Back in 2020, when we were all tired of staring at each other inside our homes, my husband and I decided we needed to get out of town. We looked at a map and picked a place we both had never been before: Lake Michigan.
Since then, we have ventured back north each year for a beach vacation and it has been everything our Florida hearts have desired! We’re from the Florida Panhandle and we just wanted something different for a beach trip…meaning, not hot, not humid, and not miserable.
Lake Michigan has become the trip we look forward to all year long.
We go over Memorial Day weekend each year and it’s the perfect time to go! The mornings and evenings are still chilly, but the middle of the day is the best beach weather. We aren’t sweating to death, the summer beach crowd hasn’t arrived yet, and there are no critters in the water that terrify my children. The motto of Lake Michigan is “Freshwater, shark free.”
We usually stay in the Union Pier or New Buffalo area right across the state line in Michigan in the Eastern timezone for simplicity of scheduling. These are your stereotypical beach towns that are completely walkable, with restaurants on every corner, local shopping galore, and dog-friendly businesses. There is nothing better than arriving, parking your car for the week and not getting back in it until it’s time to head back home.
Life is slower in these beach towns and it speaks to me.
We joked after this year’s trip that our kids are the perfect age for a beach vacation (three and five) because water and dirt are enough to entertain them and we don’t have to get fancy. We are able to check out from reality for a few days each year and it’s exactly what we all need before the chaos of summer.
The kids are already talking about going next year and I can honestly say I’m looking forward to it. I travel a lot with my kids and most of the time I dread it. But there’s something about these tiny northern beach towns that call me back without anxiety.
Here are a few of our favorite things:
- We usually get an Airbnb in Union Pier
- Sandboard at Warren Dunes
- Eat at The Stray Dog or Red Arrow Roadhouse or Union Pier Social
- Shop in New Buffalo
- Take a ride on a sailboat
- Rent any beach equipment from Red Arrow Rides