8 Gorgeous Places in Michigan for an Unforgettable Weekend Trip
Michigan just may be the best-kept secret for U.S. travel destinations.
My husband grew up in Michigan and all of my in-laws still live there. The first few times my husband took me there after we started dating I was blown away by the beauty and the sheer number of things to do in Michigan!
Now, I love it there, too, and so am excited to share with you my top eight recommendations for where to spend a weekend getaway in Michigan.
Known for its great fishing spots, snowy winters, Great Lakes (adjacent to four of them), and impact on the auto industry, Michigan is an ideal destination for those interested in winter sports and summer festivals or lazy lake days. No matter when you choose to visit, a weekend in Michigan is bound to be memorable.
While most people think of Detroit when they think of Michigan, there are so many other places worth visiting here. Take a weekend trip to one of these destinations. Even if you only have a weekend to spend in Michigan, you’ll get to see plenty of what this state has to offer.
A weekend in Traverse City should include stops at its many museums. From a collection of Inuit art at the Dennos Museum Center to the hands-on Great Lakes Children’s Museum, you’re bound to find something that intrigues you and your travel buddies here.
This Michigan trip destination is also known for its cherries, so stop by the Cherry Republic of Traverse City for a wide array of locally-sourced products.
While in Traverse City, you’re also a relatively short drive (about 40 minutes) from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront, which borders Lake Superior and has incredible views and hiking trails. Plus, it provides lots of fun for playing and sliding on the dunes.
The best time to visit Traverse City is during the summer, which coincides with the cherry-picking season. If you’ll be in town around the Fourth of July, plan your getaway around the National Cherry Festival. After all, who can say no to a weekend filled with fireworks and delicious food?!
Like Traverse City, Grand Rapids is a great place to visit with kids. It has a children’s museum (Grand Rapids Children’s Museum) and a zoo (John Ball Zoo).
For adult fun, you can go brewery hopping in “Beer City USA,” a title Grand Rapids has earned for its large number of taprooms.
Grand Rapids has its own international airport, making it easy to coordinate travel for your weekend trip. Fly into Gerald R. Ford International Airport or take an Amtrak train downtown.
This popular Michigan getaway is known for its cultural attractions. Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and has a distinct college-town vibe while also incorporating its own flair separate from the university thanks to good eats and historic architecture.
You can catch musical events and art exhibitions year-round through A2SF, and if you visit Ann Arbor in June, you’ll be in town for their annual festival. For food, you can’t miss trying one of Zingermann’s famous subs (expect to wait in line!).
Ann Arbor is close to Detroit Wayne County Airport, so you won’t need to drive far after landing. While this is a fun place to visit any time of year, you’ll likely find the most to do during the summer.
Ann Arbor is also just a half hour away from Hell, another fun tourist destination. Playing off of its attention-grabbing name, this small town is home to the aptly named Hell Hole Diner and a gift shop called Screams (which also serves up some delicious ice cream). Whether your trip to Ann Arbor is during the spooky season or when Hell freezes over in the winter months, be sure to add room on your trip itinerary for this day trip destination.
Once a port used during the fur trade, Mackinac Island is now a car-free destination filled with nature and history. Much of this weekend getaway destination is considered a Michigan state park, so have your camera ready to capture the beauty of your surroundings.
A top thing to do during your trip to Mackinac Island is to visit Colonial Michilimackinac and the nearby fort to see living history interpreters and check out historical exhibits.
Also, don’t leave without sampling some of the famous fudge from Mackinac Island Fudge!
Since you can’t drive to Mackinac Island, you’ll need to take a ferry to get there. The ferry runs from April through October, and you can bring a pet or bicycle with you. While you can still visit Mackinac Island when the ferry isn’t running, the alternative is a 7-minute flight. Therefore, your best bet is to visit when the ferry is running to save money.
There’s always something fun happening in Harbor Springs, MI. If you’re visiting over the weekend, check out the local galleries and boutiques. From jewelry to glasswork, you’ll find all sorts of trinkets to bring home with you. Try to align your trip with an interesting event or festival – every month has something different to offer!
In winter, ski buffs will enjoy a weekend getaway to Harbor Springs since it has some of the best skiing in Michigan at Boyne Highlands Resort. (Not to be confused with Boyne Mountain Resort 40 minutes to the south in Boyne Falls – though that’s also a great place for skiing in Michigan!)
Harbor Springs is roughly a half hour away from Mackinac Island, so consider visiting both if you’re taking an extended weekend for your trip. Since the town hosts celebrations during each season, this is an ideal place to visit year-round.
If you’re looking for wineries in Michigan, look no further than Baroda, Michigan. Here, you’ll find Gravity Vineyards and Winery’s tasting room overlooking the lake, and Red Top Winery’s selection of wines and ciders. You can visit even more wineries in nearby Berrien Springs.
The best time to visit Baroda is during the summer when there isn’t much rain and the temperature is tolerable. You can get here by flying into South Bend International Airport in Indiana, about a half hour away. Alternatively, there are a couple of Amtrak stations nearby that you can take a train into.
Another winery that is a destination all unto itself and makes for a great weekend getaway in Michigan is Chateau Chantal in Traverse City near the Old Mission Peninsula. This is a great spot for a romantic rendezvous or a girls’ trip. My sister-in-law and her friends often go here for their annual mom’s weekend away. And my husband proposed here…so yeah, we like this place. 😉
Chateau Chantal has sprawling grounds lined with vineyards that are adjacent to the impressive tasting room, a large space with plenty of room at the tasting room bar. But you might want to take your glass of Reisling or another varietal to the patio, which has an expansive view over the gorgeous vineyards.
Best of all for an easy, no-stress wine weekend away is that there is a B&B right on site where you can stay.
Also known as Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth is a cultural hotspot for all things German, located about 90 minutes north of Detroit. Festivals like Oktoberfest and Zehnder’s Snowfest are great reasons to visit Frankenmuth on their own. If you won’t be in town during the festival season, you can still get a taste of Germany on a tour of Frankenmuth Brewery.
If you’re traveling with kids, head to one of the two indoor water parks in town (Zehnder’s Splash Village and Bavarian Inn Lodge Waterpark and Family Fun Center, the latter of which is only open to overnight guests). So even if it’s cold outside, don’t forget to pack a bathing suit!
Frankenmuth is relatively close to Bishop International Airport, and there’s also an Amtrak station in nearby Saginaw. There’s quite a bit of activity here in the fall and winter, making these the perfect times to visit.
Have Fun on Your Michigan Weekend Getaway!
If you’ve never been to Michigan before, you’re missing out. If you’re from Michigan, you know the allure of this great state and no doubt want to explore more of it. So spend a weekend at one of these Michigan destinations to get a better feel for what this Great Lakes state is like!