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Relaxing, cheap beachtown

Roselle, Illinois...
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Relaxing, cheap beachtown

Hi everyone!

My boyfriend and I are celebrating our graduations, and are looking for a nice, relaxing place to go in Michigan!

These are our preferences:

* nice beaches

* hiking would be awesome

* not too crowded/ obnoxious we're aiming towards a relaxing trip after an exhausting four years!

* we're leaving from Milwaukee, so we're aiming for southern Michigan!

Any advice would be absolutely amazing! Basically just good beaches, and no more than a six hour drive away!

Thanks everyone!

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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1. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

welp, west michigan has everything you desire, EXCEPT, being cheap..... you will experience lodging sticker shock in pretty much any resort town you go to along the west MI coast during peak season... if school lets out on the early side (late may, early june), you could possibly get something a little more reasonable, but after mid june, yer SOL in that regard....

since you're already in Wisc, i would suggest avoiding chicago/indiana and taking either or both of these:



it will add some $$$ to your trip, but IMO, it's well worth it, and something you should do at least once in a lifetime... plus, it will cut down your driving time (but not necessarily your travel time)...

you could stay in south haven, st joe, or saugatuck, with saugatuck being the most "romantic" of the 3, but it's more of a harbor town than a beachtown.... south haven has a great harbor scene as well as 2 awesome beaches... it also has at least one watersports rental shop.... st joe is mostly a beachtown, with a nice downtown scene. it also has watersports rental shops....

if you want to be in a more secluded area, but within 20 minutes of a town with eats and maybe a little nightlife, i suggest union pier:


it's rustic and kinda old, but i've seen the inside (never stayed) and it looks nice...... but you will be 20 minutes from st joe, which has a nice downtown and a world class beach..... you'll also be very close to warren dunes state park---great beach, nice hiking and awesome dunes....

you could go further north of saugatuck to pentwater or ludington, but it might suit your needs only if you take the ss badger across the lake... if you drive from MKE, it will be pushing your 6 hour driving limit.... if you do take the badger, you could go even further north to frankfort or sleeping bear dunes, which is only 2.5 hrs north of ludington (in addition to the 4 hr crossing and the 1 hr drive from MKE), but it's still doable....

check out:


have fun!!

North Muskegon...
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2. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

Agree, West Michigan gets a bit busy after school lets out and that Chicago drive would not be relaxing at all. : )

I'll guess your budget after graduation can't afford the Milwaukee/Muskegon ferry so I'll throw out Door County,WI as an alternative destination.

Has everthing you are looking for in a compact peninsula.

3. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

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Grand Haven...
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for Grand Haven, Michigan
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4. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

If you want your drive to be fairly short, Saugatuck would be a great choice. Relatively quiet, the beach is nearby, kayak rentals are available and the Saugatuck Dunes State Park has several hiking trails (michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/Recreation…). As stated by someone earlier, NO beach town is going to be cheap, but you should be able to find something reasonable there. Have fun.

Flint, mi
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5. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

Consider Torch Lake (not a GREAT LAKE), but a beautiful indland lake that is large enough to enjoy.

Ann Arbor, MI
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for Michigan, Ann Arbor
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6. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

Lodging is always cheaper if you stay inland a bit from the lakes. The premium costs come with staying in one of the beach towns right on the lake. A place further inland will keeping you in quick driving distance from the beach, but save you some money. Check out what people say about Coloma, MI. It might work since it is a quick drive to a few beaches and some decent hiking. It has a few interesting places to visit (wineries, fab chocolate place) and may be more in your price range in the chain hotels along the freeway.

There are also a couple less expensive motel kinds of places in Saugatuck that might fit your needs too. Saugatuck is a charming artsy beach town.

Congratulations on your graduations! I remember that feeling of exhilaration and exhaustion very well!

Caro, Michigan
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7. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

If you want cheap, you'll want to head north through the UP... either to the Porcupine Mountains or to Manistique. Or, for another idea, take the badger across the lake, to Pentwater, Ludington, Arcadia, or Traverse City.

I would think Pentwater and Ludington would be fun, but a little cheaper.

Macomb, Michigan
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8. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

My husband and I did a quickie trip like this several years ago and ended up near Saugatuck. Being last minute for us there was not a lot of availability so we stayed in a regular chain hotel outside of town (way cheaper than lodging in town) and just drove to the town and Oval Beach, which we loved. I don't know how Saugatuck or Oval Beach compares to the other beach towns, but we enjoyed it!

9. Re: Relaxing, cheap beachtown

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