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Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

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Toronto, Canada
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194 posts
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Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

Day 1: Leave Canada- stay in the Frankenmuth area- do some shopping.

Day 2: Leave early to Traverse City- Spend the afternoon driving to wineries.

Day 3: Head to Mackinaw Island for the day- rent bikes.

Day 4: Sleeping Bear Dunes NP for the day- hike, picnic, enjoy the scenery.

Day 5: Head back home.

I know its a rushed itinery, but this is all the time I have. Anything else that is a must-do??

Traverse City...
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1. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

It does seem rushed, and too much drive time. I think you'd appreciate each area more if you picked either the Mackinaw area or the Traverse City area. If you want to keep all 3 destinations (days 2,3,4) you should switch Mackinaw to day 2 or 4 because the Dunes are 45 min west of TC and your itinerary would have you back-track from Mackinaw through TC to get to the Dunes.

(est drive times: Frankenmuth to TC-3 hrs; Frnknmth to Mackinaw City-3 1/2 hrs; TC to Mackinaw-2+ hrs, once you get to Mackinaw you need to take the ferry to the Island, 45 min each way)

You might consider spending day 3 touring the Leelanau Peninsula (Suttons Bay, Northport, Glen Arbor, Empire, etc) The Leelanau Pen. has 20 wineries, a casino, lighthouse, tons of shops, beaches, trails, Sleeping Bear Dunes and more. I suggest nite 2 in TC and nites 3 & 4 in Empire. (cute town; close to Dunes) Traverse City has beautiful natural areas for hiking especially along the Boardman River, shops, casino, 7 wineries, and a very affordable (and fun)Tall Ship cruise on the Bay. Plus there are many weekend festivals throughout the area all season long.

For the money and time spent, I'd save Mackinaw for another time; there's lots more in that area than just the Island, and that is a full day by itself.

Take your time and enjoy your journey;-)

Bay City, Michigan
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for Michigan
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2. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

You got good advice. Def do Sleeping Bear while in TC area. If you are still planning on seeing all of what you have written, save the island for last on your list and then you can drive down along the Lake Huron shore (yes, it takes longer..) either to Bay City, where you can pick up I-75 to I-69 (where I am guessing you will cross back over into Canada) or you could continue on at Bay City and drive around the "Thumb" of MI, too back to Port Huron, or even Detroit, where you might be crossing back into Canada. Have fun!

new jersey
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for Charlevoix, Michigan
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3. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

I agree with Boho and Tyme. You are driving a lot when the schedule could be a bit better organized. After Frankenmuth, head to Traverse City. Spend the rest of the day in the area enjoying wineries and Front Street (great restaurants and shops). Day 2 drive to Sleeping Bear for hiking and such. Later in the day drive up to Leland then head back past Traverse City and drive up US 31 to Petoskey. Spend the night in Petoskey. From Petoskey it is less than an hour to Mackinaw City and on to Mackinac Island. Day 3: depart Petoskey early in the morning and enjoy the late morning and afternoon on Mackinac Island. Then head down state and home. It is a lot to do in such a short time and I am not sure you will have a full appreciation of the area after such a rushed visit but it is doable. Have a good trip! Moms

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

Those are great tips. For some reason, I thought you could go to Mackinac Island from Traverse City. I think I will follow your advice. I am going to try to drive straight to T.C. so I can spend 2 nights there.

New Lenox, IL
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5. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

Would love to know your outcome, as I am now planning a similar long weekend.

Toronto, Canada
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194 posts
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6. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

Very belated report....but better late than never!

We ended up going to Mackinaw Island first. We rented bikes and toured the island. Ate lunch at one of the pubs and shopped a bit. After, we drove to Traverse city where we stayed 2 nights at the Holiday Inn West Shore, which was a great location.

Drove to Sleeping Bear early the one day- hiked up the dune climb and did a few side trails. After, headed up the Leelanlau penninsula to visit wineries. Had lunch at the Village Cheese Chanty in Leeland and sat by the water. Made it back to Traverse City for dinner and went to the Cherry Fesitival.

Beautiful area and definately reccomend going!!!!

Kansas
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for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
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7. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

Thanks for the update!

8. Re: Need help with planning my long weekend to Northern MI!

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