The southern and northern parts of Michigan have different climates, divided roughly around the central section of the Lower Peninsula. In the Upper Peninsula and along the lake shore, weather is more severe. Winters are longer and colder in the north, and summers shorter and milder. There is more precipitation in the upper regions as well, particularly during the long winters. In general, you can expect rain or snow at any time in the year, with a slight peak in April and May.
Summers are the warmest month of the calendar, with daytime highs in the low 80’s (°F) between June and August. There is an average of 30 days with severe thunderstorms per year in Michigan, and occasionally these storms produce tornados. This mainly happens in the far southern portion of the state, where an average of 17 tornados form each season. In the Upper Peninsula, summers are about 10°F cooler and the humidity is lower.
Winters are the most challenging season in Michigan. The Upper Peninsula can turn frigid December through February, when temperatures rarely break the 30°F mark and up to 160 inches of snow can fall. In Detroit, winter temperatures hover around the upper 30’s (°F) during the same period, but are still very cold and uncomfortable. Spring is known as the Mud Season because all the snow melts off in April, making the ground wet and slushy. Though the air starts warming up by the end of April, hikes in the woods are not advised in spring.
Best Time to Visit Michigan
Without question, Michigan’s most beautiful time of year is the fall. Starting in September, fall sees the air cool off and the trees begin to change color. This amazing feat of Mother Nature happens several weeks earlier in the Upper Peninsula so plan your trip accordingly. The colors of the hardwood trees are simply astonishing, making fall one of Michigan’s busiest tourist seasons. It’s not likely to find any hotel bargains between late May and November, the winter and spring, however, are low seasons, with deals often half the price as July rates.