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HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

Kentucky
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HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

My family and I have been traveling south from Kentucky every year for vacation. This year, I promised something different.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where we can find a great beach with also a bit of tourism so that our teenagers can roam about a bit themselves. Maybe a strip of gift shops and ice cream parlors etc...all within walking distance.

We are open to condos or house rentals and prefer to be directly on the beach.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Michigan
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for South Haven, Saugatuck
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5,976 posts
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1. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

I would recommend on the west side of Michigan, New Buffalo, South Haven, Saugatuck, Grand Haven, Charlevoix and Petoskey. There are others but I don't know much about them. I would not choose St. Joseph or Holland, as they are larger, spread out and not as touristy. Just my opinion. A good place to start for South Haven is www.southhaven.org and for Saugatuck, it's www.saugatuck.org

Livonia, MI
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2. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

I agree with Rono about the West side of the state. Lake Michigan has the best swimming beaches in my opinion although I will say Lake Superior is beautiful – just too cold for me. But I should point out that I’m a wimp when it comes to cold water. That being said I would also recommend Ludington and Pentwater. Both have downtowns, great beaches, ice cream parlors and go carts and miniature golf. Ludington State Park has a lot of great hiking, boat rentals and you can climb to the top of the lighthouse. You may also want to look into the Silver Lake area. Tons of stuff for teenagers to do there as well including dune rides. Have fun!

Bloomfield Hills...
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3. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

Very good suggestions. One last one, which may not be within your ability, is Mackinac Island. It will be a bit more pricey than some of the other suggestions but you will NOT find anything like it anywhere.

Attractions, scenic, shops, uniqueness, throw back in time, ... much more. But it is not for everyone. One of my 4 nieces and nephews, all teen agers, does not like it one bit.

Swartz Creek
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4. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

I would add Ludington to Rono's list. Also, for variety, E. Tawas has alot of what your asking about also, but on the East side, on Saginaw Bay. The Tawas Bay Resort is right on the beach, and the ice cream shoppe is across the street, and your right in town. Lot's of things to do. This used to be a Holiday Inn.

http://www.tawasbaybeachresort.com/

www.vrbo.com also is a good site for finding rentals by owners. Good luck, enjoy! sounds great to me!

Michigan
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237 posts
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5. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

Petoskey, Traverse City, Charlevoix, Mackinaw. In that order. If you decide to drive through them all you could start at Traverse city then drive up the lake to Charlevoix, Petoskey and finally Mackinaw. You could easily stay in Traverse City and then drive through the other towns on your way north shop, explore and then stay in Mackinaw. I suggest the Holiday Inn at Mackinaw. Best value in the city with a view. Be sure to get a room on the 4th floor facing the water.

Do not skip the drive up M119 from Harbor springs to mackinaw passing through cross village if it is still light out. This is perhaps one of the top ten most scenic drives in the US.

If you do it in the reverse and head straight up

I-75 it is about 10 hours from Lexington to Mackinaw.

new jersey
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for Charlevoix, Michigan
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6. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

I agree with all of the previous posts. I would caution that Petoskey's beaches can be a bit rocky. I would recommend Traverse City or Charlevoix. In Charlevoix, you can be located on an inland lake (a HUGE inland lake) which tends to be a bit warmer than the big lakes (Michigan and Huron included). You will also have easy access to the delightful town of Charlevoix. My 14 year old daughter loves to shop in the cute shops in Charlevoix with her teen cousins. Kilwin's Blue Moon ice cream is always a hit and the walk to Lake Michigan to hunt for Petoskey stones is a pilgrimage we wouldn't miss for anything. Great restaurants in town and nearby as well! Also take a look at Boyne City on the Southeastern end of the lake. Cute town, not quite as touristy as Charlevoix, great restaurants, nice beaches and ice cream. Have fun planning! Moms

Michigan
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7. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

For the best swiwimming in Petoskey you will want to visit the Petoskey state park, All sand bottom. You will have to drive from each of theese towns a short distance except traverse city to get to a public beach or state park. Even in TC you will have to drive to the public beach unless you stay at a waterfront resort. The swimming at the waterfront resorts in mackinaw can be ice cold even in July. I do not suggest waterfront resorts in Mackinaw as they are IMO a poor value. Much better swimming just a few miles out of town at Wilderness state park and the water is much warmer there. Charlevoix swimming is just south of town at Fishermans Park (Bells Bay). Petoskey SP and Wilderness SP are my first picks but it's splitting hairs.

Michigan
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8. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

I forgot to add that currently downtown Charlevoix is a bit of a mess with new marina and park construction.

Michigan
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for South Haven, Saugatuck
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9. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

Docs when its done it will be great though. I want to point out that the towns I suggested to the south have miles of sandy beaches. We enjoy the TC to Petoskey area for our fall vacation (to get away from all the tourists :-) Lol)

Michigan
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10. Re: HELP! We need a new vacation spot...

Yes it wil be very nice! We enjoy Saugatuck as well but it's been a few years since we've been over there. Charlevoix is great in the fall with the farmers market right in the park Saturday morning. AHHHHHH The smell of hot cider and apple doughnuts. :)