11 Best Things to Do in Michigan in July

11 Best Things to Do in Michigan in July

  • SK Group
  • 06/6/24

Discover the vibrant heart of summer in Michigan with a curated list of the 11 best activities and attractions to experience in July. From the sun-soaked shores of Lake Michigan to the bustling festivals that bring cities to life, there's something for everyone in the Great Lakes State. Explore the natural beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes, immerse yourself in the cultural flair of the Ann Arbor Art Fair, or savor the local flavors at Traverse City's Cherry Festival.

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or a culture seeker, July in Michigan offers endless opportunities for adventure and enjoyment!

The annual Cherry Festival via OnePlan, garnering over 600,000 people in attendance

June 29- July 6 National Cherry Festival – Traverse City

It’s time for the biggest party of the year in our nation’s Cherry Capital. First and foremost, there are zillions of ways to enjoy scrumptious cherries, though for our money, probably none better than a good old fashioned pie. This celebration is so big it even has two parades. Concerts include Stone Temple Pilots, T.I., Goo Goo Dolls, and Bret Michaels. Plus, big laughs await when Gabriel 'Fluffy' Iglesias performs.

July 12-14 Art in the Park – Plymouth

Now in its 44th year, this, the state’s second largest art fair, will welcome over 400 artists from around the country this year. You’ll find paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, woodwork, photography, folk art and a variety of other mediums. Theatrical performances, music, and live art demonstrations round out the weekend.

July 12-14 & 19-21 Blake’s Lavender Market – Armada

Ah, lavender, one of nature’s most refreshing scents. Blake’s is the place to be to immerse yourself in this summer sensation. Stroll the tranquil orchards and shop the open-air marketplace filled with local artisans. Sip on a refreshing lavender lemonade or try it in ice cream. There will also be free classes and demonstrations on topics such as natural wellness, aromatherapy, farming, gardening, and more. General admission is $12 per person. Children 10 and under are admitted at no cost, and will love the abundance of activities available at the farm.

July 20-23 Port Huron to Mackinac Yacht Race – Port Huron

It's 100th year! If there’s one thing this state is truly known for, it’s boats on lakes. That’s especially true of sailing vessels. There may be no better place to enjoy them than Port Huron at the start of this auspicious race. Get up early, head to Port Huron, watch the yachts and a bevy of other boats, parade out of the harbor. Then enjoy some time exploring the town. Grab a coffee and some scrumptious fresh food at Kate’s Downtown or a meal with a view of the Blue Water Bridge at Freighters. Conversely, head to Mackinac Island and enjoy the climactic arrival with one of the best island parties of the season.

Crowds gather to watch the start of the famous Port Huron to Mackinac race.

July 20-27 Venetian Festival – Charlevoix

Venice may not be on your travel itinerary this year, so how about a Venetian fest? What started out as a candlelit boat parade more than nine decades ago, has grown into an 8-day bash in beautiful Charlevoix. You’ll find concerts, fireworks, a carnival, street parade, athletic events, beachfront activities, street vendors, buskers, and of course, the foundational parade of boats. This year’s boat parade, on July 21, should be particularly fun with a Hawaiian Luau theme.

July 18-20 Ann Arbor Art Fair – Ann Arbor

The fact that this art fair includes a Thursday and no Sunday is just one of the many aspects that makes it unique. It’s also the state’s largest, combining four different fairs. You’ll find work in all kinds of media ranging from clay to wood, fibers to furniture, photography to painting, jewelry to printmaking, and more. If you want to make it to every artist’s booth, then you’ll need to plan to make a full day of it in Ann Arbor. Start your day out with coffee and scrumptious baked goods at Avalon. When you need a refreshment, Jolly Pumpkin awaits with some of the state’s best brews.

July 18-21 Mayville Sunflower Festival – Mayville

An old song implies that Christmas is the “hap-happiest season of all,” but we can’t help wondering if the lyricist ever experienced sunflower season! The good news is, that you can. Head into the Thumb area for a summer tradition that has lasted for three decades. Celebrate sunflowers and some good old fashioned summer fun with a pancake breakfast, vintage baseball, a village-wide yard sale, cornhole tournament, food trucks, concerts, a Bump and Run Derby, a Grand Parade and fireworks.

July 19-21 Hot Air Jubilee – Jackson

This July marks 41 years of this glorious annual tradition in Jackson. There are 32 pilots scheduled to fill the sky with color this year, including several females competing for the US Women’s National Championship. The fun takes place at Ella Sharp Park, where you’ll find crafters, the Kids Kingdom, vendors, and an auto show. You can’t hop aboard a balloon, but you can jump onto a helicopter for a quick ride. Being at the park also offers a host of opportunities to experience the Hurst Planetarium, Ella Sharp Museum, a mini golf course, and much more. Jam to live music in the evenings before and after the Night Glow.

Hot air balloons taking flight over Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, Michigan.

July 26-27 Summer Beer Festival – Ypsilanti

Nobody throws a tasting party quite like the Michigan Brewer’s Guild, and this event may be their best of all. Beer aficionados, and the brewmasters who make their favorites, come together in Ypsi for the party of the season. The event runs from 5pm-9pm on Fri July 26 and again from 1pm-6pm on Sat July 27. The Summer Beer Festival features literally hundreds of Michigan’s finest brews available for sampling. The festivities take place at Riverside Park, but there are tons of other fun places to explore while in Depot Town.

July 27-28 Ausable River Canoe Marathon – Grayling

Have you ever paddled a portion of the Au Sable River? If you like to canoe, then chances are, you have. Now you can see how some of the best of the best do it. This unique event draws paddlers from around the world for a grueling and prestigious marathon. Known to be North America’s toughest nonstop canoe race, this event is part of the sport’s Triple Crown. It goes from Grayling to Oscoda, and fans are invited to cheer paddlers on throughout the night. It can be tricky to seek out access to the river in total darkness in order to spot your favorite crew, but that’s just part of the fun. While in the Oscoda area, check out the River Road Scenic Byway.

July 27-28 Art on the Rocks  – Marquette

Not that any of us need an excuse to visit Marquette in the summer (or really any time of year), but if you’re looking for one, this is it. Art on the Rocks is easily the finest art show in the Upper Peninsula, and in fact, one of the best in the country. It’s located in the lovely Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior. The surrounding views are sure to be nearly as stunning as the artwork. Check out the adorable lighthouse nearby, and the incredible old iron ore dock. Take an easy stroll into downtown for a cold beer at Ore Dock Brewing or Blackrocks. Scrumptious eats and drinks can also be found nearby at Iron Bay and The Vierling.

Happy Summer! Enjoy the nice weather and all beautiful Michigan has to offer! 

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