generally ridden in a counter-clockwise direction.

0 Saves