There’s no reason to fly when there are great attractions within the reach of a tank of gas. Here are a few of the many unique places within a couple of hundred miles of Detroit that you can take the family on a mini-getaway. – George Fox
635 South Main Street,
Frankenmuth, MI 48734-1687
It’s Michigan’s Little Bavaria and a very popular tourism center. Frankenmuth is well known for its chicken dinners at The Bavarian Inn or Zenders, and Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland is huge. Don’t miss out on some of the lesser known attractions including beer and wine tasting and The Fortress, an 18 hole championship golf course. Insider tip: The bakery in the basement of The Bavarian Inn makes some killer Jalapeno Cheese Bread.
One Cedar Point Drive
Sandusky, OH 44870
With 17 roller coasters and three of the top ten steel coasters in the world, Cedar Point is something everyone in Michigan is familiar with. Don’t forget that there’s a huge water park if you’ve already rode all the coasters. Insider tip: I highly recommend going on a weekday for short lines.
470 Loraine Avenue,
Put-in-Bay, OH 43456
According to their website, there is no doubt that Put-in-Bay Ohio is one of the most unique places you will ever visit. Their tiny two by four mile island is dotted with historic homes, the nation’s third tallest monument, quaint restaurants and local pubs. Beautiful water surrounds Put in Bay where you will find the best walleye and perch fishing in the United States. Put-in-Bay has been a summer resort for more than 100 years. Today Put-in-Bay is a vibrant tourist resort complete with bars, hotels, boating, fishing, a monument, caves and much more.
Blue Mountain Resort
108 Jozo Weider Blvd., Blue Mountains
Ontario Canada L9Y 3Z2
Okay, this might be a one and a half tank trip, but it’s worth it for a real getaway. Golf and water parks in the summer and skiing/snowboarding in the winter. The first thing I saw going to their website was The German-built Mountain Coaster, scheduled to open this winter. It looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s a track that goes down the hill with a two-person car you can ride on. The rider has full control of the speed. Just as long as no-one hits the break real hard everything will be okay.
Birch Run Outlet Mall
12240 South Beyer Road
Birch Run, MI 48415
As the largest outlet mall in the Midwest, Prime Outlets in Birch Run attracts shoppers from all over Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Canada. Features 145 brand-name outlet stores. Easily accessible from Flint, Saginaw, and Detroit, the center is located at Exit 136 off I-75, just 10 minutes from Frankenmuth, the most popular tourist destination in Michigan. Insider Tip: Visit Tony’s Restaurant near the entrance for the biggest portions of food you have ever seen.
02902 Blue Star Memorial Hwy, Fennville, MI 49408
It’s Michigan’s Art Coast. One of my favorite things in Saugatuck is The SS Keewatin. Now a museum, you can take a tour of the huge Titanic-era ship. The boardwalk, dockside shops, gorgeous beaches, sand dunes and the Waterfront Film Festival each June are a few of the many attractions that make it one of Michigan’s 19 “Coolest Cities.” Insider Tip: There’s also a really cool little reggae bar next to the Keewatin called the Red Dock.
George Fox is a Web Producer for CBS Detroit, a photographer, tech geek and native Michigander. Follow me on Twitter.