Vacation for Less: Lake Michigan

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I was a bit MIA last week.  After finals week, my amazing friend was kind and hospitable enough to invite us up to her family’s cabin on Lake Michigan.  Instead of writing papers we sat on the beach, built fires, and didn’t let stress touch us.  I had never been to Michigan before, but it’s a really beautiful place.  I never knew a lake could resemble an ocean so strongly.  Thanks for everyone who commented while I was gone, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get back to all your posts.  Will be making up for it 🙂

I don’t have any frugal tips on lodging in the area, but here are some things we did to keep costs down:

  • Used gas rewards from our local grocery store to fill an empty tank before we left.
  • Do things outside.  We spent some good time on the beach and walking to the lighthouse in town.  Some tourists in a pirate ship (yes, a pirate ship) shot one of their cannons. I nearly jumped off the dock at the noise.  So we got to enjoy part of that tour without even taking it.  :p
  • Buy food at the grocery store and cook it yourself if at all possible.  We had a kitchen available to us, but we mostly used a campfire, anyways.
  • If you must eat out, eat at Clementine’s.  Most of their food was under $10, and they had the best burgers I’ve ever had.
  • Apparently Clementine’s is really hard to get into during tourist season with lines around the block.  But we walked right in.  Travelling before Memorial Day and after Labor Day doesn’t just eliminate the problem of the crowds; it also saves you money as many businesses haven’t racked up their prices yet.

26 thoughts on “Vacation for Less: Lake Michigan

  1. AverageJoe

    That’s the area where I grew up! When most people think of Michigan, they think Detroit. The west side of the state is completely different. I disc jockeyed at Clementines sometimes. It was fun to play music for the crowd and watch boats come in.

  2. Modest Money

    I didn’t realize that the great lakes were so much like an ocean either. I love spending time outdoors and I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to do more of that lately. Not only is it cheap entertainment, but it also provides all kinds of physical and mental health benefits.

    1. femmefrugality

      Absolutely! For me it’s kind of spiritual, too.

      I don’t know if all the great lakes are quite as majestic as Lake Michigan. I’ve been to Erie before and I don’t remember being quite as struck.

  3. Tackling Our Debt

    Glad you had a good time!!

    I grew up surrounded by the Great Lakes and they are beautiful. You can look for miles and never see land, just as you compared it to the ocean. Then I came out west and what they refer to hear as a lake I would refer to as a pond because I compare them to the great lakes.

  4. Anthony Thompson

    It’s great that you could get away for awhile, and clear your head with some needed R&R. I was MIA for awhile myself, and I noticed that a few other folks were too. In any case, welcome back, and I’ll see you when you make your rounds in the blogosphere.

  5. Michelle

    I always try to follow your tip about buying and preparing your own food…for the most part. Obv, you’re on vacation so you probably want to eat out once or twice. Since we have food allergies in the family though, we get SO nervous about eating at restaurants we’ve never been. That makes it a little easier!

  6. jlcollinsnh

    I grew up within a mile of Lake Michigan and spent most of my childhood raoming in and around the Lake.

    More recently my in-laws bought a place on the water in Wisconsin. miles of sandy beach in both directions. gorgeous and they graciously let us use it whenever we can make our way there.

    Glad you got to see and enjoy it!

    1. femmefrugality

      That’s so awesome. I’ve spent some time in the lake country of Wisconsin before. It’s so, so beautiful. I can only imagine being on the great lakes there, though!

  7. MyMoneyDesign

    Awesome! You were in my neck of the woods! Over 90% of Michigan is just woods and lakes and beauty! Detroit has really given people the wrong idea of how much there is to see and do. Thanks for representing my home land! Glad to hear you had a good time!

  8. ERIKA

    Sounds beautiful! So nice of your friend to let you stay there 🙂 I agree about buying groceries and cooking yourself. That’s a huge money saver. I’d love to visit there one day!

  9. Meredith

    Don’t think I will make it to Lake Michigan any time soon, but I like your general tips for vacationing cheaply–and I’m glad you got away! 🙂


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