The Best Towns in Michigan to Tour on Your Bike
My wife and I love riding our mountain bikes. We really like the River Trail in Lansing and we also hit trails at county parks too.
When we travel together or with the kids, we love to bring the bikes so we can explore. Having a bike is an easy way to check out unfamiliar territory, just bring a lock and lock it to a tree.
Below I've listed some of the best towns in Michigan to ride your bike in based on my personal experience.
Although it’s a bit of a drive from Lansing, Marquette is an amazing city. Speaking of the drive, the drive to Marquette is scenic and you can even stop in Christmas, Michigan to try to win some money at the casino. I did; I won $42 and walked away.
You can check out the downtown area of Marquette if you’re curious. There are a ton of options for food and beverage.
My wife and I loved the downtown district. There are some 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 macarons. That was the first time for me, and I was blown away.
Don’t forget to take the bikes down to the waterfront and ride the waterfront trail. Great views and vibes await you. Bring a sweatshirt, it’s still cold up there.
Mackinaw City is always fun. There is a lot to do and sometimes it’s busy, so a great way to get around is on your bike.
Ride along the waterfront. There's a the trail that goes directly under the Mighty Mac!
You'll also want to take some time to visit Old Mackinack Point Lighthouse, Colonial Michilimackinac and more! Lock your bike up and you’ll be just fine. When you're done, hop back on your bike and keep going.
With all the fudge you will consume, it’s a great way to burn off the calories. While you are at it, hop the ferry and take your bike with you to the Island. We all know that cars aren’t allowed and a great way to tour the Island is via bike. Look out for horses and what they leave behind on the ground...
Yes, I love riding my bike close to water. I grew up on Lake Michigan, and it comes naturally.
South Haven is amazing. The drive only takes about 2 hours from Lansing. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and hit the road early. I suggest that during the summer months to avoid traffic. No sweat, there will be plenty to do when you get there for the day.
When you get there, park your car at any parking lot in the downtown area or at the beach. Hop on your wheels and get to it. Visit any of the beaches. South Beach is cool and it’s closer to downtown South Haven. Otherwise, you can check out North Beach. Either beach is only minutes away from the downtown area via bike. It really just depends on how fast you peddle.
Like many towns located on the shores of the Great Lakes, South Haven has a lighthouse. Lock your bikes up and take a walk on the pier. The lighthouse has a catwalk—one of only four that still exist in the State of Michigan. If you’ve never walked out on a pier, do it.
I also suggest that you grab some grub in downtown South Haven. I used to work at Clementines in St. Joseph, and their food is quality...at least it was 28 years ago. There is a Clementines in South Haven, too. They have killer perch and onion rings that are hand battered and served on a wooden peg.
After you get your fill of South Haven, you can head on down 196 to St. Joseph. It’s only a 30-minute drive.
I grew up in St. Joe. That’s my stomping ground. When you get there, you can park just about anywhere. Of course, you’ll have to pay, but it’s worth it. My suggestion would be to park at Lions Park Beach. If you make that your home base, you can hop on your bike and ride.
Head up to Silver Beach and take a dip. When you are done cooling off, you can lock your bikes up and walk out on the South Pier. When I was young, we used to walk out on the pier to pier jump; it was a blast. I wouldn’t advise doing that now.
After you're done soaking up the sun and the pier, you could head up to downtown St. Joe. The city sits on a bluff, and there are lots of options for food and beverage. I mentioned earlier that there is a Clementines in St. Joe. It’s right on the river, and it’s pretty cool. You could also eat at Shu’s on Pleasant Street.
Ludington is bad ass. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ludington, and there’s nothing better than being on Lake Michigan.
If you have a camper, there are plenty of campsites in the Ludington area. I used to camp at Vacation Station. Ponchos Pond is cool too. These campgrounds have lots of things to do, and riding your bike is one of them.
Downtown Ludington has plenty of parking, so you can hop on your bike and ride around the downtown area for a while. Check out all the cool shops, breweries and restaurants. Since you have your bike to ride on, you might as well grab a scoop or two of ice cream at House of Flavors. You might have to wait; don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Like South Haven and St. Joe, Ludington also has piers. You can walk out on the pier to the lighthouse. There’s plenty of space to lock your bike up.
The S.S. Badger also calls Ludington home. You might see it on the outbound or inbound trip from Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Ride your bikes up the coast to the State Park; that’s another fun spot to visit if you like the outdoors.
The cool thing about New Buffalo is that you can take the Amtrak to New Buffalo from East Lansing. You can also take it from Jackson. The train stops in New Buffalo, and you can take your bike for a fee.
New Buffalo is also a lakeside port. The city only has a population of 1,613 as of 2020. During the spring, summer and early fall season, that population rises significantly.
The downtown area is fun. You can ride your bike around there or explore Oselka Marina. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can snag a burger at Redamak’s. They’ve been a staple in the area for decades.
You’ll find that New Buffalo is a bit more compact than the other cities, but it’s all good.
Once you’re done riding for the day, you could try to win some money at Four Winds Casino. Good luck!
These are all places I’ve ridden. What are your favorite towns to explore on a bicycle? Send us a message on the app and let me know.