Romance. Adventure. Family Fun. You pick the theme, we’ll give you the best weekend vacations in Northern Michigan.
Girls Weekend Getaway: Traverse City
Start the day with brunch (these 10 restaurants have amazing brunch menus). Once you’re fueled up, get ready for shopping. Start downtown then head over to the Warehouse MRKT and finish at Grand Traverse Commons. Pace yourself—there’s so much to see! (Here’s your Traverse City shopping guide.) Spend your afternoons wine tasting or lounging on the beach. Watch the sunset with champagne on the Nauti-Cat or grab drinks at Hotel Indigo’s rooftop bar overlooking Grand Traverse Bay.
Romantic Weekend Getaway: Mackinac Island
Head to the island for the annual Lilac Festival in June. Thousands of blooms paint the island in every shade of lavender and plum. For athletic couples, the Lilac Festival 10k begins at Windermere Point. Book a room at Windermere Hotel or Hotel Iroquois to wake up next to the starting line. Later in the week, Taste of Mackinac gives visitors tastes from the island’s best restaurants. (Get your tickets here!) Obviously, pet lovers can’t miss the dog and Pony Parade!
More things you’ve got to experience on Mackinac Island:
- Venture out for an after-dinner pink drink—the legendary Rum Runner—on the patio of Pink Pony.
- Get breakfast at Chuckwagon, but arrive early, the small restaurant fills up fast!
- Walk up West Bluff Road (past the Grand Hotel) to see the gorgeous, historic homes on the bluff. You’ll also be treated to views of the Mackinac Bridge. Stop by Pontiac’s Lookout. (Here’s a map.)
Heading up for the weekend?
Here’s your free guide to the best of Mackinac Island in two days!
Family Weekend Getaway: Glen Arbor/Empire
Rent a condo at Homestead Resort with a panoramic view of Lake Michigan and send mom to the bluff-top spa. Then get ready for a jam-packed trip! Pack a picnic and bike the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from downtown Glen Arbor to the Glen Haven beach. Then ride over to the popular Dune Climb. Refuel at Cherry Republic’s cafe then kayak the Crystal River. Wind down the evening at Glen Arbor Wines—games and snacks for kids! In Empire, head to the Village Park on Lake Michigan Drive (off of Niagara Street). A sandy beach, playground, and warmer South Bar Lake (perfect for windy days and young kids) await.
Literary Weekend Getaway: Petoskey
The most memorable stories often have a quest. Head to Petoskey State Park to hunt for the elusive Petoskey stone (try these rock hunting tips). Then go on a self-guided Hemingway tour—you’ll want to grab lunch at City Park Grill. But your favorite hunt will likely be for a good beach read, and you’ll find plenty at McLean and Eakin Bookstore. Before you leave town, cruise M-119, the famous Tunnel of Trees, and go wine tasting on the Bay View Wine Trail.
Adventurous Weekend Getaway: Frankfort
Head to Frankfort Pier for amazing views of crystal-clear waters, fishing, and white-capped waves just waiting for your surfboard. Rentals—surfboards, bikes, skateboards, paddleboards, and more—available at Beach Nut Surf Shop. After a day on the water, head to Stormcloud Brewing Company for a cold one with dinner.
More Northern Michigan Vacation Ideas
- 10 Things to Do Near Petoskey, Michigan
- M119 Color Tour: Drive The Tunnel of Trees This Fall
- Get Outside Downtown: The Best Traverse City Weekend Vacation. Ever.
- Glen Arbor Makes Money Magazine’s List of “20 Best and Affordable Places to Go in 2018”
- Places That Inspired Northern Michigan’s Greatest Authors: Hemingway, Harrison + Voelker