Michigan is situated at the northern edge of the United States near the Canadian border on two peninsulas surrounded by four of the Great Lakes. Its proximity to numerous lakes makes it an ideal spring break destination. Moreover, the unparalleled natural scenery includes emerald forests, sapphire-blue waters, rolling hills, and lovely islands. Near most Michigan vacation rentals are abundant opportunities for taking in the sights, enjoying recreational activities, and indulging in first-class drinking and dining. Here are the best spring break vacation destinations in Michigan.

1. Ann Arbor

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The vibrant city of Ann Arbor is on the shore of the beautiful Huron River in southeast Michigan. Visit the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan to enjoy a flamboyant display of spring foliage. The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History and Planetarium offers a fascinating look at the state’s prehistoric past as well as amazing glimpses of the stars on a 360-degree domed screen. Rent a bicycle at the Campus Student Bike Shop at the university, and explore the many cycling paths in the parks around the city, including Bluffs Nature Area and Northfield Park. Rent a canoe at Argo Canoe Livery on the Huron River, and paddle the lovely local waterways. Join By the Sidewalk guided walking food tours, and sample the best of Ann Arbor’s diverse cuisine.

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2. Grand Rapids

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The city of Grand Rapids lies in the valley of the Grand River in southeastern Michigan. Don’t miss a springtime visit to the world-famous Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park with its numerous themed gardens and sculpture collection. Other must-see artistic venues include the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. Nicknamed Furniture City, Grand Rapids is one of the country’s premier antiquing sites, so peruse shops such as Reinspired Treasures, Warehouse One, and Eastown Antiques for special buys. Hop in a comfortable passenger van with Grand Rapids Beer Tours for visits to several of the area’s best breweries.

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3. Traverse City

Source: Flickr/Michigan Municipal League

Located at the base of Grand Traverse Bay in the northwest corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Traverse City provides a gorgeous backdrop for a wealth of spring break activities. Millions of fruit trees on the peninsulas on both sides of the city cover the slopes with riotous spring blossoms. Although the water is still chilly for swimming, the beaches at Bryant Park, Clinch Park, and East Bay Park are perfect for sunbathing, beachcombing, and beach volleyball. Rent a speedboat, fishing boat, pontoon boat, or kayak at TC Watersports and have fun on the bay. Hike the trails, and enjoy the beautiful spring colors at Hickory Meadows Preserve. Sample the area’s fine wines in comfort on an excursion with Traverse Bay Tours.

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4. Frankenmuth

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The town of Frankenmuth, also known as Little Bavaria, lies along the Cass River a few miles below Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay in the interior of the Lower Peninsula. Enjoy a river tour of the town that includes fine wines paired with chocolates with Frankenmuth FunShips. Tour the oldest brewery in Michigan, and then enjoy a glass of beer while you savor a beautiful view of the Cass River at Frankenmuth Brewery. The Fantasy Carriage Company takes you on an elegant leisurely jaunt around town in a white horse-drawn carriage. Shop for unique gifts at the Covered Bridge and Leather Shop and for fresh produce at the colorful Frankenmuth Farmers Market.

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5. Detroit

Located in southeastern Michigan along the Detroit River between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, the city of Detroit offers innumerable spring cultural, historic, entertainment, and recreational attractions. Rent a bicycle at Wheelhouse Detroit, and explore the river shoreline. Visit the massive 125-acre Detroit Zoo, and view animals from around the world. Among the city’s renowned museums are the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Detroit Science Center. Enjoy an elegant tour of the downtown waterfront aboard the five-story Detroit Princess Riverboat. Get some guidance finding the city’s best sightseeing locations with Destination Detroit Tours.

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6. Grand Haven

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The beautiful city of Grand Haven is in southwestern Michigan on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The beach at Grand Haven State Park is great for spring sunbathing and sports. On the pier next to the beach are two scenic lighthouses. Rent a bicycle at Rock ‘N’ Road Cycle, and ride the 2.5 mile Grand Haven Boardwalk, which follows Grand River to Lake Michigan. Head out onto Lake Michigan to angle for salmon, trout, and steelhead with Harbourtown Fishing Charters. Alternatively, sail the lake aboard a 63-foot schooner with Wind Dance Schooner Charters. Relish some fine dining at the Grand Seafood and Oyster Bar. For dessert, try Sweet Temptations, a family-owned store that produces locally crafted candy and ice cream.

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7. St. Ignace

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The town of St. Ignace lies at the southern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the northern side of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the two peninsulas across the Straits of Mackinac. Take a ferry over to lovely Mackinac Island, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Mackinac Island State Park, the historic ambiance of the immense Grand Hotel, and the smooth sweet flavor of the island’s famous fudge. Visit and feed the whitetail deer and fawns at St. Ignace’s Deer Ranch, and get up close to bears and their cubs at Oswald’s Bear Ranch. Learn about Native American history and culture at the fascinating Museum of Ojibwa Culture and Gift Shop. Have some great steak or seafood at the Driftwood Restaurant and Sports Bar.

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8. Copper Harbor

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The spectacularly beautiful town of Copper Harbor is at the extreme northern edge of mainland Michigan on the Keweenaw Peninsula that juts out into Lake Superior. The Keweenaw Adventure Company rents mountain bikes, offers tours of the surrounding forests, and also provides kayak tours of nearby waterways. Don’t miss a visit to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, which has a museum that features displays on Lake Superior maritime history. Take the Isle Royale Line ferry for a day trip to incomparably gorgeous Isle Royale National Park. Enjoy a thrilling self-guided tour of one of the oldest copper mines in Michigan at the Delaware Mine, which is just south of Copper Harbor. For a great view and some delicious Bavarian cuisine, try the Harbor Haus Restaurant.

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