As much as we all love Detroit, there’s no denying that it’s nice to take a quick trip out of town from time to time. Whether you’re searching for a charming small town, a natural excursion, or an out-of-state adventure, Detroit is in close proximity to plenty of awesome weekend getaway spots. Here are nine incredible destinations that can be reached with four hours or less of driving time from the Motor City.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1) Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is known as Michigan’s "Beer City," and it’s truly a paradise for those who enjoy a few delicious pints from time to time. Check out Founders Brewery, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, or Creston Brewery for some of the best local and imported beers in the city. If drinking isn’t your thing, don’t fret: Grand Rapids is overflowing with other fun-filled activities. Indulge your creative side at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, learn about the city’s past at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, or check out gorgeous sculptures and an indoor butterfly garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens. The best part? It’s only a two-and-a-half hour drive from the Motor City!
2) Ludington State Park
Venture to the west side of the state for a stay near one of Michigan’s most gorgeous natural areas. Whether you’re camping along the beach or staying in a quaint cottage or hotel in town, Ludington is sure to impress. Enjoy sweeping views of Lake Michigan, gorgeous lighthouses, and an extensive trail system that’s perfect for hiking. If you’re seeking a place to appreciate the great outdoors and unwind after a long work week in Detroit, Ludington State Park is just a four-hour drive away, and the memories you make will last a lifetime.
Make the hour-and-a-half journey from Detroit to Frankenmuth, which will bring a whole new level of charm to your next weekend getaway. There’s more than enough in this adorable town to keep you occupied for a few days, and you’ll quickly fall in love with its Bavarian heritage, unique architecture, and quaint downtown area. Grab a chicken dinner at Zehnder’s Restaurant or visit the nearby indoor waterpark to keep the kiddos occupied. Of course, no trip to Frankenmuth would be complete without a stop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, which celebrates the holiday season all year long!
4) Cleveland, Ohio
We know, we know. Michigan and Ohio aren’t supposed to be friends, right? While we can all agree that Michigan will always be superior to Ohio when it comes to sports, there’s no denying that Cleveland is an underrated destination for a weekend escape. Music-lovers will be absolutely amazed by the collection at the Rock ’N Roll Hall of Fame, which houses some of the most fascinating memorabilia in the world. Explore the famous West Side Market or enjoy the shores of Lake Erie at a local park. What’s more, Cleveland is just an easy three-hour drive from the Motor City!
5) Port Austin
The tiny town of Port Austin sits at the tip of Michigan’s "Thumb Region," just two-and-a-half hours from Detroit. This beachfront village is utterly charming, no matter how many times you’ve visited. Explore the water or settle in for a camping weekend at Port Crescent State Park, take a kayak out to Turnip Rock, or try your hand at a bit of fishing. When you’re ready to slow down the pace of life for a few days, Port Austin is undoubtedly the place to be.
6) Fort Wayne, Indiana
Situated just three hours from Detroit, Fort Wayne is another easily overlooked destination. There’s plenty here to occupy the whole family, from a 38-acre zoo to an incredibly unique museum of art. Are you in the mood for a performance? Check out the beautiful Embassy Theatre, which boasts a gorgeous interior and draws in all sorts of musical and theatrical performances each year. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or something in between, you’ll find a way to have a blast in Fort Wayne.
Make the three-hour drive across the state to check out Holland, a true gem located on the coast of Lake Michigan. If you’re willing to book ahead, check out the city’s famous Tulip Time Festival, which celebrates Dutch heritage in the most fun way imaginable each May. On an ordinary day, though, Holland is just as charming. Catch a sunset at Holland State Park, enjoy a meal at the delightful DeBoer Bakery, or do a little shopping downtown on 8th Street. The people are friendly, the storefronts are beautiful, and the town is constantly growing.
8) Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Here in Detroit, we're uniquely lucky to live in such close proximity to an international border. This means that we have firsthand access to the exciting attractions of another country, and a trip to Canada never seems to disappoint. Grab your passport and cross the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, our neighbors across the Detroit River. Do a little gambling at Caesars Casino Windsor, peruse the peacefully beautiful Coventry Gardens, or check out one of the area’s multiple history and art museums. Windsor is so close to Detroit that you can even spend the night in your own bed if you’re feeling a little homesick!
9) Ann Arbor
We’re sure you’ve been to Ann Arbor before, but there’s nothing like settling in and staying for a while. You could spend years in this amazing city and never experience all of its delightful attractions and charm. Catch a Michigan football game at the Big House, pretend you’ve stepped back in time with a picnic on the University of Michigan Law Quad, or dine at one of downtown Ann Arbor’s many restaurants, which will make you swear you’ve entered foodie heaven. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been to this Michigan gem — there’s always something new and interesting to experience.
So, there you have it: nine incredible, easy-to-reach destinations that make for perfect weekend getaways from Detroit. While we’ll always love the Motor City, there’s no shame in taking a break from everyday life now and then — the hardest part will be deciding which spot to explore first!