Blessed with lakes, mountains, forests, warm summers and cold winters, the best Michigan adventure sports offer plenty of variety. If you’d like to visit, or live in Michigan (MI) and want to vacation in state, then check out the top 19 MI activity holidays in USA.
Michigan is one of the Upper Midwestern states. Located on the border with Canada the state has shoreline on four of the five Great Lakes. The landmass is essentially two large peninsulas separated by the five mile wide Straits of Mackinac, across which is a bridge.
Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Superior and Lake Huron provide Michigan with the largest freshwater coastline of any state in the world. So it is no surprise that water sports are popular, with everything from sailing to surfing and kiteboarding to kayaking. In the winter ice and snow rule, opening up plenty of winter sport options.
The state is home to Porcupine Mountains reaching almost 1,447 feet (410m) and the Huron Mountains 1,979 feet (603m). The upper peninsula and north of the lower peninsula are highly forested and popular for hiking, biking and much more in the summer, spring and autumn. During winter there are 40+ ski areas, of which four are fairly large.
But the state offers much more than outdoor fun. There are seven cities with populations of more than 100,000, including Detroit – by far the largest – and Lansing the capital. You’ll find plenty of culture, nightlife, great food and drink plus so much more.
As one of the 18 states where commercial casinos are prohibited there are 26 in the state. So you can usually find a place to gamble while on MI activity holidays in USA. However, if you are in the middle of nowhere then Michigan online casinos offer all the fun of the real thing.
Check out more about the best Michigan adventure sports below:
A boating or sailing holiday in Michigan makes the most of it’s marvelous access to the Great Lakes. There are countless beaches, bays, islands and islets to explore. All while fishing and enjoying other water sports along the way.
You can sail through the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and using locks and rivers head into Lake Superior or Lake Eire. If you want sail beyond Michigan then using the Welland Canal you can bypass the Niagara Falls and sail into Lake Ontario and down the St Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Great Lakes offer plenty of spots to wakeboard, water ski, knee board and do all manner of other sports towed behind a boat. These are more of a summer past time than winter, and you can hire boat time at more destinations than we have space to list here.
As an alternative, head to Action Wake Park in Hudsonville, the first full size cable park in Michigan. Here you are towed by an overhead cable rather than a boat which is easier for beginners and cheaper. There are a number of features for more experienced wakeboarders and water skiers including jumps and rails.
The Great Lakes provide plenty of good kite and windsurf spots, with the east coast of Lake Michigan being the most reliable. When the wind blows here during the summer or autumn you are in for a warm fresh water treat.
Despite being a city of 37,000 the cottage country vibe of Michigan is evident in charming Muskegon. A large breakwater provides flat water to learn and improve. If you are more interested in waves then Pere Marquette Beach is good and also popular with surfers. Known as one of the best kite spots in the USA Muskegon offers one of the top activity holidays in Michigan.
Surprisingly there are also many surf spots in The Great Lakes. Driven by wind swell, waves are not as good as those on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but there is still fun to be had. Surfing in freshwater requires a more buoyant board than in the sea, so longboards are the usual choice with bodyboarding popular in smaller conditions.
Grand Haven is one of the most popular areas for surfing and bodyboarding with South Pier one of the best spots. There is a good local scene and late autumn/fall is best although swell can happen year round.
There are nine dropzones in Michigan and a few just across the border in neighbouring states. So you can skydive within a few hours of anywhere in Michigan.
With a private, grass-strip airfield near the town of Romeo in Macobe County, Midwest Freefall is a short drive from Detroit, Windsor, Sarnia, Flint and Lansing. The family friendly dropzone has great facilities and a laid back vibe.
During the winter shallow areas of the Great Lakes freeze over so you can at times snowkite, snowmobile and skate on them. However, the top snowkiting spots tend to be smaller inland lakes that offer more reliable conditions.
Located near Muskegon, Little Black Lake is shallow and freezes over early. There are few obstacles and you can snowkite here with any wind except westerlies. People from Chicago snowkite here making it one of the best Michigan adventure sports.
Unknown to most, Michigan has the second most ski areas of any state in the USA. Unfortunately, many are rather small and less extreme than in the west. But with resorts spread across both the upper and lower peninsulas you are never far from snow sports in winter and there are slopes for all levels.
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands are the two largest ski areas in Michigan. They each offer more than 400 acres of ski area and 50 pistes for all abilities. They are located close to each other in the Boyne Highlands about four hours north of Detroit. One of the best MI activity holidays in USA during the winter.
There are more than 1,300 miles of marked cycling trails in Michigan including more rail trails than any other state. With everything from top quality single track to family friendly recreational trails there are scenic adventures around every corner in Michigan. Biking is easily one of the top MI activity holidays in USA.
Keen mountain bikers should explore the trails at Copper Harbor. Awarded the International Mountain Biking Association Silver Level Ride Centre, it’s regarded as one of the top trail systems on the planet! With more than 40 miles of single track, including varied terrain and challenging trails, it’s the place to MTB in Michigan.
There are more than 4,020 miles of hiking trails in Michigan exploring the natural beauty and diverse terrain throughout the state. This includes some great long distance treks through old-growth forests to waterfalls and mountain tops. Exploring the state on foot is one of the best Michigan adventure sports with trails suited to all levels.
The 2,000 mile long Iron Belle Trail is the longest designated state trail in the USA. It runs from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit. Crossing both peninsulas there is a cycling and a trekking route. Another good long distance route is the 220 mile Shore-to-Shore Trail that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
Of course there are plenty of day hikes available too. For example, you could take on any section of the breathtaking North Country National Scenic Trail to walk among the giants. According to AllTrails there are more than 2,000 day hikes in the state so there is bound to be one in your neck of the woods.
The top rated trail is Mosquito Falls and Chapel Falls via the Chapel Loop scoring 4.8 out of 5. This 16.4 km loop trail near Munising is a moderately challenging route that is popular with overnight campers. With part of the trail along lake shore cliffs, through the best of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, it’s a special hike.
In Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from a lake, river or stream. So there are more options to canoe, kayak or paddle board then most people can fit into a lifetime. Whether you prefer tranquil lakes or teeming rapids the scenery and abundant wildlife make kayaking holidays in Michigan extra special.
One of the top options is the Island Loop Route which is is one of a handful of National Water Trails in the country. You’ll paddle along the Blueways of St. Clair skirting the boarder with Canada.
We hope you found this guide to the best Michigan adventure sports inspirational. Let us know your top activities in the state in the comments below. And if you want to promote your adventures you can advertise your company for free here.