Summer in Frankfort, Michigan

Every summer for the past 6 years, we take a trip to the Midwest and visit the Northern Michigan town of Frankfort. When I tell people from the Northwest that I’m off to Michigan I get curious stares. “Why would you go to Michigan?” they ask. I explain that the beaches on Lake Michigan rival the white sand beaches found in the tropics. I go on to describe the beauty of the rolling hills and the friendly communities. Finally, of course, we have family there.

The beach along Lake Michigan

The beach along Lake Michigan

Getting There
The most obvious way to travel there is to fly. From Seattle, this means taking a flight to either Chicago, Minneapolis or Detroit. From there you fly to either Grand Rapids and then drive for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly into the very small and very convenient Traverse City airport. Flying into Traverse tends to be a bit more expensive and can be unreliable because there are very few flights, however the convenience and the short drive to Frankfort – just about an hour – make it worthwhile.

What to do and see
I can’t say enough about spending time at the beach. On a windless day the water is flat as a swimming pool. However, when it’s windy being at the beach on the lake gives you waves you would expect if you were at the ocean. Head on down to the city beach in downtown Frankfort and you can play in the waves and watch the surfers and kiteboarders.

Watch the waves at the city beach in downtown Frankfort.

Watch the waves at the city beach in downtown Frankfort.

You can also just play in the waves when it’s windy out. Because of the sandy bottom the lake develops unexpected rips and undertow. Never swim alone and be sure you know what to do if a rip current pulls you away from the beach.

Playing in the waves on a stormy day

Playing in the waves on a stormy day

While you are exploring beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan be sure to take in the sites of the many lighthouses along the shoreline. Frankfort itself has two very different lighthouses. At the city beach you can walk out the breakwater on a calm day to the Frankfort North Light.

The breakwater walk out to the Frankfort North Light at the city beach in downtown Frankfort.

The breakwater walk out to the Frankfort North Light at the city beach in downtown Frankfort.

What to eat

There are a few good restaurants in town. Be sure to hit up the Stormcloud Brewing Company. They brew their own beer and have a decent menu. If the weather is nice you can sit out on the patio and enjoy lunch or dinner. It is one of the few establishments that is open year round. If you do nothing else don’t miss this place.

Stormcloud Brewing Company

Stormcloud Brewing Company

We can also be found at the Crescent Bakery for coffee and a donut in the morning. Sometimes we go to Dinghys for lunch. The other place to grab a nice coffee is Petals and Perks.

When to go

You’ll want to go anytime in the Summer. It is a vacation destination so it gets busy. If you can swing a trip in late August things are starting to quiet down. The other time to go would be in the early fall as the leaves turn. Michigan has spectacular colors.

Northern Michigan is not something I would have ever considered for a vacation. It is beautiful and you should not miss it.

It’s Vacation Time!

Most of the time we  write about things to do and see on the weekend — all within easy access of Seattle. However, August this year is vacation time for our family. There will be less time spent visiting the Briny Beach Cabin than we do the rest of the year and a bit more time out away from Washington State.

First on the agenda is a trip up north to Clover Bay Lodge, just outside of Ketchikan, AK. During this trip there is lots of time spent fishing for salmon and halibut and plenty of viewing of the wildlife including eagles and bears. Here is Chef Ellie from Kid Foodie after catching her first big one!

Her first fish!

Her first fish!

After Alaska and a couple weeks back at work it’s off to Frankfort, MI and a week spent on the white sand beaches of Lake Michigan, also known as The Third Coast.

The beach in Northern Michigan

The beach in Northern Michigan

As soon as we get back from our visit to Michigan a couple of us will head off to the happiest place on earth for one last bit of fun before it’s back to school and work!

Main Street USA in Disneyland!

Main Street USA in Disneyland!

Hopefully that will hold us over for a while. Chef Ellie will be heading back to school. I will be out of vacation for the rest of the year and we will be back to focusing our weekends on exploring sights around home.

A little unsure on the first day of Kindergarten, a very long time ago.

A little unsure on the first day of Kindergarten, a very long time ago.

Check back for the story of these adventures and as we enjoy August together.