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!
A new year brings with it a chance to visit places your feet have never taken you before. Guest blogger Aaron Cruz from The Awesome Mitten suggests seven Michigan towns that are worth a look in the New Year.
Plymouth. If your plans this year are taking you to southeastern Michigan, visit this town that, while in the heart of suburbia, gives off the feeling of being in a small town far, far away. With a hand-crafted Espresso Elevado coffee in-hand, walk the downtown streets at the Plymouth Ice Festival in winter and Art in the Park in summer. Hold hands with a loved one as you stroll through Kellogg Park in the center of town. In the summer road trip, hike or bike the 17-mile continuous park that is Hines Drive. Winter brings with it the chance to sled with the kids at Plymouth Township Park. For food, enjoy some pizza and smoked barbeque at Ironwood Grill, go for a more upscale feel and cocktails at Fiamma Grille or grab the gang and enjoy family-style dining along the railroad tracks at Station 885.
Frankenmuth. No town epitomizes Christmas and the holidays in Michigan more than Frankenmuth. Visit the world’s largest Christmas Store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Shop the stores with German themed names like Cheese Haus along the one-street downtown also known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria. Experience a specialty coffee at The Harvest Coffeehouse & Beanery. Grab a flight of beer at Frankenmuth Brewery to wash down their delicious lobster mac ‘n cheese. Looking for romance? Contact the Frankenmuth Carriage Company about a horse & carriage ride. Those looking for family fun, make a weekend out of it with the kids at the Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth resort.
Grand Haven. The Lake Michigan coastline in the mitten offers one charming, beautiful resort town after another. The Grand Haven lighthouse and pier is reason enough to choose Grand Haven for a first time visit. Alongside the lighthouse, you will find Grand Haven State Park, which is made up entirely of beach and sand dunes with camping opportunity. As you browse the shops in the cozy downtown, get a freshly-made baked good from the boutique-styled The Bakers Wife. Experience hand-crafted coffee at Aldea Coffee in the Armory, where Grand Armory Brewery Company and Righteous BBQ also await. During summer evenings, watch the synchronized Musical Fountain and all its water, lights and music.
Oscoda. The Lake Michigan coastline gets al lot of love, but the Sunrise Coast and Lake Huron showcase their own beauty like in the resort town of Oscoda. Grab a cup of coffee at the colorful Garden View Coffee Mill, then head down the street for a walk on the pier at Oscoda Beach Park. Time your visit for the summer and you might run into their Annual Art on the Beach fair. Just north of town sits miles of sugar sand beach fun. For nature enthusiasts, head west of town along the River Road National Scenic Byway and you will quickly be in the Huron National Forest. Waterfalls, scenic overlooks, hiking trails, monuments, lumberjacks, 300+ step staircases and plenty of camping options await you. Eagle’s Nest Overlook is a must visit.
Fenton. Just south of Flint and easily accessible from the Detroit area, Fenton’s motto might as well be go big or go home when it comes to its thriving food scene. Grab a peanut butter and jelly donut that is big enough for two from Crust. Head down the street for a Reuben or one of the other endless selection of humongous sandwiches at The Laundry. During the dinner hour order a large of any pasta dish at Fenton House and you’ll have enough for the whole family, with tons to spare. In autumn, mix in some cider, donuts, wine tasting and family fun at Spicer Orchards and enjoy some carnival food, apple pie and entertainment at one of the biggest fall festivals in Michigan, Apple Fest.
Sault Ste. Marie. The fun as we turn the calendar does not have to be confined to the Lower Peninsula. Head to the U.P. and Michigan’s oldest city. Go on a boat tour at the famous Soo Locks and/or watch from the three story observation deck as giant ships pass through the locks and canals of the largest waterway crossing in the world. Next head across W. Portage Ave. to walk along and scope out the tourist traps. For eats I recommend grabbing a burger with everything on it and hanging out at Clyde’s Drive-In. Before getting into the car watch the ferries head to-and-from Sugar Island while walking around Rotary Park.
Port Huron. A lot of people pass through Port Huron as they go into Canada. In the New Year, as you head towards the Blue Water Bridge, get off the interstate and checkout the international crossing from the south along Thomas Edison Parkway. Just north of the bridge visit the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and Lighthouse Park. You’ll find beachfront where you can watch as Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River while waving over to Canada. Staying in town, grab a sandwich, a specialty coffee and some tunes at Ravens Café. In the warmer months, walk along Quay Street and the docked boats, as well as visit the Vantage Point Farmers’ Market which sits right along the riverfront.
What other Michigan towns would you like to visit and explore for the first time in the New Year?
Aaron Cruz is a lover and long time resident of The Mitten. When he is not out on the open road, he’s probably drinking coffee in a random indie coffee shop. He loves taking photos and road trips, along with checking out skylines, the seasons, shorelines and hanging around water which makes Michigan the perfect place to live. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram and on his personal travel blog.
From Monroe to Houghton and Niles to Bad Axe, there are endless opportunities to see the incredible beauty and splendor Pure Michigan offers all year long. With some help from Google Trekker, we’ve collected some of our favorite views from around the Great Lakes state. Explore the eight pictures below and start planning your next Pure Michigan getaway.
Lake of the Clouds, located in Ontonagon, Mich, allows visitors the unique ability to see for miles around. This Northern Michigan treasure is a favorite for hikers because of it’s beautiful views and untouched landscapes.
The Detroit Riverwalk spans 5 ½ miles, from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just east of the Belle Isle Bridge. Visitors often walk along the river and enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Detroit.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, streams, forests and wildlife. This iconic Pure Michigan spot is known for its beautiful colors across the nation.
Step back into the Victorian era with a visit to Michigan’s award-winning Capitol Building. This 143-year-old building has stood the test of time hosted some of the state’s most notable leaders.
The Agate Falls is a 39-foot-high waterfall of the Ontonagon River. These powerful falls are a great place to unwind as you take in the fresh air around you.
Sugar Loaf Rock is a unique Mackinac Island must see. Sugar Loaf is the largest post-glacial erosion feature in the Straits of Mackinac.
Ocqueoc Falls serves as an ideal spot for a hike or camping trip. Can you pronounce Ocqueoc?
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the Great Lakes, established in 1825 and rebuilt in 1829 and 1861. It was the first lighthouse on Lake Huron and is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Michigan. It helps keep watch over Lake Huron at the entrance to the St. Clair River.
Travel by horse-drawn carriage, sample famous Mackinac Island fudge or peddle your way around the island as you stop along the way and watch for freighters. Sit in the rocking chair on the Victorian-style Grand Hotel’s 660 foot long porch. Time is at a standstill on Mackinac Island.
For more information and to view other Michigan destinations on Google Maps Street view, visit michigan.org/GoogleTrekker. What are some of your favorite places in Michigan?