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15 Fun and Fabulous Last Minute Michigan Getaways

Summertime may be almost over but there’s still time for a last minute Michigan getaway.

With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes coastline, endless inland lakes, and forests to hike, there is still time to find a summer fun adventure in pure Michigan.

Let’s face it: Michigan travel is some of the best travel in the United States. We’re spoiled here, with great state parks, fun beach towns, national lakeshores and more. From the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Tahquamenon Falls in the U.P; to Grand Rapids and even small town Ann Arbor, Michigan, everywhere in between, Michigan has tons of great places for weekend getaways.

You can find tons of fun travel spots just hours or minutes from metro Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City or Marquette.

mackinac island - last minute michigan getaways
Mackinac Island

Best Last Minute Getaways in Michigan

Whether you’re looking for romantic getaways or a great place to take the family or simply want to get outside we’re sharing 15 fabulous last minute getaways in Michigan.

Labor Day is just around the corner, so read on for some great vacation ideas for a weekend trip or getaways in Michigan before the summer’s out.

PRO-TIP: If you’re lucky you might be fortunate enough to find some last-minute travel deals too. some hotels, private cottages and even camping campgrounds may experience cancellations leaving the door open for a sweet deal for you on your getaway.

Mackinac island hotels on main street
Mackinac Island

Last Minute Michigan Getaways in Northern Michigan

Mackinac Island
From Detroit: 4 Hours to Mackinac Island ferry in Mackinaw City
From Grand Rapids: 3.5 Hours to Mackinac Island ferry in Mackinaw City

Mackinac Island is conveniently situated between the upper and lower peninsula in the middle of Lake Huron. It’s the gem of Michigan travel, a beautiful Victorian-era still filled with natural beauty. Grab a ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace to get to the island.

Then, hike, rent and bike or take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the island where you’ll see unique sights like Arch Rock, Skull Cave and the Grand Hotel. Spend some time wandering the downtown shops and of course, taste the sugary-sweet, world famous Mackinac Island fudge. It’s one of the best romantic getaways in Michigan, but your family and your family will love it too.

IF YOU GO: One of my favorite places to stay heres is the Island House, a historic hotel with amazing waterfront views. What I like best is the location: it’s just two blocks from the busy downtown area, but far enough away for it to be peaceful and relaxing. It’s a perfect spot to take in the island breezes off of Lake Huron.

Downtown Traverse City
Downtown Traverse City

Traverse City
From Detroit: 4 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 2.5 Hours

Set on stunning Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan, Traverse City has something for everyone. Whether your interest lies in shopping Front Street, with its cool boutiques cafes and gift shops or splashing along the lake shore, you can’t go wrong here.

You’ll find some of Michigan’s top breweries and wineries in the area, too, including Chateau Chantal and Black Star Farms, two of my favorites. Rent a bike and ride along Grand Traverse Bay, or take a ride up Old Mission Peninsula to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse for a fabulous weekend getaway in Michigan.

IF YOU GO: I like Pointes North Beachfront Resort Hotel for many reasons, one of them being the beautiful private beach on Grand Traverse Bay. Rooms at Pointes North are quite comfortable and clean, and there’s a big, heated outdoor pool, too. I also love the elegant Park Place Hotel and Conference Center. It’s right downtown and has very comfortable beds. You’re surrounded by great shopping and dining here, and there a swimming pool, too.

sleeping bear dunes - empire mi
Empire Bluff Trail

From Detroit: 4 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 2.5 Hours

You’ll find tiny Empire, MI right in the middle of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located just 30 miles West of Traverse City MI, Sleeping Bear Dunes is home to some of the best beaches in the entire country.

guide to empire michigan

Empire is also home to some of the best sunsets in Michigan, which can be found every evening at dusk at Lake Michigan Beach Park. This is an outdoor lovers paradise: bring your sunscreen, hiking shoes, kayaks, and get ready for an absolutely fabulous Michigan weekend.

IF YOU GO: With a perfect location in downtown Empire, the Empire Lakeshore Inn is the perfect place to stay for those who want to experience all of Empire’s outdoors while sleeping comfortably in a freshly made bed. It’s very clean, too, which we always appreciate.
The Cottonwood Inn is a rambling and comfortable restored farmhouse is a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Sleeping Bear Dunes in the summer. The rooms at The Cottonwood are quite spacious and very clean, with a tasty breakfast every morning. All rooms come with a private bathroom, which is a nice feature.
The M22 Empire Inn is very comfortable and clean, but it’s the prime location just a block from Glen Lake that I like best. It’s very family-friendly: you’ll find a beach on Glen Lake with kayaks and paddleboards, as well as a fire pit out back. A very solid choice for the Sleeping Bear Dunes area.

south haven pier - michigan beach map
South Haven

South Haven
From Detroit: 3 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 1 Hour

Once you visit South Haven, chances are good that you’ll never want to leave. This is one of Michigan’s perfect beach towns. It’s a mix of gorgeous Lake Michigan shoreline, with a scenic pier and iconic lighthouses.

south haven beach guide

You’ll find one of the cutest downtown areas around, too, with a good mix of upscale and casual dining and shopping. There’s a big harbor here and the fabulous Michigan Maritime Museum where you can take a ride on a replica 1812 warship as it sails into Lake Michigan. This is a perfect weekend trip, if you have kids, or are looking for a romantic getaway.

IF YOU GO: One of my favorite spots to stay in South Haven is the Old Harbor Inn, right on the waterfront. It’s a very unique spot, with a perfect location overlooking the harbor and just a short walk to downtown. For romantic weekends, you’ll love the Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast, an adults-only inn with just a short walk to both the beach and downtown. The rooms are comfortable and clean and the grounds are just lovely.

New Buffalo Michigan on the Red Arrow Highway
New Buffalo Michigan

New Buffalo
From Detroit: 3.5 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 1.3 Hours

Tiny New Buffalo is set on a pristine stretch of Lake Michigan beach, but don’t let its size fool you: this popular little spot packs a lot of charm and adventure into it. In addition to its pretty lakefront park, you’ll find lots to do here.

It’s a great spot for boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the Galien River. You’ll also enjoy browsing the art galleries, boutiques, and ice cream shops that line the downtown, too. You’ll definitely want to pop into Beer Church and some of the other amazing New Buffalo wineries and breweries along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.

IF YOU GO: The New Buffalo Inn and Spa is just minutes from the beach and downown shopping and dining, you’ll find comfortable, cozy rooms with a natutical theme. This is a really nice spot: you’ll find both hotel rooms and cute cottages. I also like the Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo. It has a great location, within close proximity to the Michigan Wine Trail. It’s about 1.5 miles to the Lake Michigan beach. Another solid choice is the Fairfield Inn and Suites New Buffalo. It is consistently clean, comfortable and affordable. You’ ll find a pool and hot tub, and a free breakfast, too. It’s just a short drive to the casino or beach.

Tahquamenon Falls - Fall In Michigan
Photo by Paige Riccobono

Tahquamenon Falls
From Detroit: 5.5 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 5 Hours

Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls is actually a collection of two waterfalls. They’re said to be the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, and you’ll have at least that much fun exploring them. This is a must on any Michigan travel bucket list.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by Pure Michigan natural beauty, here, where you can smell the fresh, clean air, and hear the sound of the rushing water. Michigan is home to more than 300 waterfalls and these are some of my favorites.

IF YOU GO: The Paradise Cottage with Lake and Trail Access Onsite is a perfect spot to stay any time of the year. We’ve stayed there in summer, fall and winter, and have been very happy with this clean, comfortable and charming three-bedroom cottage. You’ll find a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and microwave, too. It’s really a prime location for exploring the Tahquamenon Falls area

michigan tunnel of trees

Bay Harbor
From Detroit: 4 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 3 Hours

Pretty Bay Harbor is set between two of Michigan top travel spots (Charlevoix and Petoskey), is where you’ll find this upscale vacation spot. You’ll find five miles of picturesque waterfront with stunning views, and golfing, boating and more.

There’s a spa here, too, and a nice choice of fine dining and casual restaurants. If you go in the fall, be sure and drive north along the Lake Michigan coastline through the Tunnel of Trees: it is simply spectacular fall foliage viewing!

IF YOU GO: Check out the Cottages at Bay Harbor if you’re looking for a place to stretch out and pamper yourself a bit. Take your pick of the roomy, well-appointed cottages with a gorgeous outdoor pool overlooking the bay.

More Last Minute Michigan Getaways

Silver Lake - Silver Lake Sand Dunes Guide
Silver Lake

Silver Lake Sand Dunes
From Detroit: 4 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 1.5 Hours

Silver Lake Sand Dunes are for all the adventure lovers out there. Head to Lake Michigan in west Michigan and find yourself a dune buggy or ORV. Hit the rolling sand dunes of Silver Lake as you make your way to gorgeous Lake Michigan or pristine Silver Lake, a sandy bottom inland lake.

best silver lake campgrounds - find a silver lake campground

You can try it on your own or on a guided tour: either way you’re bound to have fun. Don’t miss the beach at Little Sable Point and the pretty, pink brick lighthouse.

Oscoda beach park
The Pier in Oscoda

From Detroit: 3.25 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 3.5 Hours

You’ll find some of the best beaches in Michigan along this stretch of the Lake Huron coastline. Located on Michigan’s sunrise side, Oscoda boasts one of the nicest beachfront parks in Michigan. It’s a sprawling area with an ADA-accessible shoreline, a picturesque pier that stretches out into Lake Huron, and a boardwalk that spans the beachfront.

There are tons of activities for kids here, including a splash pad, play structure, skateboard ramps, basketball court, and more. This is a really beautiful park: well-manicured with clean restrooms and within walking distance to the cute downtown.

IF YOU GO: Gold Coast Family Cottages are located directly on Lake Huron beach. You’ll find cozy two bedroom cottages with a comfy living room and a terrace. Oscoda Lakeside Hotel is also beachfront, with clean, standard hotel rooms and an indoor pool. You’ll find a continental breakfast here daily, too.

lexington MI- best michigan beach towns
Downtown Lexington MI

From Detroit: 1.5 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 3 Hours

Charming Lexington on Michigan’s “Blue Thumb Coast,” is a quietly beautiful little town tucked away on the shore of Lake Huron. You’ll find a beautiful, downtown beachfront park next to the picturesque marina.

You’ll also find a sandy beach that’s ADA-accessible and a long walkable pier that stretches way out into Lake Huron. Walk the downtown street and be sure to visit the old-fashioned general store. Be sure to make some time to drive north along M25. It follows the Lake Huron coastline, and you can stop at some of the beautiful roadside parks and scenic overlooks.

IF YOU GO: You’ll want to stay on the beach if possible, so check out this clean and updated two bedroom cottage. It’s very comfortably decorated; light, airy and updated. The wide, furnished deck overlooking the Lake Huron beaches is pretty amazing, too.

Shanty CReek - last minute michgan getaways
Shanty Creek in Bellaire MI

Shanty Creek
From Detroit: 4 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 2.5 Hours

There’s a lot to do at Shanty Creek, a fun family golf and ski resort located in Bellaire, between Traverse City and Petoskey. It’s a great spot for outdoor lovers: you’ll find hiking trails, biking trails, and lots of golf, as well as a beautiful outdoor pool surrounded by the rolling countryside of northern Michigan.

There’s a variety of accommodations, and what I like best is that once you check in you really don’t need to do anything at all except relax. You’ll find dining, activities, and everything you need within the complex.

Even More Last Minute Michigan Getaways

Otsego Resort - last minute michigan getways
Otsego Resort

Otsego Resort
From Detroit: 3.5 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 3 Hours

If you’re a golfer, or related to golfer, Otsego Resort is a great place for a getaway. It’s quiet with some stunning views of northern Michigan, surrounded by woods, water, and wildlife. There’s a variety of accommodations here, and you’ll find some excellent dining options on the grounds as well.

ann arbor - last minute michigan getaways
University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor MI

Ann Arbor
From Detroit: 45 Minutes
From Grand Rapids: 2 Hours

Ann Arbor is home to the sprawling University of Michigan campus, which brings great museums and things to do. You’ll also find a fantastic downtown area with eclectic shops and boutiques, and a mix of fine dining and fun bars, too.

There are lots of iconic and unique spots to check out like The Big House, the Albert Kahn-designed Hill Auditorium, and Kerrytown Mall. Ann Arbor is located in a splendid natural setting so you’ll find rolling hills and rivers to kayak. Be sure and take a ride over to the Dexter Cider Mill. It’s Michigan’s oldest cider mill, just 15 minutes away, and it serves up some amazing cinnamon donuts and cider.

IF YOU GO: The much-loved Weber’s Hotel and Restaurant is practically synonymous with Ann Arbor. This is a beautiful spot to stay, exceptionally clean and comfortable with a fabulous restaurant within the hotel. You’ll find an indoor and and outdoor pool, a game room, a sauna and live entertainment in the lounge. Stay if here if you can.

cheboygan lighthouse
Cheboygan Crib Light

From Detroit: 4 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 3.5 Hours

Just south of Mackinaw City, Cheboygan is one of the truly underrated vacation spots in Michigan. There’s a lot to do here, from splashing on the beaches at Aloha State Park and kayaking in the inland waterway to hiking Michigan trails. You’ll also have fun exploring downtown Cheboygan. There’s something for everyone here.

IF YOU GO: You’ll love the Fleetwood Inn Suites. These beachfront suites facing the waterway are one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets. Located just 20 minutes from the Mackinaw Bridge, you’ll find a microwave and small fridge in each room. It’s pet-friendly, and there are some boat slips available, too.

tawas point lighthouse in tawas mi
Tawas Point Lighthouse

East Tawas
From Detroit: 3 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 3.5 Hours

If you haven’t been East Tawas lately, you’re going to want to get there soon. It’s known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” for the little spit of land that juts out into Lake Huron (also known as Tawas Point), and it’s a lot of fun.

Tawas is home to a spectacular beachfront park, a large harbor, and a really fun walkable downtown area. You’ll find fun gift shops, boutiques, and eateries. Take a ride out to the end of Tawas Point to see the towering lighthouse and catch a glimpse of kite surfers on the bay. You can also walk the trails along Taws Point to see glimpses of rare birds that sometimes frequent the area.

IF YOU GO: Located right on the beach in right in the middle of all of the action, the Tawas Bay Beach Resort is a perfect spot for exploring the area. It’s a popular spot, so book early, especially during the busy summer months. It’s clean and comfortable, abd there’s an on-premise restaurant and beachfront bar, too.

Frankenmuth- last minute getaways in michigan

BONUS Last Minute Michigan Getaway

From Detroit: 1.5 Hours
From Grand Rapids: 2 Hours

You’ll never run out of things to do in “Michigan’s Little Bavaria”, Frankenmuth. After you have your world-famous chicken dinner, explore Bronners Christmas wonderland and then wander the shops at River Place. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the downtown and then make a visit to Grandpa Tiny’s farm, where you’ll find a petting zoo and a whole host of other fun things to do. You’ll find Zendhers’s Splash Village, a fun indoor waterpark, too.

IF YOU GO: The family-friendly Bavarian Inn Lodge has an indoor waterpark with 3 pools and 2 hot tubs, as well as an indoor miniature golf course and arcade. There’s also a children’s play village, restaurants and lounges, and that’s just the amenities. The Bavarian Inn Lodge is exceptionally clean and comfortable, too. I also like the Marv Herzog Hotel, where they serve a complimentary breakfast and host happy hours with snacks, too. The location here is perfect. It’s right on the river and within easy walking distance to downtown shops and boutiques. The beds are expecially comfy, too.

More Spots to Check Out for Last-Minute Michigan Getaways

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ultimate guide to michigan's upper peninsula
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Guide to glamping in Michigan


Thursday 1st of September 2022

Do you have a book about all of these spots.

My Michigan Beach Team

Sunday 11th of September 2022

Hi Robin, Thank you for reaching out! We are in the process of putting one together and will let you know as soon as it is ready.