Best Cheap Long Weekend Trips Near Detroit

August 9, 2014 8:00 AM


Sometimes the hustle and bustle of living in a major metropolitan city can get to be too much for just about anyone. At times like these, it’s good to be able to get away and recharge the ol’ metaphorical batteries once and a while. Detroit will always be home, but if you and your loved ones or friends are looking to escape the Motor City for a little hard-earned R&R, then give these places a shot the next time you can get away for a weekend.
ann arbor 1 Best Cheap Long Weekend Trips Near Detroit

Ann Arbor’s downtown district has a number of wonderful shops to explore. (Credit, Michael Ferro)

Ann Arbor
Nichols Arboretum
1610 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 647-7600

Nestled within the heart of Washtenaw County, just a few miles from Detroit city limits, is one of Michigan’s most-prized cities. Home to the University of Michigan, and so much more, Ann Arbor is an educational and environmental oasis. With more book stores and local produce shops than one could count in an afternoon, Ann Arbor is a perfect place to get away from the city for a weekend and explore the great and healthy side of Michigan. One of the top spots to visit during the spring, summer or fall months is the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, just adjacent to the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital on Ann Arbor’s north side. With 123 acres of pristine, nature-filled lands, you’ll be hard-pressed to waste a moment of any weekend getaway here.

Greater Lansing
1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 483-4222

Not to be outdone, Lansing and East Lansing, Michigan, home of the Michigan State Spartans, is also a top destination for those looking to find a unique blend of rural and educational sightseeing. Our state’s capital has many wonderful attractions, including the Potter Park Zoo – a 102-acre zoo filled with a wide range of animals and venues. East Lansing is known as a college town, so there’s plenty of amazing places to eat and plenty of bars, if that’s your thing. But the area is also home to the Red Cedar River, which flows from Lansing well through the city and features many long and winding trails along the way, and Michigan State’s campus alone has more varieties of trees than any other college campus in the country.

Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn
1 Covered Bridge Lane
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
(855) 652-7200

For those of us who grew up in the Detroit area, a weekend getaway in Frankenmuth at least once every few years was almost like a religion. Whether it was during the winter months with snow all over and everything looking like Christmastime, or alternatively during the warm months with dad having to make room for his golf clubs in the back of the minivan, Frankenmuth always felt like a special time and place. These days, the Bavarian Inn is better than ever and nearby Zehnder’s Restaurant still serves up some of the absolute best chicken dinners anywhere in the country. A year without a weekend in Frankenmuth cannot be called special at all.

Related: Best Parks In Detroit

mt pleasant 1 Best Cheap Long Weekend Trips Near Detroit

Mt. Pleasant’s Chippewa River is a perfect place to kayak or canoe. (Credit, Michael Ferro)

Mt. Pleasant and the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
(888) 732-4537

If you’ve never been to Mt. Pleasant, then you’re really missing out on all there is to do in this wonderful part of our state. Sure, there’s the incredible Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, but there’s also so much more than that. The Central Michigan Chippewas call Mt. Pleasant home, with a number of live music events and large-scale shows going on all throughout the campus all year long. Whether by kayak or canoe, the mighty Chippewa River winds its way through Isabella County and offers amazing year-round opportunities to view wildlife, try some fishing or to just relax while the river winds you along.

Irish Hills & The Pioneer Wine Trails
4724 Walz Road
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 764-0679

And oft-overlooked section of Michigan’s beautiful interior is the Irish Hills, which holds a great handful of Michigan’s many wineries. The Pioneer Wine Trails, which includes the Sandhill Crane Vineyard and six other major wineries, offer some incredible opportunities to book a room at a local establishment and spend the weekend sampling some of the Mitten State’s finest interior wines. Nearby Jackson and Chelsea offer some small town favorites that can’t be found anywhere else, including native Jeff Daniel’s Purple Rose Theater Company. Tecumseh, which is just a stone’s throw away, offers one of Michigan’s best-rated restaurants in the Evans Street Station, and draws local and regional rave reviews. All in all, this is not a bad way to spend a lovely weekend out of the metropolis of Detroit.

Related: Best Kayaking Around Detroit

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE