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June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?

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June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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My husband and I want to take our parents (age 65-70) and our two kids (10 and 13) on a trip early June. First time to MI, we have 6 days. We'd like to stay a couple nights on Mackinac Island, but I'm trying to figure out if we road trip through the Upper or Lower peninsula to get there. We would fly from Minneapolis and rent a car, so into Green Bay or Marquette if Upper, or into Grand Rapids or Detroit if Lower, with scenic stops along the way to/from the island. Any recommendations which route would be better? I am afraid grandparents couldn't handle much in the way of hiking beyond easy paths, and I don't know what kids would prefer.

8 replies to this topic
chicago
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1. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Lower. Fly to Grand Rapids. Stay in Grand Haven first or last night. Stay in Fishtown to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes. Spend the rest of the time on Mackinac.

Michigan
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2. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Agreed that the lower peninsula would be a better fit. Flying into GR would let you do a night or two on the west side of the state if you want to (I prefer Saugatuck to Grand Haven but that's just personal preference--check them both out). Then you could head up north from there and do a more scenic drive with some time along the coast of Lake Michigan.

I wouldn't do more than 2 or 3 nights on Mackinac Island--there are a lot of other beautiful places up north to see/stay in too. Definitely check out Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Fishtown is a fun place to stay for a night or two--look at the Falling Waters Lodge for rooms, it's a great location. If you want another small town to check out for a day or to stay in, look at Petoskey or Charlevoix. If you want something with some resort amenities, look at the Inn at Bay Harbor or at Boyne Mountain--both have activities, pools, restaurants, etc....on site.

Edited: April 15, 2021, 8:59 pm
2 posts
3. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Thank you. So here's what I've worked out for a basic itinerary - does it make sense? Trying to avoid an overabundance of hotel changes for the grandparents, and hoping its not too much driving for them.

Day 1 - fly into Grand Rapids, stay overnight in Grand Haven or Saugatuck

Day 2 - drive up coast, stopping at POI along the way. I suspect this will take us all day to drive to Leland (?) Stay in Fishtown at Falling Waters Lodge (that place looks unique, thanks Sundog!)

Day 3 - circle back to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, staying another night at Falling Waters, could maybe drive to Traverse City for nice evening dinner if we felt up to it

Day 4 - Drive to mack city to ferry over to the island, stay on Mackinac Island

Day 5 - Mackinac Island

Day 6 -Drive up to Sault Ste Marie for half-ish day? Come back south to stay in Petoskey or Traverse City. (Is this too ambitious??)

Day 7 - drive back to Grand Rapids for an evening flight home

chicago
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4. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Looks good except Sault Saint Marie. I'd skip that. If you want to cross the bridge you can just go to St. Ignace or farther away is Oswald Bear Ranch.

chicago
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5. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Looks good except Sault Saint Marie. I'd skip that. If you want to cross the bridge you can just go to St. Ignace or farther away is Oswald Bear Ranch.

I'd stay in Petoskey that night.

Michigan
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6. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Agreed that the Sault trek is probably too ambitious, and that Petoskey would make a good last city & last night stay, try the Perry Hotel (or Hotel Walloon if you want to splurge, it’s no far from Petoskey & it’s fantastic!). Have lunch or a drink at Back Lot (fun food trucks place) in Petoskey if you can, or Chandlers for something nicer. Maybe drive the tunnel of trees & get lunch or dinner at Legs Inn (the views from the back patio are gorgeous). Happy planning!

Little Rock...
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7. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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You can spend pretty much an entire day driving from Traverse City to Mackinaw City if you take the scenic route along Lake michigan. Charlevoix is charming, Bay Harbor is a "new" golf and yachting resort, Petoskey is a marvelous small town, Bay View is a summer only retreat and Harbor Springs is the quintessential summer resort town with wonderful victorian "cottages" (no chain establishments or illuminated signs) and shopping for anything from a $30 t-shirt to six-figure artwork.

The scenic route also includes drive up the tunnel of trees (M-119) through Good Hart and Cross Village and of course Legs Inn restaurant.

https://anniewearsit.com/harbor-springs-official-travel-guide/

Little Rock...
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8. Re: June trip with Grandparents - Upper or Lower Peninsula?
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Google map of scenic route between Traverse City and Mackinaw City. Hopefully the link works

Shared route

From Traverse City to Mackinaw City via US-31 N.

3 hr 8 min (122 mi)

3 hr 8 min in current traffic

1. Head north toward Park St

2. Turn left

3. Turn left onto Park St

4. Turn right onto E Grandview Pkwy

5. Use any lane to turn left onto Spring St

6. Turn left onto M-119 N

7. Turn left onto Beach Rd

8. Turn left onto C S W Rd

9. Turn right onto Cedar Shores

10. Arrive at location: Cedar Shores

11. Head east on Cedar Shores toward C S W Rd

12. Turn left onto C S W Rd

13. Turn left onto Beach Rd

14. Turn left to stay on Beach Rd

15. Turn right onto Pennsylvania Ave

16. Turn left onto Beach Dr

17. Arrive at location: 2235-2009 Beach Dr

18. Head west on Beach Dr toward 5th Ave

19. Turn right onto Birch Dr

20. Turn left onto Pennsylvania Ave

21. Arrive at location: Oil Paintings by Karen Rolfes

22. Head west on E Bay St toward State St

23. Turn right onto State St

24. Sharp left onto Idylwilde Dr SE

25. Arrive at location: Lake Michigan

26. Head northeast on Idylwilde Dr SE toward M-119 S

27. Turn left onto M-119 N

28. Arrive at location: Lake Michigan

29. Head north on M-119 N toward S Lamkin Rd

30. Arrive at location: Lake Michigan

31. Head northeast on M-119 N/N Lake Shore Dr toward Division Rd

32. Turn left to stay on N Lake Shore Dr

33. Arrive at location: Lake Michigan

34. Head north on N Lake Shore Dr

35. Turn left onto Cecil Bay Rd

36. Turn right onto Wilderness Park Dr

37. Arrive at location: Trails End Bay

38. Head northeast on E Wilderness Park Dr toward Esther Lane

39. Turn left onto Mackinaw Hwy

40. Slight right onto Old US 31 Hwy

41. Turn right onto US-23 S

42. Turn left onto S Huron Ave

43. Turn left onto Wendell St

44. Turn right onto 2nd St

45. Arrive at location: Mackinaw City

For the best route in current traffic visit https://maps.app.goo.gl/zMe8bo2K2Vs88CTRA

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