Did you finish your outdoor summer bucket list?
Didn’t have time to complete all those fun activities you planned this summer? Check out these ideas and resources for summer activities that can continue in the fall.
Summer is nearly over, which means back to school, cooler weather, autumn colors and reflecting back on summer. Did you complete the list of outdoor activities you wanted to do this past summer? Did you fish more or ride your bike? Were the travel plans you hoped to go on accomplished? Or did you camp less than you planned or not have a chance to hike that trail you always wanted to?
Whether you have a lot of things left on your list or just a few more to check off, it’s not too late! Though the long days of summer are over, it doesn’t mean you can’t fit some “summer” activities into your fall schedule. Autumn offers many wonderful opportunities to get outside to enjoy the outdoors.
Hiking is a popular activity that requires little equipment investment and can be done almost anywhere. Though also great to do in summer, the cooler autumn weather will make hiking very comfortable, with far less insects to bother you! Michigan offers a plethora of locations to hike, ranging from beginner to challenging. Popular hiking locations include Porcupine Mountains State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and North Country Trail, as well as the Hiawatha, Huron-Manistee and Ottawa National Forests. If you’re a beginner, look for a river trail as they are generally more level and gradual while offering beautiful scenery and a great opportunity to see wildlife. In addition to hiking, many of these trails also accommodate bicycling for those of you who prefer a two-wheel adventure! For easy reference and planning, visit the Every Trail website, which highlights many of the state’s trails.
Fall fishing is also as enjoyable as summer fishing and you may even find there is less competition for that good fishing hole. Fish are still eager to bite but fishing tactics change as fish begin a different pattern in preparation for living below ice. Try different lures but worms are always a reliable bait choice. Fall also offers an opportunity to catch different fish, such as salmon and steelhead, along with the usual staples of pan fish and bass. Consider sharing the joy of fishing with one or two young people and see the excitement it brings to them. Project FISH is a valuable 4-H program that can help you introduce fishing for pleasure and fun.
Another common summer activity that is also fun in the fall is camping. Autumn is a great time to camp since the cooler, less humid nights allow for easy sleeping and there are often less insects around outdoors. In addition, there are fewer people at the campgrounds, offering you a better choice of sites and fewer crowds during your daytime activities. The nighttime fires during fall camping will also have a warmer feel! Try this treat at your next campfire as an alternative to s’mores: place a fire-roasted caramel chunk and a piece of milk chocolate between two Ritz crackers. Squeeze together without breaking and allow it to cool a little before enjoying! You will find it is not as sweet as a s’more and not as messy.
Camp, bike, fish or hike, there is lots to do in fall as an extension of the summer season. Don’t be discouraged that you didn’t do all the activities you wanted to during the summer. Fall is a great time of year to experience those outdoor pursuits that were left out during summer. So get off the couch and get out there!
Michigan State University Extension offers many of these same activities through club, state or county-sponsored events. Check the MSU Extension events calendar for upcoming events near you. In addition, the Michigan 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge program offers a way to connect youth to the outdoors while building valuable life skills.