Michigan, Travel

{michigan monday!} Fall Budget Vacation Ideas

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It’s no secret that I love my home state, and this is one of my favorite times of the year! If you’re looking for a nice long weekend this fall, consider heading up to Michigan.

  • Go on a color tour. This can take as long as you like and cost as little as you want to spend on gas, so it’s a great option for budget travellers! Go early enough in the season before it gets too cold and it can be even cheaper by renting a bike. Or find a trail and go for a run – the Michigan State University campus is beautifully scenic, and the buildings are equally regal.
  • Wine tasting! While many may not think of Michigan as a hotbed for vineyards, it actually has a rich tradition in wine. My favorite wineries are Karma Vista in Coloma and Black Star Farms in the pinky finger (Leelanau Peninsula.)
  • Mackinac Island is rich in history, from Fort Michillimackinac to the horse and buggies that travel the streets. Grab a jacket for the ferry ride over and remember your bicycle turn signals – the only motor vehicles on the island are emergency vehicles. Eat some fudge, enjoy the Adirondack chairs on the lawn of Mission Point Resort (one of my favorite places in the world,) or for a spendier evening out, try the Grand Hotel. It’s regularly included on “Best Of” lists and was also featured in Christopher Reeves’ 1980 Somewhere in Time.
  • National parks may be closed, but Michigan state parks aren’t. In the Upper Peninsula, the picture-perfect Tahquamenon Falls feature trails, programs, and cabins to rent.
  • If you aren’t the outdoorsy type, no worries – there are 25 casinos across the state. I know this is largely a frugality blog and this is supposed to be “Michigan vacation on a budget” – but sometimes it’s great fun to play the penny slots for an hour or so! Plus the restaurants are fantastic (my favorite, Mijem, is at Firekeepers in Battle Creek) and at the Native American casinos, gamblers only have to be 18. (I’m willing to say this is a good thing – being able to gamble at that age jaded me quickly, and on my first trip to Vegas, I was bored after $20.)
  • I’ve definitely saved the best for last. Any trip to the Mitten would not be complete without a tip of the hat to BEER CITY USA! While there are great breweries all over the state, Grand Rapids won the title with 27,000 votes last spring. Start at HopCat on Ionia Ave., and work up and down downtown to hit Stella’s, Founder’s (my favorite), and end the night with a snack from Peppino’s.

That’s my idea of a dream weekend in Michigan! What are your must do or must sees when you travel?