Considering trip to Lake Michigan next summer, help?

  1. I like to plan ahead and we are considering trip to Michigan next summer. Me, ds and wife are 27 and children are 9yo boy and 7 yo girl. We would drive from TN. Also would love to go to Greendale Wisconsin if that is doable.
    I have been reading about diofferent parts, just can not get a good perspective of exactly where to go?

    Any help, ideas, tips are welcomed None of us have been there before. And I would figure on 7-9 days total.

    Thanks in advance.
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   somenurse
    dawg, it's way too late to reply to help you pick a spot,
    but,
    having traveled allllllllllllll over the USA,
    the sunset coast of western Michigan
    is one of the USA's mostly undiscovered national treasures, imo.

    Whether it's romantic couple trip, a buncha pals going on vacation together, a family, or a single person on their own looking for something different and more affordable,
    western Michigan a great vacation spot, imo. You can plan out a very peaceful, back-to-nature trip to refresh your soul, or end up in the wineries and casinos and kinda larger festivals like the Venetian festival(modeled after Mardi Gras), which is pretty fun, imo. Lotsa really fun festivals there, imo.

    I've lived most of my adult life on ocean coastal towns,
    which are wonderful,
    but, Lake Michigan is so so much like the ocean,
    only
    it can be way easier to find a long stretch of beach all to yourself if you want to. (yes, yes, also can be done on the ocean, too, but, very easy to find on west coast of MI).
    If you have an aversion to stinging jellyfish, or fear of sharks, Lake Michigan looks and sounds just like the ocean,
    waves, tide lines, seashells, undertow, surf, whitecaps, breezes, noise of waves, drfitwood, miles and miles and miles of endless wide stretches of sand, some areas have dunes, almost too tall to climb if you are not fit,
    the water is a bit warmer than an ocean,
    and there's endless water to the horizon to watch the sun melting into the water's edge,
    but no salt to sting your cuts, no sharks, no jellyfish,
    and it's not totally smothered in marinas, tourist shops, crowds, etc.

    and many to most parts of Lake Michigan are scenic,
    even when you put your back towards the water,
    you are often looking at nature, woods and forests, sand dunes, marshes, etc,
    not boardwalks, motels, tee shirt shops, high rises, or houses.

    Oh yeah, you can find crowded beaches on Lake MI if you want to, esp in SW michigan,
    some party spots and family spots, too,
    but, for those who enjoy the thrill of a beach all to yourself,
    you mihgt love how easy that is to find on Lake Michigan.

    also, this area is often much cheaper than ocean areas are, too.

    There are Giant Vast national forests
    , like Manistee, which have beauty that i can not put into words. One can canoe in Manistee, huge blast. YOu can campl or stay in cabins, or even a motel. OH, and morel mushroom hunting with a buncha pals out in nature, way out in the woods, is way more fun than it sounds like it'd be, and MI is great place for that.

    You can go
    boating,
    canoing or
    tubing down the rivers of Manistee,
    sailing,
    hang-gliding,
    water skiiing,
    scuba diving around all the shipwrecks in Lake Michigan,
    and snorkling,
    some areas have waves for surfing,
    snow skiing is big there, some really awesome ski lodges there,
    tobogganing is big there,
    so is snowmobiling,
    fishing,
    hiking,
    camping,
    hunting,
    golfing,
    casinos in the ships in SW michigan are pretty cool,
    winery tours,
    pub hopping in places filled with amazing local talent and characters,
    music is big there-- all kinds, and there are tons of festivals all year long there. Lol, for real, that area is wild about having festivals, one after the other, all year round.

    Lake Michigan is dotted with small, coastal, artsy-towns,
    each with it's own personality, no two are quite the same, but they all have waterfront dining and great seafood.

    There's Holland, which is windmills and tulips as far as you can see. There is Saugatuck, which is artsy kinda place, some fishing towns,
    and there are a number of towns in SW corner of MI, which are more populated and have tons of festivals, like the Mardi-gra like one,
    and that area
    is also home to many awesome wineries. I recommend you stop by any of the wineries there, or go to Tabor Hill and have a glass of Tabor Hill DemiSec, lovely locally made wine, not expensive, very light. I really prefer merlots, but, that is a nice white wine, and so many very quaint or very lovely wineries in that area.

    Each season in Michigan has it's own treasures, whether it's winter sports, or spring or summer or fall foliage trips, Western Michigan is one beautiful under-appreciated vacation spot, imo.

    No big cities on western Michigan coastline, BUT if you are in SW michigan, one can take a boat or ferry across the lake and end up at Navy Pier in Chicago, too.(no car needed for this day trip). Less than 30 to 60 minutes inland, you can find bigger cities for big name concerts, etc. Grand Rapids is pretty city, not real big, but pretty, imo.

    Besides all the bed & bfast places, and nice hotels/motels,
    it's really fun to rent a beach houses of all sizes, right on the beach, too, for so so much less than an ocean rental will cost. There are some very very large ones, with tons and tons and tons of bedrooms, which are fun to rent for a week, or a weekend, with many other ppl, to cut costs....have a huge bonfire right on the beach, watch the sun set into the water, and not have to worry about everyone driving home...the house is right there.
    Private msg me, i'll give you some names of some great waterfront homes to rent, that i've actually rented, and had great time, lovely area.

    also, Michigan is suffering economically, so vacationing there, is kinda patriotic thing to do. Scenery is awesome, locals are friendly,
    whatever you like to do,
    you can probably find it there, and usually reasonably priced, too.


    Whatever time of year you go,
    or whichever town you land in,
    you can't go wrong if you spend a week or so on the sunset coast of michigan
    .

    Also northern MI, and the Upper Peninsula, are also both awesome places, too.

    i have been all over USA,
    and my favorite spots include,
    New York,
    Cape Cod,
    Chicago,
    Boston,
    some areas in Florida,
    New Orleans,
    some areas in California,
    and THE SUNSET COAST OF MICHIGAN!!

    lol, i should probably seek employment with Michigan travel board, eh?
    Last edit by somenurse on Jan 3, '13
  4. by   tewdles
    I cannot like this enough.
    I spent most of my adolescent and adult life on the shores of Lake Michigan. We traveled and camped all over the state, canoing, fishing, hiking.

    It truly is a gem, a unique place.
  5. by   nrsang97
    I haven't traveled south west Mi too much even as a native Michigander. ( we will be planning some family time there this summer I think). I have traveled a lot in the UP and northern Mi. The Petoskey area is beautiful. The UP along Route 2 is beautiful as well. I love being able to drive along the Lake Mi coast.

    I have traveled a lot of the state but not the thumb area, or the Lake Huron coast at all. I have traveled Northern Mi and Northwestern MI (Traverse City area), The UP all the way to Copper Harbor which is beautiful. Canoeing the Au Sable river is a must. Just beautiful.

    My brother is working at Gates Au Sable lodge this summer until he goes to grad school in the fall. My mom is planning a trip up to that area camping in August. I can't wait to go up with them and take my son with me. Almost all of our family vacations were camping up in Northern Mi and the UP. Great times.
  6. by   tewdles
    Michigan is a beautiful state! So much water, so many trees and hills.

    If you like Michigan come visit Alaska, Michigan's younger but bigger brother.
  7. by   herring_RN
    Twice when i was little our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins went to Whitmore Lake. We rented a house that had a highway in front and the lake with a dock and rowboat in back.
    We swam, fished, and enjoyed the neighbors for a whole week one summer. We caught a lot of fish!

    We went again in the winter. My uncle, Dad, and grandfather cut a hole and did ice fishing. Thr highlight to me was the thermoses with hot chocolate.
    We ice skated. I was clumsy, but imagined skate dancing.
    My Grandma made fried chicken and fish with lots of potatoes and vegetables. We invited the neighbors we'd met to come over with their kids.
    My dad played his trumpet while his mother played request on the piano. The owner of the house lived in Bloomfield Hills. He came with his trombone.
    Everyone sang song after song.

    It was really beautiful. I hope it still is. People were so nice.

    http://traveltips.usatoday.com/fun-s...gan-62032.html
  8. by   tewdles
    Whitmore Lake, in the general Ann Arbor area, yes?
    Beautiful there, hilly, green...
  9. by   herring_RN
    Yes. That is the place. Coming from Oklahoma where we had neither hills nor natural trees I loved it.
    It is nothing like Lake Michigan which looks more like the ocean. We walked all the way around the lake.
  10. by   tewdles
    Quote from herring_RN
    Yes. That is the place. Coming from Oklahoma where we had neither hills nor natural trees I loved it.
    It is nothing like Lake Michigan which looks more like the ocean. We walked all the way around the lake.
    We used to vacation on a privately owned lake that had, like a dozen homes/cottages on it. One July 4th weekend we sent our kids on a scavenger hunt around the lake. They had to collect odd items from the cottages as they went along. We planted lunch, surprises, and ultimately their bikes along the way the night before. There were clues to the surprises, etc that we placed along the route.

    Since we were there with another couple whose children are similar age as ours (they grew up together essentially), we drank, laughed and executed this plan late into the night after the kids had gone to bed. It was inspired by the downpour the previous day which kept them largely in the cabin...we were SICK of having them underfoot!

    We created a "treasure map" with a crazy made up story to go with it that involved fairies, witches, goblins, etc. The kids, now adults, talk about it still and they have the map framed and on the wall at the cabin. A new generation...
  11. by   herring_RN
    Quote from tewdles
    We used to vacation on a privately owned lake that had, like a dozen homes/cottages on it. One July 4th weekend we sent our kids on a scavenger hunt around the lake. They had to collect odd items from the cottages as they went along. We planted lunch, surprises, and ultimately their bikes along the way the night before. There were clues to the surprises, etc that we placed along the route.

    Since we were there with another couple whose children are similar age as ours (they grew up together essentially), we drank, laughed and executed this plan late into the night after the kids had gone to bed. It was inspired by the downpour the previous day which kept them largely in the cabin...we were SICK of having them underfoot!

    We created a "treasure map" with a crazy made up story to go with it that involved fairies, witches, goblins, etc. The kids, now adults, talk about it still and they have the map framed and on the wall at the cabin. A new generation...
    WONDERFUL!

close