Summer Events Abound in Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas


With more activities than ever now taking place in Michigan’s state parks, recreation areas, forest campgrounds and harbors, there’s something happening “close to home” in just about every part of the state – giving families the opportunity to visit state parks, explore the great outdoors and discover where Pure Michigan summer memories are made.

Whether you’re into canoeing and kayaking, want to learn about the new sport of paddleboarding, or just want to get in some fishing, June is all about getting out on the water.

Mark the calendar for Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, and take part in the DNR’s Free Fishing Weekend when all fishing license fees will be waived for the two days, and residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish. Just remember that creel limits and fish size minimums still apply during Free Fishing Weekend. For a list of events, visit

Get out and support our military veterans and active-duty men and women during the annual “Hookin Up Heroes” fishing tournament set for the morning of Saturday, June 9 on Hardy Pond at Newaygo State Park in Newaygo County. The military appreciation event teams vets with some great anglers for a friendly competition. Be a tournament spectator or line the route to cheer on the participants of the motorcycle charity ride for the Brain Injury Association of Michigan’s Veteran’s Program, and the Michigan Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. These two events take place simultaneously. Learn more at

Don’t know a bobber from a sinker? No problem! Recreation 101 is the answer. The DNR’s Recreation 101 program, first rolled out in 2011, offers free, introductory programs to the novice outdoor enthusiast who wants to learn more about outdoor activities through hands-on fun and expert instruction.

Fishing 101, one of Recreation 101’s most popular programs, is being offered at seven locations in June, and continues throughout the summer.

“Our goal is to offer basic instruction in any and all things outdoors, and the program has been enthusiastically received,” said Maia Stephens, recreation programmer for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “By offering local experts who bring all the gear, guides and good times to programs for novice outdoor enthusiasts, we’re encouraging more people to Go Get Outdoors and discover the unique recreational opportunities that our parks provide.”

Stephens said this year’s Rec 101 programming has expanded to offer more than 400 outdoor activities, but the program is not limited to sports:

  • Learn to re-create Michigan’s stunning scenery on canvas with art programs such as “Watercolor in the Wilderness 101,” taking place on Saturday, June 23, at Newaygo State Park.
  • Discover more about Michigan geology during “Hunting for Agates” on Wednesday, July 18, at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County.
  • Get away from it all during a “Ladies-only Kayak Afternoon” on Wednesday, July 25, one of several events just for women at Island Lake Recreation Area in Livingston County.
  • Stay up late and stargaze with other like-minded individuals during one of the “Meteors and S’mores” programs taking place in numerous state parks this summer.

To learn more about all the Recreation 101 offerings, visit For a current list of DNR happenings statewide, visit

In addition to Recreation 101 events taking place across the state, many parks are featuring special events unique to the park and area:

  • Make early reservations for the Friends of the Porkies’ 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, Sunday through Tuesday, Aug. 26-28, featuring folk, blues, bluegrass and contemporary music. Visit
  • Pack up the family, the lawn chairs and blankets, and head to Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County for family movie night starting at 8:45 p.m. every Saturday beginning June 2. Family movies, courtesy of Family Video, will be presented on the 16-foot-wide outdoor projection screen on the lawn near the “Spray by the Bay” spray park. For details, call 989-684-3020.

With hundreds of activities taking place this summer, the DNR encourages visitors to get out and enjoy all that Michigan’s woods and water offer. At the same time, however, DNR officials caution visitors to be aware of weather conditions and their own actions in order to protect our valuable natural resources from wildfire damage. Learn how at

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