Memorial Day Weekend in Northern Michigan is filled with fabulous Memorial Day Weekend events. Here are just some of the best Michigan lodging, Michigan attractions and Michigan restaurant ideas and deals. Whether you live here and need a stay-cation or are traveling for your Michigan getaway, this Memorial Day Weekend Planner will fill your weekend with adult and family fun.
Northern Michigan Restaurants By the Water
Weather.com reports that in the Traverse City area, average high temps for Memorial Day weekend are about 73 degrees with record highs soaring to 92-95 degrees (yikes!). If Mother Nature complies we suggest you find a restaurant on the water at least once this weekend. Here are some choices of places along the shores of Lake Michigan or Northern Michigan’s inland lakes and rivers from the Traverse Magazine Dining Guide (printed in the back of every issue). These same restaurants—more than 200—are also in the MyNorth Dining Guide, so visit MyNorth.com whenever you’re looking to find the perfect spot for a Northern Michigan meal.
- Cava in Bay Harbor is a sleek modern lounge with a huge view, or try Knot Just a Bar for a contemporary sports and oyster bar with a view of the Bay Harbor Marina.
- Dine on classics like London broil or oysters Rockefeller at The Boathouse right on the Cheboygan River. Or visit Hack-Ma-Tack Inn, also on the Cheboygan River, housed in a classic 1894-era hunting and fishing lodge.
- How about a whole island of seaside tables? Mackinac Island of course. Try the Mackinac Carriage House at the Hotel Iroquois (check out the Iroquois video). Or Lake View Hotel’s Pilot House for seafood dishes and late-night dining by the water. And of course who could miss the captivating view of the Straits of Mackinac from the Grand Hotel?
- In Harbor Springs, there’s great Lake Michigan-side dining at Little Traverse Bay Restaurant’s patio. Check out Dudley’s Deck at Stafford’s Pier, where you can score a shady spot under an umbrella or tickle your toes with a table in the grass.
- Andante is a romantic art-filled restaurant, but the view of the Grand Traverse Bay enchants its Petoskey diners. In addition to a great bay view, you can also gaze at the theater-style kitchen at Whitecaps, also in Petoskey, where you can get a wood-fired pizza. The glorious grounds frame Stafford’s Bay View Inn’s Lake Michigan vista, good for Sunday brunch and a garden stroll.
- In Bellaire, the Dockside has prime views of river traffic and Torch Lake sunsets—but get there early, the deck fills up fast. Another choice might be Shanty Creek Resort’s regional cuisine and view of Lake Bellaire.
- Looking for a Charlevoix restaurant? Grab a seat along the windows of Stafford’s Weathervane by the Pine River Channel. This Hobbit-style Earl Young stone structure is a fab place to watch the bridge rise and fall for boat traffic. Or go for burgers and Lake Charlevoix views at Kelsey B’s Lakeside Food & Spirits.
- In Leelanau County, blu has exquisite regional cuisine, courtesy of chef Randy Chamberlain, in an intimate setting on Sleeping Bear Bay. Also, check out The Manor, a renovated lakeside inn on Glen Lake. In Leland, The Cove seats you right next to the waterfall over the Leland River dam in Fishtown, a quaint collection of shops and shanties. Pull up to the dock at the Riverside Inn for patio dining. And there’s The Bluebird, which has been a mainstay for locals and boaters seeking a river view and signature cinnamon rolls since 1927.
- Find solace staring at the roll of the waves from a table at the Boathouse Restaurant on Old Mission Peninsula. Or go for a casual experience at Mission Table at Bowers Harbor for proprietary wines and beers paired with local cuisine and a soothing view of Grand Traverse Bay.
- And what about Traverse City restaurants? Let’s start with Aerie at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with its 16th floor panoramic view of East Bay. Or Scott’s Harbor Grill for a deck-view of West Bay; come on a Wednesday to watch the Yacht Club races. Or Apache Trout Grill for a rough-hewn eatery on the water. Firefly is a sophisticated hot spot on the Boardman River. Get a view of Boardman Lake with your pasta at Auntie Pasta’s Italian Cafe & Zio’s.
- Of course the deck at Lakeside Charlie’s on Lake Mitchell should be on your Cadillac list. A view of Lake Cadillac goes great with Loretta DeJulian Snider’s authentic Italian at Marina Ristorante. At McGuire’s Resort, the Terrace Room restaurant serves stellar water and woods views plus American fare.
- Overlooking Betsie Bay in Frankfort you’ll find the Coho Café’s spacious patio. And there’s The Cabbage Shed’s rambling restaurant with serene views and great suds in Elberta.
While this list will get you started, there are too many more to share them all. For the most comprehensive lists, check out the dining guide in our magazines, or use the handy search tool of the
Great Family Activities
Ode to Our Favorite Rock
Saturday, May 29, 5th Annual Petoskey Stone Festival
Includes Petoskey stone beach hunts for prizes, Petoskey stone and Michigan gemstone vendors, learn how to polish your Petoskey stones and make jewelry, local foods, music and entertainment for the family, 10am-4pm, free admission. Barnes Park in Eastport, 231-533-8363, petoskeystonefestival.com.
Down on the Farm
Saturday, May 29, Blossom Festival at Friske’s Farm Market in Atwood
Join the celebration of Springtime in the Orchard. Begin with a pancake breakfast, wagon rides through the blossoms, live entertainment by "Johnny Appleseed" and live music by the Fruit Pickers. 8am to 4pm. 231-599-2604, friske.com.
Take Me Out to a Ball game
Saturday, May 29, Traverse City Beach Bums Home Game
The Beach Bums face the Oakland County Cruisers. Gates open at 5pm. Game at 7:05pm. Memorial Day Remembrance Celebration, fireworks. Organized by Traverse City Beach Bums. 231-943-0100, tcbeachbums.com.
Watch History Come Alive
Saturday, May 29 & Sunday, May 30 Fort Michilmackinac Pageant
Watch the re-enactment of the 1763 Native American attack on the British-held Fort Michilimackinac at the Fort Michilmackinac Pageant. fmpcfestival.org. Afterwards, tour Colonial Michilimackinac. mackinacparks.com. Read the fascinating history of how this day unfolded in 1763 and how some survived the bloody day in Deadly Lacrosse Game on Mackinac Island at Fort Michilimackinac in 1763.
Calling All Runners
Saturday, May 29, 2010 Mackinaw Memorial Bridge Race
Run the Mighty Mackinac Bridge! 6 a.m. race begins at Bridgeview Park at the north end of the bridge and will end at race headquarters in Mackinaw City. Transportation from Mackinaw City to the starting line is provided. The total length of course is 5.6 miles. Event registration closes at 9:00pm on May 28th. You may either send this registration form in with check or money order or register online at mackinawcity.com. On site registration will be offered Friday, May 28th from 5:00pm to 9:00pm race headquarters. There will be NO ONSITE REGISTRATION OFFERED ON THE DAY OF THE RACE (MAY 29th). Entry fee is $40 per participant if postmarked by May 1st, 2010. Entry fees after May 1st are $45 and on-site registration will be $50. Entry includes: race across the Mackinac Bridge, official race bib, race chip technology, official race T-shirt, commemorative medal, transportation to starting area, awards for division winners and HOT breakfast.
Saturday, May 29, 28th Annual Traverse City State Bank Bayshore 10K
The Bayshore Marathon and Half-Marathon are full, but there may still be time to sign up for the 10K. bayshoremarathon.org.
Saturday, May 29th, Beer & Brat Festival Crystal Mountain, 4 – 9 pm
Sample over 50 of Michigan’s finest microbrews, hard cider, specialty brats with a range of flavors from spicy jalapeno to tart cherry, giant Bavarian pretzels and live music by Rootstand! Held outdoors, slopeside at Crystal Mountain. $5 per person Food and beverage tickets available for purchase. Must be 21+ to enter.
Stay the night at Crystal: Michigan Beer & Brat Festival package starts at $79 per adult, per night and if you add unlimited golf it’s $129 per adult, per night. 231-378-2000, crystalmountain.com.
Wander the Wine Trail
From Old Mission to Leelanau Peninsula, Northern Michigan wine country is waiting to be tasted. For trail maps: lpwines.com, wineriesofoldmission.com. Be safe and book a shuttle A. Paradise Shuttle & Tours, 231-218-2317.
For the Adventurous
Zipline and Ropes Challenge Course at Pirates Cove
Zipline: Safely snap into our lofty pirate rigging, step off the plank and soar through the air for 750 combined feet! The ultimate in pirate adventure!
Ropes Challenge Course: Discover your "inner pirate," as you enter a hidden buccaneer’s roost located high in the rigging of an old ship wreck. Safely navigate your way through a series of rope obstacles on two levels, situated up to 33 feet off the ground! Fun and safe for all ages. net 231-938-9599, piratescove.com.
Zip Lines at Boyne
Zipline Adventure, open year round at Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain resorts and offered on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with added days during holiday periods during winter months. Three sessions daily on open days; 10am, 1pm and 3:30pm
Maximum of 12 riders per session; minimum number may be required. Ride features a series of seven lines entertainingly routed through trees and across slopes at Boyne Highlands and at Boyne Mountain; lines measure up to 500ft in length and up to 50ft high. $69. 800-462-6963, boyne.com.
Michigan’s only alpine slide! Riders take the Loki triple chairlift to the top of the mountain, hop on a specially-designed sled, and cruise down one of two parallel 250-foot-high, 1,600-foot-long curved tracks as they curve and dip their way down the mountain. Family day pass: $79. 231-378-2000 ext. 7000, crystalmountain.com.
All Golf, All the Time
Available at Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain:
Room and a Round starting at $76 pp/pn
Unlimited Golf starting at $94 pp/pn Both deals offered through May and include golf on choice of 7 courses.
The Inn at Bay Harbor
A Renaissance Golf Resort and 18 holes at Bay Harbor Golf Club starting at $177 per person/per night. This offer is called the Gold Package in honor of the Gold Medal The Inn earned in GOLF Magazine’s 2010 Premier Resorts awards. The Inn stands as the only Michigan property to ever archive Gold Medal status in the 22-year history of the prestigious rankings. boyne.com/BoynesBestDeals/Deals/Golf/gold_ibh_package.html.
Relax and Help Veterans
Enjoy two nights lodging in a one-bedroom suite at Stony Brook Lodge at The Homestead in Glen Arbor. Breakfast buffet each morning at CQ’s Cabin, dinner one evening at Nonna’s and a late checkout time on day of departure. The Homestead will donate $25 for every package sold to the American Veteran’s Fund. Package rates from $135 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. Applicable tariff and taxes are extra. For more information or availability, call 231-334-5100, thehomesteadresort.com.