3 fun and unique outings to embark on with your friends this summer

Sunflowers are the perfect summer flower, are they not? (Pexels stock image)

There’s something truly magical about the summers in Michigan: The warm evenings outside, the time spent on our brilliant (and plentiful!) lakes, afternoons with friends, eating a burger on a patio or sharing in an ice cream date -- it’s all a little bit sweeter and that much more perfect in the summertime.

Everything just feels more relaxed and fun in the warm summer air. So, with that said, what do you have planned? Are you looking for any inspiration for the coming weekends?

We thought we’d come up with three ideas that transcend the usual “bars and beaches” scene.

1. A you-pick lavender experience

Have you ever picked your own lavender?

DeBuck’s Sunflower Farm, in Belleville, offers the chance.

The farm sits on 200 acres, so if you visit with your friends or family, you can expect a fun day at the vast farm. DeBuck’s grows more than 5,000 lavender plants for you to experience.

You’ll have the opportunity to pick a bundle of lavender for $10, and take it home with you. The farm also sells potted lavender plants, with more than five varieties to choose from. You can snag one plant for $14 or two plants for $25.

Maybe this could even become a summertime tradition. The DeBuck’s owners say families come back year after year to partake in all the fun. Don’t forget your camera! (Or make sure your iPhone is fully charged, set to Portrait mode!) There are many photo opportunities amidst the lavender plants, as well.

2. Similarly, a you-pick sunflower outing

DeBuck’s also offers sunflower picking. The farm grows 23 acres of sunflowers -- and these fields are no secret: The beautiful flowers are known to attract thousands of people from all over Michigan and Ohio each summer.

A trip to DeBuck’s is a must for flower lovers. A bucket of sunflowers goes for $25, and you can fit three- to four-dozen flowers in it. If you’re just looking for a few flowers, bags are $7, and they pack about one dozen.

Between the lavender and the sunflowers, the experience is magical, the farm owners said.

Truly, a visit to DeBuck’s looks like a breath of fresh air, and a nice break from the real world.

3. Explore your creative side with art classes.

Group art classes have become all the rage over the past few years, and they’re still trending as a unique and off-the-beaten-path activity for groups of friends or loved ones.

DeBuck’s Sunflower Farm has partnered with Be Creative Studio to provide classes of their own this summer. Those who want to try one out will get step-by-step instructions to develop a painting of their choice of sunflowers or lavender (seems only appropriate, right?)

Plus, here’s a fun bonus: When you purchase an art class ticket, you’ll score admission to DeBuck’s, all the supplies that you’ll need, and you get to finish your visit with a free bag of you-pick sunflowers or a free you-pick lavender bundle.

Art classes are $50 per person and are offered at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The two art instructors are Curtis Wallace and Alysia Yvette, who are natives of Ypsilanti and Detroit, respectively. Wallace has taught art and creative expression all over the world for more than 27 years, and currently has a mural at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Yvette has been an artist for more than 10 years, and just finished painting multiple murals at the Detroit selfie museum.

Bonus: You could even go on a date or have your family pictures taken here.

A visit to DeBuck’s makes for a unique date-night experience, the farm owners said.

“Spend time with your loved one this summer experiencing the beauty of the sunflower and lavender fields,” the family recommends. “Instead of buying them flowers at the store, bring your special person out to pick sunflowers and lavender at DeBuck’s. It’s a memory you will never forget.”

Family portraits might be another cool idea, if you’re looking for an atypical destination.

Just keep in mind: If you’re a photographer, you’ll need to purchase an admission ticket for yourself and any crew members that will be accompanying you. Families would need to buy admission, as well.

DeBuck’s recommends coordinating as a group and having everyone purchase tickets for the same day and time slot for the photo shoot.

The DeBuck family started growing sunflowers in 2017. They’re still adding new varieties of flowers to make every season a little better, and to provide something new each year.

Thinking about going? General admission tickets are $9, season tickets are available for $32.99, and “Paint the Beauty” two-hour art classes include access to an easel, paint, paper and a bundle of lavender or a bag of sunflowers. Guests are advised to bring an umbrella. If it is sprinkling or just a brief shower, the farm will be open. If you’ve purchased tickets and the farm has to close due to the weather, you will have the opportunity to choose another day.

Learn more information about the farm by clicking or tapping here.