16 Most Fun Things To Do In Indian River, Michigan

Indian River is hidden in northern Michigan along the shores of the expansive Burt Lake. It is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills that offer a serene escape from city life. 

It is also located near Cheboygan County, which is conveniently accessible via major highways and is within driving distance of popular destinations like Mackinaw City and Traverse City.

The history of Indian River, Michigan, is rich and fascinating and attracts approximately 2.3 million visitors each year. Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the area later became a hub for fur trading in the 19th century.

Settlers arrived in the mid-1800s and were drawn by the abundant natural resources and opportunities for logging and farming.

Indian River became a transportation hub with the completion of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad in the late 1800s, linking it to larger cities and markets. 

Today, Indian River is renowned for its picturesque landscapes that offer boating, fishing, hiking, and snowmobiling opportunities. 

Visitors flock to the area year-round to enjoy the scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and fun things to do in Indian River, MI. Additionally, the town hosts events and festivals that celebrate its history and culture, further enhancing its appeal to tourists.

For the ultimate Indian River experience, aim for a visit during the vibrant months of June to August. This period offers warm weather ideal for outdoor adventures like boating and hiking. 

Avoid the chillier months of December to February if you’re not a fan of snow and cold temperatures, although this time is perfect for winter sports enthusiasts seeking snowy thrills.

However, with charming shops, cozy accommodations, and friendly locals, Indian River provides a welcoming atmosphere for visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. 

Whether it’s a leisurely paddle down the river or a thrilling snowmobile ride through the snowy woods, Indian River offers something for everyone that makes it a beloved destination for tourists from near and far.

1) Camp at Burt Lake State Park

Native American tribes inhabited Burt Lake State Park, which became a popular destination for logging and fishing in the late 1800s. 

Camp at Burt Lake State Park

In 1920, the Michigan State Parks Commission acquired the land and officially established it as a state park. Over the years, the park has expanded to over 2,000 acres, encompassing diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and shorelines along Burt Lake. 

Visitors to the park can enjoy various recreational activities such as camping, hiking, swimming, and boating. 

Campers can pitch their tents or park their RVs in spacious campsites among towering trees. Amenities like clean restrooms, hot showers, and picnic areas ensure maximum comfort during your stay. 

For those craving adventure, the park offers hiking trails that wind through lush forests and along the scenic shoreline, perfect for capturing Instagram-worthy moments. 

Water enthusiasts can dive into the crystal-clear waters of Burt Lake for swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding fun. 

The park transforms into a snowy wonderland in winter, inviting visitors to cross-country ski or snowshoe through picturesque landscapes. 

For family-friendly things to do in Indian River, MI, families can gather around crackling campfires under the starry sky, roasting marshmallows and sharing stories. 

With its diverse range of activities and amenities, Burt Lake State Park promises endless excitement and relaxation for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.


6635 State Park Drive, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

2) Enjoy boating at Indian River Marina

Indian River Marina became part of the Dutch and then English colonial territories. In the 19th century, it developed into a hub for fishing and shipping due to its strategic location along the Atlantic coast. 

Enjoy boating at Indian River Marina

The construction of the Delaware Railroad further boosted maritime activities in the region. By the early 20th century, Indian River Marina began catering to recreational boaters and tourists. 

With state-of-the-art docking facilities, boaters can easily moor their vessels and embark on thrilling adventures. 

The marina boasts a fully equipped marina store with everything from snacks to boating essentials, ensuring visitors have all they need for an unforgettable day on the water. 

Fuel up at the convenient fuel dock before setting sail on the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The marina features picnic areas and scenic walking trails for those looking to unwind on land, perfect for enjoying a leisurely afternoon surrounded by nature’s beauty. 

Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines from the pier or charter a boat for an offshore excursion in search of the day’s catch. Additionally, the marina offers kayak and paddleboard rentals for those seeking a more serene water experience.

After a day of adventure, relax and refuel at the onsite restaurant, serving delicious seafood and refreshing beverages with panoramic views of the marina. 

With its amenities, endless recreational opportunities, and top things to do in Indian River, MI, this Marina promises an unforgettable experience for all who visit.


3020 Apple Blossom Road, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

3) Stroll through Cross In The Woods National Shrine

The Cross In The Woods National Shrine, located in Indian River, Michigan, is a prominent Catholic pilgrimage site. Its history traces back to 1952 when Rev. Charles D. Brophy envisioned a towering crucifix to honor World War II veterans and inspire spiritual reflection. 

Stroll through Cross In The Woods National Shrine

The shrine’s centerpiece, a 55-foot tall crucifix, was completed in 1954 and stands as one of the largest in the world. Over the years, the site has expanded to include various sculptures and shrines depicting scenes from the Bible and Catholic tradition. 

At Cross In The Woods National Shrine, you’ll find a range of facilities and outdoor things to do in Indian River, MI, to enhance your visit. 

Start your journey by strolling through the serene woodland trails, perfect for quiet reflection and communing with nature. Feeling hungry? Grab a bite at the on-site café, serving delicious snacks and beverages to energize you. 

Looking for something fun to do? Explore the various sculptures and shrines scattered throughout the grounds, each telling a unique story from the Bible and Catholic tradition. 

Snap some photos with the iconic 55-foot-tall crucifix, a must-see attraction for visitors of all ages. Remember to browse the gift shop for souvenirs and religious items to commemorate your visit.

For those seeking a deeper connection, attend one of the daily mass services held in the shrine’s chapel, which offers a chance for worship and spiritual growth. 

Whether you’re a devout Catholic or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Cross In The Woods National Shrine has something for everyone to enjoy.


7078 Michigan 68, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

4) Experience golfing at Indian River Golf Club

The Indian River Golf Club, located in Indian River County, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in the early 1920s. Originally known as the Indian River Country Club, it was founded by local businessmen and golf enthusiasts. 

Experience golfing at Indian River Golf Club

The club’s picturesque setting amidst lush greenery and serene waterways has attracted golfers for generations. 

Indian River Golf Club boasts top-notch facilities and amenities to make your experience unforgettable. Get ready to tee off on their pristine 18-hole championship course, designed to challenge and delight golfers of all levels. 

Need to sharpen your skills? Swing by their state-of-the-art driving range and putting green for some practice. After a round of golf, kick back and relax in their clubhouse, where you’ll find a cozy lounge area and delicious dining options. 

Craving some fun things to do in Indian River, MI, off the greens? Dip in their sparkling swimming pool or break a sweat in our well-equipped fitness center. 

Bring the kids along for a game of tennis or pickleball on their courts, or enjoy a stroll around our scenic grounds. 

With various amenities catering to every taste, Indian River Golf Club is more than just a golf destination – it’s a haven for relaxation, recreation, and good times with friends and family.


3301 Chippewa Beach Road, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

5) Discover history of Indian River Historical Museum

The Indian River Historical Museum traces its roots back to the early 20th century when residents began collecting artifacts and documents related to the region’s history. 

Discover history of Indian River Historical Museum

Its exhibits cover various topics, including Native American history, pioneer life, agriculture, industry, and military contributions. 

The museum’s collection includes photographs, tools, household items, and other artifacts that provide insights into the daily lives of past inhabitants.

The Indian River Historical Museum offers a variety of facilities and amenities to enhance your visit. Start your journey with a guided tour led by knowledgeable staff members. 

Explore fascinating exhibits showcasing the area’s rich history, from Native American artifacts to pioneer life. Dive into interactive displays that bring the past to life, offering a hands-on experience for visitors of all ages. 

After immersing yourself in history, stroll through the museum’s beautifully landscaped gardens, perfect for relaxation and reflection. 

Check out the museum gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs and locally made crafts to remember your visit. 

Looking for more excitement or the best things to do in Indian River, MI? The museum hosts annual special events, including lectures, workshops, and cultural celebrations. 

Engage with fellow history enthusiasts and learn something new! Whether you’re a resident or a visitor passing through, the Indian River Historical Museum offers something for everyone to enjoy, making it a must-visit destination in Indian River County.


2336 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960, United States

6) Spend an outdoor day at Tuscarora Township Parks Commission

Tuscarora Township Parks Commission traces its origins to the early 20th century when community members began advocating for green spaces and recreational areas. 

Spend an outdoor day at Tuscarora Township Parks Commission

Established officially in the mid-1900s, the commission has played a vital role in developing, maintaining, and enhancing parks within Tuscarora Township. 

Tuscarora Township Parks Commission offers a range of facilities and amenities for visitors to enjoy. You’ll find well-maintained parks boasting lush green spaces, playgrounds, and picnic areas perfect for a day out with family and friends. 

Need some adrenaline? Check out their sports courts and fields where you can shoot hoops, kick a ball, or play a game of volleyball. Explore their scenic trails, ideal for hiking, biking, or simply strolling amidst nature’s beauty. 

You can relax in their peaceful gardens or enjoy a leisurely paddleboat ride on their serene lakes. And when you look for family-friendly things to do in Indian River, MI, join us for exciting events and programs like outdoor movie nights, concerts, and seasonal festivals. 

Are you craving a bite? Take advantage of their convenient picnic areas and fire pits for a delightful outdoor dining experience. 

With something for everyone, the Tuscarora Township Parks Commission invites you to make lasting memories and embrace the great outdoors in style!


5454 South Straits Highway, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

7) Enjoy sweet treats of Drost’s Chocolates

Drost’s Chocolates, founded in 1901, has a rich history of crafting premium chocolates. Starting as a small family business, it quickly gained a reputation for its high-quality products. 

Enjoy sweet treats of Drost's Chocolates

In the 1920s, Drost’s became renowned for its iconic Droste cocoa tin, featuring a memorable image of a nurse holding a tray with a cup of hot chocolate. This packaging innovation contributed to its global recognition. 

Drost’s Chocolates boasts state-of-the-art facilities, creating a sweet haven for chocolate enthusiasts. The sleek, modern factory offers guided tours, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the chocolate-making magic. 

Visitors can witness the meticulous process from bean to bar, indulging in the tantalizing aroma of cocoa.

Beyond the factory, the spacious lounge beckons with plush seating and a curated selection of chocolates. It’s the perfect spot to savor your favorite treats or discover new delights. 

The on-site café elevates the experience, serving artisanal hot chocolates and decadent desserts.

For those seeking interactive fun, their chocolate-making workshops empower guests to craft their delectable creations. Unleash your inner chocolatier and leave with a personalized masterpiece.

Drost’s also hosts seasonal events, transforming the space into a whimsical wonderland. From Easter egg decorating to Halloween chocolate tastings, there’s always a reason to celebrate the joy of chocolate.

Whether you’re a connoisseur or a casual chocolate lover, Drost’s Chocolates promises a delightful blend of innovation, indulgence, and immersive experiences. Unwrap the sweetness!


3676 South Straits Highway, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

8) Show your talent at Aurora B Lounge

The Aurora B Lounge, established in 1955, has a rich history of cultural significance. 

Show your talent at Aurora B Lounge

Over the decades, it became a renowned venue for live music, poetry readings, and art exhibitions, attracting diverse patrons. 

At the Aurora B Lounge, you’ll find a range of facilities and amenities to make your visit unforgettable. 

Chill out in their cozy lounge area, with plush seating and ambient lighting, perfect for relaxing with friends or meeting new people. 

Do you need to refuel? Their onsite café serves delicious coffee, snacks, and refreshing drinks to energize you throughout your stay. 

Join one of their art workshops or open mic nights to showcase your talents and connect with fellow creatives. 

And when you feel competitive, challenge your friends to a game of pool or darts in our game room, where the competition is always fierce, and the fun never ends. 

If you need fresh air, step outside to their courtyard oasis, a hidden gem perfect for soaking up the sun or stargazing under the night sky. 

Whatever you’re into, the Aurora B Lounge has many cheap things to do in Indian River, MI, for everyone to enjoy!


3614 South Straits Highway, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

9) Meet the animals of Indian Creek Zoo

Indian Creek Zoo was established in 1987 by Rod and Connie Soviar. Originally a small petting farm, it gradually expanded into a full-fledged zoo. 

Meet the animals of Indian Creek Zoo

Over the years, the zoo has focused on providing educational experiences while emphasizing conservation efforts and animal welfare. 

It features diverse animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, showcasing exotic species and native wildlife. 

Indian Creek Zoo offers a range of facilities and family-friendly things to do in Indian River, MI, for visitors to enjoy. 

From spacious picnic areas perfect for family gatherings to well-maintained restrooms for your convenience, they’ve got you covered. 

Take a stroll through their beautifully landscaped grounds, where you’ll encounter a variety of animal exhibits showcasing creatures from around the world. 

Get up close and personal with some zoo residents during one of their interactive animal encounters. Are you feeling hungry? Grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe, serving delicious snacks and refreshments to fuel your adventure. 

Remember to stop by the gift shop on your way out, where you’ll find a selection of souvenirs and gifts to remember your visit. 

Check out their special events calendar, featuring activities like animal feedings, keeper talks, and educational workshops. 

Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out with the family, Indian Creek Zoo has something for everyone!


2744 Consear Rd, Lambertville, MI 48144, United States

10) Go hiking Black Mountain Recreation Area

The Black Mountain Recreation Area was known for its coal mining industry and experienced a boom in the 1920s and 1930s, attracting workers from various regions. 

Go hiking Black Mountain Recreation Area

The landscape was transformed by extensive mining operations, leaving behind a network of trails and rugged terrain. 

This recreational site offers opportunities for off-road enthusiasts, including ATV riding, hiking, and camping. The area also boasts diverse wildlife and scenic vistas, attracting outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. 

At Black Mountain Recreation Area, you’ll find various exciting things to do in Indian River, MI, to make your outdoor adventure unforgettable. 

Get revved up with their ATV rentals and hit the trails for an exhilarating ride through rugged terrain. Need a break? Kick back at their cozy campground, with fire pits and picnic areas perfect for roasting marshmallows under the stars. 

Are you feeling adventurous? Lace up your hiking boots and explore miles of scenic trails, where breathtaking views await around every corner. 

Remember to pack your fishing gear and reel in the day’s catch at our stocked fishing ponds. Need a bite to eat? Head to their onsite grill and fuel with delicious burgers and cold drinks. 

And for those seeking a challenge, test your skills on our challenging off-road courses, designed for thrill-seekers of all levels. 

With endless opportunities for fun and excitement, Black Mountain Recreation Area is the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to make memories that last a lifetime.


10999 High Bluffs Dr, Cheboygan, MI 49721, United States

11) Take a break at Fay Martin River Resort

The Fay Martin River Resort, nestled in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, boasts a rich history dating back centuries. 

Take a break at Fay Martin River Resort

The modern incarnation of the Fay Martin River Resort emerged in the mid-20th century, blending ecotourism with conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystem. 

At Fay Martin River Resort, you’re in for a treat with many facilities and fun things to do in Indian River to make your stay unforgettable. 

Kick back in their cozy eco-friendly cabins nestled amidst the lush Amazon rainforest. Dive into relaxation at their sparkling infinity pool, offering stunning views of the river and surrounding jungle. 

You can also indulge your taste buds with delectable cuisine at their onsite restaurant, combining local flavors and international delights.

Adventure awaits around every corner with various fun activities to suit every taste. Embark on exhilarating jungle treks led by experienced guides, where you’ll encounter exotic wildlife and breathtaking scenery. 

Set out on a thrilling river cruise, spotting playful dolphins and colorful birds along the way. For adrenaline lovers, try kayaking or paddle boarding through winding waterways.

Unwind after a day of exploration with a soothing massage at their spa, where expert therapists will relieve your stress. 

As night falls, gather around a crackling bonfire for storytelling and stargazing, immersing yourself in the magic of the Amazon under the canopy of twinkling stars. At Fay Martin River Resort, the adventure never ends!


3247 Club Road, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

12) Enjoy coffee of Chillermania

Chillermania Restaurant emerged in 2008, founded by culinary enthusiasts seeking to blend innovative cuisine with a relaxed ambiance. 

Enjoy coffee of Chillermania

Inspired by global flavors and a passion for chili peppers, it quickly gained a following for its daring dishes and fiery cocktails. By 2012, Chillermania had expanded to multiple locations across major cities, captivating diners with its unique menu and vibrant atmosphere. 

At Chillermania, you’ll find many soothing things to do in Indian River, MI, to make your experience unforgettable. Dive into their spacious chill-out zone, perfect for relaxing with friends or catching up on some reading. 

Need a boost? Head to their caffeine corner for artisanal coffees and energizing teas. Craving a bite? Their kitchen serves a mouthwatering selection of global fusion cuisine, from zesty tacos to sizzling stir-fries. 

Quench your thirst with their signature cocktails, expertly crafted with a dash of spice to tantalize your taste buds. 

Strike a pose in our Instagram-worthy photo booth, complete with props and filters. And when you need a break from the action, relax in their cozy lounge area, with plush seating and ambient tunes. 

With something for everyone, Chillermania is more than just a restaurant—it’s a destination for fun, flavor, and unforgettable memories.


1651 South Straits Highway, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

13) Swim in DeVoe Beach

Native American tribes inhabited DeVoe Beach and became part of the European colonial expansion in the 17th century. 

Swim in DeVoe Beach

It was named after the DeVoe family, who were early settlers in the area. The beach evolved from a serene natural landscape into a popular recreational spot over time. 

Its proximity to the water made it an ideal location for fishing and maritime activities, contributing to the local economy. First, you’ve got primo picnic spots with tables and grills, perfect for chilling with your crew and chowing down on some BBQ. 

And check this out – they’ve got clean restrooms and showers, so no worries about feeling gross after a swim. Plus, there’s ample parking available, making it super convenient to roll up with your gear.

But wait, there are more things to do in Indian River, MI! Dive into the waves for gnarly swimming action, rent a kayak, and explore the incredible coastline. And don’t forget your fishing gear – DeVoe Beach is a hotspot for anglers looking to reel in big catches.

If you’re more into chilling than thrillin’, kick back on the sandy shores and soak up some rays. 

And when hunger strikes, hit the snack bar for some tasty treats to refuel. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, DeVoe Beach has covered you for an epic day under the sun! 


6521 Oak Glen Street, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

14) Plan a picnic at Pigeon River Country State Forest

Pigeon River Country State Forest, located in northern Michigan, has a rich history. Established in 1919, it was initially called the Pigeon River Game Refuge, aimed at protecting the area’s wildlife, particularly the elk population. 

Plan a picnic at Pigeon River Country State Forest

Over time, it evolved into a state forest, encompassing over 100,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Rolling hills, dense forests, and numerous rivers and streams characterize the forest’s landscape. 

It has been a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hunting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation opportunities. The Pigeon River flows through the forest and is renowned for its trout fishing. 

Pigeon River Country State Forest has fantastic amenities like rustic campgrounds with fire pits, picnic areas perfect for chill hangouts, and clean restroom facilities for when nature calls. 

Plus, there are many fun things to do, like hiking epic trails through lush forests, spotting wildlife like majestic elk and colorful birds, and cooling off with a refreshing swim in crystal-clear streams. 

You can also hit the trails on your bike for some adrenaline-pumping mountain biking action or cast your line into the Pigeon River to catch some trophy trout. 

Remember to pack your camera because the scenic views here are Instagram-worthy! And when the sun sets, gather ’round the campfire with friends and family for some s’mores and stargazing under the twinkling night sky. 

Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure seeker, or just looking for a rad outdoor escape, Pigeon River Country State Forest has something for everyone to enjoy. 

So grab your gear, fuel your sense of adventure, and prepare for an unforgettable wilderness experience! 


9966 Twin Lakes Rd, Vanderbilt, MI 49795, United States

15) Walk with Burt Lake Trail

The Burt Lake Trail, located in Northern Michigan, traces its history back to indigenous peoples who used it as a trade route and for hunting and gathering. 

Walk with Burt Lake Trail

Later, during the 19th century, European settlers utilized the trail for transportation and trade, connecting communities around Burt Lake. 

Over time, as transportation methods evolved, the trail fell into disuse but was later revived as a recreational pathway, attracting hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts. 

With well-maintained rest areas and picnic spots along the way, you can take a break and refuel amidst nature’s beauty. Plus, modern amenities like clean restrooms and water stations ensure your comfort throughout the trail. 

Are you looking for cheap things to do in Indian River, MI? The trail is perfect for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding, catering to adventurers. 

Explore lush forests and scenic vistas, and spot some wildlife along the way. Remember your camera to save the stunning views for long lasting memories. 

Need a break from the trail? Nearby towns offer quaint shops, delicious eateries, and charming attractions to explore. 

Whether a stroll or an adrenaline-pumping bike ride, the Burt Lake Trail has something for everyone. So, pack your gear, gather your friends, and embark on an unforgettable outdoor adventure today!


Burt Lake Trail, Burt Township, MI 49716, United States 

16) Book Totem Lodges for cozy night stay

Totem lodges originated among indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, particularly the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes, as communal houses used for ceremonial and social gatherings. 

Book Totem Lodges for cozy night stay

These lodges were constructed from cedar wood and featured intricately carved totem poles depicting family lineage, spiritual beliefs, and cultural stories. 

This place has top-notch facilities, boasting amenities that’ll blow your mind. From an expensive swimming pool to a fully-equipped gym, you’ll live your best life here. 

Feeling hungry? No worries, we’ve got a hipster café serving artisanal coffee and mouth-watering pastries. Need to unwind? Hit up their chill lounge area with cozy sofas and ambient lighting. 

And guess what? We’ve got an epic rooftop terrace where you can soak up some rays and enjoy panoramic city skyline views. 

But wait, there’s more! Get your game on in their state-of-the-art gaming room with the latest consoles and VR gear. Are you feeling adventurous? 

Join one of their guided outdoor excursions, from hiking trails to city bike tours. And remember their happening events calendar, featuring live music gigs, yoga sessions, and cocktail parties. 

So why wait? Experience the ultimate blend of luxury, leisure, and fun here!


4846 South Straits Highway, Indian River, MI 49749, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Indian River, MI

  • Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge & Suites
  • Star Gate Motel
  • Northwoods Lodge
  • Hometown Inn
  • The Landings on the Indian River
  • Big Bear Adventures Lodging