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Michigan Frugal Travel Guide

Category Michigan
Planning a vacation to take advantage low cost attractions takes some research. This page contains frugal travel tips for Michigan.


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By 0 found this helpful
October 9, 2006

Travel Destination:

Manistee Michigan, Mason County, Manistee National Forest


United States

Free Things to Do:

Their is plenty of free camping off two track roads, also some free camping on the main roads. Campfire wood is free, you can use any wood that is down in the woods but you can't cut trees down. There is a whole National Forest to explore. We have just returned from a week there and the only expense was gas, food, and ice for the food and drink. It is beautiful, awe inspiring, and definitely rustic. As always, be careful while you are camping. All food and garbage must be taken care of before going to bed in the evening or before leaving camp. There are wild animals out there, so be careful! We go two tracking while we are there and have seen many deer, turkeys, and footprints left by coyotes. We have heard owls, various birds and met some wonderful people.

The town of Manistee is about eight to ten miles away. There are major stores and food chains in the south end of town, a quaint downtown area, and a casino in the north part of Manistee. Good fishing and hunting, all kinds of winter sports! It is just a wonderful place and I highly recommend this trip for the adventurer in you. I have been going to this area since I was a kid and am 50 now, I took my two girls there and now take my four granddaughters! Very rewarding and definitely a memory maker!

Low Cost Things to Do:

At the end of Forest Trail Road, there are four campgrounds, nominal fees per night, and three of them are no electricity. Close to these are miles of secluded beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline. They have a playground, water, outhouses, bike trails, hiking trails, observation points overlooking Lake Michigan, places to cook out and picnic, and all for three dollars a day. It is beautiful, awe inspiring, and definitely rustic.

Expensive But Worth It:

You can spend as much or as little money as you like. Plenty of things to see and do for young and old alike. Surrounded by quaint little towns and others such as, Ludington, Michigan. Great city park area, free beaches, lighthouses, loads of tourists traps and really good restaurants, great old mansions that used house Lumber Baron's and their families, now they are bed and breakfasts. Pentwater, Michigan is a small, quaint town with an excellent view of Lake Michigan, many small shops with big prices. Good restaurants and an awesome State Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline.


Anything and everything. Go carts, putt putt, boating, movies, bowling and many, many bars and restaurants, watching spectacular sunsets over the lake, and stargazing around the campfire.

Just for Kids:

Free movie night for families in the City Park, in Ludington. This summer it was on a Thursday night but I guess that could change. Plenty for kids to see and do, but most of all learning about nature and about the importance of the Great Lakes to the world and our future!!

Seasonal Information:

I think, no camping from November to April, not really sure about that.

Inexpensive Lodging:

All around the area. Campgrounds and little cabins on the lake and surrounding areas.

Interesting Facts or History:

This area used to be shipping and logging back in the day. Emphasis on the logging. Their are many areas to check out the history of logging in that area. Logging is what built the towns around there. It was a very vital piece of their history. It is also known for it's farming of asparagus, peaches, and apples. Delicious!


Additional Comments:

GO! Get out there and have a great time!

By Karen from Flint, Michigan

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

By 12 found this helpful
October 17, 2012

I had the wonderful privilege of showing the beautiful sights of Michigan's upper peninsula to our relatives from Florida. The leaves in Florida do not change color as they do here, and they were spellbound.


By Karen Locey from Gladwin, MI

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By 5 found this helpful
December 8, 2010

This picture was taken right outside of Mackinaw City in Michigan. I believe it was around February when this picture was taken. The northern part of Michigan always gets blasted with snow, or at least a lot more snow then the southern part.

This is my favorite picture I have of the famous Mackinac Bridge.

By Trish


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By 3 found this helpful
June 1, 2010

I took this photo in the woods at Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve in Southfield, MI. I was on my way down to the Lake to see if I could catch a glimpse of some wildlife.

While walking through the woods, I noticed this small tree wrapping itself around a larger tree and going up the trunk.

By Cheryl Weston

Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve (MI)

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May 6, 20130 found this helpful

This page contains Alger County, Michigan frugal travel guide. Planning a vacation to take advantage low cost attractions takes some research.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 8, 20100 found this helpful

On our last trip last Fall, we visited the last of all the United States, we drove over the Macinack Bridge in Michigan. We camped in a campground at south end. We had seen a documentary on the construction and was on our "to see" list.

By Eletha from Waterford, CA


Macinack Bridge In Michigan

Hi Eletha, That is a very cool picture of the big Mac as we call it in Michigan, hope you enjoyed your trip and went to Mac. Island. We that live in Michigan often forget some of the great sites we have here. Thanks for the reminder.

There is also a Waterford in Mich. I have relatives there.

Have a blessed day. Barb (09/18/2007)

By Barb Oakes

Macinack Bridge In Michigan

That's awesome! Do you drive on it? You can tell I'm from South Georgia, can't you? Ha! Beautiful picture. Thanks for sharing and God bless you! (09/18/2007)

By Pat Giles

Macinack Bridge In Michigan

That is just one of the perks of this GREAT (Lakes) State! (Me and the Mighty Mac are the same age, and Michigan is where I have always lived.) Although our State has fallen on hard times (and hopefully it recovers soon), it offers SO much! If you have never visited Michigan, make sure to put it in your travel plans. Every season has its' own beauty! Be sure to spend some time on the beach of Lake Michigan (or any other of the big lakes), experience the wonderment of the Mackinac Bridge/Mackinac Island, go the the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, visit one of the many lighthouses. There are mountains to ski, trails to be hiked, miles and miles of snowmobile trails, stones to be skipped on one of the hundreds of inland lakes. If you are into gambling, we have our fair share of casinos. You can take in a ball game, a concert or other cultural events. Downtown Detroit is beautiful, visit the State Capitol in Lansing, Grand Rapids offers a big city atmosphere with a smaller town feel. Hunting is another popular hobby in this State. We are just getting ready to view our beautiful Fall colors, and what an enjoyable time of the year to see our State. (09/18/2007)

By Shirley

Macinack Bridge In Michigan

I drove across that bridge ONE TIME and all I can say is NEVER again!!! It scared ALL the stuff out of me! It definitely was beautiful, but just too scary for me! It is so high up, not supported by anything but those cables, moved with the blowing of the wind and just really scared me silly!

God bless,

By Sheila Saey

Macinack Bridge In Michigan

Just in case someone wants to look up info about it, it's spelled Mackinac and pronounced "Mackinaw". We went there too this summer as well as on our honeymoon 13 years ago. Hubby was no where near as romantic this time.
Say, didn't I see you there? Just Kidding! (09/19/2007)

By Sandy from WI

Macinack Bridge In Michigan

I went there also two years ago. We drove to Michigan from NH to the bridge and stayed at the a motel right at the southern end of the bridge. We went over the next day to take a ferry to Mackinaw Island. I was born in Michigan and had never seen the bridge. We looked forward to driving over it again on our way home. I even bought drink coasters with a picture of the bridge on them in the shopping area in Mackinaw City. (09/22/2007)

By Carrie

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