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3 Inviting Locations for a Weekend Retreat in Michigan

The great state of Michigan offers plenty of wonderful places to spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, a thriving downtown scene or family fun, you’re sure to find it at these three locations in the Wolverine State.

Ann Arbor

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is a charming college town that hosts more than just tailgating and frat parties. During the warmer months, nearly every weekend is packed with events ranging from cultural festivals and concerts to food and beer tastings. If you’re planning to visit in June, prepare for large crowds, as events like Taste of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor African American Downtown Festival, YPSI Pride and Superior Day all take place within the first two weekends. Later in the month, the 4th annual Michigan Pez Convention will take over the Wyndham Garden hotel, bringing lovers of the classic candy dispenser together to display and trade their unique finds.

When it comes to lodging, you can choose to stay in one of the cozy bed-and-breakfast establishments just outside the city or head to the heart of downtown to an ultra-chic, modern hotel. No matter where you stay, you won’t be far from an assortment of captivating museums to peruse, like the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (which just hosted its grand opening in April at its new location), the U of M Museum of Art and the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. Cap off your weekend by grabbing a craft beer at one of Ann Arbor’s many breweries or stop by the campus classic Zingerman’s Deli, where former President Barack Obama enjoyed a Reuben sandwich during a visit in 2014.

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island, floating between the mitten and Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Lake Huron, is a small but exceedingly popular location for weekend getaways. Motorized vehicles have been prohibited on the island since 1898, so you’ll have to take a ferry from one of the two available companies — Shepler’s Ferry or Star Line Ferry — to get to the docks. Once you arrive, you won’t have to walk everywhere during your visit; Mackinac Island has over 1,500 bikes to rent as well as a horse-drawn taxi service.

While the lack of motorized transportation might seem quaint, the island offers plenty of exciting and delightful activities to choose from. If you’re feeling brave and want a thrill, head to the Haunts of Mackinac or the Haunted Theatre for a good scare. For a more low-key daytime activity, take a trip to the Island Bookstore to find your next favorite novel, take up the back nine at The Jewel Golf Course or visit the Lilac Tree Spa for a relaxing massage. After you’ve walked the streets of downtown and have shopped to your heart’s content, end your evening at Carriage House Dining for a refined meal on the waterfront or head to Horn’s Gaslight Bar & Restaurant for Southwestern cuisine and live music.

Traverse City

If you’re hoping to explore the northwestern part of the state, Traverse City is an excellent place to visit during your next weekend adventure. The city is incredibly versatile, offering everything from wine tours and shopping to hiking, camping and fishing. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a top outdoor attraction, having been named the Most Beautiful Place in America by Good Morning America in 2011. Start your journey in the car along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive for picturesque views of Lake Michigan and the nearby Manitou islands. Once you’re out of the car, you’ll find over 100 miles of trails to hike as well as two well-equipped campgrounds to call your temporary home.

For a more metropolitan experience, head downtown to one of the city’s microbreweries, where you’ll find 20 locations serving hopped up ales and smooth lagers. Traverse City is the largest producer of tart cherries in the U.S., so you’ll want to visit Cherry Public House for one of its four cherry beers and get the true TC experience. As an added cherry on top of your Traverse City visit, the National Cherry Festival occurs during the first week of July, offering up fun for the whole family in the form of an air show by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, concerts from Styx and Brett Young, a volleyball tournament and much more.

As you plan your next weekend retreat, consider any of these inviting locations and see what Pure Michigan has to offer.

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