Michigan is often associated with the Great Lakes, (four out of five of which border the state in some capacity) but perhaps what Michigan should be known for are the resort towns that you’ll find throughout the state. Beautiful scenery and a multitude of attractions await you in these towns, so you are sure to want to add some of these destinations to your travel bucket list. If you love visiting lighthouses, you’ll want to take note; many of these towns are situated on a lake and boast one of these iconic structures. Perhaps you’d like to take part in the annual traditions of some of these towns or explore local state parks; all of these are possible if you choose to head to Michigan for your next vacation. For a place to stay, check out the best beach house rentals and hotels with water parks. Be sure to check out these resort towns in Michigan to see which ones you’d like to visit most!
1. Visit the Dutch-rooted Holland, Michigan
Holland is located on the shores of Lake Macatawa and traces its roots to a Dutch heritage, which is where the city’s name is derived. There’s plenty to explore in this Michigan resort town, including the beautiful beaches, Big Red Lighthouse and Holland State Park. You’ll also want to visit Windmill Island Gardens, where you’ll find the authentic, still functioning, Dutch windmill “De Zwaan” or, The Swan. Inside the park, you’ll also find the Dutch Carousel, something the kids will want to ride again and again. If you can, try to plan your trip to Holland during the spring months so that you can experience their annual tulip bloom; seeing hundreds of thousands of tulips blooming at once will leave you awestruck.
2. Enjoy the great outdoors in Traverse City
No matter when you decide to make a trip to Traverse City, you’ll find no shortage of outdoor activities to keep you having fun. Summertime offers plenty of opportunities to explore Traverse City State Park or any of the 180 miles (290 km) of beaches, perhaps stopping by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Good Morning America did name it as the most beautiful place in America in the past. Winter brings just as many possibilities, some of which include cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing and snow tubing.
3. Escape to South Haven, Michigan
South Haven, one of the best Michigan beach towns, is nestled on the west coast of the peninsula, bordered by Lake Michigan, and it has a little bit of something for everyone. Bask in the sun at one of South Haven’s numerous beaches, such as North Beach or Newcome Beach, or visit the Casco Township Nature Preserve, where you can have a picnic while enjoying the surrounding wildlife. There are also plenty of places in town to sample local wines and microbrews, including Cogdal Vineyards and South Haven Brewpub.
4. Have a grand time in Grand Haven
Grand Haven sits at the intersection of Lake Michigan and Grand River and is known for the boardwalk that runs along the harbor, offering visitors a good choice of restaurants and shops. Visit during the summer months and you can check out the Musical Fountain, which features a synchronized water and light show from Memorial Day to Labor Day, or attend a free concert at Central Park. You can also enjoy the great outdoors when you visit Rosy Mound Natural Area, or head just out of town to PJ Hoffmaster State Park.
5. Spend time getting to know New Buffalo
New Buffalo has plenty in the way of entertainment to offer its visitors, including the Four Winds Casino Resort, which is the first casino in the southwestern region of Michigan. Visit the New Buffalo Railroad Museum to learn how the railway system influenced the development of New Buffalo or play a round (or two!) of golf at one of the local golf courses. With its location being at the junction of the Galien River and Lake Michigan, you are guaranteed your choice in water sports, whether you want to try your hand at some local fishing or rent a jet-ski or kayak.
6. Find your love of Michigan in Saint Joseph
Dubbed the Riviera of the Midwest, Saint Joseph is a fast-growing resort town that is completely worthy of a getaway. During your trip, you’ll want to hop on the Silver Beach Carousel and check out the Silver Beach Carousel Museum, which details the Silver Beach Amusement Park’s history of operation from 1892-1971. Just south of Saint Joseph, you’ll find both Warren Dunes State Park and Grand Mere State Park, both of which offer excellent hiking opportunities and breathtaking views.
7. Take a relaxing trip to Ludington
With miles upon miles of pristine beaches to explore in Ludington, you’ll find it hard to leave at the end of your vacation. Enjoy swimming, boating and fishing on both Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake, and be sure to visit Stearns Park and Beach, which has been voted one of the best American beaches. At Stearns, you’ll find free parking, as well as a skate park, shuffleboard, concession stands and mini golf, all of which make it one of the most popular beaches in Ludington. Also worth visiting in this Lake Michigan resort town are the two lighthouses, North Breakwater Light in downtown Ludington and Big Sable Point Lighthouse, located in Ludington State Park.
8. Visit the one-stop shop of Muskegon
Year round fun is a guarantee when you visit Muskegon, whether you want to bury your toes in the sand at any of the beaches along 26 miles (42 km) of shoreline during the summer or visit the Winter Sports Complex when the days turn colder. You’ll also find a world of fun at Michigan’s Adventure Amusement and Water Park, where you can ride roller coasters to your heart’s content or make a splash at the water park. Visit in autumn and you’ll be treated to the beautiful colors of fall that are best seen from the numerous hiking and biking trails in the area.
An unforgettable vacation
If a resort town in Michigan doesn’t sound like your ideal vacation destination, take a second look. You’ll find fun activities all year round, in all of these towns, allowing you a flexible vacation schedule. Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave!
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