When planning this family vacation, we focused on areas that showcased Michigan's natural coastal beauty, combined with family-friendly activities and upscale lodging. Family trips are not exactly a relaxing break for mamas, so I require comfy beds and nice hotels.
Our first stop - Bay Harbor, Michigan. The resort (Renaissance Bay Harbor) was absolutely gorgeous and provided some of our best photo opportunities. I wish we had more time to lay around in the hammocks or quietly lounge on the beach - but, you know... kids.
Even though it meant a remote and nearly 4-hour drive way "UP" (upper peninsula), we wanted to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore while we were there. The best way to see the colors and rock formations is via a boat tour, so we embarked on a 2-hour and 40-minute cruise from Munising. I was nervous about the kids, but they did great! Amelia loved every minute and took lots of pictures with her adorable pink camera. The baby enjoyed the indoor area of the boat with a cool breeze from an open window.
The main focus of our trip was Mackinac Island, our next stop after Pictured Rocks. We barely made it onto the noon ferry, which was a special treat because they detoured under the suspension bridge. Again, baby preferred the indoor area, but Amelia and Daddy got faces full of cold wind - and a fantastic view of the bridge - from up top. Mackinac Island is truly a trip back in time. No cars. Horses and carriages. And old buildings. This applies to the accommodations as well.. quite old and creaky. But it provides a really neat charm unlike anywhere else. We ate lots of Mackinac fudge, enjoyed the green lawn of Mission Point, and took a family bike ride (baby rode in a Burley trailer safe within his car seat). One day was rained out until late afternoon, so we enjoyed the Butterfly Conservatory. And our budding photographer documented each moment, like a good future blogger.
Finally, after three nights on the island, we ventured back to civilization - then out again - as we drove all the way to Sleeping Bear National Seashore. Amelia could not get enough of the giant dunes. Climbing all the way up is tough, but running down is an exciting ride! She even made a sand angel and built a little sand castle. We stayed in the nearby town of Glen Arbor, where there isn't much to do or see, but the Homestead Resort has a private beach, two pools, and very convenient condo accommodations.
Eight days. We are happy to be back to the comforts of home (with all the extra baby gear to keep the little guy entertained), but we are going to hold on to these fun vacation memories forever. Pure Michigan? Was a purely enjoyable and lovely experience.
It is nice to escape the sweltering Atlanta temperatures for a while too. I instantly missed wearing a jacket in the cool breeze!