Michigan has had many debates over the generations regarding the differences and similarities behind the Upper and Lower Peninsula. Perhaps some of the biggest differences between these two peninsulas are due to the changing seasons. With both parts of Michigan having vastly different qualities, what makes each have their own special summer?

Upper Peninsula 

Now, some might think this comparison list isn’t fair because the lower part of Michigan has access to actual civilization. Living upstate you get used to the surrounding nature and water, knowing most towns are at least half an hour drive away; but the isolation actually makes for some remarkable summer days if you’re willing to explore. 

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  1. Nature, just nature: With vast ‘nothingness’ between each town or city in Michigan’s U.P., perhaps the best thing about this Peninsula is being able to drive in any direction for unlimited trails, beaches, and especially hidden waterfalls.

Tip: Visit Lake of the Clouds because even though there are so many beautiful mountains with spectacular views, nothing is as serene upstate as Lake of the Clouds. 

  1. Shipwreck hunting: The U.P. is the only place that connects to Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. With Lake Superior alone there are numerous shipwrecks one could dive to see, see on a glass bottom boar tour, or visit Whitefish Point’s Shipwreck Museum to learn even more about Michigan’s ship graveyard.
  2. Rock Hunting: Michigan is known far and wide with rock hunters for the plethora of minerals located on our many beaches. Perhaps one of the most popular rocks people travel for are Yooperlite rocks, which are known for their glow in the dark qualities.
  3. Isle Royale: Open from April-October and is one of the biggest scientific research projects to help us truly understand the potential and interactions of nature without the impressions from humans.
  4. Oswald’s Bear Ranch: This place is perfect for travelling families. At this sanctuary, there are more than two dozen bears that people can observe from towers, feed, and even a separate exhibit where you can pet and feed the cubs born that winter.

Fun Fact: Oswald’s treats their bears so well, that wild bears have been known to climb the fences and join in on the fun. 

Lower Peninsula (Specifically Southwest) 

  1. Ride a Pirate Ship: when traveling, how many times could you say you ate dinner on a pirate ship in the middle of Lake Michigan? Idler Riverboat is located in South Haven, this ship has been serving fun times and good food to its visitors for decades.
  2. Drive-In Movies: This could just be a personal favorite, but there is nothing better than going to a drive-in movie theatre for a summer weekend night. Two movies for the price of a carload of people, with a recession being discussed and inflation higher than ever, this deal can’t be passed up. The only downside is having to wait until dusk, meaning the second movie won’t be over until after 1am.
  3. Wine & Beer tour: There are so many well known wineries and breweries in Southwest Michigan alone, it’s hard not to visit a few. When traveling and drinking in Michigan be sure to check out the Michigan TagaBrew locations to collect a small souvenir from our local spots.
  4. Sand Dunes: ever wanted to go snowboarding in the summer? With sand dunes located all over Southwest Michigan, the fun of reaching these preserved dunes and heights of approximately 260 feet high, the views and fun from these hills can make a great day at the beach for anyone. The best part is that most of Southwest Michigan’s beaches are very dog friendly! 
  5. St. Joseph: This Michigan beach town has so many awesome things for any tourist or Michigander. Every year there is a community wide art project, where different sculptures are creatively painted and scattered throughout the city. Not to mention they have one of the best pizza restaurants in the area right on the beach. If you’re planning to spend the day on the water, be sure to look up kayak and boat rentals.

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