How to Plan a Last Minute #PureMichigan Vacation!

Summer is coming to an end and school will be starting soon (43 days, to be exact), but you still have time for a last minute vacation. But where should you go? You want it to be low key, but fun for the whole family. That’s why Northern Michigan is the perfect place for you and your family! I’ve already told you about some of my favorite places, like Sleeping Bear Dunes, but there is so much to see in Northern Michigan. Lucky for you, I’ve outlined some pretty fabulous places for you to visit. You’re welcome!

**I had the privilege of visiting Northern Michigan as part of a press trip. My food, accommodations and activities were provided, but all opinions are 100% my own**

Northern Michigan Vacation Itinerary

Day One

  • The Music House Museum Tour…two men purchased an old 1909 barn and had a huge vision for what it could become. They renovated and restored the barn from 1979-1982 and in 1983, The Music House Museum was born! I will admit, I am not all that into music, but I found this place to be extremely interesting! I know my kids would love it there.


  • Friske Orchards Cafe…after spending a couple hours at the Music House Museum, start heading towards Charlevoix, Mi and visit Friske Orchards Cafe. Friske Orchards is open year round and have many different events going on all the time! We had the pleasure of having a tour, tasting some wonderful treats and we ate lunch there. I had a cherry BBQ pulled pork sandwich that was to die for!


  • Earl Young House walking tour…after eating all the delicious foods at Friske Orchards Cafe, you will want to walk it off. Trust me…you will! A short 20 minute car ride and you will be in downtown Charlevoix where you will see a bunch of unusual, unique and quirky houses designed by Northern Michigan builder, Earl Young. These houses look like something you would see in fairy tales. They are very neat! I especially loved all the stonework!


  • Check into your hotel. There are a bunch of hotels in the area, I had the pleasure of staying at the Charlevoix Inn and Suites.
  • It’s dinnertime! I highly recommend Terry’s of Charlevoix. This is probably one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at. My steak literally melted in my mouth!


Day Two

  • Grab a quick breakfast at Simonsen’s Bakery and Cafe. Be sure to try one of their muffins! So delicious!
  • Depending on what you feel like doing, you can either trail hike at Mount McSauba or visit Castle Farms <–my favorite place!
  • Hemingway Tour…you can’t visit Northern Michigan without doing a mini Hemingway tour! A lot of Ernest Hemingway’s work references his summers in Northern Michigan. It was extremely interesting to listen to the history of Hemingway in Northern Michigan and actually standing in front of different places that Ernest Hemingway visited!
  • City Park Grill…formally known as The Annex, Ernest Hemingway would visit this restaurant and sit in the same seat each time, the second seat from the end of the bar. This is where he would write down his ideas for his stories.
  • Check in at Stafford’s Perry Hotel…this is probably one of my favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed in! The beds are insanely comfortable and the rooms are super cute and roomy!
  • Twisted Olive Quattro…lovely place to have dinner! The food is absolutely delicious, but the view literally takes your breath away! I had a chicken dish, but honestly…everything on their menu looked really good! Definitely save room for dessert. You will regret it if you didn’t!


Day Three

  • Julienne Tomatoes…out of all the different places I tried in Northern Michigan for breakfast, this was my favorite! It is a quaint little place with a homey feel. What I really like is that they participate in the Michigan Land Use Institute’s “Taste the Local Difference” campaign and they support over 20 Michigan companies and 15 local farms! That’s #PureMichigan, alright!
  • Pack a cooler and spend the day at Petoskey State Park and comb the beach looking for Petoskey stones…I bet you’ll find one!
  • Head on over to Boyne City and visit Boyne Water Sports where you can rent jet skies, pontoon boats, ski boats or fishing boats, go parasailing and participate in paddle sports like kayaking or paddle boards!
  • After you work up an appetite paddle boarding, be sure to visit Cafe Sante, located in front of Boyne Water Sports!

As you can see, there are so many things to do in Northern Michigan! If you’ve been to Traverse City, Charlevoix or Petoskey before, what are your favorite places?



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