Beer and Nature Lovers Unite for Fall Weekend Getaways in Michigan

By Elizabeth Benson,

The Great Lakes State boasts beautiful fall colors, tons of breweries and top-tier restaurants, miles of lakeshore trails, and plenty of arts and culture to go around. From ArtPrize in Grand Rapids to the colorful trails of Lake Tahquamenon State Park, there’s no better place to spend the fall months than the Mitten State.

Now let’s get out the door with these six fall weekend getaways in Michigan.

Traverse City: Cherry Capital of the World

Traverse City Michigan

Photo courtesy of Traverse City

Traverse City is the eclectic lakeside home to coffee roasteries, breweries, beaches and hiking trails. The Cherry Capital of the World is located right next door to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which has miles of beachfront, dunes, and trails for the perfect autumn color hike.

Where to eat in Traverse City

  • The Jolly Pumpkin features a vast array of their own brews, plus the truffled french fries are some of the most delicious in the state.
  • If you’re looking for a romantic dinner, Trattoria Stella features a mouthwatering array of authentic Italian cuisine and a seriously impressive wine list.
  • In the mood for tacos? Spanglish offers Mexican fare with an emphasis on sustainability. The veggie tamales are a must-try!
  • If you’re craving a top-notch cup of joe, visit the Higher Grounds roastery for tours, tastings, or a delicious Pumpkin Pie Latte.

What to do in Traverse City

  • Even though the annual Cherry Festival takes place in the summer months, be sure to stop into Cherry Republic for any and all cherry-themed, scented or flavored item from salsa and jam to wine and ice cream.
  • If you’re in town in early October, don’t miss the Harvest Festivus, a German-themed celebration featuring lederhosen, horse-drawn carriages, wine, beer, cider and plenty of good food.
  • Every November the Traverse City Beer Week features seven days of beer tasting, great food, workshops and a celebration of all things craft beer.
  • If you’re looking for peak autumn foliage, look no further than the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. No matter what route you choose, you’re sure to find gorgeous reds, golds, and oranges.

Where to stay in Traverse City: Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City

Book Your Room

Ann Arbor: Brews Around The Big House

Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor – A2 to the locals – is the quintessential college town that appeals to everyone. It’s funky, it’s artsy, it’s got tons of small coffee shops, breweries, and bookstores. Take a stroll through the scenic downtown, grab a cup of coffee, check out some local microbrews and fill up on some tasty local eats.

Where to eat and drink in Ann Arbor

What to do in Ann Arbor

  • Sports fan? Catch a Michigan football game in the Big House on a Saturday morning – just don’t forget your maize and blue!
  • If you’re looking for the quintessential autumn experience, look no further than Dexter Cider Mill. Grab some delicious cinnamon sugar donuts, sample house-made apple cider, pick your own apples or pumpkins, or take a scenic horseback ride.
  • Take in an afternoon of art and culture at the University of Michigan Art Museum, one of the largest university art museums in the country.
  • Visit the historic Kerrytown district for whimsical shops, a fresh Farmer’s Market, wineries, and plenty of charm.

Where to stay in Ann Arbor: Weber’s Hotel

Weber's Hotel

Book Your Room

Grand Haven: Beachtown Bliss

Grand Haven Michigan

Grand Haven is one of Michigan’s best beach towns and was named Coastal Living’s 2017 Happiest Seaside Town. Relax on the soft sand beaches of Lake Michigan, wander around the scenic downtown, stop for a bite and a brew at one of the many breweries or take stroll along the boardwalk.

Where to eat in Grand Haven

  • If you’re in the mood for craft brews, stop by Oddside Ales or Vandermill Ciders and share a flight or some fries.
  • Looking for authentic Mexican cuisine? Arturo’s Tacos is the place. The El Pastor tacos come highly recommended.
  • Visit the Morning Star Cafe for a good old-fashioned home-cooked breakfast. Their cinnamon rolls are legendary.
  • Want a quick and delicious snack on the go? Stop by the staple Pronto Pups stand for a crispy, golden brown corndog.

What to do in Grand Haven

  • Take a stroll along the scenic harbor-front boardwalk and watch the boats come in, visit quaint little shops, and grab some delicious snacks along the way.
  • If you’re in town in September, be sure to check out the infamous Musical Fountain show, which plays every Friday and Saturday night. See spectacular lights, colorful jets and hear some great tunes at one of the largest musical fountains in the country.
  • Wander around the scenic downtown area for quirky shops and tasty eats.
  • For the more adventurous among you, check out Grand Haven’s miles of hiking and biking trails along the shoreline and through dunes and woods in western Michigan.

Where to stay in Grand Haven: The Boyden House

The Boyden House

Book Your Room

Tahquamenon Falls: Jaw-Dropping Sights

Tahquamenon Falls

Photo courtesy of Pure Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls is easily one of the most scenic spots in Michigan. The falls themselves are absolutely jaw-dropping and visiting the area is a must-see for the outdoorsy among you. You’ve got miles of hiking trails, a scenic riverfront, and parks jam-packed with vibrant fall colors.

Where to eat in Tahquamenon Falls

  • For a touch of whimsical vintage flair, visit Clyde’s Drive-In for delicious burgers, fries, and onion rings.
  • You can’t visit the Upper Peninsula without trying a beef pasty. Visit Karl’s Cuisine their authentic, handmade variety that will keep you coming back for more.
  • If you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian option, try Cafe Natura. They specialize in all-natural, organic food that’s tasty and healthy.

What to do in Tahquamenon Falls

  • The Tahquamenon Falls State Park is open all year-round and offers 40 miles of hiking trails, 24 miles of river, and nearly 20,000 square miles of nature perfect for camping, hiking, and taking in all the fall colors the Upper Peninsula has to offer.
  • Get a prime viewing spot at the Soo Locks and watch the ships make the fascinating journey across the 21-foot difference in water level.
  • If you want to learn about fascinating local history, be sure to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and learn all about the Edmund Fitzgerald and plenty of other famous shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.
  • For picturesque views, hiking trails or some seriously chilly swimming, look no further than the scenic Lake Superior shoreline.

Where to stay in Tahquamenon Falls: Holiday Inn Express Sault Sainte Marie

Holiday Inn Express Sault Sainte Marie

Book Your Room

Detroit: A Living Relic of the American Dream

Detroit Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kahari King, Unsplash

The D comes packed with its fair share of stereotypes, so your best bet to get the real story is to plan your own weekend getaway in Detroit. This city is a living relic that tells the story of the rise of the American Dream (good and bad) and promises a fascinating time out of town whether you’re interested in checking out some of the historic sites and museums or simply want to see the new Detroit — that is, craft breweries and trendy restaurants surrounding neighborhood institutions.

Where to eat in Detroit

  • Everybody loves a good pub and Detroit Beer Company just outside Comerica Park in Downtown Detroit nails the ambiance of a tried and true local favorite. Find your favorite brew by starting with a flight and soak up that new knowledge with a black bean pizza.
  • Traffic Jam & Snug will get you out of the city center and to the rapidly revitalizing Midtown neighborhood near Wayne State University. They’ve been around since 1965 serving their in-house brew alongside a fine selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, and more.
  • Greektown can be a bit polarizing these days with some arguing that the casino culture has chipped away at the historic character, but you can certainly still eat well with a visit to Santorini Estiatorio. Go for the pastitsio and make sure you plan a walk afterward.
  • Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island are adjacent family-based, rivalry institutions that are a staple of old Detroit. I don’t want to make any enemies, so go for yourself to decide which has the better chili dogs.

What to do in Detroit

  • Motor City Brew Tours take you through Detroit history and contemporary happenings by way of bike and beer. You’ll see more of the city than most metro residents have in their life.
  • Not many cities have an island conservancy in the city, but Detroit isn’t just any city. Plan a day at Belle Isle in the Detroit River where you can hike and paddle with incredible views of the Detroit (and Windsor) skylines around you.
  • You can find some fantastic festivals in Detroit, so you’d be smart to check out upcoming events at Visit Detroit and plan accordingly. Dally in the Alley (40 years strong) is an easy recommendation.
  • Go shopping at the Eastern Market, a neighborhood in and of itself that promises great, fresh food amid some of the city’s most interesting historic and renovated architecture.

Where to stay in Detroit: Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney

Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney hotel room

Book Your Room

Grand Rapids: A Craft Beer Capital

Craft Beer

Photo courtesy of Julia Nastogadka, Unsplash

Grand Rapids is the gem of West Michigan and one of the craft beer capitals of the world. It’s become a creative hub for all things arts and culture from theatre shows and sculpture gardens to one of the world’s largest open art competitions. No matter what you want to do, you’ll find it in the GR.

Where to eat in Grand Rapids

  • A personal favorite is Stella’s Lounge, an eclectic mixture of vintage nostalgia and gothic decor. Their chronic fries and olive burger are a must-have, plus they have the largest whiskey selection in the state.
  • Another local favorite is HopCat, a brewery and craft beer mecca with fries that were listed among the top 10 in the nation by Food Network.
  • Stop in for a quick lunch at Cherry Deli where they have countless handmade soups and sandwiches. My pick? Go for the #52 Fountain turkey sandwich.
  • Wolfgang’s in Eastown is the destination for a delicious brunch — just be sure to get there early. Their homemade Hollandaise sauce is outstanding, so any dish that comes with it is a sure bet.
  • If you’re looking for great coffee and conversation, look no further than Madcap. Nestled in the heart of downtown, their in-house roasted coffee beans, and signature seasonal concoctions are the best in town.

What to do in Grand Rapids

Where to stay in Grand Rapids: The Amway Grand Plaza

The Amway Grand Plaza Pool

Book Your Room

Where are you heading for your Fall weekend getaway in Michigan? Leave a comment and share your story.

Featured image by Dennis Buchner, Unsplash