bay harbor northern lights

Few places are more beautiful in the summer than northern Michigan, but at this time of year, we look to the sky to celebrate nature’s beauty. You may spend your days enjoying the spectacular Lake Michigan shoreline at Bay Harbor or picking cherries at King Orchards, but there’s only one way to enjoy a clear, crisp Michigan night: watching the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a result of solar winds breaking through a magnetic field and colliding with Earth’s atmosphere. These captivating hues of green, pink and purple (sometimes even red) are a rare sight, and Michigan is one of the few states in which they can be seen. While it’s never guaranteed that the Northern Lights will be visible, there are a few factors you should consider when planning to catch a glimpse of this spectacular nighttime performance. Keep reading to learn more about the best times and places to view the Northern Lights in Michigan.

Best Times to View the Northern Lights

While the viewing season runs from August through April, the best months for seeing the phenomenon include April, October and November. You’ll want to be watching the sky between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight for the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights. It’s also important to look at the predicted weather conditions before your Aurora Borealis adventure. Check the forecast throughout the day to ensure there will be cold temperatures and no clouds. To view space weather forecasts and sign up for aurora alerts, visit

view of northern light in michigan

Best Places to View the Northern Lights

When picking your viewing location, you must find a spot with little to no light sources interfering with the sky’s visibility. Although many Bay Harbor residents enjoy the show from their backyard visitors often enjoy The Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park (IDSP), is located about an hour north of Bay Harbor. According to the International Dark-Sky Association, an IDSP is a certified land that meets a “set of guidelines based on land management, size, and sky quality”. All IDSPs meet strict requirements to ensure they are preserving the natural night sky. This makes them the perfect viewing spots for space phenomena such as the Northern Lights.

the headland park sign in front of park in michigan

In addition to the Northern Lights, Michigan is home to endless picturesque scenes of nature. Located near Petoskey and Little Traverse Bay in the heart of the action is Bay Harbor, a coastal resort and golf community that offers a lifestyle like no other.  Encompassing 5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Bay Harbor is home to the area’s best amenities and lifestyles. Families often enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing off the shores of Lake Michigan or walking or biking along the Little Traverse Wheeleway.  The Bay Harbor Golf Club has been called “The Pebble Beach of the Midwest” and the Bay Harbor Yacht Club is known as the exclusive social centerpiece for this community of golf and boating enthusiasts. The Village at Bay Harbor offers many options for unique shopping and delicious dining, and is home to the Great Lakes Center for the Arts which will be returning to action this summer. Residents here enjoy life to its fullest.


The coolest thing about this place is that the fun doesn’t have to end when the day does. Bay Harbor makes for a great place to stay a day, a week, or a lifetime. With more than 30 neighborhoods, Bay Harbor offers a wide array of homes and a price range to match your lifestyle. Visit to learn more about the local real estate opportunities and becoming a Bay Harbor neighbor. For those who want to visit and explore the possibility of ownership and membership, two outstanding hotel options are available within Bay Harbor. Check out the Inn at Bay Harbor and the Village Suites Bay Harbor and start planning your dream.


No matter how long you stay, you’ll wish it could be longer. It’s not too late to plan your summer adventure today by requesting a complimentary copy of the Explore Bay Harbor magazine. Through its pages, you’ll find information on the area, more local events and tips for planning your trip.  Go to ExploreBayHarbor to find out more!