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Michigan might surprise you with how many great hang gliding spots the state has. Learn everything about where to hang glide in Michigan in this guide.
If you’re planning a hang gliding trip, you’re probably thinking somewhere out west or on the coast, right? Great weather, great views, great idea. But don’t discard some of the other states you might not immediately think about when you consider going gliding. What about Michigan? Are there any good places to go hang gliding there?
The best hang gliding companies and launch sites in Michigan include the Green Point Flyers Association, The Draachen Fliegen Soaring Club, West Shore Aviation, Traverse City Hanggliders, Warren Dunes State Park, Cloud 9 Field, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Michigan is a great place to go hang gliding. With its many beautiful locations, it's hard to choose just one spot! In this article, we will discuss the best hang gliding spots in Michigan. We'll talk about the views you can expect to see, the weather conditions you should expect, and what else you can do in the area. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!
We know what to look for in a good hang gliding launch site because we’re avid hang gliding pilots ourselves. So when we share a list of the best gliding spots with you, you’ll know that everything you read is legit. By combining our own experience with input and discussions from other enthusiasts that have visited Michigan, we can truly give you the hang gliding spots you’re looking for.
Can You Go Hang Gliding in Michigan?
As part of our journey to put together a comprehensive guide of the best locations in all 50 states, we decided to head to the Upper Peninsula and check out the state of Michigan. Sure, it’s not known for its warm temperatures and views that are to die for, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few hidden gems in the state. To answer your first question, you absolutely can go hang gliding in Michigan!
But should you? I’ll also answer that one with a resounding yes! Michigan has great weather for much of the year (before winter hits), and it actually has some incredible views that are worth checking out. Let’s talk about the weather first.
If you’re looking to go hang gliding in Michigan, the best time to do it is during the spring and summer months. The weather is usually pretty good during this time, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low 80s. However, it can get pretty windy at times, so you’ll want to check the conditions before heading out. Fall and winter are a bit trickier, as the temperatures can drop below freezing and the winds can be pretty strong.
Other than the weather, there are some incredible views that you can take in while hang gliding in Michigan. The state has a surprising number of different landscapes and terrains, from forests and lakes to dunes and cliffs. No matter where you go in Michigan, you’re sure to find some amazing views.
Where to go Hang Gliding in Michigan
Now that we’ve answered the question of whether or not you can go hang gliding in Michigan, let’s talk about some of the best places to do it. We'll start off by looking at a few companies around the state that you can go gliding with, and then we'll dive into some specific places in Michigan that you can launch and vault yourself up into the skies.
Let's get to it.
Green Point Flyers Association — Frankfort/Elberta
Up first on our list is an organization that is based in the Frankfort-Elberta area, which are two small towns located on the west side of Michigan. The Green Point Flyers Association is located near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which should give you an idea of the type of scenery and views that you can expect while hang gliding in this area. In fact, we'll touch on this particular site later in this article.
The Green Point Flyers Association is a great place to start if you’re new to hang gliding, as they offer lessons and training for those who want to learn how to fly. If you want to fly on your own, you must be licensed because it's a private club that only allows licensed pilots to take off within the area. But the public is free to watch and as mentioned, even take lessons with certified instructors.
So if you're ever in the Frankfort/Elberta area and want to go hang gliding, be sure to check out the Green Point Flyers Association.
The Draachen Fliegen Soaring Club — Webberville
Next up on our list is the Draachen Fliegen Soaring Club, which is located in Webberville, Michigan. The club is situated on a hill that provides pilots with some great lift, which is perfect for those who want to stay in the air for a while. The gently sloping hills in the area are also great for learning how to launch your hang glider from the ground, which is the most common way to take off.
The views from this spot are also incredible, as you can see for miles no matter which direction you look. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Lansing Capitol Building and the surrounding city area, which is located about 20 miles away. It's a beauteous sight to see while you're up in the air!
Draachen Fliegen Soaring Club is open year-round, but the best time to come fly is during the spring and summer months when the weather is more stable. However, if you’re looking for a challenge, you can also come to fly in the fall and winter months when the winds are stronger. Just watch out for the frigid winter temperatures, which will be a recurring theme throughout this article!
In addition to hang gliding, there are also plenty of other activities to do in the Webberville area. If you’re looking for a place to stay, there are several camping options nearby. And if you want to explore other parts of Michigan, the city of Lansing is only a short drive away from where you'll be gliding.
West Shore Aviation — Ludington
Coming up next on our list of the best hang gliding companies in Michigan is West Shore Aviation in Ludington! This company is perfect for those who want to take in amazing views while they glide thanks to the beauty all around the Ludington area. Some of the notable sights you'll be able to see while hang gliding here include Lake Michigan, Pere Marquette River, and Ludington State Park.
The average weather in the spring and summer is perfect for hang gliding, with temperatures ranging from the high 60s to the low 80s. Fall and winter see a bit more variance, with highs in the 40s and 50s and lows dipping into the 20s. Keep in mind that the temperatures and winds will be even stronger up in the air, so dress accordingly. Or, better yet, just go when it's warmer out!
Ludington is a great spot for those looking to explore more of Michigan since it's located right on Lake Michigan. It's about an hour and a half drive from Grand Rapids and two and a half hours from Detroit, making it the perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway.
And when you're not hang gliding, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Check out the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, explore the many trails and beaches in Ludington State Park, or take a ride on the S.S. Badger car ferry.
Traverse City Hanggliders — Traverse City
The last company on our list that we're going to take a look at is Traverse City Hanggliders. They are based out of Traverse City, which is a beautiful location up in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The views while hang gliding here are absolutely incredible, as you can see for miles and miles in every direction.
The weather is also generally pretty good here, although it can be a bit too cold in the winter, summer is pretty perfect for hang gliding. The temperatures are warm, the winds are abundant, and the thermals are strong enough to keep you up in the air as long as you want to glide.
Traverse City is also a great location because it's relatively close to a lot of other popular cities and landmarks. For example, it's about an hour from Michigan's capital city of Lansing, and it's about four hours from Chicago. So, if you're looking for a great place to go hang gliding in Michigan, Traverse City Hanggliders should definitely be at the top of your list.
Warren Dunes State Park — Sawyer
Alright, now that we've gone over some of the best companies and organizations for hang gliding in Michigan, let's focus on a few actual launch sites. Up first is Warren Dunes State Park. It's located in Sawyer, which is right on the shores of Lake Michigan. The views here are absolutely breathtaking, as you can see for miles and miles out over the water.
The weather is also generally pretty good here, although it can be a bit windy at times. Spring and summer are the best times to fly, with the temperature being pretty mild. However, it can get a bit windy at times so be sure you check the forecast (which you should always do before any time you go hang gliding!). Right off the lake, you'll also face some cold and biting winds as the temperatures fall.
Warren Dunes is also conveniently located near a few other popular Michigan destinations. It's about an hour's drive from both Chicago and Grand Rapids, and only about a half-hour from South Haven. There are lots of things to do in all of these cities, so you can make a weekend out of it and fly during the day and explore at night. And of course, there are plenty of other lake beaches and parks in the area if you want to make a day trip out of it.
Cloud 9 Field — Webberville
If you've been looking for the best locations in Michigan to go hang gliding, seeing Cloud 9 Field on this list shouldn't come as a surprise. This is one of the most popular places to go hang gliding in the state. Located in Webberville, Cloud Nine Field is about 30 minutes from Lansing and an hour from Detroit. The views here are amazing, and you can see for miles while you're up in the air.
The weather is also usually pretty good, although it can be a bit windy at times. From April through September, the average temperature is in the low 70s to the mid-80s, which is pretty much perfect for a long day of hang gliding. If you come to this area in the winter, you'll quickly see why people don't typically go hang gliding in Michigan during these months.
There are also a few other things to do in the area if you're looking for something to do after your hang gliding session. There are some great hiking trails nearby, and you can also go fishing or swimming in one of the many lakes in the area. Overall, Cloud Nine Field is one of the best places to go hang gliding in Michigan.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — Empire
We mentioned this one above, and you could say that we've been saving the best for last. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Michigan, and it's also a great place to go hang gliding. The views here are absolutely incredible, and you can see for miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
When it comes to hang gliding, the weather is one of the most important factors. The good news is that the weather in Empire, Michigan is pretty great for most of the year before winter rears its ugly head. In the spring and summer, you'll have perfect conditions for hang gliding. The temperatures are warm but not too hot, and there's usually a nice breeze blowing off the lake.
When you get done gliding for the day, there are plenty of other things to do in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. There are tons of hiking trails, some great spots for swimming and sunbathing, and a number of small towns nearby that are worth exploring. All in all, it's a great place to spend a few days (or even a week) if you're looking to have an incredible hang gliding trip.
So there you have it, our list of the best hang gliding locations in Michigan. We hope you enjoy your time exploring some (or all) of these great spots! Thanks for reading and happy gliding!