Whether you’re looking for high flying fun or are seeking a need for speed on four wheels or perhaps aquatic activities are of interest, you’re sure to find countless opportunities for adventure throughout the state.
Imagine the views (and the rush) as you jump from 13,000 feet (nearly 2.5 miles) above the dropzone at Skydive Grand Haven or as you soar in a 1920s, 30s or 40s open cockpit biplane with Waldo Wright’s Flying Service in Kalamazoo – the nation’s largest vintage barnstorming ride company.
Allegan Event is Michigan’s largest indoor ropes course, with hours of endless activities like a free-fall simulation, ziplining across the Kalamazoo River and other amped-up adrenaline action. Meanwhile, at Wildwood Rush Canopy Tours, you can zip from platform to platform through the trees on a beautiful 50-acre parcel of land just outside of Boyne City.
The Silver Lake State Park, with its 3,000 acres of shoreline and towering dunes, offers opportunities to take to the sand with Parrot’s Landing Jeep Rentals and Tours. Or, if you have your own off-road vehicle, you can hit the 450-acre designated area for hours of fun. This is the only area east of the Mississippi River where visitors are allowed to drive their private vehicles out on the dunes. A Michigan Recreation Passport is required for entry to all areas. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes Visitors Bureau offers a wealth of information on how to explore this lakeshore region, which is open to dune riding April 1 through October 31.
Michigan’s largest off-road park, boasting 300 acres of all-terrain trail riding, can be found at Bundy Hill Offroad Park in Jerome (Hillsdale County). Plan on getting dusty (or maybe even muddy) as you take to the rocks, hill climbs, wooded areas, tire crawls, and more.
If water sports are more to your liking, Action Wake Park in Hudsonville is recognized as the only full-size cable park in the state for wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and water skiing. They provide all the gear – including the boat, you bring your sense of adventure.
The Great Lakes Surf Festival returns to Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, August 21, as surfers, kiteboarders, windsurfers, kayakers, SUP’ers, and others gather to celebrate the “surfing culture” on the Great Lakes.
Throughout the summer, explore Lake Superior from a sea kayak as you paddle the largest of the Great Lakes with Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor (on the Keweenaw Peninsula). Overnight trips to the famed Isle Royale are also offered for the more adventurous. Meanwhile, Big Bear Adventures in Indian River offers canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and tubing trips on the Sturgeon River – the fastest water in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula (including winter excursions).
The Aqua Pit Water Park in Coldwater features the “Hydro Zone” – a jungle gym on the water – perfect for families. And, kids of all ages will enjoy Jump Around Fun Center & VR in Ludington, an outdoor inflatable park with bounce houses and obstacle courses, a Zorb ball track and even a toddler zone for the youngest members of the family.
Several Michigan resorts also offer waterpark activities including Boyne Mountain’s Avalanche Bay in Boyne Falls, Crystal Mountain Resort’s Water’s Edge in Thompsonville (also home to the Crystal Clipper alpine slide) and Double JJ Ranch’s Gold Rush (in addition to horseback riding and a dude ranch experience) in Rothbury. Horse lovers will also find a variety of trails and ride options (along with camping, golfing and kayaking) at Double R Ranch in Belding.
Did you know that Michigan is known as a “Trails State”? In fact, there are several Pure Michigan® Designated Trails throughout both peninsulas including the 33-mile Kal-Haven State Park Trail (Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties) and 22.7-mile William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park, as well as the 17-mile Leelanau Trail and 22-mile Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (both in Leelanau County). We also have Trail Towns – like Charlevoix, South Haven, and Reed City (the last two boasting historic covered bridges along their trails).
Mountain bikers rate Fort Custer State Recreation Area in Augusta among the best locales for trail riding, with the current system developed over the years by the Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association. This single-track park features mostly hard packed surfaces, with some short soft sand sections, on two main loops with a relatively level elevation. A Michigan Recreation Pass is required for entry.
For a list of additional companies offering paddling, pedaling and adventure experiences, visit WMTA.org/2021travelguide.