One Tank Trip - Southwest Region

Make your way toward Battle Creek, known as “Cereal City,” and go on safari at Binder Park Zoo, getting nose-to-nose with one of the largest giraffe herds in the country. Visit Kingman Museum, the only natural history museum in southwest Michigan. Let the kids explore the world of plants at one-acre Leila Arboretum and Children’s Garden. Now that you’ve raised a thirst, quench it at Arcadia Brewing Company. Afterward, take advantage of downtown’s shopping, dining and recreational entertainment opportunities. 

Motor down I-69 to historic US-12 to Sauk Trail Trading Post in Coldwater; choose comfy footwear from the “Largest Minnetonka Moccasin Store in the Country.” Ride the Little River Railroad round-trip to Quincy. Take in a play at Tibbits Opera House, the second oldest theater in Michigan. Or put on your PJs and take in a first-run flick at Capri Drive-In, named “One of Ten Drive-In's Worth a Detour” by both USA Today and The New York Times. 

While in Kalamazoo don’t miss the 90-acre Gilmore Car Museum, home to more than 300 vintage automobiles and motorcycles. Ride the 3D Space Shuttle simulator at Air Zoo. Since 1924, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts has celebrated the visual arts with permanent works including Tiffany. Kalamazoo’s vibrant Art Deco downtown is the hub of quality dining, unique shops, galleries and live entertainment. In 2013, Kalamazoo came in second in the online poll “BeerCity USA” contest and is home to the state’s oldest microbrewery—Bell’s Brewery. 

Travel along the Lake Michigan coast to South Haven. Home to some of Michigan’s oldest resorts. Stroll its Maritime District and sail on the tall ship Friends Good Will. Seven public beaches offer sun and surf. Follow winding roads through its fruit belt to U-Pick orchards, stop at roadside markets or visit the dozen wineries along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. Travel the scenic Blue Star Highway to discover a distinctive, culturally-diverse community of Blue Coast Artists. Next walk or pedal the Kal-Haven Trail, a 33-mile former railroad bed state park that traverses the countryside between South Haven and Kalamazoo. End the day strolling the pier at the 100-year-old Black River lighthouse. 

Voted #1 by USA Today for “Best Summer Weekend Escape,” the Saugatuck-Douglas area, is filled with contemporary galleries, bed and breakfasts and top beaches. Saugatuck’s Oval Beach was named “One of the 25 Best Shorelines in the World” by Conde Naste’s Traveler Magazine.

Known for its spring tulip festival, no passport is required to sample Dutch heritage in Holland. At DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory, you can talk with the artists as they craft the only authentic blue and white delftware made in the U.S. or watch wooden shoe carving on machines that were imported from the Netherlands. Take a guided tour of Windmill Island Gardens and  watch the DeZwaan Windmill blades pinwheel through a bright summer sky. Take a photo of the kids sliding down the giant wooden shoe in Nelis’ Dutch Village. End the day watching a spectacular sunset from the Holland State Park. 

Stroll the “singing sands,” climb amazing dunes, explore the maritime heritage and watch spectacular sunsets in any of the nine communities that make up Lake Michigan Beachtowns, stretching 200 miles from the state’s southern border.  

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