Summertime means fun on the water, and what better place to have fun on the lake than in Michigan? In fact, most of the state is surrounded by the Great Lakes. It’s not just warm water and beaches that make the state an ideal destination for a lake trip. The small towns add a charming aspect to the atmosphere, while big cities offer plenty in the way of culture, food, and drink. Book a stay at one of many Michigan vacation rentals for an unforgettable getaway. With that said, take a trip to one of these summer vacation destinations in Michigan for a phenomenal time.

1. Grand Rapids

founders brewing company
Source: Flickr / Bernt Rostad

Grand Rapids offers fun for all ages. The John Ball Zoo lets you get a peek at tigers, lions, chimpanzees, and dart frogs. Kids will also love the petting zoo. Millennium Park is another fun summertime outing here. Go for a hike on one of the park’s trails, or visit the boat rental to get out on the lake.

Grand Rapids truly is “Beer City, USA.” Many breweries line the streets and offer opportunities for tours and tasting. Founder Brewing Company is one of the breweries that calls Grand Rapids home. Next to the brewery is a taproom where you can get a taste of exclusive Founders beers. Particularly suited to summer is the taproom’s outdoor patio, where you can sip delicious beer under the summer sky with friends or loved ones.

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2. Traverse City

a vineyard at traverse city

Located on the beautiful Traverse Bay, Traverse City is prime wine country. Wineries here offer tours as well as chances to sample the many varieties produced from their vineyards. It is a great way to spend a summer day with a significant other. For a more active afternoon with the kids, check out Pirate’s Cove Adventure Park. Water coasters, a zip line, and bumper cars make for an exciting time. Also be sure to see the Music House Museum, home to historic automated instruments that play live music.

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3. Ann Arbor

ann arbor curvy path
Source: Flickr / Blacklisted

Book a vacation rental in Ann Arbor for a summer stay in a picturesque town with plenty of local attractions. Hudson Mills Metropark and Argo Park are fun daytime getaways for hikers, bikers, a canoeists. If the shopping bug hits you, Ann Arbor has bookstores, gift shops, and clothing stores to keep you busy. During the summer months the Westside Farmers Market offers fresh, local food for you to take back to your vacation rental for a relaxing night of cooking indoors.

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4. Holland

holland michigan tulips

Holland’s kinship with it’s European namesake goes beyond the name. Tulips abound here, and a Dutch windmill may fool you into thinking you are across the Atlantic. This small, picturesque town also features beaches for picnics and relaxing as well as the waters of Lake Michigan for paddle boarding and kayaking.

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5. Detroit

detroit waterfront

Detroit offers all the thrills of the city, including a variety of fine dining and shopping options. Popularly known as “Motor City,” Detroit is home to the The Henry Ford Museum, which features educational exhibits related to this iconic pioneer of automobiles. Check out the summer concert schedule of the renowned Detroit Symphony Orchestra for exciting music under the sky.

If you love baseball, then summer is the perfect chance to catch a game at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.

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6. South Haven

south haven lighthouse

South Haven is another great Michigan lakeside destination. In addition for providing opportunities for swimming and catching the sun, South Haven’s lakeside is also home to the South Haven Lighthouse and Kids Corner Playground, which offers a playground and picnic area. Exhilarating car races take place at Gingerman Raceway, so be sure to check its summer schedule.

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7. Frankenmuth

a michigan steamboat ready to depart
Source: Flickr / Carlos Sara

Frankenmuth is charming small town with architecture that betrays its Bavarian roots. In fact, you should make it a point to simply take an outdoor stroll past the ornate German buildings. There is also plenty to do here. Hop on a riverboat for a relaxing ride, or catch a horse-drawn carriage. Visit Frankenmuth Adventure Center for zip-lining thrills. The town’s proud German identity shows itself in the numerous events and festivals that take place throughout the year, including summer.

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8. Lansing

a 1908 reo roundabout model on display
Source: Flickr / Joe Ross

Go on a tour of the State Capitol building in this capitol city of Michigan. Lansing is also home to several worthwhile museums, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum for Contemporary Art. Paintings and artifacts with a modern edge make this museum and interesting stop. Help you kids unleash their creative thinking by taking a trip to the Impression 5 Science Center, where hands-on exhibits educate visitors on everything from water to electricity to moving objects.

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9. Kalamazoo

heritage guitar works at the kalamazoo valley museum
Source: Flickr / Joe Ross

If you are looking for a vacation rental with access to both nature and city life, try Kalamazoo. This city is home to several trails for walkers and bikers, while the Kalamazoo Nature Center offers educational programs and exhibits about the natural world.

One of the city’s unique attractions is Heritage Guitar Inc., which produces gorgeous hand-crafted guitars and also offers public tours of the premises. Also stop by the Air Zoo for interactive aviation exhibits.

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10. Sault Ste. Marie

sault st marie

This attractive Michigan town goes back all the way to the 17th century. It is very close to the Canadian border, and features a downtown full of shops and restaurants as well as parks with space for the kids to run. Check out Soo Locks Park, where giant freighters are available to view. A short drive away is the Point Iroquois Lighthouse. The top of the lighthouse offers scenic views of Lake Superior, while the downstairs museum has displays related to the lighthouses’s history. Historic interpreters in period costumes make periodic visits during the summer to tell the story of the lighthouse.

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