Are you looking for ideas of what to do and where to go this year? Staff members at the MARVAC home office enjoy traveling through Michigan and visiting its many destinations just as much as anyone. And, they have the inside scoop. Here are six recommendations from the MARVAC staff, one for each region of the state.

Northeast/Thumb Region: Recommendation from John Lindley, President & CEO

My family and I love the “sunrise side” of our beautiful state. We spend a lot of time in Bay City, especially in the summer…and wow, is there a ton to do in the Great Lakes Bay Region! Uptown and Downtown Bay City are alive with bars, restaurants, concerts, and festivals on both sides of the river all summer long. For example, the 4th of July fireworks are some of the best in the entire Midwest. Tons of details are available at Also, while you’re in town, make sure to visit the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum, home of the USS Edson, a Vietnam War-era U.S. Navy destroyer floating in the Saginaw River.

Visit the Northeast/Thumb Region Map to find a private campground. 


Upper Peninsula Region: Recommendation from Darren Ing, Director

The Keweenaw Peninsula located at the northernmost tip of the Upper Peninsula is a beautiful, year-round place to experience. From scenic drives to amazing waterways, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a tour of the Quincy Mine and Shafthouse or spend an afternoon at Fort Wilkins State Historic Park. If you are a pasty lover, you can attempt to complete the Keweenaw Pasty Trail Challenge. If you are looking for more adventure, visit Isle Royale National Park. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this 45-mile stretch around the remote island almost ensures that you will have more engagement with wildlife than people. Whatever you decide, you will not be disappointed by this splendor of a region.

Visit the Upper Peninsula Region Map to find a private campground. 


Southwest Region: Recommendation from Lauri Brantley, Office & Special Projects Administrator

A year wouldn’t be complete without a few trips to Saugatuck, Michigan. Whether you go to this quaint town for unique shopping, specialty restaurants, boat watching, exercising, or simply relaxing, Saugatuck has something for everyone and will not disappoint. Our favorite restaurant is Phil’s Bar and Grill, located in the heart of downtown Saugatuck, which offers an amazing Fried Bologna Sandwich. To offset the calories, we climb the 302 steps at Mount Baldhead. It’s a tough climb, but the breathtaking views are worth every step. Some days we simply relax on the shore of Lake Michigan at Oval Beach, voted one of the top beaches in the United States. We recommend Saugatuck for a perfect romantic getaway or a family vacation.

Visit the Southwest Region Map to find a private campground. 


Ann Arbor, Michigan – Campus of the University of Michigan with traditional gothic style stone buildings with gables

South-Central Region: Recommendation from Maris Brennan, Membership Director

If you love a day in an urban setting but crave the tranquility of a quiet campfire in the evening, South-Central Michigan is perfect! Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, was named by Good Housekeeping magazine as The Best Solo Tavel Destination in the U.S. for an Unforgettable Adventure. Among the outstanding restaurant offerings, shopping, sporting events, museums, and music venues, there is always something fantastic to do. A short drive out of town, you will find yourself in the Irish Hills, nicknamed by the Irish immigrants who settled here because it reminded them of home. With more than 50 inland lakes and rolling hills, it hosts a bounty of private campgrounds and state forests, popular for hunting, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding.

Visit the South-Central Region Map to find a private campground. 


Southeast Region: Recommendation from Marenia Rabi, Controller

Looking for outdoor family activities in Southeast Michigan? Maybury Farm in Northville offers a variety of fun activities throughout the year for every age group. Spring kicks off with maple syrup making, educational tours, and an Eggstravagazan hunt. Summer activities include the Farm Fest and Annual County Fair.  Fall offers a corn maze, hayrides, and the Great Fall Festival. They close out the year with Holiday Fun & Santa Visits at the Farm. Take the day and visit Maybury Farm, your family will not be disappointed.

Visit the Southeast Region Map to find a private campground. 


Late afternoon skies and a wide seascape expanse, The Lake Michigan Overlook at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Lower Peninsula, Michigan, USA

Northwest Region: Recommendation from Gabrielle Strubhar, Marketing & Communications Director

Taking a trip along M-22 is something every Michigander should do. There are a few stops that are a must. First, stop at Frankfort to see the unique stores and visit the Point Betsie Lighthouse. Second, make your way to Glen Arbor to the Sleeping Bear Dunes for the opportunity to climb to the top and view the breathtaking scenery of Lake Michigan. Lastly, take a detour off of M-22 to Maple City for a unique dining experience at Broomstack Kitchen & Taphouse. Have a burger, and a beer, and learn how to curl at their attached curling facility. This is a trip you won’t forget; I guarantee it!

Visit the Northwest Region Map to find a private campground.