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Top Five Best Activities in Michigan to Add to Your Summer Bucket List

The final weeks of school have left students impatient. The warm weather taunts us as we constantly itch for summer to approach and, little by little, it has. Yet the days drag on, and the minutes linger, and it feels as though we are far from close to June 8. Many wish to sleep in, spend time outside, or simply relax after a long school year. But what is summer without having fun? Michigan is home to countless fun and accessible destinations and activities that are close to Grand Rapids. So grab a to-do list and take a look at these five fun and accessible summer recreations that are guaranteed to make this sunny season a little brighter.

  1. Hike n’ Hammock at Provin Trails

Just off the East Beltline and a little ways from Knapps Crossing lies 46 acres of undeveloped, natural networks of hiking trails. Rows of mainly coniferous trees stretch in every direction and their trunks offer countless places to set up hammocks with friends or alone for a peaceful and beautiful hangout spot — especially in the summer when the paths are surrounded by the lush green canopy that blocks out the sun. The hilly terrain serves as an excellent way to get some steps in as well. Main trails branch off into countless smaller ones making it an adventure for each visit. Along with its wooded landscape, several sand dunes are dappled here and there as well. Provin Trails is perfect for any family hike or friendly get-together when you want to spend the summer days outside. It is well maintained and extremely close in any direction in Grand Rapids. The only thing one must make sure to not forget is bug spray, as the trails are home to many bugs that like to bite. Other than that, it is one of the best hiking trails in the area.

  1. Strawberry Picking 

Where there is summer there have to be strawberries. This is the season for them, after all, and there is no better place to get them than fresh from the field. Michigan is rich in farmland and one cannot go a few miles without seeing vast strawberry fields just waiting to be picked. From about the middle of June to the start of July places like Versulius Orchards, Krupp Farms, and many others are opening their strawberry fields for people to pick as many as they wish to take home and enjoy. Commonly, self-picked strawberries are sweeter and fresher rather than store-bought ones at the grocery store. Although hunching over in the middle of a field in the sun may sound tedious, the work pays off as people can delight in the delicious taste of these summer fruits. It is interactive, convivial, and totally worth trying. 

  1. The Ada Farmers Market

Speaking of buying fresh, every Tuesday, Ada Community Church hosts a grand farmer’s market that is filled with a diverse array of goods. Not only are people obtaining great products but they are also supporting local businesses as they shop the rows of products. Shaded stands line each side of the parking lot, and every table holds something special and quintessential for whomever visits. Those who are steady customers are familiar with Daddy’s Dough Cookies, a family-owned and operated business and a regular at the farmers market. They are notorious for their homemade cookies each with its own unique flavors. Daddy’s dough has come a long way and they now have established a location and have been selling their baked goods to major stores. Every Tuesday this summer there will be something different, so there is always something to look forward to. 

  1. Food Truck Fridays at Riverside Park

Over in Rockford, a wondrous event is held at Riverside Park. This enchanting park is a neighbor to a river that runs along great spans of forest and an open field where a circle of food trucks is parked every Friday of the Summer. People from all over the city set up chairs in the grass and bring with them fun outdoor activities as they satisfy their taste buds and stomachs in no way a restaurant could succeed in doing. No truck is the same as customers can choose from classic BBQ to habanero donuts, to exotic gyros and endless other kinds of delights. It is a fabulous way to bond and create fellowship with those you hold close, and it is complemented by an outstanding outdoor dining experience, allowing you to soak up the warm weather.

  1. Go Star Gazing or Star Tipping Up North 

Two hours north of Grand Rapids settles secluded towns and refreshing lakes. Manistee, Onekema, and Frankfort are summer staples that offer various shopping, hiking, swimming, and eating venues. Yet the one element that makes up north so beautiful is not what is down on the ground but what is above during the night. Venturing out to the beach or an open field with no bright lights shining, you are able to see a grand array of stars scattered throughout the night sky that is impossible to compare to what is witnessed in Grand Rapids. To appreciate nature at its finest, laying underneath a sky full of stars is the way to go.  It is a tranquil experience that takes breaths away. If you’re brave enough, you could take it one step further by going “star tipping.” The game is fairly simple as it requires two people, a flashlight, and a single star. Person “a”  finds a star to fix their eyes upon and as they do, they must spin in circles about ten times or until they feel dizzy. Immediately after, person “b” shines a flashlight into their parteners face creating a tipsy sensation that causes person “a” to stumble and slip, and therefore their star has been “tipped.” Both activities are contrasts of one another but they commonly share the idea of entertainment.

These are just a few of several places where Michigan summers can be spent. Although some of these activities can be enjoyed anywhere else, there is something special about Michigan that makes the experience more enjoyable. Maybe it is the nature aspect of it: vivid sunsets, luscious forests, or the sparkling lake waters and the twinkling of the stars. Maybe it is the culture that is built by local businesses that serve as the foundation for Michigan’s identity. When people think of vacation their minds usually wander to places outside the state or country. Little do they know the most exciting adventures lay exactly where they are. Hopefully, these five summer activities will help kickstart your summer and provide some unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Michigan will be waiting for you as the school year ends and it is bound to welcome you with outstretched arms this upcoming Summer. 

Image courtesy of sailnelson.com

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