Easy Day Trips from The Homestead

There are a variety of spots located near The Homestead that make a quick day trip or even a long weekend getaway doable. Whether you’re with your sweetheart or your family, here are the area’s best day and weekend trips.

Best Day Trips for Couples 

The iconic Grand Traverse Lighthouse is a must-see, and getting there is just as fun. As you cruise along the scenic route to the lighthouse, make a pit stop at The Cove for a delightful lunch overlooking the dam. Once you’ve refueled, make your way to this historic spot, where you can explore maritime history, soak in breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, and perhaps steal a quiet moment with your partner amidst the rugged beauty of the shoreline. It's a day filled with adventure, history, and the kind of romance that only a Great Lakes getaway can provide. So, grab your partner’s hand, hop in the car, and let the exploration begin.

Other ideas to consider, head North to Leland and visit the shops and galleries on Main Street. Explore Fishtown, a well-preserved and scenic fishing village, enjoy a made-to-order sandwich at the Cheese Shanty, and go for a swim at Van’s Beach. Visit art galleries in Frankfort with lunch at Storm Cloud Bakery. Then come back to The Homestead and get a ready-to-heat or ready-to-eat dinner from Cavanaugh’s.

Best Day Trips for Families

Get your Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau Map, park pass, picnic lunch, and beverages at Cavanaugh’s before you venture out onto the dune climb. Then drive the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and stop for a picnic with a sweeping view of the “Most Beautiful Place in America.” Cool off with a swim at the Esch Road Beach, which is great for young children as Otter Creek flows into Lake Michigan at that spot. Then celebrate the day with a wonderful meal served at Café Manitou on the deck overlooking Lake Michigan and the Crystal River.

For families seeking a day on the water, chartering a boat for a fishing adventure is a great option. From Leland or Glen Arbor, you can choose from a variety of reputable charters that cater to families, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all ages. Spend the day aboard a comfortable vessel, guided by experienced captains who know the best spots to reel in a prized catch. Kids can learn the art of fishing while enjoying the natural beauty of Lake Michigan and its scenic shoreline. With the chance to hook a variety of freshwater species, including trout, salmon, and bass, a fishing charter promises excitement and adventure for the whole family.

Hop aboard Manitou Island Transit for a scenic boat ride to South Manitou Island. Once on shore, you’ll discover the island's rich history, from the towering South Manitou Island Lighthouse to the remnants of a once-thriving farming community. Hike through lush forests, where trails lead to hidden treasures like the awe-inspiring Valley of the Giants. Unwind on pristine beaches, dip your toes into the cool waters of Lake Michigan, or embark on a snorkeling adventure to uncover the secrets of the island's underwater world. Whether you're a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking serenity amidst the wilderness, South Manitou Island offers families an unforgettable escape into the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Weekend Getaways 

Head over to neighboring Benzie County, to tour their most popular attraction, the Point Betsie Lighthouse. Take the tour and don’t forget your camera – the views are fantastic. Then travel north and rent a canoe, kayak, or tube at the Riverside Canoes. The river is more challenging than the Crystal River, but you’ll be going with the current which makes it a bit easier. End the day with an outdoor meal cooked over a wood-fired grill at Whiskers.

Indulge in the ultimate golf weekend getaway at Manitou Passage Golf Club. Tee off on a meticulously manicured course designed by Arnold Palmer himself, offering a challenging yet rewarding experience for golfers of all skill levels. With sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside, each hole presents a gorgeous backdrop for your game. After a day on the greens, unwind at the clubhouse, where you can savor delicious cuisine and refreshing drinks while recounting the day's highlights with fellow golf enthusiasts. 

Escape to the charming village of Glen Arbor for a weekend retreat that promises a delightful blend of art, gastronomy, and relaxation. Wander through the quaint streets lined with eclectic art galleries, where you can admire a diverse array of local and regional artwork, from vibrant paintings to handcrafted sculptures. Indulge your taste buds at the world headquarters of Cherry Republic. Sample an assortment of gourmet cherry-inspired treats, from decadent chocolates to tangy preserves. For wine enthusiasts, a visit to Glen Arbor Wines offers the perfect opportunity to savor handcrafted wines made from locally sourced grapes.

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