6 Weekend Getaways in Michigan

Michigan offers no shortage of weekend getaways, including a ferry ride past Round Island Lighthouse to Mackinac Island
Michigan offers no shortage of weekend getaways, including a ferry ride past Round Island Lighthouse to Mackinac Island | © GeoStills / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Frank Lopez
Writer3 August 2020

It is no secret that the state of Michigan is blessed with large and remote areas of natural beauty. Take a rural path and disappear under night skies along the spectacular coastline, or if you seek the gentle bustle of a small town, camp on one of Michigan’s famous islands for all the romance of a classic getaway. Culture Trip has chosen a few destinations to help you get away from it all in comfort and peace.

Gaylord

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View

In Northern Michigan, directly south of Mackinac Island, Gaylord is a destination for those who like outdoor activities of all kinds. Popular for getaways in both the warmer months and the depths of winter, Gaylord is equipped to keep you entertained. With all manner of watersports from kayaking and paddle boarding to land-based pursuits such as hiking and cycling, Gaylord has maintained its reputation as an Alpine village and is the perfect destination for those who wish to keep fit and healthy in body and spirit.

Grand Marais

Natural Feature
Map View
A spectacular sunrise over Grand Sable Dunes near Grand Marais, Michigan. The Log Slide Overlook is part of Pictured Rocks.
© Craig Sterken / Alamy Stock Photo
On the south shore of Lake Superior is a peaceful community that was named Grand Marais by the French as far back as the 1600s. As a village on a sheltered body of water, its geographical positioning promises peace and refuge and, like other destinations in the Upper Peninsula, manages to draw people to it in all seasons. Close to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, expect immense sand dunes and fairytale coastlines from Grand Marais. This is a retreat into nature and a serene place to appreciate all the colors of the sunset.

Lansing

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View

As the capital of Michigan, Lansing offers the opportunity to be one of the locals for a weekend in a city of a little more than 120,000 people. You can enjoy the casual freedom of exploring farmers’ markets, walking along picturesque river trails or, if you are inclined, even renting a kayak. Lansing has the benefits of never being too far from nature while the city is at your fingertips. If you really want to feel like you’re part of the city, attend a Minor League Baseball game at Cooley Law School stadium to support the Lansing Lugnuts. Lansing offers the best of both worlds.

Mackinac Island

Natural Feature
Map View
Tourists riding bikes on resort island of Mackinac Island Michigan
© James Schwabel / Alamy Stock Photo
People have been escaping to Mackinac Island for centuries; its perfect summer climate and cooling waters still make it a major draw today. The ban on cars encourages visitors to make cycling the fun and healthy means to get around, and there is no shortage of history or culture on the island, with museums, galleries and the Grand Hotel. Wander off to one of the high points on the island in the evening to revel in what many have done before you. This is surely one sunset in Michigan that’s hard to beat.

Bay Harbor

Natural Feature
Map View

Bay Harbor is the place to stay in style or use as a base to sail off into the blue. The marina has modern, award-winning facilities and is considered as much a community as a place to dock your boat. If you like your trips into nature to come with some luxury, then Bay Harbor is the place to indulge yourself. It is not just a place for the pampered though; with Michigan’s nature always waiting to be tackled and the annual arts festival celebrating music and dance, Bay Harbor is a memorable getaway.

Beaver Island

Natural Feature
Map View
Saint James Harbor on Beaver Island Michigan. Image shot 1993. Exact date unknown.
© Dennis Cox / Alamy Stock Photo
Lake Michigan’s self-proclaimed Emerald Isle lies 30mi (48km) from the city of Charlevoix and entertains visitors who can only gain access to it by plane or ferry. Beaver Island will leave you feeling that sublime connection to nature. The beaches are unspoiled and the light pollution at night is so low that people come for stargazing alone. It has even sought out an official international dark-sky designation. The sky certainly adds to the serenity in the evenings when Beaver Island communicates something silent and magical.
These recommendations were updated on August 3, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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