Michigan

Ultimate Guide To Things To Do In Michigan

June 22, 2019

In collaboration with Pure Michigan. Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Taste of Koko!

Top Things To Do In Michigan

Photography by Ready Set Jet Set

Michigan – you are such a stunning surprise! This was my first time to Michigan and to be honest, I’ve never considered traveling to Michigan before. I’m always looking to get away from Texas during the hot, humid summers and Michigan was such a cool relief with temperatures of low 70s. 

SEE ALSO: 7 Things To Do In Tempe Arizona

We did a road trip through Northern Michigan to Traverse City, Charlevoix, Frankfort, Manistee, and Ludington. Read on for my ultimate guide to things to do in Michigan.


THINGS TO DO IN MICHIGAN: TRAVERSE CITY

The Little Fleet Traverse City

We flew into Traverse City and only had a quick lunch in the city before heading off to our road trip.

 

THINGS TO DO IN TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

Shop on Front Steet – this is the main street in Traverse City with local shops, restaurants, and a movie theatre. 

WHERE TO EAT IN TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

Little Fleet – if you’re hungry, there are several food trucks parked at The Little Fleet and there’s a bar!

 


THINGS TO DO IN MICHIGAN: CHARLEVOIX

Our first stop on the Michigan road trip was to Charlevoix – one hour from Traverse City. I fell in love with this charming little town even though we were just there for one day! 

Mushroom house in Charlevoix, Michigan

WHERE TO STAY IN FRANKFORT, MICHIGAN

Mushroom House – if you’re visiting Michigan, you have to stay in a mushroom home in Charlevoix. We stayed at The Thatch House – one of the original stone walls set by Earl Young in 1919. In 2013, Michael Seitz purchased the house and put his own style and design into it. The Thatch House has six bedrooms, five and a half baths with three fireplaces and two living rooms. Perfect for a family or friends vacation! 

 

Torch Lake in Michigan

Charlevoix South Pier Light Station in Michigan

THINGS TO DO IN CHARLEVOIX, MICHIGAN

Go on a walking tour of mushrooms homes – even if you’re staying in a mushroom home (or if not), go on a walking tour of the mushrooms homes and learn about the unique history. 

Visit Castle Farms – also known as the Queen’s Castle, Castle Farms was built in 1918 by Albert Loeb, who was the Vice President of Sears. Castle Farms is now an event and wedding venue with daily tours. 

Pontoon boat ride on Torch Lake – it’s incredible how clear the water is at Torch Lake. You can see all the way down! Torch Lake is 18 miles in length and is the longest and deepest inland lake in Michigan and second largest in the area among the state’s more than 11,000 inland lakes. The name is derived from an Ojibwa word meaning “Place of the Torches,” because local Native Americans used torches to attract fish while harvesting with spears and nets at night. The pontoon boat ride on Torch Lake was one of my favorite activities on the Michigan trip! 

Bier Art Gallery & Pottery Studio – you can’t miss this cute red and white schoolhouse that was established in 1981. Over sixty artists contribute to the gallery

Watch the sunset at Charlevoix South Pier Light Station – you have to watch the sun go down in Charlevoix and the best spot is at the South Pier Light Station. There are swings on the left side of the pier if you want to swing! 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN CHARLEVOIX

Bier’s Inwood Brewery – located next door to the Bier Art Gallery is the Bier’s Inwood Brewery. There are 11 tap lines that rotate between the many styles of beer and hard cider. I had the Berried Alive cider made with a blend of apples with strawberries, blueberries, and cherries. So good! 

That French Place – we had crepes and French pastries for breakfast at this cute little French cafe. 

Terry’s – we had dinner at this casual fine dining restaurant and it was my first time having whitefish that’s caught locally in Lake Michigan. It was so good!


THINGS TO DO IN MICHIGAN: FRANKFORT

Top Things To Do In Michigan

Our second stop was Frankfort – we stayed for two nights in this town.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN FRANKFORT

Hotel Frankfort – we stayed two nights at this 83-year-old boutique hotel in Frankfort. Hotel Frankfort has 17 guest rooms and the suites have whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and/or saunas with two-story rooms! My room had a giant whirlpool and sauna downstairs – it felt incredible to soak after a chilly day before bedtime! 

 

Sailing on Lake Michigan on a sailboat

Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort, Michigan

Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm & Boutique in Frankfort, Michigan

THINGS TO DO IN FRANKFORT

Sailboat ride on Lake Michigan – you can’t visit Michigan without sailing on Lake Michigan! Caption John from Frankfort Sailing Excursions took us on the lake on the boat that he built.  

Watch the sunset at Point Betsie LighthousePoint Betsie Light, built in 1854, is located on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan. You can actually stay overnight at Point Betsie too! 

Shop on Main Street – walk up & down the historic Main Street that’s filled with restaurants, boutiques, and an old-timey movie theatre. 

Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm & Boutique – this was definitely one of the top highlights of the Michigan trip that everyone was looking forward to. The alpacas at Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm were so adorable and we even got to feed them! Their resident donkey also just gave birth that very morning so we got to see a one-year-old donkey. Established in 2002, Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm is nestled on 145 acres of land bordered by the Betsie River and view of Crystal Lake. Sweaters, throws, mittens, socks, stuffed animals and more are sold in their gift shop made with the soft Alpaca fur! 

Tasting and brief tour at St. Ambrose Cellars – this local cellar makes their own 100% local honey, mead, and Michigan grown wine. I enjoyed trying a flight of different meads! 

Stormcloud Brewing Company – this Northern Michigan brewery brews Belgian inspired ales and you can visit their brewery. 

 

Rock's Landing in Frankfort Michigan

WHERE TO EAT IN FRANKFORT

Birch & Maple – this scratch kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They pick their vegetables from the ground and fruit right from the branch.  Order craft cocktails and hang out on the patio in the afternoon.

Crescent Bakery – if you’re craving sweets for breakfast, head over to Crescent Bakery for freshly baked donuts and pastries.

L’Chayim Delicatessen – we had a quick breakfast and lunch at L’Chayim. They make their own bagels and bread every day for sandwiches and it’s so good! 

Stormcloud Brewing Company – for a casual dinner, Stormcloud Brewing Company serves flatbreads, salads, and sharable appetizers with Stormcloud brews. 

Rock’s Landing – for lakefront view dining, go to Rock’s Landing and sit on the patio (photo above). I had the pan seared trout with charred lemon and caper berries, fried calamari, and a glass of Left Foot Charley Blaufrãnkisch rosé from Michigan. 


THINGS TO DO IN MICHIGAN: MANISTEE

Arcadia Overlook in Manistee, Michigan

We stopped in Manistee for a couple of hours to visit Portage Point Resort and hike Acardia Overlook.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN MANISTEE, MICHIGAN

Portage Point Resort – this resort is nestled on The Point between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan with stunning views of the lake.

 

THINGS TO DO IN MANISTEE, MICHIGAN

Hike Arcadia Overlook – As your driving north through Manistee on highway M-22, look for Arcadia Overlook (also known as Inspiration Point). It’s 120 steps to the top so put on your sneakers!

Shop on River St – River St is lined with vintage shops, boutiques, restaurants, and of course, a movie theatre! 

 

BlueFish Kitchen in Michigan

WHERE TO EAT IN MANISTEE, MICHIGAN

BlueFish Kitchen – we had lunch at BlueFish Kitchen and I had the Great Lakes Whitefish that was caught in Lake Superior served with Parmesan risotto. 


THINGS TO DO IN MICHIGAN: LUDINGTON

 

Barothy Lodge in Ludington, Michigan

golden gals // me, Globetrotting Ginger, Globetrotting Blonde, Dawn Darnell

WHERE TO STAY IN LUDINGTON

Barothy Lodge – We stayed in the Elkhorn lodge that has 8 1/2 bedrooms and sleeps 13 people. 

 

 

THINGS TO DO IN LUDINGTON

Visit Stearns Park – we watched the ships sail by at Stearns Park. There’s a cute little lighthouse there too!

Watch the sunset from Ludington State Park – this is a beautiful park with sand dunes and camping accommodations. 

Take pictures at Big Sable Point Lighthouse – located inside Ludington State Park Beach, this historic lighthouse is from 1867. The road to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is never open to cars and is only accessible by hiking or biking. The park itself closes at dusk (10 p.m.).

 

House of Flavors in Michigan

WHERE TO EAT IN LUDINGTON

House of Flavors – you can get breakfast and dessert at House of Flavors. This was my favorite breakfast food in Michigan and they have ICE CREAM! The owner, Bob Neal Sr., purchased Miller’s Dairy, a full line dairy, and changed the name to Park Dairy. In 1964, Park Dairy changes its corporate name to the well-known name of today – House of Flavors. (The phrase “House of Flavors” started as a tag line describing Park Dairy.) Also, while it is the largest volume ice cream plant in Michigan (it also is Michigan’s biggest private-label ice cream manufacturer), its annual ice cream production exceeds 25 million gallons. There’s a before 9am early bird breakfast special for only $4.99. You can pick between toast or banana bread. We had the Super Dooper Pig’s Dinner that comes with 12 scoops of ice cream on 3 bananas with 12 topping choices!

Table 14 – we had a lovely dinner at Table 14 before going to Ludington State Park. I loved the she crab soup and the whitefish! 

 

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

ready set jet set // lone star looking glass // Globetrotting Ginger  // Dawn Darnell // Globetrotting Blonde

Thanks for having us Michigan!

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.

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