With its expansive Great Lakes shoreline and beautiful inland forests, Michigan is packed with opportunities for an unforgettable Memorial Day getaway. This large Midwestern state offers something for everyone, from sunny baseball games in Detroit to brisk beach days in the Upper Peninsula. As you plan for the long weekend, check out Michigan vacation rentals near these popular cities.
1. Mackinac Island
Infuse your Memorial Day with a touch of historical charm on Mackinac Island. This tiny island comes to life at the end of May as the summer season gets into full swing, so it’s a good idea to book your vacation rentals well in advance. Spend your weekend making the most of the car-free island: take a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown, explore Fort Mackinac, and hike the trail system to Arch Rock. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the brightly colored American flags that flutter from every historic home.
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Enjoy an all-American weekend of baseball in Detroit. On Memorial Day, the Detroit Tigers host a series of games at Comerica Park. Enjoy beer and pretzels, and take part in the moving Armed Forces and Veterans Recognition ceremony. If baseball isn’t your thing, check out the annual Movement Festival, a huge celebration of electronic music in Hart Plaza. The suburbs of Detroit host a variety of parades; check out options in Ferndale, Farmington, and Hazel Park.
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3. Grand Haven
Welcome summer with a Memorial Day escape to beautiful Grand Haven. Head straight for Grand Haven State Park, where a pristine white-sand beach provides plenty of space for volleyball, relaxing, and swimming; by the end of May, temperatures are usually warm enough to spend a comfortable day by the water. If the winds are high, head to the Grand Haven south pier to try surfing. On Monday, the whole town turns out to watch the city’s traditional Memorial Day parade, featuring local high school bands and color guards.
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4. Traverse City
Beautiful Traverse City has everything you need for a fantastic Memorial Day vacation, including local wineries, cozy downtown restaurants, and stunning sunsets. Make the most of the early-summer weather by biking along the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail, climbing huge sand dunes at the nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, or playing 18 holes on The Bear golf course at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
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5. Eagle River
If you’re not quite ready for hot summer days, a Memorial Day escape to the Upper Peninsula is the perfect choice. Eagle River, a tiny hamlet tucked in the far north, is usually sunny but cool at the end of May. The summer crowds don’t arrive until late June or early July, so you can have the pristine Lake Superior beaches to yourself. Be sure to stop in for dinner at Fitzgerald’s Restaurant (affectionately called “The Fitz” by locals), and drive a couple miles up Highway 26 to the Jampot for thimbleberry jam and indulgent baked goods.
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6. South Haven
Put a nautical twist on your Memorial Day celebration in South Haven. Here, the Michigan Maritime Museum welcomes the summer with the Blessing of the Fleet. This thrilling event offers the rare chance to see historic tall ships sail the waters of Lake Michigan in a beautiful ceremony. Afterward, join the crowd in a picnic or book a ticket for the first public sailing of the summer. On Saturday, bring the whole family to participate in the Harbor Walk to Fitness, a casual event that runs through the city’s stunning Maritime District.
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Alma puts its unique Scottish heritage on display each Memorial Day with the popular Alma Highland Festival and Games, an enormous event that brings in thousands of visitors from around the state. Listen to live Scottish music, watch the Highland dance competition, and join the crowds at the downtown parade. Learn about the different clans of Scotland at the clan activity stations, and brave a taste of haggis in the food area. The highlight of the weekend is the athletic competition, which includes traditional events such as the caber toss and the Scottish hammer.
Get off the beaten path in Thompsonville, a small town in mid-Michigan. A few miles out of town, the Crystal Mountain ski area celebrates Memorial Day with the annual Michigan Beer and Brat Festival. By late May, the hill is a green, vibrant paradise, creating the perfect setting to listen to live music, try Michigan-made craft beer, and enjoy some of the best sausages in the state. Later, work off your snacks at the North Mitten Half Marathon that takes you through the stunning Michigan forest. Alternatively, head to the gorgeous Mountain Ridge and Betsie Valley golf courses.
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Lovely Holland, the home of Michigan’s finest tulip fields, is the perfect spot for a relaxed Memorial Day. Although the city’s Tulip Time festival ends a few weeks earlier, the stunning flowers are still in bloom. Start your trip with a visit to Windmill Island Gardens and Veldheers Tulip Farm. Enjoy the sunny days with a visit to Lake Michigan at Holland State Park, or drive up to Saugatuck Dunes State Park to play in the sand. On Monday, don’t miss the popular Holland Memorial Day Parade, which runs through downtown and ends at Pilgrim Home Cemetery.
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