- Plan a Staycation Getaway in Michigan
- Michigan Staycation Ideas in the Upper Peninsula
- Staycations in West Michigan and Southwest Michigan
- Plan a Mid-Michigan Staycation
- Staycation Ideas for Southeast Michigan and Detroit
- Plan A Staycation in Northern Michigan
- More Places for a Michigan Staycation
- Michigan Staycation FAQs
- More Michigan Staycations Destinations
Plan a Staycation Getaway in Michigan
Planning a Michigan staycation?
You’re in luck. Michigan travel destinations surround us in Michigan, and it’s easy to find a spot for a great staycation.
Whether you’re budget-minded and looking for cheap weekend getaways, a romantic getaway, or simply want to stay put and enjoy Michigan, there are tons of unique and interesting vacation spots and places to visit in Michigan for your staycation.
With endless miles of Great Lakes coastline, rolling rivers, clear inland lakes, and acres of forests, Michigan is an outdoors recreation paradise. Michigan’s vibrant cities and charming small towns provide a rich cultural and historical landscape too.
That means hiking trails, fun tourist attractions, restaurants, shops, and museums all within easy reach for some pure Michigan fun.
Best Michigan Staycation Destinations
Whether you’re looking for spring break trips, Christmas break, or just need a quick weekend getaway in Michigan, we’ve got the perfect destination for you.
Read on for the best staycation destinations for families in Michigan.
Michigan Staycation Ideas in the Upper Peninsula
The cool thing about Michigan waterfalls is that they are just as pretty in the winter and spring as in the summer and fall.
There are over 300 waterfalls in Michigan, and all but one of them are in the U.P. Be sure to check out Tahquamenon Falls State Park, a sprawling 50,000-acre park home to two waterfalls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. The Upper Tahquamenon Falls has a 50-foot drop and is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The Lower Falls is a series of five cascading falls that are very picturesque, too.
If you’re headed to the western U.P for your Michigan staycation, head for Bond Falls Scenic Site. Bond Falls is located on the Ontonagon River, where a series of falls drop almost 50 feet. There’s a great viewing area with picnic tables near the top of the falls.
Want more waterfalls? Use our Michigan waterfalls map.
How about heading to the top of Michigan for your staycation? Copper Harbor is located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula and is filled with fun things to do and see. In addition to breathtaking views of Lake Superior, you’ll find hiking trails, waterfalls, and Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary.
Estivant Pines is a pristine white pine forest that truly has a fairy tale feel. You’ll walk along trails under the canopies of white pines reaching 125 feet in height, and some as old as 300 years. This is a special place to commune with nature – don’t miss it.
PRO-TIP: Keweenaw Peninsula is also the jumping-off point for Isle Royale National Park. The park is closed from November 15 to April 1, but if your Michigan staycation is in the late spring to mid-fall, you might consider Isle Royale. It’s the most revisited national park in the system for a reason.
Who knew you’d find Michigan’s hippest little city in the Upper Peninsula? Located on the shores of Lake Superior, Marquette has everything for a fun Michigan staycation. You’ll find a walkable downtown with top-rated breweries, fun shops, and unique restaurants, as well as endless miles of hiking and biking trails. You’ll find lighthouses to explore, beaches strewn with Yooperlite Rocks to collect, and more.
Don’t miss Sugarloaf Mountain, where you can take an easy hike up 1,000 feet to the peak for amazing views of Lake Superior and Presque Isle Park. Lakenenland Sculpture Park is a free and family-friendly 40-acre sculpture park featuring sculptures from scrap iron. You’ll find 100 works of art, picnic tables, and a kid’s playground, here, too.
PRO-TIP: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is just an hour east of Marquette and worth the drive, with miles of hiking trails, sand dunes, waterfalls and dramatic sandstone cliffs overlooking Lake Superior.
Staycations in West Michigan and Southwest Michigan
Grand Rapids MI
There is so much to do in West Michigan’s Grand Rapids that you might have to plan two staycations. With a vibrant downtown featuring top restaurants, a bustling Downtown Market, and cool museums, you’ll have no problem in filling your Michigan staycation with fun.
A few favorite museums include the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and the Meyer May House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright and open for tours.
Take some to visit the funky boutiques and restaurants in East Town. Don’t miss Argos Comics & Used Book Shop.
You’ll also want to plan to see the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, a 158-acre botanical garden, art museum, and outdoor sculpture park.
PRO-TIP: Holland Michigan is just 30 minutes southwest by car. The town is rich with Dutch history, which you can experience at Windmill Island Gardens, open mid-April through October. Shop Eighth Street and then head to Holland State Park to see the iconic Big Red Lighthouse. The Tulip Time Festival is in May.
This popular beach town in southwest Michigan swells with tourists during the summer months, and with good reason. It’s quaint, charming, and home to some amazing Lake Michigan beach frontage. Want to have New Buffalo almost to yourself? Plan your staycation right and you can visit this Lake Michigan beach when the tourists are still at home.
In addition to a large public beach (with a playground and a viewing platform to climb), you’ll find cute shops and restaurants both in New Buffalo and the entire Harbor Country area. This is the starting point for the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, you’ll find amazing wineries, as well as breweries, and the Four Winds Casino. Don’t miss the Harbert Antique Mall or the Black Currant Bakehouse in Union Pier (try the Raspberry Shortbread Bars).
Plan a Mid-Michigan Staycation
Whether you know it as Michigan’s “Little Bavaria,” or Michigan’s Christmas town, Frankenmuth might be the number one choice for a staycation with kids. That’s because there is something for everyone here. Kids (and adults) can play at the indoor waterparks at Zehnder’s Splash Village or the Bavarian Inn.
You can shop the cute downtown area, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town or simply relax and enjoy a world-famous chicken dinner with all the trimmings.
PRO-TIP: If you’re craving even more shopping, head about 5 miles west to the Outlet Mall in Birch Run.
Great Lakes Bay Region
Made up of six communities, including Midland, Bay City, Chesaning, Birch Run, Saginaw, and Frankenmuth (see above), this area in mid-Michigan has some unique areas to explore.
The 10,000-acre Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw has more than 4.4 miles of trails to walk on and a 6.5 wildlife drive, too. You’ll see tons of wildlife, including eagles, deer, pheasants, and more. Dow Gardens in Midland is home to the really cool Canopy Walk. You’ll walk 40 feet above the ground though a forest of trees.
PRO-TIP: There are some really cool Maple Syrup Festivals in Mid-Michigan if you plan your Michigan staycation getaway in March or April. Both Shepherdsville and Vermontville are home to massive Michigan maple syrup events.
Staycation Ideas for Southeast Michigan and Detroit
Arguably one of the best college towns in the country, Ann Arbor is home to some amazing museums, restaurants, shopping and the University of Michigan campus. It’s also home to some great natural areas and Matthei Botanical Gardens one of the best botanical gardens in the state.
If you go, start in Kerrytown, and try the world’s best Macaroni and Cheese at Zimmerman’s Deli. Then, head to the UM campus and the Natural History Museum (good for all ages), and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Spend some time walking the sprawling UM campus, and visit Argo Park along the Huron River.
Did you know you can take train rides to Ann Arbor? It’s true! Amtrak service runs from Detroit and New Buffalo right into the city of Ann Arbor!
You might not expect to find a sprawling natural area in downtown Detroit, but that is exactly what Belle Isle Park is. This spectacular 982-acre island in the middle of the Detroit River is the perfect example of history and natural beauty. This is an amazing place to explore: in addition to great views of the Detroit Skyline and Canada, you’ll find hiking trails, an Aquarium, and the Belle Isle Nature Center.
Detroit is southeast Michigan’s ground zero for museums. The Detroit Science Center (Michigan Science Center) is home to a Planetarium and an IMAX theater as well as some cool space exhibits.
The Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the top art museums in the county, is a must-visit too. Don’t miss the amazing collection of suits of Armor, or the Romare Bearden mural at the entrance. Of course, you can’t visit Detroit without paying homage to Hitsville USA at the Motown Museum. Tour this iconic spot and see where Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and many other great recording artists got their start.
PRO-TIP: Take a Detroit architectural tour to see some gems of the city built by Albert Kahn, Minoru Yamaski, Louis Kantor and others.
Auburn Hills in Metro Detroit
There’s alot to do in Auburn Hills in northern Oakland County, and almost all of it is located inside the sprawling Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. In addition to finding one of Michigan’s top outlet malls, you’ll also find three of metro Detroit’s top attractions for kids!
Plan A Staycation in Northern Michigan
Sat on the shores of picturesque Grand Traverse Bay, northern Michigan’s Traverse City will make a memorable staycation for all. You can easily spend a day shopping downtown Traverse City’s Front St., home to fun boutiques, toy and book stores, and amazing restaurants and cafes, too. There is no end to fun outdoor activities here, from hiking or biking the Traverse City Area Recreational Trail, to exploring the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore located nearby.
Don’t miss Horizon Books, a favorite stopping point for many national book tours, or Doug Murdick’s Fudge Shop, both on Front Street. You’ll also want to try the Rare Bird Brewpub and Tap Root Cider House for some flatbread pizza. Grand Traverse Brewing Company is also a must-visit.
Mackinac Island’s busy tourist season starts in June, so you might think about visiting in the spring, when you can almost have the island to yourself. Sure some of the downtown shops and restaurants won’t be open yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun exploring this charming Victorian-era island in Lake Huron.
Whether you take a ferry from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City, you’ll feel the excitement once the Grand Hotel’s impressive porch comes into view. One of my favorite things to do is hike or bike the eight miles around the historic island. You’ll catch amazing views of Lake Huron and see unique things like Arch Rock and Skull Cave in Mackinac Island State Park.
More Places for a Michigan Staycation
Located in northeast Michigan, Alpena is set on the shores of Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay. Things to do and see here include the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan and the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Don’t miss the Rockport State Recreation Area, a designated Dark Sky Park. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Set on the shores of Little Traverse Bay, both Petoskey and Harbor Springs make good spots for a winter or spring staycation. Upscale Bay Harbor is home to an amazing spa is you’re turning your staycation into a romantic getaway, and there is an amazing golf course, depending on the times of the year you are visiting.
If you want some outdoor hiking, head to Thorne Swift Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs, near the entrance to the Tunnel of Trees. You’ll find a beautiful trail to the Lake Michigan beach, and a dune observation platform, too.
Even More Spots for a Staycation in Michigan
Michigan Staycation FAQs
Yes, Michigan is a good place to take a staycation, because there are so many things to do in the state. There is a good mix of cities with rich culture, as well as naturally beautiful outdoor areas, too. You’ll find top-rated wineries and breweries as well as national parks and lakeshores, too.
Mackinac Island is one of the top tourist attractions in Michigan, with the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore tied for second.
There are many things to do in Michigan in Spring, including hiking and biking the many trails in the Upper Peninsuland in northern Michigan. Spring is a good time to visit Holland Michigan too, during the Tulip Time Festival.