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Michigan Memorial Day Weekend: Things to Do, Events, 5K Races, Celebrations in Michigan

memorial day in michigan : wehre to celebrate memorial day weekend in michigan

Must-See Memorial Day Celebrations in Michigan

Looking for fun and exciting ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend in Michigan? Well, look no further! Michigan has an array of events to honor the memory of those who fought for our country.

From backyard barbeques and 5ks to kids activities and Memorial Day ceremonies, we’re sharing everything you need to know about celebrating Memorial Day in Michigan.

Keep reading if you’re looking for “Memorial Day weekend events near me,” too. We have them across the state!

Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?

Before we begin talking about the different ways to celebrate this memorable holiday, it’s essential to understand why we celebrate Memorial Day in the first place.

Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday for honoring and mourning the soldiers that lost their lives fighting for our country. Memorial Day takes place on the last Monday of May.

The Memorial Day weekend also marks the unofficial start of the summer season as Michigan travel heats up.

There are exciting Memorial Day weekend activities happening all over the state, from St. Joseph to Mackinaw City and beyond.

Read on for our favorite Memorial Day events in Michigan. 

memorial day weekend in michigan

Memorial Day Celebrations in Michigan

Across Michigan, there are plenty of Memorial Day Celebrations to choose from. Michigan has it all, whether you are looking for something active like a 5k, something more laid back such as BBQ, or even something more meaningful like an observance!

Active Outdoor Michigan Memorial Day Celebrations 

Memorial Day MURPH & BBQ
32326 Grand River Ave, Farmington, MI 48336
May 30, 1:30 pm

The Farmington Memorial Day MURPH & BBQ is a great way to get out and be active while having fun and relaxing. A MURPH is a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and then another 1-mile run workout to honor the sacrifice soldiers make for our freedom.

After you complete the training, there will be plenty of food and yard games to continue the celebration. 

Memorial Day Mt. Pisgah Paddle/ Run or Walk/ Paddle- A Tribute to our Veterans
2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424
May 30, 10:00 am 

The Mt. Pisgah Paddle/ Walk or Run/ Paddle for Memorial Day is the perfect active family, fun outdoor celebration in Holland, MI. If you’re a fan of paddle sports, this is the perfect event for you. 

Participants will paddle 1.5 miles during this event, then walk or run 1 mile to paddle another 1.5 miles. The event starts in Lake Michigan along with the North Channel Break to the top of Mt. Pisgah and ends where you begin. There will be a beach pancake breakfast following the last paddle, all in honor of our Veterans.

PRO-TIP: Holland, MI is one of the top Michigan travel desinations,with a beautiful state park and iconic Lake Michigan lighthouse. You’ll want to visit the “Big Red” lighthouse while you’re in town. Bring your camera.

Memorial Day Trail Run 
Presque Isle River Waterfalls Loop Trailhead| Ironwood, MI
May 30, 8:00 am

Presque Isle River fun run or walk is an amazing outdoor event in Ironwood, MI, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. While on your run or walk, you will be able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Presque Isle River and waterfalls that lead out into Lake Superior!

Memorial Day 5k Run/Walk
Harbor Springs, MI
May 30, 8:00 am 

The Harbor Springs Memorial Day 5k takes place before the parade, and the 3-mile race course will take you up along the coast of Lake Michigan through the quaint town of Harbor Springs. 

Memorial Day in Michigan is a beautiful time of year. Be sure and plan some time to take a drive north after the celebration. Michigan’s M-119 Tunnel of Trees is a scenic drive that’s beautiful anytime of the year.

Meaningful Michigan Memorial Day Celebrations 

Fort Mackinac Memorial Day Observance
Mackinac Island, MI 
May 30, 8:00 am

The Fort Mackinac Observance honors the soldiers who served at Fort Mackinac. The ceremony begins with soldiers assembling at Fort Mackinac, where they march to the cemetery and perform a short ceremony along with a 21-gun salute to celebrate Memorial Day in Michigan.

This is one of the most popular Michigan Memorial Day weekend events, if you can make it to Mackinac Island for Memorial Day, you’ll find it a very touching tribute.

If you decide to visit Mackinac Island for this tribute, use our Guide to the Best Mackinac Island Hotels to find a place to stay.

Ionia Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony 
100 W Main St, Ionia, MI
May 30, 10:00 am

Enjoy a spectacular parade in downtown Ionia followed by a special ceremony at the Ionia County Courthouse. The ceremony commemorates the men and women who fought and have died fighting for our country. 

Best Bookstores in Michigan

The long Memorial Day Weekend is also a great time to visit one of Michigan’s Best Bookstores!

Michigan memorial day celebrations

Fun and Laid Back Michigan Memorial Day Celebrations 

Memorial Weekend Mud Bog
3083 Kettle Lake Rd, Kalkaska, MI
May 28 at 10:00am to May 30 at 6:00pm

Kalkaska is hosting its first-ever Annual Memorial Day Weekend of mud, food, and fun. Enjoy a weekend filled with getting fifthly while honoring fallen soldiers and making memories to last a lifetime. The weekend celebrations end Monday night with an honorary pig roast! 

Memorial Weekend Backyard BBQ
6680 Bunton Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
May 26-30

Detroit/ Ann Arbor KOA Holiday is throwing a backyard BBQ all Memorial Weekend long! Come and enjoy some delicious barbeque, lawn games, and even the chance to win 1st place in the barbeque/grilling skill competition at this family-friendly event!

Stormcloud Memorial Day Party at The Taproom 
366 Parkview Lane Frankfort, MI, 49635
May 30, 3:00- 8:00 pm

Stormcloud Brewing Company of Frankfort, Michigan, is throwing a party to kick start the summer.At this event, you will be able to enjoy live music, lawn games, local food trucks, and plenty of beer to go around.

The event takes place outdoors in downtown Frankfort, one of the top Michigan beachtowns. You’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of Northern Michigan in the summer just blocks from stunning Lake Michigan beaches. There is no party like a Northern Michigan Party!

memorial Day parade- things to do in Michigan on memorial day

Michigan Memorial Day Parades

Plymouth Memorial Day Parade
Downtown Plymouth, MI 48170  

Charming Plymouth Michigan honors its veterans annually with one of the biggest Memorial Day parades in metro Detroit. Parade-goers line the streets to pay homage to the local veterans in this popular parade featuring local bands, veteran’s groups and more.

St. Joseph Memorial Day Parade
Park and Lake Streets, St. Joseph, MI 49085
May 30 from 12 – 1 p.m.

What better place to honor our veterans than beautiful St. Joseph, MI?  This patriotic parade runs along Lake Street, parallel to the Lake Michigan coastline. Follow the parade to the bandshell, for a short program honoring those who fought for our country.

Among the celebrations listed above, Michigan also has several fantastic Memorial Day parades across the state. You can check those out in our Guide to Michigan Memorial Day Parades.

If you’re looking for more things to do in May in Michigan, be sure and use our Michigan May Events Calender.

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About The Author ~

Emily Lance is a Content Creator for She grew up in the small town of Dexter, Michigan, just outside of Ann Arbor, and is currently attending Michigan State University, where she majors in Journalism with a focus in Sports journalism and Media Relations and a minor in Media Photography. Emily has also loved writing and taking photographs/videos of her surroundings and travels. Emily loves to explore new places, kayak, ski, and go boating in her free time.