Say whaaat?? Yes you heard that right. A Michigan vacation of your dreams, and no I’m not joking!
What do you think of when you think dream vacation? Crystal clear waters, lots of sand, warm weather, good food, and a relaxing time? Well surprising as it may be, Michigan has all of that!
You may not think of Michigan as a vacation destination but I’m going to convince you otherwise.
I was born in Michigan and lived in South East Michigan for a few years during my childhood. I remember farms with beautiful barns, miles and miles of cornstalks, the smell of bonfires and lightening bugs at night. But never as a child did I visit any of the beautiful places that Michigan has to offer. My childhood memories of Michigan are fond ones, and now that I live in Southern CA, I love when I have the chance to take my kids back there to visit. However, there’s not much to do in Michigan where I’m from besides visiting family. So when we take 2 weeks off for vacation, I want to get that vacation feel.
On our last trip out there, I decided to look into what else there was to do in Michigan. I was surprised by what I found and suddenly I was excited for my Michigan trip!
Now those of you who live in Michigan probably already know about all of the beauty it has to offer. For me, I was surprised that I had missed out on all of it on our past trips.
Here is a picture of my daughter when we went to the Bahamas.
JUST KIDDING… THIS IS MICHIGAN!!
Our Michigan Trip
Our flight landed in Detroit. We gathered our luggage and headed to the car rental area where we rented our mini van for the week. We hit the road excited! The drive from Detroit to the little town of Alden Mi was about 4 hours. As we got closer to our destination the landscape got prettier and prettier. Rolling hills and gorgeous farms were everywhere!
What’s in Alden you may ask. TORCH LAKE! It’s the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen.
The Town of Alden itself in 2010 had a population of about 125, and I doubt it’s changed much since then. It’s a tiny little town. There are other little towns that surround Torch Lake but we found a quaint little cottage to rent that was perfect. It was quiet and relaxing and only a short walk to the lake.
Lets Talk the Lake!
Torch lake. Wow. Oh how I miss you. This lake is about 19 miles long and is Michigan’s longest lake. It has a sand bar that is popular with those who have boats. But we didn’t find that we needed a boat to have fun. We hung out on the shore of the lake next to a long dock that allowed us the space to run and jump into the crystal clear waters.
Isn’t it gorgeous!
At night we grilled some hot dogs and hung out outside by the fire. It was quiet and relaxing. And it was nice having space as opposed to being in a hotel. The cottage had a creek running right behind it where the kids liked to play. And it was lovely to hear the running water as we slept.
We used vrbo.com to book our cottage. We’ve used this site a couple times now to find vacation rentals.
Michigan Cherry Festival
We spent a couple days playing at the lake and then decided to go for a car ride into Traverse City for their annual Cherry festival. Traverse City is Michigan’s vacation town. And their annual Cherry festival is a hot event in that town! As we drove into town we passed by Traverse Bay, another beautiful lake. The kids got excited when we got closer to the festival and they could see all of the rides. We spent the day riding rides and eating cherry everything! Cherry pie, cherry candy, cherry ice cream, cherry soda, and of course fresh cherries. And for good reason, Michigan produces some of the best tasting cherries out there. We couldn’t stop eating them!
Cherry Icee Brain Freeze!
So… Many… Cherries…
Best ever cherry pie!
Everything was delicious and we had a great time. At the end of the day we headed back to our quaint little cottage stuffed with cherries and ready for bed.
Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes
The next day we headed a little further west to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes is located off of Lake Michigan in Leelanau County and is a National Park. It is an impressive mountain of sand. Hiking up the dunes seemed like a never ending adventure! The kids loved playing in the sand and especially loved laughing at us once they reached the top and watched us sweat our way up behind them. This was a fantastic experience and the hike up was well worth it. The views from the top were amazing.
My son & daughter working their way up!
My teenager just above my head, this wasn’t easy for her either and she’s an athlete!
My babies at the top!
MOOmers Ice Cream!
On the way back to our cottage we traveled a little out of the way for an ice cream place I read rave reviews about. Once we pulled into the parking lot I just knew those reviews were correct. The line was out the door!
See, what makes this little ice cream shop so unique is the fact that their dairy farm was right next door. So talk about fresh! Once we got inside the smell was heavenly! The scent of fresh homemade waffle cones filled the air and you literally think you died and gone to heaven.
This shop was voted America’s best scoop by ABC’s Good Morning America in 2008. Check out the link below and order yours! Thats right, this place is so good people actually order it and have it shipped. Crazy right? Well it was so good that we actually made that out of the way trip several times during our weeks stay to get more ice cream! It was that good.
Line out the door!
Love those MOOmers cows!
Our favorites were the mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, and of course the black cherry. Sooo good!
Our last day we packed up and left our beautiful little cottage and headed out to Mackinac Island. Now this is where I messed up. I should have planned for an overnight here because there really was so much to see and do.
If you know anything about Mackinac island then you know that it is an island known for travel by bike or horse drawn carriage. Yep, you will not find any cars on this beautiful island. You have to take a ferry to get there. The victorian homes are each different and unique with their own beautiful colors. There are fudge & candy shops everywhere, as well as a lot of unique shopping.
We started our day with an 8 mile bike ride around the perimeter of the island. It was a lot of fun and the weather was gorgeous. There were flowers everywhere. Mackinac Island looks like a fairytale out of a storybook. About half way around our bike ride we stopped off to do a hike up to Arch Rock. You have to climb about 100+ stairs to get to the top, but again, so worth it. It was beautiful up there and the views of Lake Huron, amazing!
After our bike ride was finished we walked around the town a bit and did some shopping and fudge tasting! Mackinac Island is known for their yummy fudge. Then sadly, we hopped back on the ferry for the ride back to the main land. If I had to do it all over again I would definitely stay at least one night there. I would book a room at the beautiful and famous Grand Hotel. It’s on the pricey side but it’s an iconic hotel and you only live once right? I’d try out some of their popular restaurants, and take a tour of Fort Mackinac.
And finally that concludes our trip! Michigan has so much to see and do! Are you now ready to take a Michigan Vacation? Have you ever been to any of these places? If I had a little more time I would definitely stay longer on Mackinac Island, maybe check out some of Michigan’s wineries and light houses, and most definitely spend a couple days in the UP. I’ve read and seen beautiful pictures of the upper peninsula. That is definitely on our family adventure to do list.
We had an absolute amazing time and just typing this out makes me want to go on the MOOmers website and pay the $218 for 2.5 gallons of their creamy fresh ice cream to be sent straight to my door. But sadly my husband would probably not be too happy if I did so.
Well friends, I loved sharing this adventure with you. I hope you sign up to get my emails so I can share more adventures with you in the future!
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