Going on vacation is an incredible way to recharge. Studies suggest that taking a vacation is good for your health and can help boost your happiness, particularly when it’s cold outside. While weeklong getaways to far-away destinations are popular, Michigan offers incredible staycation destinations that aren’t too far from home. If you need some ideas to get started, we’ve put together a few suggestions for your own Pure Michigan staycation. Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth has a ton of attractions that are appealing to all ages. Bring your family and stay at the Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark. It offers great accommodations and suites perfect for larger groups. The waterpark is mid-Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark and has over 50,000 sq. ft. of aquatic fun. There is no shortage of activities for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the pool area, Mushroom Grille concession area and locker rooms, the new Atrium Waterpark includes: A six story family raft ride, action river, The Super Loop – a thrilling 6-story speed slide, zero entry pool with water geysers, water basketball, private family cabanas and large family hot tub. Even if you don’t enjoy the water, there are still activities to partake in such as the expanded arcade with games that will keep you and your family entertained for hours. If you’re more concerned about what food is available, fret not. Eat your fill with traditional All You Can Eat Family Style Chicken dinners at Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth or visit the Marketplace for delectable goodies. Z Chef’s Café, located in the Marketplace, offers a unique dining experience as well. MGM Grand Detroit For the adults looking to get away, step inside MGM Grand Detroit for a whole new world of gaming and luxurious accommodations. There are over 90 table games and 4,500 of the latest slots and video poker to choose from. It’s easy to get recharged by staying in one of the 400 luxury rooms and suites. For restaurant fare, there is no shortage of options. Three signature restaurants from Wolfgang Puck and Michael Mina provide an upscale experience. Add to that their creative new tapas concept, Palette Dining Studio, and a quick serve area, Breeze, and you’ll never be tired of the food. For those who want to relax and rejuvenate, IMMERSE Spa is a great way to unwind after a long day of fun. There is even a personal spa concierge who can help you design a custom body treatment! If you decide to stay at MGM Grand, don’t forget to go out and explore Detroit! There are many must-see destinations such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Campus Martius and the Charles H. Wright Museum. Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City Take a trip to Traverse City with your family and have blast at Great Wolf Lodge! There are many accommodation options including suites with whirlpools or even a KidKamp suite, which includes a private tent for your children to enjoy. Of course, you can’t visit Great Wolf Lodge without splashing in the waterpark! With over 38,000 square feet of splash-loaded rides, slides and pools you’re sure to find a favorite. It features eight waterslides, five unique pools, a multi-story interactive tree house, and a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket. However, there are even more fun activities on land. Grab a wand and battle a dragon in MagiQuest or get an ice cream-themed manicure at Scooops Kid Spa before gathering your family in the Grand Lobby for nightly fireside Story Time. There’s plenty for the adults too with a full-service Spa, fitness room, and plenty of shopping and dining options like Camp Critter Bar & Grille or indulge in pizza at Hungry As A Wolf. Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark on Boyne Mountain Your trip wouldn’t be complete without playing in the arcade with over 50 games and a redemption counter providing awesome prizes. After you’ve worked up an appetite grab a quick bite at the Snack Shack or fill up with a full menu at the Apres Ski Pub, both located inside the park. And if you don’t mind the cold, Boyne Mountain is an excellent skiing location.Even further north is Avalanche Bay!It is the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan offering huge amounts of water fun no matter your age. Centrally located at the heart of Boyne Mountain Resort, this waterpark is always 84 degrees and open all year ’round, making it the perfect vacation destination. Avalanche Bay features six exciting water slides, including the park’s newest thrill, The Big Couloir – a ProSlide SuperLOOP with the steepest drop in the industry, as well as a Rip Zone surf simulator, Splasherhorn Mountain interactive play structure, lazy river, children’s pool, relaxing hot tubs, and many other unique waterpark attractions. Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire Shanty Creek Resort has activities all year for any season. During the spring and summer, you can play 72 holes of championship golf on four different courses. Right now in winter though, it’s the time to ski! Shanty Creek has 53 ski runs on two mountains, Schuss Mountain and Summit Mountain, along with 30km of cross-country skiing, a 6-lane alpine tubing park, winter sleigh rides, and Michigan’s most awarded terrain parks. You can also bike or hike in the resort’s 4,500 acres or explore the single track of nearby Glacial Hills trail system. There are over 400 lodging choices including hotel guest rooms, suites, condos and private rental homes so you are sure to find the right fit! There are other amenities available for the whole family to enjoy including indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center and wellness spa, tennis courts, and now FootGolf, a combination of soccer and golf. What staycation destinations did we miss? Tell us below!
Order up! Michigan may be known for its beautiful scenery and outdoors, but Michiganders know all too well that the state boasts some of the best restaurants around. While many of these hometown spots offer delectable classics, a few others bring something far ‘bigger’ to the table.
We rounded up seven eating challenges across the state that are available to try year round. So prepare your stomach, and mind, for these gargantuan Pure Michigan food feats.
The Dog Central Challenge
Dog Central, Mount Pleasant
If you’re heading to Mid-Michigan, ask around: Many of the Mt. Pleasant locals will know about the famed Dog Central Challenge. Dubbed as a test of both mental and physical toughness, challengers are tasked with taking down three foot long hotdogs with chili and two toppings, a bed of French fries, stack of onion rings and a 20 oz. fountain pop to wash it all down. If you complete the challenge, your determination earns you a spot on the Wall of Fame. But be warned! Losing the challenge earns you a spot on the Wall of Shame
Other Dog Central challenges include: most hot dogs eaten in two hours, most hot dogs eaten in one half hour, and the Ghost Chili Challenge (three hot dogs with ghost pepper chili)
The Grill House, Allegan
Do you have what it takes to join the Lumberjack Club? This 42oz Top Sirloin is not for the faint of heart. The record time for eating this monstrous steak is 5 minutes and 26 seconds, but you get one full hour to take on this mountain of meat. Don’t worry if you can’t finish it in under an hour – you’ve still had a wonderful steak dinner, and now you can have a tasty steak and egg omelet for breakfast!
The Winter Inn, Greenville
Every Sunday, challengers are invited to take part in the famed 50-wing challenge. You’ll have one hour to eat 50 of the Winter Inn’s delectable wings in the hopes of earning a plaque to put on the Wall of Fame. If you’re able to finish the challenge, you’ll receive a Winter Inn t-shirt, $15 gift certificate, and, of course, bragging rights as the wing champion.
Big Bambino Burger
Stucko’s Pub, Marquette
If you’re looking for a burger challenge, look no further than Stucko’s Big Bambino. This mammoth one-pound burger is topped with a quarter pound all-beef hot dog, three slices of bacon and three slices of American cheese. Served with lettuce, tomato, pickle spear and one pound of fries, this majestic sandwich will bring even the burliest-burger lover to their knees.
Hellfire Hat Trick
Mallie’s Sports Grill and Bar, Southgate
Spice-chasers head to Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, a Detroit suburb, to take on the “Hellfire Hat Trick.” Eat 1 hellfire burger, 6 hell fire wings and 1 bowl of hellfire chili in 30 minutes or less with a 5 minute burn period. Complete the Hat Trick and win free burgers for a year or a $100 Mallie’s gift certificate. This challenge is so hot it was even featured in USA Today Travel’s list of America’s spiciest eating challenges.
Also available at Mallie’s – a burger challenge even more mammoth than the Big Bambino! The 10 lb. Monster Burger Challenge dares the largest of appetites to finish it all in 2 hours or less and it’s free. Plus, you get $100 and your photo on Mallie’s Wall of Fame!
Sabor Latino, Ann Arbor
If you’re looking for a challenge in Ann Arbor, take a trip to Sabor Latino for the hearty Burrito Challenge. You’ll come face to face with a triple-size burrito stuffed with beans, rice, you choice of meat or vegetables, lettuce, cheese, habanero-onion slaw, and topped with sour cream, guacamole and cheese. If you finish the burrito, you’ll earn a $20 gift card, your picture added to the Burrito Challenge Hall of Fame Facebook page and Sabor Latino will pick up your bill.
Have you conquered an extreme Michigan eating challenge? Do you know of any others to add to the list? Tell us!
Interested in learning more about places to eat in Michigan? Head over to Michigan.org/dining for more delicious Michigan made entrees.
Fresh air, fresh water and fresh memories are what Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is all about. If you’re a native Yooper, you know all of the beauty and uniqueness the U.P. has to offer. If you’ve ever been curious what north-of-the-mitten is all about, here’s a roundup of some in-state adventure every Michigander should have on their bucket list.
Are you hungry? Either way, you will be after hearing about - the food.
The U.P. boasts some of the best culinary hidden gems that Michigan has to offer, and we wanted to have a taste for ourselves. Here are just a few of the many unique eateries you can find in the Upper Peninsula:
On January 1, 1965, the Ambassador Restaurant opened under new ownership. The new owners, the Rossi family, had transformed the space from a tap bar into a restaurant that specialized in pizza and sandwiches. In 1978, the Ambassador was expanded into the space next door, and the second dining room was added. To explain the history of the Ambassador and the unique murals that line the interior walls, the owners conducted research and wrote a poem detailing the story. The poem, entitled “Come Fill a Bumper,” has since been printed on the cover of the Ambassador menu.
The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub
The Library is not your ordinary restaurant. They don’t worship the frozen or torture it in frying oil until it’s crispy. They cherish fresh ingredients and never take them for granted. The Library’s goal is simply for you to “Taste Something Great” in every entrée, every salad, every appetizer. This U.P. experience mixes traditional foods with unique flair and twists. The award-winning microbrew is the favorite of many, and premier drinks, wines and beverages bring it all together with a smile.
In 1891, Daniel T. Pearce opened a small saloon. The latest offered a warm retreat for hard working miners to gather over a welcomed spot of ale and to exchange tales. Eventually the business exchanged hands, becoming known as John’s Saloon. The new owner proudly promised his guest the “best brands of wine and liquor always on hand”. In 1918, Henry Moilanen took over at 234 Quincy with the idea of opening a restaurant. However, he needed a name. A contest was held and the name “Kaleva” was chosen, a direct take-off from the “Kalevala” national Finnish epic poem. In May 2006, Frank and Sandra Beauchamp reopened the Kaleva Cafe after an extensive renovation. They strive to carry on the Kaleva tradition of good home-cooked food in a friendly atmosphere.
The Jampot bakery is a Catholic Monastery of the Byzantine rite, under the jurisdiction of The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago, and belonging to the Ukrainian Metropoly in the United States of America, which is in union with the Pope of Rome, supreme pastor of the universal Church. They embrace traditions of the Christian East while making delicious confections, cakes and preserves year round. In our skete at Jacob’s Falls, on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, we devote ourselves to a common life of prayer and work for the praise, love, and service of God and for the upbuilding of His Kingdom through the Arts.
The Mariner North
The Mariner North holds a very large place as the hospitality center in the history of Copper Harbor. First established in the1920′s, it was called the Pontiac and was a thriving Inn / Restaurant / Bar as Copper Harbor launched its tourism era into a summer resort community with the shuttle service on the Copper Queen to Isle Royale National Park and the establishment of Fort Wilkins State Park. Over 40 years later, it changed hands and became known as the Keweenaw Inn North. The fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and the draw of Lake Superior made Copper Harbor a natural escape from the city confines. In 1977 The Keweenaw Inn again changed hands and renamed it “The Mariner North”. The early days of The Mariner involved the development of the snowmobile program to assist Copper Harbor in its goal as a year round tourism destination area.
Harbor Haus Restaurant
Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question at the Harbor Haus is “Can we have a table with a view?” Fortunately, that’s an easy request to fill as it’s situated right on the shore of Lake Superior. Through the large picture windows, each guest has a beautiful harbor view expanding onto the big lake. While dining, it’s not uncommon to see ore freighters in transit or small marine traffic and kayakers taking in the beautiful surroundings. All of this is framed by a patio adorned with flowers and trees, providing a German/Austrian flavor. The Harbor Haus offers a vast dining menu featuring fresh local fish, seafood, steaks and many more items, as well as Ahi flown in from Hawaii the day after it was “swimming.” Local berries and vegetables are utilized in the dishes when available.
Jamesen’s Fish Market
At Jamsen’s Fish Market and Bakery, freshly baked goods are highlighted through the use of local ingredients when possible. The market offers fresh and smoked Lake Superior Trout and Whitefish. Stop in for a great cup of coffee, as well!
Laurium Manor Inn
Laurium Manor Inn has been restored into an historic mansion hotel that has been welcoming guests since 1989. This mansion has 10 guestroom with private baths in its 13,000 square feet on four floors. A parlor, library, den, dining room, and third floor ballroom are all open for our guests to use and enjoy. Victorian Hall was purchased and restored into a bead & breakfast in 1993. Within its 7,000 square feet is eight guestrooms, each with its own private bathroom. The first floor library, music parlor and dining room are always open for visiting guests.
Paul’s Superior View Restaurant
Paul’s Superior View is committed to providing the best dining experience around. Paul’s menu features an eclectic mix of traditional favorites that is sure to satisfy any craving. Stop in & check out their nightly features, including: Friday Fish Fry & Saturday Angus Prime Rib. Pair your dinner with one of the daily drink specials in Porky’s Pub.
Joey’s Seafood & Grill
Joey’s is famous throughout the Copper Country and the Midwest, as well as the rest of the world, for their seafood… but the spectacular seafood is just the beginning! The menu includes steaks, chicken, Baby Back ribs, steak burgers, pasta, tacos and quesadillas. Joey’s is a must for all seafood lovers visiting the U.P.
Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant
The Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant has become a Houghton staple. The famous Finnish French Toast is known throughout the state and Midwest as a taste explosion for the mouth. Get it with fresh fruit and you’ll melt in your chair. Enjoy Suomi’s small town ambiance and see for yourself why Suomi has been doing breakfast successfully for many, many years.
Roy’s Pasties & Bakery
Roy’s moved to their current location on Houghton’s waterfront in October of 2013 and never looked back. They’d love for youto stop by, have a cup of coffee and a Danish, maybe some soup or a sandwich, enjoy the free Wi-Fi and be their guest!
Of course, filling your stomach isn’t the only thing to do in the U.P. When you’re looking to have an adventure in Michigan’s north, consider these thrilling and unique trips and tours.
Quincy Mine Tour
The Quincy Mine Tour offers three unique tours for all visitors: Surface Tour only, Surface Tour with Tram Ride, and Full Tour.All tours include a visit to our museum, a video-tour of the No. 2 Shaft-Rock House and a guided tour of the enormous and complex Nordberg steam-powered hoist engine and the building it is in. On the Full Tour, you will take a ride on the cog-rail tram car down the hill to the mine entrance and then ride by tractor-pulled wagon into the mine, seven levels underground. For a family friendly adventure, check out the Quincy Mine.
Adventure Mining Company Copper Mine Tour
While visiting the Copper Country, you’re invited to experience the best in underground mine tours: a tour through the historic Adventure Copper Mine. Walk through part or all of the tunnels on the first level or try your hand at rappelling with a rope and harness to the second level of the mine…the choice is yours! Whatever your vacation plans in the U.P. may be, be sure they include a stop by the Adventure Mining Company to boldly go where no underground mine tour has gone before!
Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking with the Keweenaw Adventure Company
Originally founded in 1843 during the great copper boom of the 1800’s, Copper Harbor has long held a maritime significance as the largest natural harbor in the northern Keweenaw Peninsula where ships have taken refuge from Lake Superior’s furious storms. Today the same crystal clear waters allow paddlers to see to depths of nearly 20 feet below, including sights of rocky shoals, reefs and even the remnants of several shipwrecks. The Keweenaw is home to some of the oldest exposed rock in the world and was originally formed by ancient volcanoes.
Initially receiving an IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) “Epic Ride” recognition in 2009, the Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trails were designated as an IMBA ( “Bronze Level” Ride Center in October of 2011. This designation was trumped in 2012 with that of an IMBA “Silver Level” Ride Center, which currently ranks these trails among the top five in the world! Points were scored on a variety and quality of gateway, cross-country, flow and gravity trails, in addition to being considered as a mountain bike friendly community, complete with a bike shop and a brew pub!
Copper Harbor Lighthouse Boat Tour
Whether traveler or Keweenaw resident, don’t miss a tour of the Copper Harbor Lighthouse. This single tour encompasses a total lighthouse experience, including a ride in a boat similar to an early 20th century lighthouse launch. Because lighthouses are built in treacherous waters, it took a versatile boat to ferry supplies to lightkeepers and their families. The time-proven “double-ender” hull design and dimensions of the launch are identical to the early wooden boats of the United States Lighthouse Service which tended to the needs of the lightkeepers of the Keweenaw Peninsula. You will arrive at Hayes Point just as the lightkeepers did over 150 years before you.
Porcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds
Surrounded by the silhouettes of the ancient Porcupine Mountains, the Lake of the Clouds is a blue gem amid the thick forests. The Lake of the Clouds is perhaps the most photographed feature in the Porcupine Mountains region. No matter what the season, it is a truly breathtaking sight to behold. The Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area is located in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum
Let’s be crystal-clear: the Seaman Mineral Museum is handsome, classy, and suitable—a fortune that houses a fortune. A hundred people gathered on a hot afternoon, across from the ATDC, and attested to a milestone more than a century in the making: a permanent home for the official Mineral Museum of Michigan. Appropriately, for a museum noted for its copper collection, the structure sits on an old mine shaft and the parking lot sits over a stope.
Do you know of any other unique eats or attractions in the Upper Peninsula? Tell us!