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Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

Virginia Beach...
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Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

I am just starting to research a trip up the MI West Coast. There will be 6-8 adults driving from near South Bend IN in mid August. We like interesting, unique scenery, fun things to do (read in forum about dune buggys), local restaurants, hangouts and bars, mostly Comfort Inn/Country Inn & Suites type motels unless there is special lodging that we should try, museums (especially history or military), shopping, gambling. We will have 4 days to make the round trip and don't have a firm route or destination. We would like to stay in one place for the first night or 2 to explore the area, then move further north for the next night or 2. From reading forum posts it sounds like we might consider a stop at Silver Lake State Park, not sure where to stay (maybe Grand Rapids?), then Sleeping Bear SP and stay someplace liike Mackinac City or Mackinac Island (thoughts?). There are lots of blanks to fill in at this point, so if you have suggestions for additional interesting stops along the coast, your ideas are much appreciated.

Chicago's North...
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1. Re: Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

with your limited time, the west coast and mack island is too much to bite.... either do the coast, or do mack, but not both. either save one for a future trip, or add more days to this trip.... even your description of what you wanna do on the coast is pushing it for only 4 days, which includes travel.....

that said, if you do mack, you can experience it, and a few surrounding attractions in your timeframe.... if you do the coast, i'd say get an EARLY start and drive from SB and stop in south haven or saugatuck for brunch.... enjoy the downtown and perhaps the beach (s haven is better for beach combing, IMO).... then continue north and spend the nite near silver lake. the town of hart should be more reasonable than silver lake proper, plus there are 1 or 2 motels like you described..... rent an ORV and/or hike the dunes.... i assume you're from the east coast.... if so, i think you will be impressed with the west michigan beaches and dunes.... after SL, drive north to sleeping bear dunes and spend the remainder of your trip there... it is too awesome to just skim over for an afternoon.....

also, forget grand rapids---if you want to see the coast, then stay by the coast.... unless there is something specific you wanna see there, i'd say skip it....

beachtowns.org

Edited: 05 May 2013, 03:46
Virginia Beach...
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2. Re: Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

StrangeT, exactly what I needed to know, thanks for your detailed response.

Ada, Michigan
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3. Re: Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

If you go to sleeping bear dunes be sure to see platte river beach & canoe or kayak or float down the Platte River which ends at Lake Michigan. It's a beautiful beach!

Traverse City...
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4. Re: Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

Would concur with StrangeTripper that to do everything you've outlined is a tall task.

You might be able to squeeze a "two-fer" into the trip, with a Grand Rapids/Traverse City excursion. Grand Rapids would put you closer to some of the "down state" activities, and also offers some very good "small city" attractions and dining options. Driving from Grand Rapids to TC takes roughly two and a half hours, plus another thirty minutes to Sleeping Bear from there.

A couple other things: if you're looking for Dune Buggy-type rides, those are prohibited in SPNP, so you'll need to check those out further south. However, if your interests lend themselves to other outdoor activities (e.g., there are several easy--and scenic--hiking trails in SB park), or other adventures (you mentioned casino interests) or culinary options (great restaurants, wineries and local craft beer) then check out some of the forums/reviews for the TC area. You'll also find the budget-focused hotel chains you reference, though given you'd be there in peak season, rates might seem a tad high.

One last thought...if you do the Grand Rapids/TC connection consider taking the "fast route" up (via US 131) , then hug the coast on the way down. Be sure to stop at the Arcadia Bluffs overlook just south of Frankfort if you do...it's stunning.

Either way, enjoy your trip!

Virginia Beach...
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5. Re: Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

Larw and MongoS, thanks for suggestions. Still working on plans so additional ideas are very helpful. Geographically, it appears that alot of ground can be covered in little time but thanks to these posts I realize if we do that, we'll won't really get to experience the area.

Kayak the Platte River sounds wonderful and I read a previous post about Traverse City that was interesting, thanks.

6. Re: Could use your help planning an August Trip on MI West Coast

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