Summer is in full swing here in the Great Lakes, and that means most of us have started brainstorming for our next lovely getaways. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to take a full week or two off of work — but a long weekend can provide just the rest and relaxation needed to reboot. Here are ten of the most ideal spots in Michigan to spend a three (or four!)-day weekend.
1. Ann Arbor
While the University of Michigan is a gorgeous and esteemed place to explore, there’s more to Ann Arbor than a stunning campus and lots of study locales. When you visit for the weekend, you’ll be overwhelmed with activities to enjoy. Venture down Liberty or South Main for a variety of shopping options, catch a movie at the stunning Michigan Theatre, or become one with nature in Nichols Arboretum. No matter what strikes your fancy, you’re sure to find it here.
You’ll have to venture far north to reach Marquette, but the breathtaking beauty of this city is absolutely worth the journey. Stop in for a pint or two at Black Rocks Brewery, take a dip in the marvelous waters of Lake Superior, or do some diving from the rocks at Presque Isle. Looking to save a little money on lodging during your weekend in the U.P.? Pack up your tent and spend your nights camping under the trees at Marquette Tourist Park.
If you love our Great Lakes, Alpena is the ultimate destination for you. Learn all there is to know about the history of our state’s freshwater beauty as you explore the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary or peruse the Maritime Heritage Center. Looking for a great spot to hike or head out for a bike ride? Look no further than Rockport State Park or the city’s wildlife sanctuary. Don’t leave town without catching a sunrise over the water — you won’t be disappointed.
This lakeside town is a wonderful blend of manmade fun and natural beauty. During your long weekend, relax alongside Lake Michigan at Tunnel Park or Holland State Park. But beaches aren’t all you’ll find in Holland — venture to Veldheer Tulip Gardens and have a pair of wooden shoes made for loved ones back home, or take stroll down 8th Street and treat yourself to some boutique shopping. What’s not to love?
5. Traverse City
We really can’t say enough about Traverse City. From great eats to a lively downtown to all sorts of friendly residents, this town is Northern Michigan at its very finest. Take a stroll along Grand Traverse Bay, catch a film at the gorgeous State Theatre, or capture a few photos at Mission Point Lighthouse. Of course, no trip to this region is complete without a winery visit or two — just be sure to find a designated driver before you embark on your vineyard journey.
6. Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is one of Michigan’s most famous destinations, and it’s easy to see why. This utterly charming island truly makes visitors feel as though they’ve stepped into a different time. You won’t find any cars here — just bicycles and horse-drawn carriages — and the beauty of the Straits of Mackinac is enough to wow even the most seasoned traveler. Pick up some handmade fudge and peruse the island’s historic spots as you settle in for a long weekend adventure. Looking to splurge a bit? Book a room at the stunning Grand Hotel — this is one lodging locale you’ll never forget!
7. Grand Rapids
Looking for a night on the town? Grand Rapids might be the perfect destination for you. With amazing breweries like Founders and Grand Rapids Brewing Company, you’ll find no shortage of delicious beer in Michigan’s second-largest city. During the day, explore Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park or peruse street after street of historic houses in the Heritage Hill neighborhood. You might love Grand Rapids so much that you’ll want to move there!
8. Port Austin
This sweet village is small, but it packs in an incredible amount of beauty and charm. If you love spending time on the water, pack up your kayak and paddle to Turnip Rock, a unique natural formation that’s sure to impress. Beach bums will be thrilled with the beauty of Port Crescent State Park, which boasts soft white sand and brilliant waterfront views. If you’re seeking peace and quiet, Port Austin is the place for you.
All things Bavarian will delight your senses with a trip to Frankenmuth, which has long served as a wonderful in-state destination for visitors of all ages. Settle in for the weekend in this quaint town, which offers everything from fudge shops to a brewery to lots and lots of shopping opportunities. When you’re feeling hungry, you can’t go wrong with a delectable chicken dinner from Zehnder’s, a long-standing restaurant in the heart of town. Before you leave, be sure to check out Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, which celebrates the holiday year-round with a massive selection of Christmas items.
10. Grand Marais
The natural brilliance of Grand Marais and its surrounding areas will absolutely amaze you during your long weekend getaway. This Upper Peninsula town features sweeping views of Lake Superior (the Log Slide Overlook is a great place to start) and plenty of unique waterfalls to check out. Few spots in Michigan offer as much scenic beauty as Au Sable Light Station, so be sure to bring a camera along on your journey. You’ll find it difficult to return to real life after a few days in this natural paradise.
Okay, Michiganders: it’s your turn! Where’s your favorite spot in the Great Lakes State to spend a long weekend? Share your suggestions in the comment section below. Happy adventuring!