2016 is here, and there’s no better time to plan out what you’ll cross off your Michigan bucket list this year. There’s so much to see and do here, I don’t know if you could ever do it all in an entire lifetime. But we can try! This doable bucket list breaks it down into one Michigan activity for each month of 2016.
Michigan is the birthplace of the automobile and still the worldwide center of auto manufacturing. Every Michigander should visit the North American International Auto Show in Detroit at least once. You’ll see the future of driving at this event where the latest and greatest cars and newest innovations in auto technology from around the world are on display.
Snowmobile across Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island
When the water between the mainland and Mackinac Island freezes solid, visitors can make their way back and forth from the island on snowmobiles. Christmas trees mark the trail so that you have no trouble finding your way.
For the first time in years, the State Capitol in Lansing is open for daily, public tours. You’ll see the public areas of the building as well as the House and Senate galleries. The elaborate hand-painted rotunda with a 160 ft. high dome decorated to look like a starry night sky is one of the tour’s highlights.
Morel Mushroom Hunting
Michiganders who love morel mushrooms really love them and go to great lengths to find them in the woods. Most experienced hunters like to keep their favorite spots secret as morels are rare and hard to find. Good spots to look are places where a forest fire or logging recently cleared an area in the woods.
This is the perfect place to stargaze beachside without light pollution obscuring the view. The park is open 365 days a year at no charge. Camping is not allowed, but visitors can bring chairs, sleeping bags and coolers to keep themselves comfortable all night.
Take a ferry from Leeland to North or South Manitou Island. You can stay and backpack for the day or camp at one of several primitive campsites. With no amenities on the islands, you’ll have a true Michigan wilderness experience. The islands are part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Every summer flying daredevils like the US Airforce Thunderbirds soar into Battle Creek for a week-long air show featuring sky-high acrobatics. Hot air balloons also take to the skies, and you can ride in one, viewing the beautiful Michigan landscape from the clouds.
Be a Lighthouse Guest Keeper
Several Michigan lighthouses open their doors to guest light keepers. If you’ve always dreamed of living in a lighthouse, this program is for you. You’ll spend one or two weeks acting as a tour guide, helping in the gift shop and even doing light maintenance on the lighthouse and surrounding grounds. What better way to have a true Michigan experience.
Art Prize in Grand Rapids
Every fall downtown Grand Rapids turns into a cutting edge art gallery as hundreds of artists display their newest works at the juried art fair. Stroll the sidewalks and tour buildings to see the art then vote for your favorite.
Drive through the Tunnel of Trees
The Tunnel of Trees on M-119 in Northern Michigan is the state’s top must-see when it comes to fall colors. Hardwoods aflame in color grow so they form a canopy or tunnel over this enchanted stretch of road between Petoskey and Harbor Springs. The road runs along a bluff with sharp curves and spectacular views of Lake Michigan.
The aquarium features an underwater Ocean Tunnel and more than 5,000 sea creatures on view. Visitors can even touch and interact with crabs, sea stars and sea urchins.
Michigan has a large system of interconnected snowmobile trails that combines over 6,200 miles. You’ll even find food and lodging along the way. It’s the perfect way to spend a winter day or even a few days.