Michigan is a favourite destination for holidaymakers throughout the year, and most of the fun takes place in the state's small towns. These humble communities in Michigan, like Bavarian-influenced Frankenmuth and the scenic Port Austin, have unique histories and lovely vantage points of the surrounding natural beauty. 

    Some are right along Lake Michigan or other bodies of water to provide refreshing summer activities, while landlocked towns allow you to hike through the countryside or experience an annual festival that locals have been celebrating for decades. Let your next holiday be to one of these quaint Michigan small towns.

    1

    Clare

    Visit the 'City of Festivals'

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    Clare is a small city in Michigan, about 82 miles north of Lansing. Known as the 'City of Festivals', you'll find it to be a festive and engaging community with various recreational activities while being surrounded by the natural beauty of changing seasons. 

    The largest of these communitywide festivals is the Irish Festival. Every March, thousands of visitors and locals gather to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the most culturally celebratory way possible. An annual summer music festival brings together talented artists from across the country, as well as fun for families and adults of all ages.

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    foto door Magicpiano (CC BY-SA 4.0) bewerkt

    2

    Port Austin

    Explore history and the best of Lake Huron

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    The coastal village of Port Austin is a beacon of history in Michigan and offers scenic views of Lake Huron. You'll find many interesting places to visit, one of which is the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse. Accessible by boat, the lighthouse is available for tours and stands as a tall reminder of the importance of the economy of the lake. 

    A stunning natural wonder in Port Austin is called Turnip Rock – many love to kayak out to this geological formation, which juts out from Lake Huron. Port Austin is also known for its shopping scene, which includes eclectic boutiques and one of Michigan's largest farmers markets. 

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    3

    Frankenmuth

    Immerse yourself in Bavarian culture

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    Frankenmuth is a small city that's teeming with Bavarian culture and architecture. Families will love the indoor water park, the festive atmosphere during the summer months, and the Christmas celebration in December. 

    Adults of all ages can appreciate the unique architecture, but the fun really begins when you seek out one of the local breweries to enjoy authentic German beer. You could grab some friends for your own adventure as you make your way through Frankenmuth on a 16-person pedal trolley.

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    4

    St. Joseph

    Explore the Riviera of the Midwest

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    The lakefront city of St. Joseph is as historic as it is vacation-friendly. Prominently located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, it has been known as 'the Riviera of the Midwest' for decades. Holidaymakers from across the Midwest descend on the city every year for its lofty dunes and sandy beaches. 

    It's great for families to enjoy a day in the sun and sea. There's even a children's museum with hands-on exhibits you can visit on overcast days. St. Joseph is also excellent for couples and adult travellers, thanks to its many wineries and laidback nightlife scene.

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    5

    Colon

    Find outdoor fun in between 2 lakes

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    Colon is a lovely town to visit for the natural beauty and river views, but there is something more unique about it, as it's known as the 'Magic Capital of the World.' The quaint Midwestern community is in the southeastern part of Michigan, nestled between 2 picturesque lakes. 

    Colon is steeped in the entertainment and history of magic, with its cemetery serving as the final resting place for many famous magicians. Each July, you can participate in Magic Camp, which is amusing and educational for children and adults of all ages.

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    6

    Tecumseh

    Explore hundreds of acres of green space and waterways

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    Tecumseh, named after a famous Shawnee chief, is a small town in Missouri's Lenawee County. It has hundreds of acres of parkland and green space, where you can canoe down winding waterways, hike various forested trails, and spot the local wildlife. 

    On top of the natural beauty, Tecumseh has a lovely city centre full of art, culture, and shopping. You can enjoy a stroll down Main Street to experience local sculptures and shop at speciality shops. Seasonal events bring the town to life, with standouts like Art Walk in spring and Appleumpkin Festival in fall. 

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    7

    Suttons Bay

    Relax in a town known for its wineries

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    Suttons Bay sits in the northwestern part of Michigan, with a coastal location that's great for escaping the busyness of everyday life. You might want to plan a visit in the fall months, when the village brims with yellow, orange, and amber leaves. 

    Autumn is also an excellent time to visit Suttons Bay thanks to winery harvests, where you can take a tour of the local vineyard and grab your new favourite bottle of wine. The village is close to the Huron-Manistee National Forest, where you can find campsites, miles of hiking trails, and family-friendly water sports. 

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    8

    Petoskey

    Enjoy stunning views of Little Traverse Bay

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    Petoskey is a small town nestled on the southern shore of Little Traverse Bay. It's a great place to stay while enjoying the outdoors and scenic bay views. You can come here to kayak around the harbour, bike along the shores of the bay, or soak up the sun on one of the sandy beaches. 

    The fall colours are gorgeous, so an autumn trip is as good of an experience as a summer trip to Petoskey. The Bear River Valley Recreation Area offers hiking trails, viewpoints, steep bluffs, boardwalks, and whitewater rapids. You can bike or hike along a 1.5-mile path along the Bear River.

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    9

    Sault Ste. Marie

    Visit one of the most scenic spots on the Canadian border

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    Sault Ste. Marie is a beautiful city in Chippewa County, on the Canada–US border. If you come when it's warm, you will have an abundance of outdoor recreation at your disposal. Many love kayaking the St. Mary's River or taking a scenic boat tour through the locks. You can go hiking and fishing in nearby state parks and recreational areas. 

    Rotary Island Park is a great place to spend an afternoon picnic with the family. While in Sault Ste. Marie, you don't want to miss out on the popular city centre dining scene.

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    10

    Saugatuck

    Enjoy outdoor fun and one of the top beaches in the world

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    Located southwest of Grand Rapids, Saugatuck is a lovely town surrounded by Lake Michigan, Kalamazoo Lake, and the Kalamazoo River. That means you'll find plenty of fun activities on the water, whether it's paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, or rafting. 

    Saugatuck Beach is one of the best-kept secrets in Michigan – it's even rated as one of the top beaches in the world. If you want to experience an authentic small town with the right balance of relaxation and recreation, you should plan your next holiday to Saugatuck. 

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