The Department of Natural Resources encourages visitors to escape the heat with a day at the beach, cool off with a paddle down a scenic river, or doze in a hammock under a shady tree.
No matter how you define relaxation, summer fun means getting outdoors at Michigan state parks – where Pure Michigan summer memories are made.
“State parks offer a variety of family-focused programs and, with the $10 Recreation Passport, they’re budget-friendly, too,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. Olson said the full calendar of activities is available at www.michigan.gov/gogetoutdoors.
For those who want to make more than a day of it, Olson said plenty of campsites are available at several of Michigan’s state park and state forest campgrounds. Reserve your spot today, at www.midnrreservations.com.
The state parks’ Recreation 101 programs are in full swing, teaming novice outdoor enthusiasts with experts in a particular sport or recreational activity. The guides provide all the gear and show participants how to use it.
Discover what Rec 101 is all about when Saginaw County Parks partner with the Michigan DNR to host a Recreation 101 Expo from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, at the William H. Haithco Recreation Area, 2121 Schust Road in Saginaw.
Try your hand at paddleboarding, kayaking, dog obedience, fishing, fly-fishing, disc golf, outdoor cooking, archery, geocaching and more during the free event.
For details, call Saginaw County Parks, 989-790-5280.
Learn more about the newest watersport, stand-up paddleboarding, during the Paddleboarding 101 classes from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, at Island Lake Recreation Area in Livingston County or from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at Sleepy Hollow State Park in Clinton County.
Tune in to the new, high-tech game of hide-and-seek with Geocaching 101 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County, and from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24, at Mitchell State Park in Wexford County.
The full calendar of Recreation 101 courses is available at www.michigan.gov/rec101
Island Lake Recreation Area Ladies’ Kayak Afternoon
Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
Wednesday, July 25, 3-5 p.m.
Pack a mini-vacation into a relaxing ladies-only afternoon on Kent Lake. Bring your own kayak or grab one (provided free) from Heavner Canoes.
For details, call the park, 810-229-7067 or visit www.michigan.gov/islandlake
Port Crescent State Park Vintage Camper Show
Port Crescent State Park (Huron County)
Thursday, July 26 – Sunday, July 29
The Fourth Annual Vintage Camper Show highlights the glory days of “trailering” with over 75 vintage trailers on site. The event is sponsored by the Tin Can Tourists, vintage camper enthusiasts from across the Midwest.
For details, call the park, 989-738-8663 or visit www.michigan.gov/portcrescent
Grand Haven State Park Coast Guard Festival
Grand Haven State Park (Ottawa County)
Friday, July 27 – Sunday, Aug. 5
The nine-day festival that honors the men and women of the United States Coast Guard culminates with a grand parade and fireworks on Saturday, Aug. 4. For details, contact festival headquarters, 616-846-5511.
Brighton Recreation Area Veterans Appreciation Picnic
Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
Saturday, Aug. 11, noon
We’re saying “Thank you!” to all the veterans and veterans’ families of Livingston County and beyond. Lunch, resource table and lots of fun activities are planned. For details, call the park, 810-229-6566 or visit www.michigan,gov/brighton
Porcupine Mountains State Park Music Festival
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonogan County)
Friday, Aug. 24 – Sunday, Aug. 26
Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to the sports complex area of the Porkies and experience some of the best blues, bluegrass, Americana and contemporary music available in the Upper Peninsula and beyond. For ticket information, including prices, contact the park, 906-885-5206 or visit www.porkiesfestival.org.
The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $10 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at www.expresssos.com or at branch offices),Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches.
In addition, Recreation Passport holders can experience real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.
Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan’s outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit www.michigan.gov/passportperks