Travel Up North Blog

Your Northern Michigan Summer Checklist

Family picking Michigan cherries tops our Northern Michigan Summer Checklist.
Hallstedt Homestead Cherries in Northport.

Here’s a tip from your friends at Cherry Republic. If you want to squeeze every bit of fun out of your 2022 summer, you’d better have a checklist. We’re talking bonafide spreadsheet-level checklist. After all, there’s so much to do and see in Northern Michigan, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss a thing while you’re up north! We’ve compiled a Northern Michigan Summer Checklist to get you started. Feel free to add in your own favorite summer-in-the-north activities, and share your ideas with us on Facebook or Instagram by tagging @cherryrepublic for a chance to win a Cherry Republic gift box!

First Checklist Item: Stop By A U-Pick Orchard

U-Pick farms should be the first stop on your Northern Michigan Summer Checklist.
Omena Cut Flowers U-Pick

Your first Northern Michigan Summer Checklist item has to be stopping by a local U-pick orchard. Just drive along any county road in Michigan, and you’re sure to happen upon a roadside stand bedecked with colorful baskets of local fruits, veggies, and flowers on display. There may be a friendly farmer tending the stand, or you might find a hand-written note propped against a jar asking you to kindly leave your money. Watch for the farms that have ‘U-Pick’ signs posted. A few of our favorites in Leelanau County include Hallstedt Homestead Cherries, Buchan’s Blueberry Hill, and Omena Cut Flowers U-Pick.

Next Up: Explore The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Add the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to your Northern Michigan Summer Checklist.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore could have its very own spreadsheet of things to do and see! If this is your first trip to our beloved National Park, your best bet is to stop at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire at the start of your adventure. They will fill you in on the must-see/do spots throughout the Park including Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, the Dune Climb, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Pyramid Point Trail, Alligator Hill, Glen Haven Historic Village, Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum, and Port Oneida Farms Heritage Center. You can also pick up your National Park Pass at the Visitor Center.

Attend The Glen Arbor July 4th Parade This Summer

Glen Arbor July 4th parade.
Glen Arbor’s July 4th Parade

Nothing says quintessential Americana more than Glen Arbor’s July 4th parade held each Independence Day along Western Avenue/M-22. Anyone and everyone are invited to be a part of this joy-filled parade that kicks off in Glen Haven and makes its way to Glen Arbor. Be sure to watch for the Cherry Republic truck filled with Cherry Ambassadors handing out cups of fresh cherries! This year the parade marks its 60th anniversary and the fun runs from noon to 2 p.m.

A Delicious Checklist Addition: Bake A Cherry Pie

Cherry Republic cherry pie.
Nothing says summer like cherry pie!

Most Michiganders agree that summer isn’t officially summer until you have your first slice of homemade Michigan cherry pie. And when you bake your own, you get the added benefit of filling your kitchen with heavenly aromas while it’s cooking! For this Northern Michigan Summer Checklist item, you can make your pie with fresh tart cherries after your U-pick farm excursion, or jump right to the fun part by using Mamma Mary’s Cherry Pie Filling. You can’t go wrong either way!

Catch A Lake Michigan Sunset

Sunset over Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Pyramid Point provides a dramatic backdrop for Lake Michigan sunsets.

Because the western coast of Michigan sits on the far edge of the Eastern Time Zone, Leelanau County enjoys unusually long days that stretch until 10 p.m. during the month of June and well into July. That gives you plenty of time each evening to load up the kids, grab some blankets, and hightail it to Lake Michigan to catch the sunset. Our favorite spots include Good Harbor Beach, Esch Road Beach, Empire Beach, and Van’s Beach in Leland. Just be sure to have your National Park Pass if you go to a beach in the Park.

Stop By A Cherry Republic Store

Cherry Republic's Ann Arbor retail store.
Cherry Republic’s Ann Arbor store is nearby the University of Michigan campus.

When you’re driving north through Michigan, be sure to stop by a Cherry Republic retail store in Ann Arbor, Frankenmuth, or Holland to stock up on snacks for your trip like Montmorency Dried Cherries, Cherry Nut Mix, and Cherry Candies. And once you arrive up north, pop into Cherry Republic’s flagship store in Traverse City, outpost in Charlevoix, or headquarters and main campus in Glen Arbor to pick up some Cherry Salsa, Cherry BBQ Sauce, Cherry S’more Mix, and Cherry Wine and Soda Pop to stock your cottage. And if you’re looking for a great place to grab lunch or listen to live music, check out the Cherry Public House in Glen Arbor!

Your Summer Checklist Finale: Watch The Stars Come Out

Stargazing in Northern Michigan
Northern Michigan’s dark skies provide optimal stargazing opportunities. Photo Credit: Matt Zubik.

We couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up our Northern Michigan Summer Checklist than with a spectacular starry summer sky. For the best views of the Milky Way, head back to the Dune Climb at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or take a drive out to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula and park near the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Be prepared to be dazzled and soak up every bit of Northern Michigan’s beauty before heading back home!

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