Michigan may be cold in the Winter, but comes alive in the summer! It’s actually the perfect state for a family summer getaway. Michigan is widely known across the globe, thanks to its Great Lakes that surround it and form its mitten shape. Because of those five large bodies of water, this state is a unique place to visit. Along the coast are many beautiful cities and villages that have so much character and makes Michigan the beautiful state that it is. In this post, I’m going to tell you about the ideal family road trip that follows the coast of Lake Michigan. This trip includes stops at the best beaches and cities. Whether you prefer camping under the stars or staying in a 5 star hotel, this is the trip you’ve been looking to take for Summer 2019.
We start the trip in South Haven. This city is located on the southwest side of the state. This city is a great getaway location for Michiganders and for people from out of state to visit. South Haven is home to over 15 amazing beaches that are great for the family. This magnificent city has some of Michigan’s most treasured historic landmarks like the South Haven Lighthouse on the coast of South Beach. The lighthouse has been a historical staple for the city since it was first built in 1872. Located on Michigan’s wine country highway, South Haven is home to many wineries and craft breweries like 12 Corners Vineyards and Tasting Room and Arclight Brewing Company. The Black River also runs through the city, which makes this a perfect destination for kayakers and people eager to explore.
After your day in South Haven is wrapping up, we head North to Holland. Holland is a little taste of the Dutch right here in West Michigan. Holland is known for its Tulip Time festival in the Spring. The city is lit up on tulips all summer long, and makes this the most colorful spot on the list. Like South Haven, Holland is home to many extraordinary beaches. The most popular is Holland State Park. This beach is known for its sugar sand and the big red lighthouse. Near the beach are many fantastic places to eat like Ottawa Beach Pizza Company or Dune Dogz. After dinner, a trip to Captain Sundae is the perfect way to end a beach day in Holland.
Next stop is a little North of Holland in Grand Haven. Grand Haven is home to the Coastguard festival, which is one of the state’s largest Summer festivities. Coastguard takes place on the beach of Grand Haven State Park. This beach is right on the edge of the city, and includes a beautiful beach walk where you can see all the sites that Grand Haven has to offer. One of Grand Haven’s staples is Pronto Pups. Pronto Pups is a food stand on the beachwalk that sells amazing corn dogs. There are also many sweet spots along the way like Sweet Temptations and Fortino’s.
Headed North once more to the next stop on our list, Ludington. This is where Stearns Park and Beach is located, which has been named one of USA Today’s 51 Great American Beaches. This beach location has both the beach and a nice grassy park, and is the perfect place to plan a family picnic. Ludington also has not just one lighthouse but two! the North Breakwater Lighthouse is right downtown and the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is in Ludington State Park. By making a stop at both of these historical landmarks, the trip will also include a scenic view of the city.
The next stop is a little farther North than the other stops, It’s Traverse City! Traverse City is a very family friendly, location. It is known for their Cherry Festival, another large Summer festival in Michigan. Not only are there fantastic beaches, like Clinch Park, there is so much to do in the city. Traverse City is situated at the top of wine country, and on the Leelanau peninsula, which is the prime place for wine making due to its weather pattern. Because of this, Traverse City is the perfect location to go wine tasting. The city also has little shops and restaurants like Cherry Republic and Alliance Restaurant, that are unique to Traverse City.
Following the lake, the next place on the map were headed is to Charlevoix! This is one of Michigan’s most beautiful cities that is located at the top of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Charlevoix has three beaches that are spread all throughout the city. In the city, they offer boat charters that run from Lake Michigan to Lake Charlevoix. Charlevoix also offers ferry rides to Beaver Island, one of the few islands in the Great Lakes. After all of the fun activities, grab a bite to eat at one of their delicious restaurants like French Quarter New Orleans Bistro, or Barrel Back Restaurant.
Last but not least, the last stop on our adventure is Mackinaw City. This is where Lake Michigan ends and Lake Huron begins. This is the lower peninsula of Michigan’s highest point, and where the Mackinac Bridge is. The Mackinac Bridge is what connects Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas together. This is one of Michigan’s most visited city and there are plenty of activities that string from zip lining all the way to Soo Locks lunch and dinner cruises. For an extended trip, catch the ferry to Mackinac Island, where it feels like you’re taking a trip back in time.
Lake Michigan is only one of the five spectacular Great Lakes of Michigan, but is worth stopping and seeing the cites. West Michigan is so rich in nature and history, along with plenty of fun that is just waiting for you! The entire family will enjoy a trip up the coast of Lake Michigan, so what are you waiting for? Plan your road trip today!