Six Budget-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Michigan

Summer is a time where people’s imaginations whirl with vacation plans and excitement. However, you don’t have to travel far, or spend a lot, to have the best vacation ever. Our home state is surrounded by beautiful forests, beaches, and a ton of culture, all for a great price; making Michigan the perfect travel destination.
Need some travel inspiration? Here are six of our favorite budget-friendly vacation destinations in Michigan:
1. Traverse City (A Place for Everyone)

Traverse City is a favorite spot among travelers due to its abundant list of activities for everyone in the family. Explore the Mission Point Lighthouse while spending a day on the water, or go for a bike ride on the recreation and transportation trails. You can even climb Sleeping Bear Dunes in beautiful Leelanau County and overlook beautiful bodies of water. If you’re a foody, try one of the many wineries and pick fresh fruit from the local vineyards and farms. Traverse City is perfect for couples and families, and it provides both hotel and camping options to fit everyone’s budget and needs. In the summer, you can stay at Northwestern Michigan College for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.

Don’t forget to use your Arbor Financial Visa Rewards Card to earn 3x the rewards points on travel and dining. Once redeemed, these extra points can be used towards your bill or for other rewards, so you can earn points while having the best vacation ever.

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2. Mackinac Island (A Slice of Michigan History)

The historic straits of Mackinac connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron right between the upper and lower peninsula. Full of history, this island provides a fun experience for everyone. When you step foot on the island, you’ll step back in time with the historical landmarks and an experience without cars. To really embrace the past, you can camp at the Straits- Semi Modern Waterfront for just $17 in the off season. Don’t forget to get some world-famous fudge while you’re here!

3. Frankenmuth (An International Experience Close to Home)

Frankenmuth is a Bavarian-inspired town with German traditions year-round, like Oktoberfest. The town lets you indulge in traditional German cuisine, including the best soft pretzels. Frankenmuth is also home to the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronners. It's so big kids often think they’re in the North Pole.

4. Holland (An Around the World Adventure Right from West Michigan)

If you’re looking to explore the world in just a day, Holland is a great place to visit. Inspired to preserve the Dutch heritage of West Michigan, Holland has the Netherlands in mind throughout everything they do. Visit Windmill Island to see a traditional windmill straight from the Netherlands, explore the canals, and ride your bike. Here, you’ll truly feel like you’re across the world. Downtown, you’ll get to see Dutch architecture and try tasty treats at Nelis’ Dutch Village. As a bonus, it’s one of the most kid-friendly cities in West Michigan.

5. The Upper Peninsula (A Nationally Recognized Treasure)

The Upper Peninsula is one of the most beautiful (and budget-friendly) places to visit in Michigan. Filled with National and State Parks, you’ll get to explore thousands of hiking trails and beachfront experiences. Go camping or book a cabin at a state park for a fraction of the cost. If you’re a Michigan resident, you can add the Michigan State Parks Recreation Passport to your vehicle license plate to get free admission and parking to all the state parks. The pass also allows you to attend some family outdoor events and classes for free. With 22 state parks in the Upper Peninsula alone, the pass can save you a lot of money.

6. Ann Arbor (A Spot for Education that Doesn’t Feel like Education)

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is built around education, but they don’t do boring lectures here. During the school year, you can attend theater events and Big Ten games at the University of Michigan. The city itself is filled with interactive museums, botanical gardens, arboretums, and events the whole family will love. You won’t even feel like you’re learning. Plus, with the University of Michigan being so close by, you can find incredible food on a budget and a variety of local coffee shops.

Creating a budget and figuring out how much to spend or save for specific purchases can be intimidating. In fact, one report shows that only two out of every five families use a household budget. “Budgeting and planning family finances are key to controlling spending and planning for a healthy financial future," says Ben Harman, who leads Arbor Financial's literacy program.

If you know where your money is going each month, you can start achieving your financial dreams and plan for travel and other expenses without worrying if you can afford it. Level up your budgeting skills with our Family Budgeting and Creating a Budget courses, so you never have to wonder where your money is going again.

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