Day Trips from Flint, MI You Need to Try

July 24th, 2022 by

Michigan is home to many magnificent destinations, and you don’t need to travel far to experience them. So whether you love history or outdoor adventures, there’s a spot close by that’s calling your name. Take advantage of our guide and embark on a favorite day trip from Flint this summer.

Mackinaw City

From its scenic shoreline to its numerous sweetshops, Mackinaw City is a destination all its own. This charming village is only three hours from Flint, making it the ideal place to while away a summer afternoon. Take a walk along the lakeshore at Wilderness State Park, tour the reconstructed 18th-century Colonial Michilimackinac fort and take a selfie in front of the famous Mackinaw Bridge.

Mackinaw City is a great place to grab a bite to eat. You’ll love the upscale, woodsy atmosphere at Nonna Lisa’s just as much as its authentic Italian cuisine. If you’re looking for something more casual, pick up a juicy burger at The Historic Depot or fill up on delicious local white fish at Scalawags. Don’t forget to grab a Michigan Pothole ice cream cone for dessert.

After lunch, take a guided tour of the retired cutter Mackinaw (WAGB-83). The U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the ice breaker in 2006, and now the maritime museum sits proudly offshore. If you enjoy geocaching, play the city’s Adventure Lab game number GC8WK73. You’ll visit five historical sites on this 2-mile walking or biking tour. It’s one of the best ways to get to know more about local history.

Mackinac Island

If you have time, hop aboard a Mackinaw City ferry and venture across the Straits to Mackinac Island. It’s not just for tourists. It’s a must-see destination for every Flint resident with attractions like the Grand Hotel, Arch Rock, and the 1780 military fort. Book a narrated tour and learn about the area’s exciting history, including stories of Native American and pioneer conflicts and how the island got its name from the Ojibwe word for big turtle.

Once you leave the dock, one of the first things you’ll encounter is a confectionary where you can watch the staff prepare the island’s world-famous fudge. Take a few minutes to stroll down the charming cobblestone streets, past souvenir shops and eateries. You’ll notice hanging baskets overflowing with flowers and yes, watch out for the horse apples. This seasonal paradise doesn’t allow motorized vehicles, so prepared to be captivated by the horse-drawn carriages.

Sault Ste. Marie

Take your Flint day trip north across the Mackinaw Bridge. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise that offers some of the country’s best hunting and fishing opportunities. The U.P. is also home to the quaint city of Sault Ste Marie.

You’ll find many treasures in the Soo, as locals call it. Once you get off I-75 on 3 Mile Road, you’ll want to point your new Chevy car or truck toward the waterfront. Make the outstanding city park along St. Mary’s River and the Soo Locks your first stop. This engineering marvel has roots dating back to the mid-1800s and connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The waterway is large enough to allow freighters over 1,000 feet long to deliver goods all over the Great Lakes.

Climb to the third floor of the observation platform and watch the ships travel through the locks. You might catch sight of the active-duty U.S.C.G. cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) as it heads from its home port in Cheboygan to tend buoys on Lake Superior. You can also schedule a tour and float through the locks yourself. Stop by the visitor’s center and learn all about how it works. The site also has clean, modern restrooms inside the visitor’s center that are a must-stop after this four-hour trip.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is one of Michigan’s best treasures. Thousands of visitors flock to this destination for outdoor recreation within the tranquil, natural beauty of the park. Scale to the top of the dunes for stunning views of Glen Lake, or if you dare, join the fray of fitness fanatics and run (or tumble) down the dune’s steep slope. Some visitors play it safe and watch the action from the wooden observation deck.

If you decide to forgo the challenging climb back up the dunes, consider strolling down the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. You can pick up the trailhead at the north end of the Dune Climb. Rangers marked the way with posts. However, the sandy landscape can be disorienting, so stick to the path and bring plenty of water. After your hike, hop in the car and take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive or visit the Glen Haven Maritime Museum. You’ll find Sleeping Bear’s Dune Climb about 3 1/2 hours from Flint off M-109.

Downtown Chicago

The Windy City is just a four-hour drive from Flint. This pick tops our list because there’s so much to see and do in this world-renowned metropolis. Pick from live performances in the theater district to shopping on State Street.

Start your trip with The Chicago Loop. It’s the official city center and is the perfect place to launch your adventure. Indulge your love of culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Since 1967, its galleries have featured new and experimental work by living artists in all media, including more than 2,000 pieces.

If you’d rather see a show, catch My Fair Lady on stage at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through July 10, 2022. You can also check out the Millennium Park Summer Music Series until August 18, 2022, or attend Sundays on State. This free, interactive block party runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features art, culture, food, shopping, and fun attractions. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh seasonal produce at the Chicago City Markets at Daley Plaza before returning home.

So, there you have it. The friendly folks at Applegate Chevrolet shared this guide to fantastic day trips with you. What do you think of our ideas? Let us know if we forgot your favorite destination near Flint? Send us a note so we can add your ideas to our next guide.