The Best Michigan Cities to Visit by Bike

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My wife and I love to mountain bike. We really like the River Trail in Lansing and we also hike the county park trails.

When we travel together or with the kids, we like to bring the bikes so we can explore. Having a bike is an easy way to discover unfamiliar territory, just bring a padlock and lock it to a tree.

Below I have listed some of the best towns in Michigan for biking based on my personal experience.

Marquette

Although it’s a bit of a drive from Lansing, Marquette is an amazing town. Speaking of driving, the drive to Marquette is scenic and you can even stop in Christmas, Michigan to try and win some cash at the casino. I did it; I won $42 and left.

You can visit downtown Marquette if you are curious. There are a ton of options for food and drink.

My wife and I loved the downtown area. There are hills, but don’t let that stop you. That’s why you have gears on your bike. We went to Elizabeth’s Chop House and had a great meal. We also visited 231 West Patisserie. This shop has all kinds of baked goods and we tried the macaroons. It was the first time for me, and I was blown away.

Don’t forget to take the bikes to the water’s edge and hike the water’s edge trail. Great views and vibes await. Bring a sweatshirt, it’s still cold up there.

Town of Mackinaw

Mackinaw City is always fun. There’s plenty to do and sometimes it gets crowded, so a great way to get around is by bike.

Stroll along the waterfront. There is a path that goes directly under the Mighty Mac!

You’ll also want to make time to visit Old Mackinack Point Lighthouse, Colonial Michilimackinac and more! Lock your bike and you’ll be fine. When you’re done, get back on your bike and continue.

With all the fudge you’ll be consuming, it’s a great way to burn calories. While you’re there, hop on the ferry and take your bike with you to the island. We all know cars are not allowed and cycling is a great way to see the island. Watch out for the horses and what they leave on the ground…

Southern Haven

Yes, I love cycling near water. I grew up on Lake Michigan, and it comes naturally.

South Haven is amazing. The journey only takes about 2 hours from Lansing. Grab a cup of coffee and hit the road early. I suggest during the summer months to avoid the traffic. Don’t panic, there will be plenty to do when you get there for the day.

Once there, park your car in any parking lot downtown or on the beach. Get on your wheels and go. Visit one of the beaches. South Beach is cool and closer to downtown South Haven. Otherwise, you can check out North Beach. Either the beach is only a few minutes from the city center by bike. It really depends on how fast you pedal.

Like many towns on the shores of the Great Lakes, South Haven has a lighthouse. Lock up your bikes and take a walk on the pier. The lighthouse has a walkway, one of four that still exist in the state of Michigan. If you’ve never been out on a pier, do it.

I also suggest grabbing some food in downtown South Haven. I used to work at Clementines in St. Joseph, and their food is quality…at least that was 28 years ago. There’s also a Clementine in South Haven. They have perch and onion rings which are beaten by hand and served on a wooden dowel.

Saint Joseph

After filling up South Haven, you can drive down the 196 to St. Joseph. It’s only a 30 minute drive.

I grew up in St. Joe. It’s my playground. When you get there, you can park just about anywhere. Of course you will have to pay, but it is worth it. My suggestion would be to park at Lions Park Beach. If you make it your home base, you can get on your bike and ride.

Head to Silver Beach and dive in. When you’ve finished cooling off, you can lock up your bikes and step out onto the south pier. When I was young, we used to walk from platform to platform; it was awesome. I wouldn’t advise doing that right now.

Once you’re done soaking up the sun and the pier, you can head to downtown St. Joe. The town is located on a cliff and there are plenty of options for food and drink. I mentioned earlier that there is a Clementines in St. Joe. It’s right on the river, and it’s pretty cool. You can also eat at Shu’s on Pleasant Street.

Ludington

Ludington is mean. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ludington, and there’s nothing better than being on Lake Michigan.

If you have an RV, there are plenty of campsites in the Ludington area. I used to camp at Vacation Station. Pond ponchos are cool too. These campgrounds have lots of things to do, and biking is one of them.

Downtown Ludington has plenty of parking, so you can hop on your bike and stroll downtown for a while. Check out all the cool shops, breweries and restaurants. Since you have your bike to ride, might as well grab a scoop or two of ice cream at House of Flavors. You may have to wait; don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Like South Haven and St. Joe, Ludington also has piers. You can walk on the pier to the lighthouse. There is plenty of space to lock your bike.

The SS Badger also calls Ludington home. You might see it on the outward or return trip from Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Ride your bikes up the coast to State Park; this is another fun place to visit if you love the outdoors.

new buffalo

The cool thing about New Buffalo is that you can take the Amtrak to New Buffalo from East Lansing. You can also take it to Jackson. The train stops in New Buffalo and you can take your bike for a fee.

New Buffalo is also a lake port. The city had only 1,613 inhabitants in 2020. In spring, summer and early autumn, this population increases considerably.

Downtown is fun. You can cycle there or explore the marina of Oselka. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can grab a burger from Redamak. They have been a staple in the region for decades.

You’ll find that New Buffalo is a bit more compact than other cities, but that’s fine.

Once you’re done rolling for the day, you can try to win some cash at Four Winds Casino. Good luck!

These are all places I have ridden. What are your favorite cities to explore by bike? Message us on the app and let me know.

WATCH: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pros and cons, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best in which to live. For the knowledge, Stacker consulted WalletHub data, published on June 17, 2020, which compares American beach towns. The ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. Cities ranged from 10,000 to 150,000 people, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read it complete methodology here. From these rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida won’t be surprised to learn that many of the cities featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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