11 Epic Adventure Travel Ideas in Michigan: Kayaking, Dune Rides, ATV, Ice Caves, Winter Rafting

Adventure Travel | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

Epic and inspirational travel ideas for lovers of adventure; embracing everything from wilderness trekking, cycling, ATV adventures, dune rides to winter rafting.  If adventurous travel beckons you: the curious adventurer, the thrill-seeker, the boundary-pusher, then read on! 

Are you ACHING for mind-blowing adventure travel in Michigan?!  Would camping, biking, kayaking, birding, ATV adventures, Silver Lake and ice caves pique your interest? 

Our souls THRIVE on discovering all the crazy, adrenaline pumping activities available in Michigan!  If you have awesome things to add, please let us know!

Isle Royale National Park

Closed November 1 to Mid April to all visitors. Love to travel without hoards of people? Need time to clear your head, put away the phone and relax in a rustic atmosphere? Well, Isle Royale National Park is an Adventure Travel dream destination.

Isle Royale National Park is a remote island cluster of adventure travel in Lake Superior, near Michigan’s border with Canada. It is a peaceful island with dense forests and sparkling lakes and waterways, where moose and wolves roam free.  Enjoy the rugged, isolated island free of the sights and sounds of civilization.  Kayak, hike, bike, fish and relax in peace.


Drummond Island Rugged ATV Adventure

ORV fanatics herald Drummond Island as the off road vehicle (ORV) adventure travel paradise of Michigan.  WHY?

  • There are miles of routes and trails suitable for experts and novices alike. 
  • Exquisite scenic views and lots of wildlife.
  • Availability of food, lodging, entertainment, service, or emergency aid.
  • Ample clear signage indicating location, destination, and points of interest. 

​The ORV trails on Drummond are some of the most scenic and rugged in Michigan. Drummond’s DNR sponsored trail system is the largest closed  loop ORV system in the state. With over 60 miles of ATV trails and 40 miles of ORV routes there is so much to explore!

Drummond island isn't just for ORV's.  The trails are amazing for hiking into the Island's interior to explore or take photographs. 

​Drummond Island’s ORV system contains a wide variety of terrain.  Ride through photo worthy hardwood forests, wide open meadows and occasional short rock climbs. Explore loops that take you near the shore of Lake Huron for some outstanding views.

Click here to learn more about requirements, the trails and the ferry schedule.

  • Pack food, water, first aid and extra tools.  You'll need clean clothing including extra shoes.  
  • Pack some tow hooks!

Kayaking Michigan!

Michigan KayakingMichigan Kayaking

Looking for a great day adventure travel on the river? We've got an awesome list of tried and true kayaking adventures here!  Tubing, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding options are also there!

Camping Michigan

Looking for the best camping adventure travel in Michigan?  Check out these KOA Campgrounds! It's time to get your camping on!  Book a site or two as early as possible at the many Michigan KOA campgrounds.  READ MORE!

The Ultimate: Silver Lake Adventure Travel

Excited to get out on the sand dunes at Silver Lake?  Rent a Jeep, buggy or quad and experience first hand the heart pounding power of the sand dunes! 

If you would rather relax, take photos and experience the dunes with a professional driver, Silver Lake area has a couple outfitters ready to take you out!  

Water sports and camping more your thing?  Silver lake has that too. Click here for tips, ideas and fun photos of Silver Lake.

Green Planet Extreme Adventures

If you are searching for one heck of a gnarly adventure, check out Green Planet Extreme Adventures! Guaranteed to find a tour package that is perfect for your group.

They have biking, kayaking, white water adventure, rowing, paddling shipwrecks, eco tours and so much more!  Their combo tours such as Bike-Row-Brew is fantastic!  

Ice Caves-A Perfect Adventure Travel Destination!

Frey Rd, Deerton, MI 49822

Let me just say I am GIDDY, no, that's an understatement....I'm absolutely VIBRATING with excitement about these Ice Caves located in Eben Junction.  It's a perfect definition of adventure travel!

The Eben Ice Caves, is an unbelievably cool place to visit in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the winter. Located in Eben Junction (see our map below), the cave trail head is about 30 minutes west of Munising.  Caves form when melting snow runs over the edge of the small cliff and freezes. 

Upon arriving at the trail head, you will cross through an open field toward a wooded path.  Plan on lots of snow so dress accordingly.  Be sure to bring water, a hat, gloves and you might want to wear nylon lined pants to stay dry.  The trail is less than a mile and winds through tall trees and over bubbling creeks (if they aren't frozen).

How to Get There From Munising:  After traveling 15 miles on M-94 westbound, turn right on Rock River Road.  In one mile, turn left onto Munising Ave.  In two miles, you will arrive in Eben Junction.  Turn right onto Eben Road.  In 1.5 miles, turn right onto Frey Road.  The trail head is on the right in a half mile.

  • Consider wearing ice cleats as the ice is slippery in and around the caves.
  • Be sure to bring your camera as you will want to photograph the stunning beauty of the caves!  A wide angle is helpful too.

Up Your Adventure Travel with Winter Rafting Excursions

Dan & Melanie Bennett, 311 North Lake Street, East Jordan, MI 49727 (near Charlevoix)

Love rafting?  Thought rafting was reserved only for hot summers?  BAHH! 

I went on a rafting adventure with Jordan Valley Outfitters this past winter and had a blast! If you are a solo traveler, just check their website and join a rafting group.  Super easy!

Jordan Valley Outfitters lead small groups of winter rafting enthusiasts down the beautiful Jordan River December though March.  What an amazing way to view wildlife while expanding your adventure travel experiences.  We saw several deer, hawks and other wildlife!

Be sure to dress accordingly (I wore ski pants as did everyone else) and warm boots and gloves. It's best to dress in layers so you can control your warmth.  Hot packs for your hands or feet also work amazing (I have used them for snowmobiling several times)

Have You Luged?

462 N Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI 49445

How about this for something cool!?  At Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, you can sign up for a 2 1/2 hour "Learn to Luge" session with an instructor to learn the art of the luge.  These unbelievably quick sleds race down icy tracks for a wild thrill. 

Muskegon's track is one of four in the United States and Michigan is cool enough to offer you this rare opportunity!  

Fat Tire Snow Biking

This is sooo cool!  I LOVE riding my bike spring through fall, so I would love to try this!!

Marquette County is the mecca for Fat Tire Snow Biking.  In fact, they have a 906 Polar Roll in mid February with fat-tire races and a big after party.  There are 60 miles of groomed trails for you to ride! 

If you are dying to try this but don't have a fat bike, there are numerous outfitters that rent bikes. 

Lakeshore Bike
505 North Lakeshore Boulevard
Marquette, MI 49855

Flying Moose
351 W Washington St
Marquette, MI 49855
(906) 273-2246

Downwind Sport
514 N. Third Street
Marquette, MI 49855

Quick Stop Bike Shop
1100 North 3rd Street
Marquette, MI 49855

Sports Rack LTD
315 W. Washington Street
Marquette, MI 49855

Fat Tire Trails

  • Marquette's Noquemanon Trail Network
  • Ishpeming's Snow Bike Trail
  • Iron Ore Heritage Trail-47 miles 
  • Keweenaw Peninsula offers the Churning Rapids Snow Bike Trails-northwest of Hancock offer 10 miles of groomed routs
  • Houghton-Michigan Tech Trail system has 20 miles of challenging routes, some are lighted to help you see your path!

Michigan Birding

Michigan has such a vast amount of spectacular bird species!! We are just beginning to learn more about them and saw our first pileated wood pecker this year! It was almost the size of a chicken!!

Remember to Stay Hydrated While Hiking, Biking and Adventuring!

It's so easy to forget to plan for carrying water and staying hydrated!  We have found that utilizing a camelbak day pack is a great way to stay hydrated and feeling strong.

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