If you’re dying to get away for a few days, but don’t want to spend the whole day driving, Michigan is LOADED with beautiful destinations that you can reach on one tank of gas (roughly).
Check out some favorites of mine and recommendations from others. [trip lengths and times are one-way and calculated from Saginaw] What are your favorite One-Tank Trips? Share in the comments below.
- Higgins Lake [110 miles / 1 hour 40 minutes]: The crystal-clear gem of an inland lake is great for relaxation or a multitude of water sports. Camping right next to the beach? CHECK. Go there once and you’re hooked, which makes this my #1 spot.
- Traverse City [156 miles / 2 hours 35 minutes]: Wine vineyards for miles and miles across the area, plus beautiful views of the Grand Traverse Bay make this an ideal destination for sightseers, casual travelers, and explorers.
- Caseville [62 miles / 1 hour 20 minutes]: Beaches, tasty dining, and a great small-town feel. This is a great escape even for a quick afternoon drive or nice dinner outing.
- Grand Rapids [115 miles / 2 hours 12 minutes]: City dewellers paradise. Walk the downtown area, eat in some of the literal hundreds of restaurants and bars all over the city, and take in the beautiful waterfront setting on the Grand River. From coneys to high-end dining, you’re covered!
- East Tawas [80 miles / 1 hour 22 minutes]: Beachfont views, fantastic sunsets, and an active downtown are just a few gems of this town. Families will do well here as well as couples looking for a romantic getaway.
- Port Huron [103 miles / 1 hour 33 minutes]: Where Lake Huron meets the St. Clair River under the Blue Water Bridge connecting the US and Canada. The downtown is perfect for fans of food and drink including many with water views… and don’t forget beaches and PLENTY of freighter-watching!
- Frankenmuth [15 miles / 22 minutes]: Easy to forget this tourist gem right in our backyard. The downtown is packed with great shopping and souvenirs and chocolate cheese (among other highlights). And not to be forgotten, it’s the home of Bronners where it is always Christmas.
- Bay City [16 miles / 21 minutes]: Another great spot NEARLY within walking distance. Haha well, not quite! The downtown is alive and well no matter which side of the river you find yourself, with plenty of access to waterfront parks.
- Tahquamenon Falls [251 miles / 3 hours 55 minutes]: This one MAY be pushing the one-tank trip, but if you’ve got a car with excellent MPGs, it’s SO worth the drive to the U.P.. Beautiful waterfalls and scenery ANY time of the year. Beauty and relaxation? They’ve got it nailed!
- Lansing [75 miles / 1 hour 15 minutes]: Those seeking water views and natural beauty may not thrive here, but you can’t deny the historical significance of the city, that and our current state capital. If you love food and drink, the options are nearly endless with the night scene in East Lansing near MSU.
- Mackinaw [190 miles / 2 hours 50 minutes]: Both Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island MUST be included in any traveler’s bucket list. The Island maintains a rustic, historical charm, with fudge for sale in roughly every store in the vicinity. The best fudge? The only way to know is try them all and let us know!
Didn’t see your favorite one-tank trip? PLEASE leave your comments and I’ll add them on! Happy traveling!
Additions from social networks:
- Saugatuck [171 miles / 2 hours 45 minutes]: Known as the best coastal small town according to PureMichigan with beautiful beaches and sightseeing on the southern coast of Lake Michigan. (Added by Stacy Trombley)
- Charlevoix [170 miles / 2 hours 51 minutes]: Boating, sailing recreation, and overall family fun in this scenic town on the upper Lake Michigan side of the mitten. (Added by Stacy Trombley)
- Burt Lake [167 miles / 2 hours 23 minutes]: One of the most northern points of the Lower Peninsula with plenty of outdoor water activities. (Added by Lisa Geyer)
- Muskegon [131 miles / 2 hours 37 minutes]: Another coastal gem on the west side of the state with beautiful water views, a great town, and it’s the home to Michigan’s Adventure. (Added by Donna Keenan)
- Holland [161 miles / 2 hours 34 minutes]: Rich in Dutch history, this town has a great downtown with tasty restaurants, shopping, and lots of beautiful tulips! (Added by Annie S)