I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and went to college in lower Michigan, but 15 years ago I moved away from my home state. Somewhere in the back on my mind, I think I assumed I’d end up back there someday. Here I am, though, settled in Ohio with little likelihood of ever living there again.
I go back to visit family usually a few times a year, but this was the first time actually taking a vacation in Michigan. It was weird and wonderful at the same time. We really had the most amazing time and I’m excited to share some pictures with you. I had a difficult time narrowing down which to show you, so I apologize for the overload. This is only 1/4 of the pictures we took!
I think I took for granted the beauty of Michigan when I lived there. Northern Michigan is stunning!
We started with a weekend in my hometown, getting in our family visits and celebrating the life of my grandmother with a memorial service and party on the lake where I spent a lot of time during the summers of my youth. It was a cloudy day, but that didn’t keep all of the cousins from spending the day in the water. Time with family was a great way to start our trip.
After the weekend, we extended our stay in Michigan and made it a vacation. Our first stop was Mackinac Island, which is where Tim and I got married. It was our first time going back in 11 years, and it was really special to share the Mackinac Island experience with our kids. This is on the ferry ride to the island, with the Mackinac Bridge in the background. The Mackinac Bridge is the bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Fun fact: it’s 5 miles long and currently the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. Mackinac Island is a magical place. There are no cars allowed on the island, so you either have to walk, bike, or take a horse and carriage to get around.
We rented bikes to explore the island.
We stopped at the church where Tim and I were married.
We also stopped to hike up to see Arch Rock.
After we returned the bikes, this kid was exhausted! Daddy got some extra exercise by carrying him on our walk to our hotel.
We stayed at Mission Point Resort, which was the venue for our wedding reception.
They have an 18-hole executive putting course, which was fun.
Meghan got a hole in one! Notice the scores. Yep, my 8 year old beat me. My 5 year old wasn’t close behind. I need to step up my golf game! 😉
We had dinner on the same patio where part of our reception was held. So many memories!
Mackinac Island also has a fabulous Butterfly House that is a must-visit if you have kids.
Luke loved identifying the different kinds of butterflies and Meghan waited patiently for a butterfly to land on her bow. (One did for about 1/2 a second!)
No trip to Mackinac Island would be complete without a stop at the historic Grand Hotel.
This is the view from the porch, which is the largest porch in the world!We relaxed and enjoyed the views for a while.
We only spent one night on Mackinac Island, but I think we could have stayed longer. Maybe because it’s so sentimental for us, but this was my favorite part of the trip.
After Mackinac Island, we headed to Traverse City for the rest of our time.
The highlight of our trip to Traverse City was time spent at Sleepy Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Such amazing views!
Lake Michigan looks like an ocean! We stayed at the Grand Traverse Resort. It worked out well because it rained one day and we were able to take advantage of their indoor pool and tennis courts.
Traverse City has an ice cream shop, MOOmers, that was voted Best Scoop in America by Good Morning America. Clearly, we had to check it out!
The shop is located on a farm and the ice cream is homemade on site. It was neat to see the cows grazing on grass!
The line was out the door and wrapped around!
We gave the ice cream two thumbs up. So good!
If you love food, Traverse City is a must-visit. I don’t have any food pictures to share (I did share some on Instagram stories–make sure you’re following me over there for that kind of stuff!) but the food was amazing. We loved every restaurant we tried.
One of the kids’ favorite parts from the trip was our stop at an adventure park.
We did zip lining. My first time! It wasn’t huge, but I still loved it.
There was also a ropes course that pretty much scared me to death!
This picture doesn’t adequately show the height. Luke was also really scared, but I was so proud of him for doing it anyway! One of the guides had to help him through a lot of it, but he was such a trooper.
As you can see, we had an amazing time on our Northern Michigan vacation. If you’re looking for a family vacation spot, I highly recommend it!