The Ultimate West Michigan Staycation Guide

When was the last time you were a tourist in your town?

Hi friends, I’m Victoria Munro, People First Economy’s Community Engagement Manager.

The sun is out, flowers are blooming, the waves are crashing, and summer is finally here in West Michigan. I might be a little biased, but there is truly nothing better than a Michigan summer. Sure, taking a classic Michigander trip ‘up north’ is essential, but we are so spoiled to have vibrant business communities, bustling beaches, thriving art scenes, and so much more right under our noses. Everyone in the family is sure to find something they love, right here in West Michigan. What better time than now to step outside of your everyday hustle and plan an intentional, fun, and relaxing vacation in your own community—the time to Staycation is here!  

There are many ways one could Staycation—especially in this region, the possibilities are endless! To help kickstart your idea generation, we’ve planned what we think is an ideal Staycation blueprint:

  1. Spend the night away from your home

Picture this: You’re 12 years old, you’ve been hanging out with your best friend all day, and you two have devised a plan to perfectly ask your adults if you can keep this party going all night long. Remember that feeling when the answer was, “Yes!” to a sleepover? I think we can all agree, those were some of the best excitement butterflies ever. Good news! Adults can have that sort of fun too! Take your Staycation out of the house for a truly magical time at one of West Michigan’s locally owned accommodations. Just a couple of our favorites are CityFlatsHotel and The Parsonage Inn.

  1. Indulge in local cuisine

We are incredibly fortunate to have a robust and unique culinary scene in West Michigan; I truly think I could try a new place every week and still never run out of options. Even though I could list dozens of incredible restaurants and cafes, these are perfect for the Staycation vibes: Broad Leaf Brewery & Spirits Westside, Windmill Restaurant, City Built Brewery, Yesterdog, Kirby House, and Field & Fire Café.

  1. Sip on local beverages

Grand Rapids may be crowned as Beer City USA, but I am a firm believer that all of West Michigan is also Cider City USA, Coffee City USA, and Distillery City USA. The options for a fun, refreshing beverage are just as robust as our restaurants. Pux Taphouse, Long Road Distillery, The Mortals Café, Lemonjello’s Coffee, GRNoir Wine & Jazz Bar, and Fenn Valley Vineyards are just a handful of wonderful options. We can guarantee you this—you’ll never go thirsty around here!

  1. Partake in a local activity or excursion

Truthfully, we could just eat and drink all day, but there are so many other sights to see and fun to be had! From local movie theatres, to museums, and everything in between, there are activities for the whole family. Some West Michigan staples include Sperry’s Moviehouse, Civic Theatre, The Ruse Escape Room, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Higher Ground Rock Climbing Centre, Wealthy Theatre, and John Ball Zoo.

  1. Explore one or more of West Michigan’s business corridors

The retail shops in West Michigan are one of a kind! (At least, that’s what I remind myself when I look at my credit card statements…) But truly, our small business retail destinations have so much to offer, and many of them are located within walkable, quaint business districts. Check out:

Even more so, East Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Lowell, Creston, Ada, and Rockford also have incredible locally owned businesses to check out. Challenge yourself to see how many you can pop over to! For more ideas and places to visit, check out our Local First Directory for hundreds of locally and independently owned gems.

We love Staycations so much that we have curated the ultimate West Michigan Staycation package to give away to one lucky winner (and their +1!) All July long, we are celebrating our fourth annual Indie Month and highlighting the indie businesses that make our community unique. This year, there are TWO great ways to play and support the local businesses you love. Take the BINGO and/or Love Your Locals challenge and be entered to win a Staycation Giveaway donated by Local First member businesses. Included in this stellar package is:

WOWZA. That is a lot! And YOU can enter to win! Learn more on how to play and find participating locations near you at peoplefirsteconomy.org/indie-month. The winner will be selected on August 7th, so there is still plenty of time to win!

Even if I am a little bummed that I’m not eligible to win this incredible prize package, I will certainly be using our Staycation blueprint to plan my own West Michigan getaway for my family and friends. If you find yourself doing the same, we would love to see! Tag @localfirstwestmi on social media and show us your Staycation highlights—we can’t wait to see how you stay(cation) in place and get your hometown tourist on!

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