Between soaring gas prices and COVID spikes, some Michiganders plan to play close to the vest this summer — and keep their travel plans within a tight radius.
You do not know where to start ? Try this road trip recommended by USA Today, starting with the colorful streets of Saugatuck and Douglas and traveling north along Lake Michigan, then to Sault Ste. Married.
Barrel of Douglas Root Beer
Address: 501 Center Street West in Douglas
This historical concession, which has become a seasonal business, is the result of several years of work, community-led project at Douglas. From inside, the barrel launches hot dogs, root beer floats, sundaes, potato salad and daily specials.
While in the area, stroll the artsy streets of downtown Saugatuck and Douglas, twin cities that form an eclectic community.
Holland State Park
Address: 2215 Ottawa Beach Road in Holland
It’s not just the beach when you visit Holland State Park. The mile-long stretch of road leading to the sandy shores is lined with seasonal businesses.
Enjoy chili dogs, shakes and smoothies at the Dune Dogzimmerse yourself in local history at The Pump House Museum and collect supplies from Ottawa Beach General Store. Next, head along the shoreline of Holland State Park – and don’t forget the photos of the famous big red lighthouse.
Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Address: 1 N. Harbor Drive in Grand Haven
Looking for a family and free activity? There’s nothing quite like the Musical Fountain in Grand Haven, a nightly spectacle during the warmer months. The synchronized water and light show is set to a variety of music and each 20-minute show has a different theme.
Built in 1962, the fountain is the largest musical fountain of its type in the world, according to the Grand Haven website. The show is best viewed from the Waterfront Stadium (address provided), but can also be viewed from most of the Grand Haven boardwalk. Learn more about facebook.com/ghmusicalfontaine.
Address: 1760 Lears Road in Petoskey
Belonging to the Odawa Indian Bands of Little Traverse Bay, the Odawa Casino is a great night out destination. Besides gaming, the casino offers dining with the Sage Restaurant and Copper Cafe, as well as live music at Ovation Hall.
Learn more about odawacasino.com.
The Backlot Beer Garden
Address: 425 Michigan Street in Petoskey
The backlot is a beer garden featuring craft beer, wine and cider, local food trucks and live music. Try menus from Happy’s Taco Shop, The Reel Deal Fish and Chips, Cheese and Co., Phoxy’s Phillies and Grindage, Mim’s Mobile Grill and Full Moon Pizza.
The backlot also has music scheduled through October. The full program is available at thebacklotpetoskey.com. After eating, stroll downtown and explore the shops while admiring the bay.
Petoskey State Park
Address: 2475 M-119 in Petoskey
Petoskey State Park is a popular attraction with options for hiking, biking trails, rock hunting, and water activities like kayaks and paddleboards. The park has two trails – the half-mile-long Petoskey-Old Baldy and the one-mile-long Petoskey-Portage Trail.
Old Baldy ends with a staircase leading to the top of a sand dune. The Portage Trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate.
The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods
Address: 7078 M-68 Highway, Indian River
Since the 1950s, millions of people have come to Indian River and the Cross in the Woods National Shrine to see one of the largest crucifixes in the world, with a cross over 50 feet tall and over 20 feet wide.
The property also houses a number of statues, sculptures and shrines, as well as the Hall of Saints. The on-site church offers daily masses from Tuesday to Friday and several weekend masses.
Learn more about crossinthewoods.com.
Yeck’s Family Drive-In Restaurant
Address: 1304 Mackinaw Avenue in Cheboygan
This authentic drive-in restaurant is famous for its carhops, delicious shakes and malts, fried pizzas, olive burgers and friendly service. Sit in your car to enjoy your food, take advantage of the picnic area provided or take out.
The restaurant is open just before Memorial Day until just after Labor Day and is located along Heritage US-23, which runs along the Lake Huron coast from Standish to Mackinaw City.
Learn more about facebook.com/YecksFamilyDriveInn.
Address: S. Huron Avenue in Mackinaw City
Mackinaw Crossings Mall has a little something for everyone, combining shopping, dining and entertainment.
There are over 50 unique shops throughout the complex, whether you want homemade fudge or ice cream, a new pair of loafers or an old photo to commemorate your visit to Mackinaw City.
The mall also includes a five-screen movie theater, an outdoor stage with nightly laser light shows, a haunted house, a house of mirrors, an arcade, and several restaurants.
Learn more about mackinawcrossings.com.
Address: 2186 Shunk Road in Sault Ste. Married
The Sault Ste. The Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians provides play opportunities for adult participants, as well as meals at DreamCatchers and Trail Deli and live music.
Kewadin’s casinos are also a popular local destination for conventions and events, including weddings and outdoor demolition derbies. Learn more about kewadin.com.
Soo Brewing Co.
Address: 100 W. Portage Ave. in Sault Ste. Married
Located in the heart of downtown Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Brewing Co. is a classic local destination to eat and drink. The restaurant, brewery and winery have been brewing drinks for the Soo community for over a decade, featuring signature beers like Maggie’s Irish Red, Soo Brew and GoldiLocks.
Visitors can sit outside in downtown Sault Ste. Marie — close enough to shore to hear and see freighters as they pass through the locks.
Learn more about soobrew.com.
Boat trips on the famous locks of Soo
Address: 515 E. Portage Ave. in Sault Ste. Married
Since 1959, Famous Soo Locks Boat Tours have been teaching the history of Sault Ste. The Marie Lock System with up close and personal tours.
The 90-minute tour takes passengers along the St. Mary’s River and through the lock system. The locks themselves are one of the most important attractions in the region and support much of the local economy.
Learn more about famousoolocks.com.
— Contact journalists Cassandra Lybrink, Tess Ware, Kortny Hahn and Brendan Wiesner at [email protected].