There are so many ways a weekend getaway in Michigan can turn into one of the most memorable getaways of your life. From the old Victorian charm on Mackinac Island , where life moves at a slower pace, to the breathtaking excitement of running along the sand dunes in the summer on Lake Michigan and the urban revival of Detroit , every Michigan experience is unique. You can enjoy a themed dinner based on food or water adventures, or make your plans by location to explore a place you’ve never visited before. From the historic allure of Jackson to the sports and adrenaline scene in Ann Arbor , here are some of the best weekend getaways in Michigan:
1 Traverse City
The appeal of Traverse City in any season is that it makes the perfect road trip. Spend your weekend on the way back and stop at a terrace. Grab a picnic lunch and head to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore , where you can experience one of northern Michigan’s favorite pastimes, climbing the sand dunes. Spend your afternoon walking along the Lake Michigan shoreline and enjoying the many species of wildlife that call the area home. Take a day to go to Leelanau Peninsula or the Old Mission Peninsula and visit the Mission Point Lighthouse. The peninsula extends 16 miles into Grand Traverse Bayand boasts some of Michigan’s most vibrantly colored trees in the fall. Traverse City is perfect for a couples getaway, a solo retreat to enjoy farm-to-table delicacies or a family getaway where you can stay at a resort like Great Wolf Lodge and take advantage of activities that both children and parents like it.
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There’s no better place for a perfect weekend getaway than Petoskey. Located in northwestern Lower Michigan and beyond Little Traverse Bay the conditions are always ideal for snow bunnies who need their fix in the winter months. There are three ski areas that together offer more than 160 ski slopes, as well as cross-country ski trails and snowboard courses. Resorts like the Inn at Bay Harbor in Boyne make it comfortable and easy to focus on one recreation area during your trip and return to comfortable dining and resort amenities after a day on the slopes. Your other option is to tackle a different ski area each day at Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain and Nub’s Nob.
3 Grand Rapids
To satisfy your artistic side, plan a themed weekend in Grand Rapids, where public art, music and food create a creative atmosphere. In the evening, check out the diverse music scene with over 100 live music options. Round out your Grand Rapid arts weekend by sampling some of the creative culinary dishes at one of the hundreds of local restaurants that focus on farm-to-table meals along the Grand Rapids Food Trail. If you want to save extra, you can pick up a discounted three-day GR Culture Pass for seven area attractions. Come for the weekend at the elegant and artistic Amway Grand Plaza Hotel with iron and wood sculptures everywhere. It sets the scene for your artistic outing as you explore the three art museums in Grand Rapids,
History buffs will enjoy a themed weekend in Jackson in South Central Michigan. The deep history in Jackson begins with the birthplace of the Republican Party at the corner of Franklin and Second Streets. Enjoy the parks and monuments dedicated to some of the most important events in American history. You can take a Civil War tour with several stops including Washington Park, Evergreen Cemetery, Ella Sharp Museum, Michigan Military Heritage Museum, and Under the Oaks Park. Plan another day to visit Cell Block 7, a museum experience that takes you through Michigan’s prison history on the grounds of an active prison. Finish your weekend in the Cascades, where Cascade Falls, a spectacular man-made waterfall,
5 Ann Arbor
Your search for a more active weekend getaway should take you to Ann Arbor, where sports and culture reign supreme. The University of Michigan is deeply woven into its community, offering museums of archeology and art, theater and music, and of course, athletic events. To complement your theme weekend, plan a stay at the Graduate Ann Arbor, located across from the University of Michigan in downtown Ann Arbor, where the collegial decor and tone will make you feel like a student again. Customize your sports and culture weekend with the menu of options at U-of-M and spend a day exploring the galleries and boutiques downtown with an array of art forms. For an added bonus, plan your trip during the annual Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, which takes place every summer.
6 Mackinac Island
When you think of romance in Michigan, no weekend compares to the nostalgia and slow pace of Mackinac Island. This is the kind of romantic getaway that requires no agenda and the only transportation is on foot, bicycle, and horse and cart. Sleep in and enjoy a leisurely stroll to breakfast by the water. Take a bike ride along the paved trails around the island and stop to rest in an Adirondack chair for a quiet moment to just listen to the birds and the breezes release from Lake Huron . Plan a visit to historic Fort Mackinac and have tea at the Grand Hotel to see the famous film backdrop of Somewhere in Time. This majestic hotel is an impressive sight as you take the ferry to the island; it’s like a time capsule back to an 1800s kind of vacation.
An epic outdoor weekend getaway in Michigan takes you to Gaylord in the northern part of the state. The city is known for its diverse outdoor adventures in every season of the year. Spend a day or the entire weekend exploring some of the 90 inland lakes or one of the five rivers in the area for water activities. You can mix your water adventures with hiking along dozens of trails through parks and forests. If “outdoors” means tee times on the links, then you can spend your vacation at the Treetops Resort, which has five world-class golf courses. That should be enough golf time to improve your swing. Be sure to spend an evening or two watching the sunset from downtown, where you can stroll through unique shops and local restaurants.
8 Port Huron
The quaint town of Port Huron is a quiet retreat located on the St. Clair River , ideal for a romantic getaway weekend or a nautical history theme. Walk the streets of the historic center and visit the small shops and restaurants renovated from old buildings. Walk the boardwalk at sunset or catch a freighter passing by during the day. Spend an afternoon or two visiting the city’s museums that chronicle the area’s history, such as the Huron Lightship, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, and the Port Huron Museum. For an extra touch of nautical historic flair, book a room with a water view at the luxurious Huron House Bed and Breakfast.
9 Bay City
Spend a weekend on the water in Bay City, Michigan, where everything from dining to relaxation includes a water element to take advantage of the area’s most prized attraction – Lake Huron’s freshwater Saginaw Bay. This waterfront city awaits you with an invitation to board Bay City Boat Lines for a water excursion. You can take a boat tour or book dinner on board for a sunset cruise or an observatory cruise. To extend your time on the water, plan a trip aboard BaySail’s Appledore Tall Ships, where you can enjoy an unforgettable sailing experience and also contribute to the company’s conservation efforts for the Saginaw Bay and Great Lakes . When you’re ready to do some things on land, try the Sunrise Pedal Trolley, where you’ll meet several new friends during your outing, and don’t forget to enjoy the fresh seafood at the waterfront restaurants.
If you haven’t been to Detroit lately, you haven’t seen the vibrant transformation of the Motor City, worthy of an action-packed weekend. Your urban excursion begins with Detroit’s cultural side with visits to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, the Motown Museum, and the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium. Then spend some time at the famous year-round Eastern Market in downtown Detroit. You can visit it alone or take an organized tour of the district on foot or by bike. Enjoy the local vendors, artists, culinary expressions and history of the neighborhood. Spend another day as a local and enjoy a Detroit baseball game at Comerica Park and enjoy a famous Detroit Coney dog.
If your weekend getaway is about scenic views or photography, you’ll want to spend your time in Munising, one of the most picturesque areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Your weekend will be filled with unscripted visits to Pictured Rocks, Hiawatha National Forest, Horseshoe Falls, and Laughing Whitefish Falls. You’ll want to plan out your day trips before you go to be sure and capture as many scenic spots in one area as possible. For a spectacular winter outing, plan your trip around the Munising Ice Fest, which brings nearly 1,000 ice climbers to the area to scale the ice walls that form at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
A weekend getaway in Mohawk Michigan can be both an outdoor adventure and a combination of history. The area is defined by its mining roots with the Mohawk Mining Company settling here in the late 19th century. You can spend part of your outing exploring this unique part of the Upper Peninsula with a mining tour of the Delaware Copper Mines and a visit to the Central Mine Museum. For some outdoor activities in the area, spend the second part of your trip at nearby Mount Bohemia, where you can take on ski slopes in winter and hike, bike, and kayak in summer.