By Bria Brown

(CBS DETROIT) – Before thoughts of fall start creeping in, remember there’s still an entire month of heat, sunshine and beautiful outdoor spaces left to enjoy. How will you spend it?

Whether you’re planning a day at the lake, mapping your next hike or bike ride, searching out a fishing hot spot or looking for a brand-new way to enjoy Michigan’s natural resources, there are nearly endless options to choose from.

No matter what you do or where you go, here are some things to keep in mind:

Keep yourself and others safe 

If you’re visiting a state park, face coverings are required in indoor public spaces, including restrooms/shower buildings, contact stations and visitor centers. This is true for crowded outdoor spaces, too (including, but not limited to, campgrounds and day-use areas) when proper social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained. For more information, see the DNR’s COVID-19 response page.

Be mindful of high water, beach warnings

Time on the water with family and friends is one of the best things about living in the Great Lakes State, but please put safety and common sense first. Understand the risks of high-water areas and pay attention to the beach flag warning system and know that conditions can quickly change. Fluctuating water levels can put even the strongest swimmers in danger, conceal hazards like fallen tree limbs and rocks, and make it difficult to navigate under low-hanging objects or around logjams. Most important, always wear a life jacket and use a flotation device when boating, canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding, even if water seems calm.

Find fantastic fishing not far from home

Regardless of where you live in Michigan, you’re never more than 6 miles from a body of water and some fab fishing opportunities. Find nearby fishing using our online map at Michigan.gov/YourLocalOutdoors. For tips on what’s biting in your area, check out our weekly fishing report. And don’t forget your fishing license – you can buy it online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses.

Discover new adventures with park rentals

If you want to head out for the day (or even a weekend) but don’t have the gear to try something new, we’ve got you covered. From horseback riding and water parks to kayaks and RVs and more, the DNR works with business partners to provide easy access to equipment rentals and other unique outdoor experiences in state parks and on trails and waterways.

Take in a shorebird show

It’s still summer, but some birds are starting their fall migration. Shorebirds like sandpipers, plovers and sanderlings have raised their young and are on their way from the far north to their wintering grounds in the southern U.S. and central and south America. Great Lakes beaches and shorelines are prime viewing locations for these long-distance fliers. You might also spot them at large puddles in farm fields in inland locations. If you’re new to birding, be sure to grab a field guide, some binoculars and maybe even a spotting scope to help you enjoy these energetic little birds. Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are another great place to view shorebirds on their journey.

Need a break? Try a trail

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all, right? The DNR manages more than 13,000 miles of trails that offer users of all types – hikers, off-roaders, horseback riders, mountain bikers and more – the space to get out and go. These welcoming places suit both trail newbies and veterans; just remember to treat the trails and other users with care and respect. Learn all about these outstanding resources at Michigan.gov/DNRTrails.

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