Sometimes, instead of a vacation, all you need is a little R & R close to home. Luckily, Michigan has some great places to spend your summer staycation. Southwest Michigan, specifically, is full of great beaches, nightlife, shopping, history, and more to fill your hours. Here are some of our top picks.
One of Michigan’s most exciting and vibrant cities, Grand Rapids is the perfect place for your staycation. Whether you’re traveling with friends or as a family, there is something for everyone. The city hosts parks, biking trails, fishing areas, golf courses, and beaches for those looking to get out and play. The city’s shopping districts offer a wide range of experiences whether you’re looking for couture or a downtown boutique. Its performing arts venues always have something to offer no matter whether you’re looking for big names in music or locally-produced plays. Its biggest attractions, however, are ArtPrize, an art event that encompasses three square miles, and LaughFest, a 10-day stand-up comedy festival.
Holland got its name from the numerous Dutch settlers that founded the town, and its Dutch heritage remains a large part of the city’s appeal. Between the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory, Holland Museum, and Nelis’ Dutch Village, there is plenty to see, learn, and experience. Holland’s famous Veldheer Tulip Gardens comes alive each May with millions of multi-colored flowers for the city’s annual Tulip Time festival. Don’t worry if you miss it, however, as the fields fill with lilies over the summer. In addition, the city boasts an authentic Dutch windmill and “Big Red”, Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse.
In addition to resting right at Lake Michigan’s edge, South Haven offers a number of other lakes like Bankson Lake and Ackley Lake for water sports, swimming, vacationing, sailing, camping, and more. The city also hosts a number of events and festivals like Annual Harborfest, Queen’s Cup, South Haven Art Fair, and All Crafts Fair. The Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival is also nearby in downtown Paw Paw. This city also boasts a large array of U-Pick farms with blueberries, apples, raspberries, and more; and the Heritage Water Trail offers fun to visitors of all ages. Finding a place to stay in South Haven is easy with so many different hotels, campgrounds and charming bed and breakfasts. For a romantic getaway, Victoria Resort and Bed & Breakfast is a favorite. If you are traveling with family, the Van Buren State Park campground has over 200 sites and is located just steps away from Lake Michigan.
Kalamazoo offers fine dining, live entertainment, and eclectic shopping all within driving distance to Chicago in case you’re hankering to see those city lights. Miller Auditorium provides constant entertainment from musicians, ballets, Broadway musicals, and more. The Gilmore Car Museum and flea and antique market provide great options for family fun while the city’s casinos and nightlife are great for adults looking to have a good time. Kalamazoo’s famous beer exchange and brewing companies like Bell’s and Arcadia Ales are unique experiences that you can’t find anywhere else.
St. Joseph is a bit of a tourist town, but that can easily work to your advantage. It means there is always something going on, plenty of people to meet, and fantastic places to visit. You could taste what nature has to offer at the town’s multiple farms and farmers’ markets; experience excellence is wine, beer, spirits, cheeses, meats, chocolates, and more along Makers Trail; or enjoy a fun day on the water paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing. The town also hosts a wide range of events year-round like Fandom Fest, live concerts, wine tastings, and more.