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Last-Minute Michigan Getaways

By: Karen Dybis | February 7, 2022

There’s a common experience that most Michigan families go through every winter, and it is known collectively as “cabin fever.” That is when everyone in the house needs to escape from the same routine and sights to see what else is going on in the wider world.

A simple way to fight cabin fever is by enjoying shorter weekend trips or mini vacations within a single tank of gasoline. Many Metro Detroiters will want to voyage out of their regular sights to see something unique or share a story of the last time they visited. These trips introduce your family to the places you have grown to love as well as bring new parks, museums and restaurants into your life, giving you enough of an escape to feel like you can go home again for a few more wintry months.

As always, plan ahead and call or visit the website of these places suggested. Some may be booked up if there are events going on, such as Frankenmuth or a big convention in Grand Rapids. You also will want to make reservations in advance for hotels or busy restaurants that are popular during the dinner hours. That food part is especially important when you have little toddler who gets hangry after a long car ride to your destination.

Also, pack lots of outdoor gear with you in case you decide to take a family hike or if you want to explore an event, such as the Frankenmuth ice sculpture weekend. You may want to bring a family dog along as well if you have one, so plan to stop often and seek an AirBnB or related place to stay that is pet friendly.

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Here are five Michigan cities and tourist areas that are especially great to visit in the winter months with family and friends. 

Lansing

There is something special about visiting your state’s capitol, and Michigan has one of the best. Lansing has enjoyed a revival in recent years with more restaurants, activities and shopping than ever before. Make sure you check out the Archives of Michigan and the Michigan History Museum, which has an amazing indoor tree with a big personality. You also should take a picture in front of the majestic Michigan state capitol building.

 

Midland

Every kid needs to visit the Dow Gardens because of its size and magnitude. You might want to go on a near-spring day when you can really walk its 110 acres. There are so many impressive places to visit throughout the gardens, and you’ll enjoy the towering pine trees, lovely bridges and other events that are regularly held here. Come back in summer to see its huge displays of annual and perennial flowers. 

Grand Rapids

This city is made for kids with its great downtown with lots of walkable shops and restaurants. Everyone will enjoy a stroll through the inventive Grand Rapids Public Museum. And if the weather is good enough, you will find the John Ball Zoo to be one of the best in Michigan. After all of that walking, everyone can enjoy the beer that has made Grand Rapids a must-see stop on any beer connoisseur’s list.  

Frankenmuth

If you love the holidays, then you will truly enjoy a trip to Little Bavaria, where it is a Christmas and winter wonderland all year around. Frankenmuth not only has amazing chicken dinners at its two major restaurants, but there is the largest holiday shopping stop in the Midwest, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland. You also can take a lap around the new Frankenmuth Ice Rink and check out the downtown, which has frequent events and activities. 

Traverse City

This is a city where you can have a great shopping experience along with award-winning meals and some of the best entertainment in Northern Michigan. That entertainment includes movies, film festivals and outdoor activities, including beautiful skiing and snowshoeing. Snowboarding also is a prime event in the Traverse area. Check out Crystal Mountain Resort in nearby Benzie County or Mt. Holiday for some snowy fun.