Michigan is made up of two peninsulas, which creates some surprising and beautiful beach areas. Then in the winter, there are some incredible skiing and other snowsport opportunities to check out. Here you’ll also find scenic drives, rugged paths, lush forests, and cultural attractions in the urban areas.
Its location in the U.S. makes Michigan an easy place to take a road trip and explore all the quaint towns you’ve never heard of before. No matter what the season is, here are the top weekend getaway destinations in Michigan for a quick break from routine and a whole new world of exploration.
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Allegan is an ideal weekend getaway in Western Michigan for outdoors lovers. The town is in the Allegan State Game Reserve and a haven for fishermen, boaters, hikers, and swimmers. It has a historic small-town charm, and one of the biggest county fairs in the entire U.S. takes place here. Visit the Allegan Farmers Market, catch a live music performance at the riverfront gazebo, or check out one of the Christmas events if you visit in December. The Allegan Antiques Market, Wild West Ranch, and Something Sweet is also worth stopping by in town.
For another lovely example of small-town America, take a weekend trip to Tecumseh. Here you’ll find a scenic landscape, historic homes, and downtown shopping district that keeps the entrepreneurial spirit alive. Tecumseh has been called the best-kept secret in the state of Michigan, but now the secret is out! Festivals take place here too, including an art walk in the spring and a harvest festival in the fall. There are several nice B&Bs in Tecumseh, including the Chicago Street Suite and the Loft. Chicago Boulevard is a great place to take a walk and window-shop. The suite is over the Daily Grind Sandwich Shoppe and sleeps up to five, while the loft sleeps three.
Experience traditional Bavarian hospitality right here in Michigan! Frankenmuth is one of the top-rated destinations in Michigan, perfect for those looking to recharge and experience something different, even if only for a weekend. Families with kids enjoy the indoor water parks, foodies love sampling the German specialties, and everyone loves a good festival. Couples can take horse-drawn carriage ride or a wine and chocolate boat tour to add a little romance into the weekend. Make sure to spend time at the Frankenmuth River Place Shops and do a tasting at St. Julian’s Winery. Plan to stay at the Bavarian Inn Lodge when you’re in Frankenmuth, which has elegant European-themed guestrooms and the largest family fun center in any Midwest hotel.
Ann Arbor is best known for being a college town, but it’s also a great place to visit for people of all ages. Here you’ll find plenty of interesting and eccentric things to do like check out unique art galleries and festivals. There are lots of independent shops in town, as well as gourmet restaurants and lovely parks. Ann Arbor has many public art sculptures to check out, including the Bookstore Mural, The Wave Field, The Cube, and fairy doors throughout downtown. Plan to stay at the Bell Tower Hotel when you plan your weekend getaway to Ann Arbor. It’s located downtown and in walking distance to shops, theaters, and restaurants. Complimentary continental breakfast and valet parking are included.
Mackinac Island is a place to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. There’s a Victorian landscape here that has withstood the test of time, and bicycles are the best way to get around. Sample some homemade fudge, visit Fort Mackinac, play around with water sports, or go horseback riding on Mackinac Island. One of the best places to stay here is the Grand Hotel, which is a third-generation, family-owned hotel that overlooks the water from the world’s longest porch. Guests enjoy afternoon tea, nightly dancing, and uniquely decorated rooms.
Saugatuck is sometimes referred to as the Art Coast of Michigan. This is a place where artists have flocked for many years because of its natural beauty with white beaches, grassy dunes, and incredible sunsets. One of the most fun things to do here is to go on a dune ride, which is great for the whole family. Make sure to spend time at Oval Beach, shop and dine on Butler Street, go for a walk at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and take in the views from Mount Baldhead Park. The Starlite Resort is a recommended place to stay in Saugatuck because of its retro-modern rooms and close location to downtown Saugatuck on the Blue Star Highway.
Bay City is a Michigan town at the base of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. This is an easy weekend getaway trip from Detroit, which is only about 90 minutes away. Historic 19th-century buildings are home to many antique shops, restaurants, and pubs. The Riverwalk Pier and Bay City State Recreation Area are beautiful places to spend weekend days. When you visit Bay City for the weekend, stay at the Historic Webster House. It was totally renovated in 2009 and is a lovely venue for an intimate wedding. There are just eight rooms and suites here, some with in-room Jacuzzis, and an on-site spa and sauna room for relaxation.
Traverse City is located at the head of the Grand Traverse Bay and a fun place to visit for couples and families any time of the year. There are miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan for relaxing, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is nearby too. This is an excellent place to visit for craft beverage lovers because there are lots of craft breweries and wineries in the Traverse City area. Chateau Chantal is an excellent accommodation pick for your weekend in Traverse City. It’s an old-world B&B that’s stocked with fine wine and an ideal place to stay for wine lovers.
Gaylord is known as Michigan’s Alpine Village, and it has an Alpine-themed shopping district that’s quaint, clean, and has lots to offer weekend visitors. The North Central State Trail runs from Gaylord to Mackinaw City and is perfect for hiking and biking. This is also a great destination for golfers because there are 15 championship caliber golf courses here. Stay at the Benjamin’s Beaver Creek Resort when you visit Gaylord with your family. Onsite you’ll find a kids’ center, adventure golf, a giant waterslide, fitness center, and five-acre fishing lake.
Bay Harbor is located along five miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and is a favorite spot among vacationers. Here you can take a riding lesson at the Bay Harbor Equestrian Center, sail at the Bay Harbor Lake Marina, or play a game of golf at the Bay Harbor Golf Club. One good recommendation in Bay Harbor is to stay at the Inn at Bay Harbor, which is part of the Autograph Collection Hotels. On-site dining options are the Vintage Chophouse & Wine Bar for lunch and dinner, the Sagamore Room’s breakfast buffet, the Inn Café for light fare, and the Cabana Bar for poolside fare and cocktails.
Harbor Springs is a Michigan waterfront community on Little Traverse Bay with excellent watersport opportunities. Visitors come in here in the summer for the wine festival and the watersports and in the fall for the vibrant foliage colors on a drive through the tunnel of trees. Winter offers snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, and spring brings cyclists for the Zoo-de-Mack ride. Boyne Highlands Resort is a top pick for places to stay in Harbor Springs if you plan to ski. The Main Lodge has an outdoor heated pool and hot tub, dining options, and some rooms are pet-friendly.