Summertime is the best time in Michigan to explore the state.

Summer is in full swing and the best part of living in Michigan is the endless list of things you can do throughout the state. If you love to explore and are an outdoorsy type person, the state parks in Michigan will leave you with no shortage of things to do.

If you plan on exploring the great outdoors in the mitten, here are a few tips and reminders for you. Be sure to pass this on to your friends that don't spend much time outside as well. I can't tell you how many times that I've met up with friends for an outdoor excursion, only to have to help them out because they were totally unprepared. To some people, the following tips are common sense. If you read these and don't think they are common sense, you're that friend that we pack extra for because you don't have a clue.

If you are a killjoy, stay home.

To me, this is the most important rule. If you are going to bitch and complain about the weather, the water being cold, the bugs, or anything like that...stay home. If you know you're not going to have fun, don't ruin it for the rest of us.

Always check the weather.

This one should be a no-brainer. Michigan weather can change in a matter of hours, especially near the lakes. Even if the weather looked great the night before, always be sure to check in the morning as well.

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Be prepared.

If you show up with nothing, you're doing it wrong. At the minimum, always have sunscreen, bug spray, water, and at least a snack to keep you going. A light jacket or hoodie on standby isn't a bad idea either. If you think you'll be walking the trails, I can't stress this enough...leave the damn flip-flops in the car!! You're slowing everyone down. Wear the right shoes.

Clean up after yourself.

Don't leave your garbage behind for someone else to pick up. Find a garbage can and use it. If I see you leave trash somewhere, rest assured that you will find it in or on your car when you get back.

Try a new path.

There are thousands of trails in Michigan. You really don't have to walk the same trail twice if you don't want to. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has over 100 miles of trails alone so be sure to explore.

Don't go MIA, let your friends and family know where you're going.

You are not Les Stroud! If you're exploring the state parks in Michigan, always let people know where you are. Anything can happen and IF something goes wrong, we know where to start the search.

Do a little research.

There are so many things to do, both on land and on the water, throughout Michigan. If you know what park you're going to, you could find something that you've never tried before and need to be prepared for.

Whether it's a day at the beach, golfing, hiking, biking, swimming, etc...a day outside in Michigan does wonders for the soul. Go enjoy yourself!

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