If you are sticking closer to home this spring, we promise these April vacation and staycation ideas will deliver plenty of R&R—and lots of fun. Head to Northern Michigan this spring!

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Not tired of the white stuff? Hello, Snow Challenge.

A few of Shanty Creek Resort’s ski hills welcome pickup trucks (for a good cause) April 7–8. Organizers say the Snow Challenge at Schuss Mountain in Bellaire is fast becoming one of the state’s biggest winter events, transforming the late- season slopes into side-by-side uphill truck racing. Watch as modified trucks, jeeps, and more step on the gas and race to the top. It’s loud, aggressive and for a great cause—a portion of the proceeds is donated to Michigan’s Disabled American Veterans. Call 866.695.5010 for lodging specials!

Take it easy in Suttons Bay

Enjoy a decidedly lower-key weekend in Suttons Bay, where you can peruse the quaint downtown shops, lick an ice cream cone, and wander the waterfront, all in a sunny afternoon. Take to the paved Leelanau Trail for a hike or bike ride (rentals at suttonsbaybikes.com) and finish up at Hop Lot Brewing Co. for food and drink in this small-batch brewery’s on-site hop garden. Hungry for more? Head to nearby Black Star Farms, where each Friday this month you can savor an intimate three-course dining experience featuring delicious fare from award-winning chef Lance Griffus for $45. Find a hotel in Leelanau County!

Get tickets to Black Star Farms’ dinners!

Fish for fun in Cadillac

Get outside and hone your fishing skills at the steelhead clinic at 10 a.m. April 7, Mitchell State Park, in Cadillac. This daylong clinic ($40/person) is part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy, which offers expert instruction, gear, and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities, from hunting and fishing to hiking, birding, and more. If walleye fishing is more your thing, check out the Day on the Water Walleye Clinic on April 21 ($25/person). Find a hotel in Cadillac!

april travel ideas in northern michigan

Bird walk in Bellaire

Nothing quite says spring like the sweet sound of birds singing, and this month new birds are showing up every day at Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire. Join the bird walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 7, and look and listen for these spring arrivals. You’ll learn to identify birds by sight and sound, and then be able to log observations online. ($5/person, one and a half hour long). Space is limited, pre-registration requested.

Tour Traverse City, your way

From bayside hotels and waterpark resorts to cabins and lodges in the woods, you can choose the early-spring getaway in the cherry capital that fits you and your family best. Through April 30, “escape packages” are available through Traverse City Tourism, the area’s visitor and convention bureau. The seasonal specials combine discounted rates on lodging with an assortment of coupons on everything from dining, movies, and spa services to wine purchases and entertainment.

Traverse travel editor Heather Johnson Durocher writes from Traverse City. She is the founder of the travel and active lifestyle site MichiganRunnerGirl.com and also hosts a weekly podcast. Heather and her family get outside and explore as much as possible.

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More Northern Michigan Travel Ideas

Photo(s) by Jordan Oster