What's a pretty winter vacation spot between Toronto and Chicago?
November 7, 2013 9:27 AM   Subscribe

We're in Toronto. Our friends are in Chicago. We'd like to meet up roughly halfway between our cities over the Christmas break (i.e. in Michigan or Ontario), and rent a house or cottage somewhere quiet with some natural scenery. Any recommendations?

We're mostly just interested in hanging out, so cultural attractions aren't that important. Quaintness is fine. We're more into going for walks along a lake, and something near a State/Provincial Park would also be nice. But we don't know the area at all, so town names to search for would be much appreciated.

posted by Beardman to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Macinac Island, MI or the areas around Traverse City, MI are lovely - though I've only visited in the summer.
posted by hush at 9:41 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

It would be 2+ hr drive from Toronto vs. a 5+ hr drive from Chicago, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Pinery Provincial Park. It is close to Grand Bend. A quick search turned up Bluewater Cottage Rentals.

Pinery has a rare oak savanna ecosystem and coastal freshwater dunes.
posted by nathaole at 9:53 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Saugatuck! Apparently they have stuff going on around Xmas too. Beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake-ish town with a gay vibe (Fire Island of the Midwest, or it used to be) and quaint as hell.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:35 AM on November 7, 2013

Best answer: It's not a perfect match, but Pelee Island, ON is really neat. In winter, you'd certainly be your own best friends and entertainment....
posted by lstanley at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far! Pelee Island is a possibility.

I should have been more clear that we're looking for something that's more or less at the halfway point, i.e. somewhere in the vicinity of Detroit or Sarnia. (Places like Saugatuck and the Pinery look awesome, but sadly they'd make the trip too long for one or the other party.)

Please keep them coming; I've got to report ideas back to the troops soon!
posted by Beardman at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2013

Response by poster: I do realize that "natural scenery" and "Detroit vicinity" don't often show up in the same wordcloud, except in the sense of urban prairie.
posted by Beardman at 12:42 PM on November 7, 2013

Maybe Ann Arbor or one of the small towns in the area (Saline, Chelsea, etc.)? Not terribly scenic, but there is the Huron River, the Arboretum. Plus, if you get bored you can head into town.
posted by Bron at 5:23 PM on November 7, 2013

Best answer: It will be cold and snowy, but if you want a lake, I'd suggest the Thumb area of Michigan, specifically Port Austin or Caseville. The towns are about 15 miles apart at the tip of the Thumb on Lake Huron. The drive would be about 5ish hours for both groups.

Both are sleepy little summer beach towns, but folks do live there year round. Caseville even has a movie theatre. You'd likely want to stop in Bay City or Bad Axe for your supplies along the way as the grocery availability is hit or miss (and kinda pricy!) in both towns.

It looks like some places do off season rentals. A quick google found this place for lakefront rentals.

Sleeper State Park is between the towns and has a campground and hiking/cross country skiing trails. The lakeshore along Saginaw Bay is general is lovely and all the lakeshore below the high water line is open to the public for walking even if the rest of the beach is private property.
posted by thatquietgirl at 6:44 AM on November 8, 2013

Best answer: Check out the Waterloo and Pinckney State Recreation areas (adjacent to each other); not far from Detroit and it's a large natural area with lakes, cabins, and the Pinckney-Waterloo Trail.
posted by Empidonax at 12:21 AM on November 9, 2013

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