When daughters are grown, spending time together as adults is one of parenting’s sweet rewards. But carving out the one-on-one time isn’t easy. These five perfect Northern Michigan vacations are just right for catching up, checking in and tuning out the rest of the world.

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Stay: Hotel Walloon, Walloon Lake

Write your life story here, or at least live a very delicious scene of it. The stately Hotel Walloon is located on the shores of the same lake that inspired Ernest Hemingway. And yes, there’s a self-guided tour. Find the very spot described in “Wedding Day” where Nick Adams and his new bride began their honeymoon by rowing across the lake just as real-life Hemingway and Hadley Richardson did after their wedding.

hotel walloon on walloon lake

Photo by Hotel Walloon

walloon book shelves with armchairs

Photo by Hotel Walloon

The property is built for serenity, and little luxuries abound—a heated outdoor spa, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and desserts each evening, an outdoor lakeside fire pit. Book a room that overlooks the water, slow down and soak in lake life (preferably while lounging with a beach book in those plush robes we all dream about). Hungry? Head next door to Barrel Back, named after “Barrel Back” boats found on inland lakes in the 1920s. The restaurant is known for its wood-fired pizzas, house-smoked brisket with maple bourbon glaze and sunset views over the harbor.

Stay: Paddler’s Village, Munising

Not glamping exactly, but a step up from a plain ol’ tent. Paddler’s Village, located just minutes from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, offers everything from yurts to cabins to safari tents. You can’t go wrong; every lodging option will leave a little dirt under your nails and a bonding moment over getting that darned campfire started. Try the “deluxe” yurts for a weekend with more comforts of home. These include a mini fridge, microwave and linens already on the bunk beds. Plus, they’ve got bathrooms inside.

yurt on the beach, fall foliage

Photo by Allison Jarrell

Enjoy the shores of Lake Superior here and, of course, book a boat or kayak excursion to see the sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks rising from the water. After all that adventure, head into nearby Marquette to grab the best to-go deli sandwiches in town, from a local favorite named, naturally, Togo’s. Their submarine sandwiches are massive, so consider splitting one. Let mom pick her half first.

Stay: Hotel Iroquois, Mackinac Island

You can’t go wrong stealing away to an island for a weekend, but a stay at this boutique hotel with its endless Victorian gardens and waterfront perch on the Straits of Mackinac is one you won’t want to leave. Hotel Iroquois’ 45 guest suites and rooms offer a variety of stunning views—Round Island Lighthouse, Fort Mackinac, ferries and freighters. The hotel’s cocktail dock is an absolute must.

Hotel Iroquois cocktail dock

Photo by Sara Wright

Tips to make your Mackinac Island getaway unforgettable:

  • Instead of renting bikes by the hour, rent for 24 hours and forget about the clock. Pedal where you want, when you want.
  • Get up 30 minutes before dawn and pedal to the sunrise side of the island to take in the serenity of the arriving day. Grab coffee afterward at Mission Point Resort’s Boxwood Coffeeshop & Café.
  • To see stunning views from the highest point on the island, leave the bikes at the hotel and treat yourselves to a horse carriage taxi ride up to Fort Holmes (around $9 per person), then meander back down on foot.
Stay: Pleasant Moose Lodge, Newberry

Get ready to get “lit.” This getaway is all about Yooperlites, a recently discovered glow-in-the-dark rock found prominently along the shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. Enjoy a stay at the rustic Pleasant Moose Lodge, which is Yooper charm to a tee—fireplaces to warm your toes, friendly staff to warm your soul. (The name fits; a mama and baby moose have been spotted near the lodge.)

Yooperlite in palm of hand

Photo by Ruffa Villota

Then, book a night experience you’ll never forget: A Yooperlites tour with Erik Rintamaki, the guy who discovered and named this special rock that only glows under UV light. (Yooperlites have even been featured on the Discovery Channel.) These sell out fast, so book well in advance. Tours begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at Pine Stump Junction, a landmark for miles around, as there’s little else to be found this far north in the Yoop. Then take a ride in a side-by-side with your tour guide, Erik, to the lakeshore. You’ll be out past your bedtime—most tours end around midnight—but it’s unlike any kind of rock hunting you’ve ever done. Watch the sunset over Mother Superior, then wander the soulful, beautiful night beach, using special UV flashlights to look for the tell-tale glowing orange-flecked rocks. Let out a whoop with each one you find, and be the mother-daughter team to beat.

Stay: The Homestead, Glen Arbor

This resort is like a best-of-the-best of Sleeping Bear Dunes; tucked into the lakeshore, its scenery is unforgettable. Make your way to the bluff where Spa Amira is perched, and you’ll find a turquoise pool overlooking Lake Michigan, the dunes and the Manitou Islands. Book a duet Nirvana Stress Relief Massage for both of you or a Manitou Foot Utopia treatment, which can be done outdoors (weather permitting) by that dazzling pool. Later, enjoy lunch at Café Manitou’s deck where the Crystal River meets the Big Lake.

aerial view of the homestead, summer trees, beach, lodging structures

Photo by The Homestead

A day trip to nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes is a must. (You’ll need a park pass; $25 for a private vehicle, valid seven days from date of purchase.) Take a serene cruise on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, traveling through a charming covered bridge and stopping at scenic turnouts along the way. The crown jewel of this 7-mile loop is the Lake Michigan Overlook with one of the most stunning views in Michigan—actually, the entire Midwest.

Kandace Chapple is a freelance writer and avid Michigan outdoor adventurer. mi-girl.com

Photo(s) by Hotel Walloon