Over the Fourth of July weekend, we decided to venture out on a roadtrip through Michigan. Since neither Matt nor I had ever been and we got a ton of recommendations, we decided to try to hit up as many towns as we could. A lot of these towns were pretty close together so that we only had 30 minutes to an hour between each one, which made it totally feasible. It was such a fun trip and I highly recommend making a visit if you ever find yourself near the mitten 😉
Read on for the five towns we visited in order. You could easily pick a few to see in a day or weekend or you could definitely pick one and spend a few days there, we just happened to choose the former option based on our circumstances and the fact that neither of us likes to be in one place for too long.
Harbor Springs – Probably our favorite of the trip, Harbor Springs is a must-see! Super small town full of perfect manicured homes, picture-perfect downtown, situated right along the harbor, this is exactly what you imagine when you think of “All-American Small Town”. Downtown is home to a bunch of little shops and specialty stores; make sure to stop into The Propeller, Huzza, American Spoon, and The Monogram Shop. I also found my dream home in Harbor Springs – see it below, it’s gorgeous! Ideally I would transport it somewhere that doesn’t experience winter though 😉
We found the town to be slim on food options but those that they did have certainly did the trick. We lunched at Dudley’s Deck at Stafford’s. The food was good (nothing spectacular) but the view was incredible. Afterwards, we headed over to join the line at Tom’s Mom’s Cookies. The line moved quickly and was worth the wait!
Petoskey – We didn’t explore much in Petoskey because we just dropped in on our way to Charlevoix, but I loved it. Their downtown area was much larger than Harbor Springs; again, tons of shops, cute boutiques, and specialty stores. If you are looking for options, this is definitely your spot.
We stopped into a few boutiques and my favorite was definitely V2V. Think Free People slash Anthropologie.
Due to a mistake on my part we missed out on the lunch I really wanted to have. We had planned to lunch at American Spoon but didn’t realize that while a lot of these coastal towns have American Spoon tasting rooms, the only one with a restaurant is the one in Petoskey. The reviews are excellent and I was honestly so bummed I messed that one up (we stopped here right between lunch and dinner). So please go for me if you have a chance!
On our way out of town we stopped off at Petoskey State Park to sit on the beach and relax and read for a little while. It cost $9 to get a day pass to the park but it was well worth it as the beach was immaculately clean, well kept, and parking was super easy.
Charlevoix – Of all the places we went on Day One, Charlevoix definitely had the most food options. The main road was packed with restaurants and sweet shops. Our favorites were Cherry Republic, The Villager Pub (looked really sketchy but the fish and chips were the best we have ever had!) and there was a darling combination crepe/ice cream shop called That French Place we considered for dessert but ended up too full after dinner.
After we ate, we ventured over to the South Pier Lighthouse and took in the sunset. You can also watch boats go through the lift bridge every half hour, which was kind of fun!
Traverse City – One of our favorite stops of the trip! TC definitely has a larger feel than any of the other towns we visited and also seemed more “young”. Downtown is really cute and full of what looked to be great food options and shops. Plus, TC has a few nice beaches that are really easily accessible, where you can lay out, watch the boats go by, and swim if you’re bold (it’s cold!).
One of my favorite things was walking along Boardman River. There are a few access points where you can climb down the stairs and there is a walkway down along the water underneath street level. It’s where I took this picture. (If you ever go, just go to the Post Office in Old Town, and there are stairs right there!)
Another favorite was this place a little ways from downtown that we stumbled upon called The Little Fleet. It’s a trendy bar with outdoor seating that has a ton of food trucks in the parking lot. So you can go up and order a drink then pick from a multitude of options from the trucks. All of them were super fun, it was so hard to pick but I ended up going with the lamb gyro, so good! Absolutely loved this idea and now Matt and I want to open a similar idea somewhere else 😉
Grand Haven – Our last stop of the trip. We decided to leave TC earlier than planned so that we could knock out some of the trip before nightfall so that we wouldn’t be getting home at like 2 am and picked Grand Haven because it was nicely situated halfway between TC and South Bend. Turned out to be a great idea!
We actually had some friends who were in from Chicago and KC who were in Grand Haven for the Fourth of July and so it worked out nicely that we got to meet up with them and hang on the beach all afternoon. It was so weird though, there was this eery thick fog so we couldn’t see out over the water! See the picture below for reference, so crazy! We went to the Grand Haven State Park Beach and again it cost $9 for a day pass to park. If you go on a less busy weekend, you could easily park along the street and simply walk to the beach, we just didn’t have that option going on a holiday weekend.
The Fourth is apparently really popular in GH and so the place was absolutely packed so unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of the town or go anywhere to eat (hence the lack of photos), but our friends said there were tons of great food options and that the downtown area was darling. The houses in GH are all so cute too, it was a great little town!
That wraps it up for our Michigan roadtrip. If you are ever in the area and considering it, I would definitely recommend it and hopefully these tips will help you!