Whether you’re looking for a low-key getaway destination to reconnect with family or want to check out a local art scene, Michigan features great towns and cities ideal for both activities and much more. From a cottage along one of the Great Lakes to a condo in the downtown area of Detroit that affords convenient access to dinners out and shopping, Michigan vacation rentals make it easy to enjoy the getaway you’ve been dreaming about during your long work days. Take a look at the eight best weekend vacation spots in Michigan.

1. Holland

botanic garden
Source: Flickr/Sandeep Pawar

Along the shores of Lake Michigan, Holland is a quaint town that gives you that Dutch feel. Learn more about this town at the Holland Museum, or visit the Kruizenza Art Museum to view works by local and regional artists. You can stretch your legs during the Holland Museum on the Move walking tour that takes you by a working windmill. Kids love visiting the John Ball Zoological Garden that includes a small aquarium. There are camel rides and the chance to touch a stingray. In the evening, take the entire family to the Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant and grab a table on the patio for the best water views.

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2. Lansing

classic car
Source: Flickr/Joe Ross

Museum lovers can spend every moment of a weekend exploring the city of Lansing. Start with a tour of the Michigan State Capitol Building in downtown when you arrive Friday afternoon to see where lawmakers work for the state’s residents. Little ones thrive at the Impression 5 Science Center that offers more than 100 activities and hands-on exhibits to learn more about science and the world around them. The Michigan History Center covers five stories and the states long history, while the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum has every manner of vehicle, even a couple that date back to the 19th Century.

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3. Frankenmuth

Toronto
Source: Flickr/Peter C in Toronto Canada

Enjoy a town with a German and Bavarian feel that comes from the immigrants that founded the city and settled the area in Frankenmuth. If you plan to visit during the winter season, aim for the month of December to enjoy the CHRISTmas Wonderland festival and a town awash in lights and holiday spirit. Stop by the Lager Mill Brewery Museum to see the small displays on how the company brews its beers. On your way out, grab a six-pack to enjoy with dinner back at your vacation rental. The bravest in your group can try zip lining at the Frankenmuth Adventure Center.

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4. Kalamazoo

haymarket district
Source: Flickr/Michigan Municipal League

It’s almost worth booking a vacation rental in this town for the name, but it has so much more to offer. Bring your bike in the warmer months to take advantage of the trails, including Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. This small town has several museums to keep everyone in the family entertained with the Midwest Miniatures Museum and the Gilmore Car Museum. Your history lovers can find out more about the local area at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. At the Air Zoo, wander around the grounds that cover more than 100 acres and feature planes from almost every era in aviation. Inside, you find amusement rides and flight simulators.

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5. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

If a Disney princess could pick an island to live on, it would be Mackinac Island. This picturesque island doesn’t do population or cars, so expect to navigate by bike during your stay. Rent horses or take a trail ride when you visit the Jack’s Livery Stables or the Grand Hotel Stable and meander along the island’s 40 miles of trails dedicated to horses. Stop by the Grand Hotel to view the grounds featured in movies, such as the ’80s classic “Somewhere in Time.” Hit the water and explore the island from a new perspective with the Great Turtle Kayak Tour. In the evenings, enjoy one of the restaurants in the historic downtown area, including Millie’s on Main or Bistro On The Green.

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6. Detroit

detroit

Spend a weekend in the big city when you choose Detroit as your vacation destination. For the kids, plan a day at the Detroit Zoo and the Legoland Discovery Center to keep them entertained with animals and building blocks. Take a ride on the Detroit Princess Riverboat to see the sights. The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle Park is a great place to spend an afternoon in warmer weather, meandering through the gardens. Learn more about the city’s history and its car manufacturing past at the Detroit Historical Museum.

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7. St. Ignace

lake huron
Source: Flickr/daBinsi

Enjoy the water? Then discover the town of St. Ignace that’s surrounded by water on three sides. Bring your own boat to launch it at the St. Ignace Marina. The store at the marina can hook you up with coffee, bait, and other essentials. If you don’t have a boat, contact Dream Seaker Fishing Charters and Tours for some time out on the water. They can help you find the best fishing spot so you can enjoy a fish fry back at your vacation rental later. Grab a pie from B.C. Pizza at the end of the day, or take the family for a sit-down meal at the Driftwood Restaurant and Sports Bar that offers outdoor seating with water views and live entertainment on the weekends.

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8. Ann Arbor

college football
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

Ann Arbor provides an exciting weekend where you can while away the days visiting museums and other attractions or get active in Hudson Mills Metropark. As home to the University of Michigan, the town comes alive on weekends in the fall, and you can purchase tickets to see a football game at Michigan Stadium. Learn more about the world around you at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. Don’t forget to see the show at the planetarium. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens offers acres of flowers and prairie land filled with green.

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