16 Most Fun Things To Do In Clare, Michigan

For many tourists seeking a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, Clare, emerges as a hidden gem in the heart of Michigan. Moreover, this charming town addresses the need for tranquility and authentic rural experiences.

Clare’s history, dating back to the mid-1800s, weaves a captivating narrative that beckons travelers as it was originally a logging community that flourished as a railway town and agricultural hub. The town’s roots run deep, evident in its well-preserved historic architecture and a vibrant downtown, where time seems to have stood still.

However, Clare is more than a historical relic because it is celebrated for the allure of its surroundings, boasting abundant lakes, woodlands, and outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, embark on fishing expeditions in the numerous lakes, or simply bask in the tranquil ambiance of Amish country.

But what truly sets Clare apart is its world-famous Cops and Doughnuts bakery, owned and operated by local police officers, which draws tourists from near and far. This quirky attraction and the town’s welcoming community spirit make Clare an irresistible destination.

In Clare, tourism isn’t about crowded attractions or fast-paced itineraries; it’s about reconnecting with the essence of small-town America, savoring homemade doughnuts, and cherishing the simplicity and warmth that Clare, Michigan, offers. Clare is famous for tourism, providing a peaceful escape and genuine experiences that leave lasting memories.

Clare, Michigan, experiences a temperate climate with the best months to visit are typically from late spring to early fall, particularly May to September. The weather is pleasant during this period, with warm temperatures and low precipitation, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the city’s attractions.

With its historical charm, cultural events, and natural beauty, Clare, Michigan, continues to be a cherished destination for tourists seeking a blend of history, culture, and outdoor adventure.

1) Cops & Doughnuts Bakery

Founded in 2009 in Clare, Michigan, by nine police officers, Cops & Doughnuts Bakery has a fascinating origin story. These officers were determined to save the historic Clare City Bakery from closing its doors. 

Cops & Doughnuts Bakery

Their dedication led to the bakery’s revival, earning it the endearing name “Cops & Doughnuts.” The bakery has become an iconic symbol of community engagement and goodwill, famous for Doughnuts and pastries. 

Visitors can enjoy a rustic interior with memorabilia from the city’s police force, creating a nostalgic ambiance that boasts a wide selection of delectable pastries, including their famous doughnuts, bread, and cookies. They even offer gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions.

Cops & Doughnuts Bakery caters to its patrons’ needs with various things to do in Clare, MI. Ample indoor and outdoor seating is perfect for savoring your treats and freshly brewed coffee.

Free Wi-Fi is available, making it an ideal spot for remote work or catching up with friends while indulging in delicious baked goods.

Beyond the mouthwatering treats, Cops & Doughnuts Bakery offers a range of fun activities that includes events like live music performances, doughnut decorating workshops, and police-themed merchandise for sale. 

The bakery also organizes tours that provide insight into its history, allowing visitors to learn about the remarkable journey from a struggling bakery to a beloved community institution.


521 N McEwan St, Clare, MI 48617, United States

2) Pere Marquette Rail-Trail

The Pere Marquette Rail Trail, steeped in history, offers a delightful blend of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration. Originally a railway corridor dating back to the late 1800s, this trail stretches over 30 miles through the heart of Michigan. 

Pere Marquette Rail-Trail

As you traverse its well-maintained path, you’ll be enchanted by the scenic beauty of lush forests, tranquil rivers, and charming small towns along the way. 

The trail is adorned with historical markers, recounting the fascinating stories of its past, from logging and mining to the rise of rail travel. 

Numerous things to do in Clare, MI, such as picnic areas, restrooms, and parking, make it accessible. Cyclists and hikers can revel in the well-paved route, while equestrians have designated trails. 

The Pere Marquette Rail-Trail map beckons adventure enthusiasts with birdwatching, fishing, and wildlife-spotting opportunities. 

In the winter, it transforms into a snowmobiler’s paradise. Whether you’re seeking a stroll, an invigorating bike ride, or an educational journey through history, this trail offers an enchanting experience. 


Pere-Marquette Rail-Trail of Mid-Michigan, Clare, MI, United States 

3) Herrick Recreation Area

Herrick Recreation Area trails were originally a farmstead that pays homage to a local conservationist who played a pivotal role in its creation. Visitors can explore this history through interpretive signs and exhibits scattered throughout the park.

Herrick Recreation Area

Herrick Recreation Area offers impressive facilities and things to do in Clare, MI, to cater to diverse interests that includes picnic areas with shelters, perfect for family gatherings, complemented by BBQ grills and ample parking. 

Clean restroom facilities, drinking fountains, and picnic tables ensure a comfortable stay. For those seeking more active pursuits, the park features a playground for children and basketball courts for sports enthusiasts.

Birdwatchers can spot various local and migratory species, while photographers can capture the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, Herrick Recreation Area hosts seasonal events, providing entertainment for the whole family.

Nature lovers can explore the diverse flora and fauna within the park, with interpretive nature trails offering informative signage.

Fishing is a favorite pastime here, so that anglers can try their luck from the fishing pier or rent boats for a more immersive experience.


6320 E Herrick Rd, Clare, MI 48617, United States

4) Firefly Golf Links

Firefly Golf Links, nestled in the picturesque countryside, boasts a rich history from 1960 when it opened its doors to golf enthusiasts. Since then, it has evolved into a premier golf destination with an excellent reputation.

Firefly Golf Links

The facility is a golfing paradise, featuring an 18-hole championship course designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. This meticulously designed course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels. 

Immaculately maintained fairways wind through lush greenery and natural water features, providing stunning vistas at every turn.

The clubhouse exudes warmth and elegance, with a restaurant serving delectable cuisine, making it the perfect place to unwind after a round. The pro shop has top-of-the-line equipment and apparel, ensuring golfers can access the latest gear.

Beyond golf, Firefly offers various recreational activities and things to do in Clare, MI that includes tennis courts, swimming pools, and a fitness center cater to those seeking more than just golf. Families can enjoy picnics in scenic spots while kids revel in the playground.

Throughout the year, Firefly Golf Links events, including tournaments, clinics, and social events, foster a tight-knit community of golf enthusiasts. The course’s natural beauty is also a draw for weddings and special occasions.

It is not merely a golf course but a destination for leisure and camaraderie for visitors. Its storied history, top-notch facilities, and diverse amenities make it a captivating choice for anyone seeking an unforgettable golfing experience.


Clare, MI 48617, United States

5) Clare County Historical Museum

The Clare County Historical Museum’s history is a treasure trove, offering a rich and engaging experience for visitors of all ages that is located in the heart of Clare County as a testament to the region’s vibrant past.

Clare County Historical Museum

The museum’s modern and well-maintained facilities provide visitors with a comfortable and educational environment. Upon arrival, you’ll find ample parking, including accessible spaces for seating and picnicking. 

The main building features climate-controlled exhibit halls, ensuring the preservation of artifacts for future generations to enjoy. Restrooms and seating areas are conveniently scattered throughout, making your visit comfortable and enjoyable.

Knowledgeable and friendly staff members are on hand to answer questions and offer insights into the exhibits. Additionally, there’s a gift shop where you can purchase unique souvenirs and historical books related to the area.

The museum offers interactive exhibits catering to adults and children, providing fun things to do in Clare, MI. Explore the history of Clare County through engaging displays, multimedia presentations, and hands-on activities. 

You can step back as you wander through meticulously recreated historical scenes with period-accurate furnishings.

For families, the museum hosts special events and educational programs that are both entertaining and informative. Kids can enjoy scavenger hunts and craft workshops and even dress up in period costumes for memorable photo opportunities.

Come and discover the vibrant history of Clare County in a fun and educational way at this remarkable museum.


Arthur’s Row, Clonroad Beg, Ennis, Co. Clare, V95 EC92, Ireland

6) Jay’s Sporting Goods

Jay’s Sporting Goods outdoor gear is a renowned retail destination with a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1971. Located in Clare, Michigan, it has evolved into a sprawling complex spanning 88 acres, offering various amenities and fun things to do in Clare, MI for outdoor enthusiasts.

Jay's Sporting Goods

Their commitment to customer satisfaction and top-notch products has been the cornerstone of their success.

Jay’s Sporting Goods shopping boasts a massive retail store with over 100,000 square feet of retail space. It’s a one-stop shop for all things outdoors, housing a vast selection of firearms, fishing gear, camping equipment, and more. 

They also have an indoor archery range, firearms range, and a service center for equipment maintenance. Visitors can take advantage of an RV park with full hookups for those looking to camp, a comfortable lounge area for relaxation, and a cafeteria-style restaurant serving delicious meals.

Beyond shopping, you can practice your archery skills at their indoor range or sharpen your shooting abilities at the firearms range. 

Jay’s Sporting Goods is more than just a store; it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, making it a must-visit destination for anyone passionate about the great outdoors. Whether you’re shopping for gear or seeking adventure, Jay’s has it all.


8800 S Clare Ave, Clare, MI 48617, United States

7) Whitehouse Restaurant

The Whitehouse Restaurant reviews make it compelling, steeped in history and a picturesque setting; it offers a delightful dining experience combining tradition and modernity. Established in 1935, it has been a cornerstone of culinary excellence for generations.


The restaurant’s facilities are a testament to its commitment to comfort and elegance. The main dining area exudes a timeless charm with its classic decor, while private banquet rooms cater to special occasions. 

The garden terrace, adorned with lush greenery, provides an enchanting outdoor option. Impeccable service, a well-curated wine cellar, and a diverse Whitehouse Restaurant menu featuring classic and innovative dishes ensure an unforgettable dining experience. 

Beyond the delectable dining, there are numerous fun things to do in Clare, MI, to enjoy here. Live jazz performances on weekends set the perfect mood for an evening out.

For history enthusiasts, the White House Restaurant’s walls are adorned with vintage photographs and memorabilia, telling the story of its evolution over the decades. 

Whether you’re a history buff or a food connoisseur, this establishment offers an inviting space where time-honoured traditions meet contemporary delights. Come and savor the legacy at the Whitehouse Restaurant.


613 N McEwan St, Clare, MI 48617, United States

8) Wilson State Park

Wilson State Park trails were established in 1966, surrounding the dazzling 9,000-acre Wilson Reservoir and has become a recreational haven originally constructed for flood control and water supply.

Wilson State Park

Visitors can choose from various Wilson State Park camping options, including modern campgrounds with electric hookups, primitive campsites, and cabins overlooking the serene lake. 

Well-maintained restrooms and showers ensure camper comfort with relaxing things to do in Clare, MI. Additionally, the park features a marina for boating and fishing enthusiasts, complete with a boat ramp and fish-cleaning station.

Picnic areas with breathtaking lake views are ideal for family gatherings that also boast a swimming beach, perfect for cooling off on hot summer days. Hiking and biking trails wind through the park, allowing guests to explore the scenic Flint Hills terrain.

Anglers can enjoy casting their lines to catch catfish, bass, and crappie while birdwatchers flock to the park to spot various avian species.

Wilson State Park regularly hosts interpretive programs, educational workshops, and outdoor events, making it an excellent destination for learning about the area’s natural beauty and cultural history.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, Wilson State Park offers something for everyone. Come and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of this Kansas gem.


912 N 1st St, Harrison, MI 48625, United States

9) Snow Snake Ski & Golf

Snow Snake Ski & Golf is a charming year-round recreational destination nestled in Harrison, Michigan, offering an array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Established in 1949, it boasts a rich history of providing exhilarating adventures for generations of visitors.

Snow Snake Ski & Golf

Snow Snake Ski & Golf features well-maintained ski slopes, including beginner-friendly runs and challenging black diamond trails. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment, ensuring optimal conditions throughout the winter season. 

The golf course beckons in the summer with its lush fairways and scenic vistas offering a cozy lodge with a rustic ambiance and a fireplace, perfect for unwinding on the slopes or the golf course after a day. 

Additionally, the resort provides equipment rentals and professional instructors, making it accessible for all skill levels.

With various slopes catering to all skill levels and providing fun outdoor things to do in Clare, MI, Snow Snake is a winter wonderland for those seeking thrills on the snow.

During the summer, golfers can tee off amidst the picturesque landscape, surrounded by forests and pristine greens. Snow tubing lanes excite families and groups looking for a different winter adventure.

You can also enjoy exploring the surrounding woodlands on hiking trails that offer a chance to connect with nature. Moreover, throughout the year, the resort hosts various events, from ski races to golf tournaments, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening.


3407 E Mannsiding Rd, Harrison, MI 48625, United States

10) Gateway Lanes & Lounge

Gateway Lanes & Lounge, a prominent entertainment hub, boasts a rich history, amenities and fun things to do in Clare, MI, making it an attractive destination for fun-seekers. 

Gateway Lanes & Lounge

The facility is a state-of-the-art bowling alley with a retro ambiance, featuring a stunning array of lanes equipped with cutting-edge technology, ensuring a top-notch bowling experience for enthusiasts of all skill levels. 

The alleys are meticulously maintained for a detailed lounge experience, providing a perfect backdrop for friendly matches, league competitions, and even cosmic bowling nights that light up the lanes in vibrant colors.

Beyond bowling, Gateway Lanes & Lounge offers diverse amenities to entertain visitors. There’s a well-equipped arcade with classic and modern games, perfect for gamers of all ages. 

You can also find billiard tables, a sports bar with large screens for catching the latest games, and a cozy lounge area to unwind between activities.

One of the standout features is their delectable on-site dining options that can soothe your taste bud exceptionally. The restaurant serves mouthwatering dishes, from gourmet burgers to hand-tossed pizzas, ensuring no one leaves hungry. And if you’re planning a special event or celebration, they have private party rooms for rent.

Whether you’re a serious bowler or just looking for a fun night out, this venue has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination in the community.


1410 N McEwan St, Clare, MI 48617, United States

11) Doherty Hotel

The Doherty Hotel dining, a historic gem in Clare, Michigan, boasts a rich history dating back to its inception in 1924. This charming establishment has evolved over the decades into a premier destination for travelers seeking a blend of nostalgia and modern comfort.

Doherty Hotel

The hotel’s history is steeped in tradition and famous Doherty Hotel events, hosting countless dignitaries and celebrities. It’s timeless architecture and elegant décor pay homage to its heritage, creating a unique ambiance that transports guests to a bygone era.

Guests can unwind in the tastefully appointed rooms and suites, each equipped with modern conveniences. The hotel’s dining options are a culinary delight, featuring a restaurant serving gourmet cuisine and a cozy bar where patrons can enjoy signature cocktails.

For those seeking leisure and recreation, the Doherty Hotel is good and has a lot of things to do in Clare, MI. The fitness center, pool, and spa facilities ensure guests can maintain their wellness routines while relaxing. The hotel also features event spaces, making it a sought-after venue for weddings and conferences.

The Doherty Hotel’s enduring charm, luxurious amenities, and proximity to exciting activities make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking a blend of history and modern comfort.


604 N McEwan St, Clare, MI 48617, United States

12) Shamrock Park

Shamrock Park’s playground history dates back to its inception as a natural green space in the city’s heart. The park boasts an array of top-notch facilities, including well-maintained walking and biking trails, perfect for nature enthusiasts and fitness lovers. 

Shamrock Park

Shamrock Park picnicking is equipped with grills and invites families and friends to enjoy outdoor dining. Additionally, a spacious playground offers hours of entertainment for children.

For those seeking leisure and outdoor things to do in Clare, MI, Shamrock Park provides serene ponds for fishing and serene picnicking areas shaded by ancient trees. 

Birdwatching enthusiasts can spot various avian species among the trees and waters. The park’s tranquil atmosphere encourages meditation and yoga practice, fostering mindfulness.

During the summer, the park comes alive with live music performances and community events, creating a vibrant atmosphere for all. It’s also an excellent place for seasonal festivals and art exhibitions showcasing local talent.

Whether you’re strolling along the scenic trails, casting a line into the ponds, or simply enjoying a peaceful afternoon with loved ones, Shamrock Park provides a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


404 Wilcox Pkwy, Clare, MI 48617, United States

13) Clare County Fairgrounds

The history of the Clare County Fairgrounds events dates back to its establishment in the late 1800s, making it one of the oldest fairgrounds in Michigan. 

Clare County Fairgrounds

It has served as a hub for agricultural exhibitions, live entertainment, and community gatherings. Over the years, it has evolved to cater to modern needs while preserving its rich heritage.

The Clare County Fairgrounds facilities include spacious exhibition halls, livestock barns, and a grandstand for thrilling events. These venues host various activities, from livestock shows and rodeos to art exhibitions and trade expos. 

Amenities abound, with concessions offering delicious fair treats and picnic areas for relaxed dining. Clare County Fairgrounds camping also features playgrounds for children, ensuring family-friendly fun.

Fun is in no short supply here. The Clare County Fair is a highlight, showcasing the talents of residents in various competitions. The fair also offers carnival rides, games, and live music, making it a memorable experience for all ages. For those seeking outdoor adventure, the fairgrounds provide ample space for recreational activities like hiking and picnicking.

Whether attending a lively event or simply exploring the grounds, this cherished venue remains vital to Clare’s cultural heritage, promising enjoyable experiences for years.


418 Fairlane St, Harrison, MI 48625, United States

14) Clare Railroad Depot

Constructed in 1890, the Clare Railroad Depot Tours was a vital transportation hub during the golden age of railroads. Its picturesque Queen Anne architectural style is a testament to the craftsmanship of that era. The depot played a pivotal role in the region’s growth, facilitating the movement of goods and people.

Clare Railroad Depot

The Clare Railroad Depot history has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Visitors can return in time as they wander through the beautifully preserved waiting rooms with vintage furnishings and period-accurate décor. 

The depot also houses a museum, where exhibits vividly depict the railroad’s influence on Clare’s development. You’ll find informative guided tours led by passionate historians who breathe life into the stories of the past. 

Additionally, there’s a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and memorabilia to remember your trip. For a dose of nostalgic things to do in Clare, MI, take a short ride on the historic turntable, allowing you to experience the railway’s mission up close. 

Families with children will love the interactive exhibits, offering hands-on learning experiences. Picnic tables and green spaces around the depot make it ideal for a leisurely outdoor lunch.

It’s a place offering an educational and enjoyable experience for all ages. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a charming day trip, this historic gem in Clare, Michigan, is a destination you will want to take advantage of.


201 W 4th St, Clare, MI 48617, United States

15) Clare City Park

Since its founding in 1913, Clare City Park playground has had a storied past. Originally, it served as a gathering place for residents and a venue for cultural events. Over the years, it has been lovingly preserved and expanded, retaining its historical charm while adding modern amenities.

Clare City Park

Baseball and softball fields, a disc golf course, and a skate park for sports enthusiasts are the top attractions of this place. The pavilion is a popular spot for community events and social gatherings.

Clare City Park’s picnicking area boasts amenities designed for convenience and comfort. Well-kept restrooms and ample parking make visits hassle-free. The park is also handicap accessible, ensuring inclusivity for all.

Visitors can partake in many activities and fun things to do in Clare, MI. Nature enthusiasts can explore scenic walking trails and birdwatchers or simply relax by the serene lake.

Fishing is a favorite pastime here, with anglers trying their luck for bass and panfish. Children will delight in the playground, while the splash pad provides refreshing entertainment on hot summer days.

The park hosts various events throughout the year, from live music concerts to community festivals and seasonal celebrations. These events foster a strong community and create cherished memories for attendees.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation in a natural setting or engaging in recreational activities, this park has something to offer everyone, ensuring an enjoyable and memorable experience.


Clare, MI 48617, United States

16) Farwell Area Historical Museum 

History enthusiasts will be delighted by the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that chronicle the area’s development from its early days to the present.   

Farwell Area Historical Museum 

The exhibits showcase the region’s agricultural heritage, early settlers, and the evolution of local industries. The facilities at the museum are well-maintained and visitor-friendly, with ample parking and wheelchair accessibility. 

Knowledgeable staff and volunteers are on hand to provide guided tours and answer questions, enhancing the overall experience of Farwell Area Historical Museum exhibits.

For those seeking historical things to do in Clare, MI, the museum boasts a charming gift shop where you can find unique souvenirs and books related to local history. There are also picnic areas and green spaces for a relaxing outdoor break, making it a perfect destination for families and groups.

Interactive exhibits engage visitors of all ages. Children can enjoy scavenger hunts and hands-on activities, fostering a love for history.

Do you want to know about Farwell Area Historical Museum history? The museum frequently collaborates with local schools, making it an excellent educational resource for students. It offers a window into the past, fostering a deeper appreciation for the community’s roots.

Its rich history, well-maintained facilities, knowledgeable staff, and engaging activities make it a must-visit destination in Michigan, inviting visitors to explore and celebrate the region’s vibrant heritage.


221 W Main St, Farwell, MI 48622, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Clare, MI

These hotels offer a comfortable and convenient stay in Clare, MI, with amenities like well-appointed rooms, friendly staff, and proximity to local attractions. Guests can expect a relaxing experience, making them suitable choices for business and leisure travelers.

  • Doherty Hotel – Clare, MI
  • AmericInn by Wyndham Clare
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Clare
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Mt. Pleasant
  • Hampton Inn Mt. Pleasant
  • Super 8 by Wyndham Mt. Pleasant