Michigan is a treasure trove of idyllic small towns waiting to be explored. From scenic lakeside retreats to historic hamlets, the state offers an array of options for those looking for a quiet weekend getaway. Here are five small towns that are well worth the drive.
First on the list is Saugatuck, known as the "Art Coast of Michigan." Located along the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan, Saugatuck is a haven for art enthusiasts, beachgoers, and boaters alike. The town's Oval Beach is often rated as one of the best freshwater beaches in America. Don't forget to visit the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which regularly hosts exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical productions.
Traverse City, situated on Grand Traverse Bay, is another must-visit locale. Though slightly larger than what some might consider a small town, its charm is undeniable. Renowned for its annual National Cherry Festival, the town offers more than just cherries. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with its towering sand dunes and breathtaking views, is just a short drive away. The area is also famous for its vineyards and craft breweries.
Third, consider Frankenmuth, dubbed "Michigan's Little Bavaria." This German-themed town offers an authentic European experience, from its architecture to its cuisine. Highlights include Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, the world's largest Christmas store, and the iconic Zehnder's Restaurant, known for its fried chicken dinners.
Charlevoix is yet another picturesque destination located between Lake Michigan and the western end of Lake Charlevoix. Famous for its "mushroom houses" designed by architect Earl Young, Charlevoix offers unique accommodations for visitors. The town also boasts pristine beaches, a historic downtown, and is a gateway to Beaver Island.
Finally, don't overlook Marquette, situated on the shores of Lake Superior. As the largest city in the Upper Peninsula, it offers a mix of natural beauty and urban conveniences. Presque Isle Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the historic Marquette Harbor Lighthouse are must-see attractions.
Each of these small towns in Michigan presents its own unique blend of attractions, natural beauty, and local culture. Whether you're in search of artistic inspiration, outdoor adventures, or just a peaceful retreat, you'll find something to love in these charming locales.