By Kaden Boock
As the winter 2023 semester comes to a close, the anticipation for summer begins to increase for many. Summertime in Michigan has so much to offer, from fun events in Grand Rapids, to pretty beaches you can visit closeby, and stunning views up north to see. It can be easy to get caught up in day to day life, and not think to take advantage of all of the exciting and fun opportunities surrounding us. That’s why I’ve compiled a 2023 Michigan summer bucket list, including a wide range of activities to help you make the most out of your summer this year.
Beaches to Visit
There are several beautiful beaches within a close distance of Grand Rapids that you should be sure to visit this summer for a warm day in the sun, or even just to watch the sunset. A few of my favorites are Grand Haven State Park in Grand Haven, Oval Beach in Saugatuck, South Beach in South Haven, and Holland State Park, Tunnel Park, and Laketown Beach in Holland.
Whatever your favorite style of music may be, there’s something for everyone in the diverse lineup of concerts and music festivals coming to Michigan this summer. In Grand Rapids, Van Andel Arena will be hosting several highly anticipated concerts this summer, including Quin XCII on June 10, Nickelback on June 16, and Thomas Rhett on July 29. 20 Monroe Live will also be hosting an array of concerts all summer long.
There are two big music festivals making their annual return to Michigan this summer with tickets still available. Breakaway Music Festival will be returning to Belknap Park in Grand Rapids from Aug.18-19, featuring a variety of EDM and pop music favorites, including headliners Porter Robinson and RL Grime, joined by Tchami, Christian French, Jessie Murph and several other artists, with two added headliners and more artists to be announced soon.
Faster Horses Music Festival will also be making a return this year, featuring several of country music’s favorite artists in Brooklyn from July 14-16. Headliners for this year’s festival are Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, and Shania Twain, joined by Dustin Lynch, Billy Currington, Dylan Scott and several more artists over the course of the three-day event. There’s also an option to camp out at the festival if you choose to reserve a spot.
Tulip Time will be celebrated in Holland from May 6-14. This iconic festival features beautiful tulips that you can spend your day going around the city viewing, in addition to several events being offered over the course of the festival. The mission statement of the festival in its 94th year sums up the celebration well by saying, “Welcoming the world into our community by celebrating tulips, Dutch heritage, and Holland today.”
The West Michigan Whitecaps baseball season is already underway, and there will be many home games to attend at LMCU ballpark in Comstock Park. The minor league baseball team began their season on April 6 with a home win against Fort Wayne, and the last home game will take place on Sept. 10 against Great Lakes. Make sure to look out for a variety of fun themes and discounted prices at various home games happening this season on the schedule.
Road Trip to the UP
Many of Michigan’s most stunning locations can be found in the Upper Peninsula. This summer, consider taking a road trip up north and visiting at least one of the beautiful destinations. Some of the most recommended locations to visit include Mackinac Island, the charming island sandwiched in between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, which is home to the historic Fort Mackinac and The Grand Hotel. The island is known for its delicious fudge, and horse drawn carriages that you can expect to see trotting up and down the streets. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is another beautiful location to check out, which is known for some of the most breathtaking views and waters in the Upper Peninsula. Porcupine Mountains are another favorite travel destination for many up north. The Mountains offer one of Michigan’s highest points with stunning views to overlook surrounding waters.
There’s no better way to watch a movie than at the drive in during the summer. With a bunch of exciting new movies coming out including “Barbie” and “The Marvels”, this summer is the perfect time to check out the Getty Drive-in located in Muskegon. This drive-in features four separate screens all showing double features, and a concession stand available that you can order to have the refreshments be delivered to your car as well.
Coast Guard Festival
The Coast Guard Festival is a celebration dedicated to honoring the men and women of the United States Coast Guard with a massive attendance of over 350,000 people, and it will be returning to Grand Haven from July 28-Aug. 6. The festival features a variety of events by the water, and several rides, games, and vendors downtown. Come down to relax on the beach or enjoy the events and rides, and help celebrate the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
Floating Down the River
Get a group together this summer and go rent a few tubes with your friends and float down the river. This can be a great way to spend time with your friends enjoying the sun, listening to music, and chatting as you relax on the river, and there are several locations that offer tubes to rent nearby. A few options to check out are Croton Dam Float Trips in Newaygo, U-Rent-Em Canoe Livery in Hastings, and River Rat Canoe Rental LLC in Grant.
Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids will once again be hosting nights of swing dancing presented by the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society every Tuesday night from May 2-Oct. 17. Swing dancing is open to the public, so come on down to Rosa Parks Circle and have a great time learning how to swing dance, or showing off your moves if you already know how.