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Michigan: Take your pick of fantastic food across the Great Lake State

Michigan serves up a smorgasbord of foodie experiences for adventurous eaters. Start this tour with some brew in Frankenmuth, then end it in the sweet spot of Traverse City, the “Cherry Capital of the World.”

Drive 305.1 miles, 4 hours, 45 minutes

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Frankenmuth

Starting Point

Willkommen to Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, where German hospitality is always in season and fun is just around the corner. Festivals abound here; there’s the Winter Beer Festival, the Bavarian Festival and, of course, Oktoberfest. However, the main event each year is the World Expo of Beer, held the third weekend of May. Sample nearly 300 different brews from around the world and enjoy savory German cuisine.


Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
Frankenmuth, MI
(989) 652-9931
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort
Frankenmuth, MI
(989) 652-6668

2. Gaylord

144.5 miles, 1 hour, 53 minutes

This “Alpine village” may be located in Michigan, but its heart is in Germany. Gaylord celebrates its heritage every year with two festivals: In February, the Alpenfrost is held to celebrate the heart of the winter season with an ice fishing derby, snow sculpture events and a Frosty 5K run. Summer brings more family fun when the town transforms into an Alpine village during Alpenfest, with a carnival, parades, the burning of the Boogg and lots of food.

3. Mackinaw City

58.2 miles, 47 minutes

Mackinaw City is a famed resort village that boasts beautiful views of the Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island, and it’s home to some exceptional fudge shops. The Murdick family opened the first fudge shop on Mackinac Island in 1887, and Aaron Murdick’s Fudge still uses those original, decadent fudge recipes in its Mackinaw City Store. On nearby Mackinac Island, JoAnn’s Fudge crafts 29 different flavors.

4. Petoskey

36.2 miles, 45 minutes

Named one of America’s best small towns, Petoskey has an abundance of local shops and delightful eateries located in the historic gaslight district. For breakfast or lunch, it’s Julienne Tomatoes Deli & Bakery, where the food is fresh, made from quality ingredients and served in a charming dining room. A hearty meal may be had at the Polish Kitchen serving up authentic cuisine like kielbasa, pierogi and schnitzel in great portions at an excellent value.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Traverse City

66.2 miles, 1 hour, 20 minutes

The “Cherry Capital of the World” annually hosts the National Cherry Festival, one of the top-10 annual festivals in the country, according to USA Today. Held the first week of July, the National Cherry Festival attracts over half a million people each year. Take a guided orchard tour for an up-close look at the cherry industry, and sample the newest in cherry products, like jams, jellies, salsa, turnovers, strudels, pies and wine.