11 Ideas for Adventurous Vacation Activities in Michigan

Michigan Adventure Activities

11 Ideas for an Adventurous Vacation in Michigan

Don’t we all look forward to vacation time? Finally, you get to take a break from work, spend time with family and friends, travel, immerse yourself in new cultures, and explore. Michigan is a great vacation spot to enjoy all of the above. Adventure buffs, in particular, will find the state has many action and adventure-oriented  activities to satisfy their adventure cravings. If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Michigan while on vacation, look no further than this list. Here are 11 ideas for an adventure-filled vacation in the great state of Michigan.

Traditional Hiking and Camping

Michigan has some of the most beautiful nature spots, wildlife, gardens, trails, and parks you’ll ever see. So, it’s common for vacationers to head outdoors. Traditional hiking and camping are two great options for adventure in Michigan.

Hiking in Michigan

The 10.2-mile Chapel Loop trail is one of the most amazing hikes in Michigan. It’s moderately challenging, leading to breathtaking views of Mosquito Falls and Chapel Falls. There are also camping areas sprinkled throughout the site.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the largest state park in Michigan. You’ve got 60,000 acres of old-growth forest, miles of hiking trails, Lake Superior’s shoreline, and a rustic campground. There’s also an observation tower, disc golf course, and ski area.

Before venturing into the outdoors, it’s always important to be prepared and bring the appropriate clothing, sleeping system, and proper amounts of food. Your method of transport to and from the trailhead should also be taken into consideration. For instance, if you are planning on camping during a motorcycle trip, you should thoroughly inspect your bike, top off all fluids, and check the weather to make sure it is appropriate for riding to and from the trailhead.

However, getting outside doesn’t always mean a remote setting. There are plenty of motorcycle routes in Michigan that go through urban locations. Perhaps surprisingly, there are many opportunities to hike in Michigan’s cities.

Urban Hiking

Urban hiking is a new phenomenon. Instead of hiking mountains and trails, you hike through the city. The whole point is to experience unexplored parts of your city, whether parks, climbing stairwells, neighborhoods, unknown alleys, or abandoned towns.

Urban hiking can be especially enjoyable for those planning a staycation. Instead of staying home or solely going to your favorite spots during your time off, you can play tourist in your own city and explore new parks, city walks, and restaurants.

The largest cities in Michigan are Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Warren City. Consider visiting one of these cities for a fun-filled urban hiking adventure.

Beach Stays and Water-Related Activities

Michigan Adventure Activities


Michigan borders four of the five Great Lakes. It has over 240 streams, 11,000 lakes and ponds, and hundreds of beaches. So, you’re in luck if you’re interested in a beach or water-related adventure.

Spending time outdoors on the water can have great benefits for your mental and physical health. In fact, doctors are prescribing time outside to improve their patients’ well-being; one therapist even meets her patients on the beach for ecotherapy sessions. Studies show that recreating outside lowers stress levels and increases the amount of physical activity you get.

If you are looking for a relaxing time by the seashore, there are plenty of beaches in Michigan that fit the bill. Among them is Agate Beach Park, which is known for its rustic campground on the shores of Lake Superior.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a National Lakeshore of Lake Michigan, is known for its massive sand dunes, hiking trails, kayaking, and canoeing. The park covers 35 miles of lakeshore.

As Michigan has over 80 beaches, there are plenty of opportunities for rafting, kayaking, jet-skiing, paddle boats, water skiing, parasailing, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Boating and Sailing

Aside from the water-related activities mentioned above, you can adventure in Michigan’s waters by boating and sailing.

Along with Michigan’s summer heat comes humidity. Adding boating and sailing to your summer vacation in Michigan can help you better handle heat and humidity while enjoying all the water has to offer.

You can rent powerboats, sailboats, houseboats, fishing boats, retro boats, kayaks, canoes, tiki boats, and personal watercraft like jet skis for your boating adventure in Michigan. Just do some research on the best rental places and determine a budget to get going. If you are looking to spend some time on the water in style, consider a Great Lakes cruise.


Ziplining is one of the most adventurous activities out there. And luckily, Michigan is home to some incredible ziplining places. Whether you’ve tried it before or it’s your first time, ziplining sites will have you gliding through Michigan’s forests, taking in unforgettable sights, sounds, and smells.

At Wildwood Rush in Boyne City, you can race your friends on the 1,200-foot triple zipline and gaze out at Lake Charlevoix. You’ll get a new perspective on the landscape that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories.  Or check out Go Ape at Stoney Creek Metro Park. There, you’ll find more than zip lines as you navigate Tarzan swings and suspended obstacles through the forest canopy.

Rock Climbing

Michigan isn’t a mountainous state but more of a flat, rolling hills kind of area. Still, there are hundreds of places to rock climb in the state. Rock climbing is an adventure of its own, where you get to climb up, down, and across natural and artificial rock formations.

Michigan Arch Rock

If you’re up for the workout and challenge, consider rock climbing at Keweenaw Peninsula, which has over 70 routes of varying difficulties, making it a climber’s paradise. Michigan also has the infamous Norwich Ledge, which is located on the Upper Peninsula and is the largest natural cliff in the state.

Michigan also has a variety of indoor climbing gyms you can make use of, including Planet Rock in Madison Hikes and The University of Michigan’s Dearborn Climbing Gym.

Skydiving and Cliff Jumping

If you’re looking for an extreme sports adventure in Michigan, try skydiving and/or cliff jumping. Either activity is a huge adrenaline rush that can help you tap into your confidence and face fears.

One of the best places to cliff dive in Michigan is Presque Isle Park in Marquette. The Blackrocks of Marquette, which tower 30 feet over the waters of Lake Superior, are located within the park. Because of how cold the Great Lakes can be even in the summer, wanna-be cliff divers should use caution and make sure they have strong swimming abilities before going on this adventure.

Toronto, Oak Harbor, Iron Mountain, and Harbor Point in Michigan are some of the best places to skydive as well.

Disc Golf

Disc golf isn’t an extreme sport, but it provides a level of adventure unmatched by other outdoor sports. If you’re unfamiliar, disc golf is essentially golfing with frisbees. The goal is to get your frisbee to land in the disc golf basket in as few throws as possible.

Disc golf courses are weaved into nature, providing you with some of the best views, walks, and low-impact hikes. According to The Disc Golf Scene, there are 572 disc golf courses in 524 locations in Michigan. Try the Hanson Hills Recreation Area in Grayling, where you’ll find 42 holes spread out over two courses with varying terrain and plenty of gorgeous forestland. With great reviews from many avid disc golfers, this is a sure bet.

Indoor “Extreme” Sports

You don’t have to restrict your adventures to the outdoors. Instead, you can enjoy indoor “extreme” sports too. These sports include indoor skydiving, trampolining, axe throwing, go-karting and others.

Try Total Sports Farmington, Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park, Airtime Trampoline and Adventure park, or Higher Ground to enjoy some of these indoor extreme sports in Michigan.

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms seem like they don’t belong on a list of adventurous things to do in Michigan. However, a well-put-together escape room experience can absolutely be an adventure.

Escape rooms are an excellent opportunity to spend time with family and friends. They also keep you thinking and on your toes, as mysteries can be quite exciting and thought-provoking. Try a few while you’re on vacation in Michigan such as Escape the Room in Detroit or Decode in Ann Arbor, which is considered one of the best escape room attractions in the United States.

Car Racing and Exotic Car Driving

Michigan NASCAR

Car culture in Michigan is on full display. It starts with the many race tracks spread across the state, including Michigan International Speedway, the fastest track in NASCAR. People come from all over to enjoy the adrenaline rush and captivating car racing atmosphere.

Aside from Michigan International Speedway, Auto City Speedway, Berlin Raceway, and Milan Dragway are worth visiting. In addition, you can get behind the wheel of an exotic car yourself at places like M1 Concourse or FasTrak Exotics.

As you can see, there isn’t a shortage of adventurous things to do in Michigan. Including some or all of the above activities in your vacation will make for an unforgettable experience.


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