May’s vibrant colors are popping, and they’re calling to us—get outside and explore! Here are four Northern Michigan weekend trips with Airbnb rentals ideal for getting away and (safely) experiencing all that nature offers this time of year.

Featured in the May issue of Traverse Magazine. Subscribe.

Stay Near the Water
Lola’s Retreat,” a quaint and tidy one-bedroom, one-bathroom guest house a block from a spectacular waterfront park near downtown St. Ignace, is perfectly located for nearby day trips to the Lake Michigan shoreline, including the can’t-not-stop Brevort beaches, and forested trails. Its price is right, too, starting at $95/night.

Explore: About a 15-minute drive west is Hiawatha National Forest and the 10-mile Sand Dunes Trail, home to numerous rare and endangered dune species. At dusk, the dunes are simply stunning against the setting sun or moon.

Stay in the Country
Traverse City Cabin in the Woods” is a quiet, secluded second-story cabin/apartment about 20 minutes outside of the city. You’ve got miles of trails just outside your front door when staying at this one-bedroom (sleeps four) spot that starts at $125/night. If unavailable (it’s a “rare find” property), check out “Cedar Wood,” a two-bedroom apartment on the east side of Traverse City near the Vasa Pathway, with nightly rates starting at $75.

Explore: From either lodging location, travel a short distance (about a 15-minute drive) to Brown Bridge Quiet Area, an approximately 1,300-acre, city-owned swath of land and water. The Boardman River runs through the property, and until the fall of 2012, the Quiet Area was also the site of Brown Bridge Pond. (Brown Bridge Pond was formed by the construction of the Brown Bridge Dam in 1922.)

The removal of Brown Bridge Dam eliminated the pond and has allowed the Boardman River to return to its historic channel and status as a high-quality free-flowing river. There are gorgeous views, whether walking the trails that take you close to the river or along the ridge overlooking the valley and river below.

Stay with your Dog
Traveling with your four-legged companion? We found a one-bedroom home in Manistee close to local amenities and nature (search “pet friendly one bedroom near everything”). It’s just a two or three-block walk to restaurants, shops and the Vogue Theatre, and two public beaches are a short walk or bike ride away. This listing allows one dog per visit.

Explore: Just south of Manistee on Lake Michigan is Magoon Creek, home to biking and hiking trails. It’s a terrific spot for an afternoon picnic at the beach. Or use one of the many picnic tables or covered pavilions nestled high atop a 150-foot bluff—the view is breathtaking. You’ll see dunes to the south and the Manistee North Pier Lighthouse to the north.

Stay in Town
The location of this cozy and modern two-bedroom apartment named “Getaway by the Bay” in downtown Munising puts you close to everything. Walk to restaurants and the city pier, where the Pictured Rocks boat cruises dock.

Explore: The hiking possibilities are endless—so many waterfalls to see in this area of the U.P.—but if you’re looking to get out on the water or want to explore on two wheels, several businesses are close by to rent bicycles and kayaks. You’ll also find several spots that offer guided kayak tours of Pictured Rocks, such as Pictured Rocks Kayaking.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner