I need a vacation - but where?!
November 7, 2016 5:40 AM   Subscribe

complicating factors: no passport, don't deal with planes well, never vacationed before.

Vacations in my family usually involved a 2-3 hour trip to a lakeside cabin for a weekend. A lake that was too cold to swim in 99% of the time. I'm sure it was great for my parents, but every time we went there I managed to rip one of my toenails off - so you can imagine they're not my fondest memories.

My birthday is next month and I'd like to do something a little, but not overwhelmingly, self indulgent. I'm pretty much open to anywhere that has a pool and is warm enough to go swimming in December.

I'm happy to drive or fly to my destination, although I'd be much happier if the plane ride was under 90 minutes from DTW.

Budget is $400 or so. Weekend trip.
posted by INFJ to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Which of your preferences are you most willing to compromise on? It's tough to fly from Detroit to anywhere warm enough to swim in December in 90 minutes, unless it's an indoor pool, which you can surely find in Detroit. $400 is a tight budget for a vacation involving a flight to a warm place in December, especially if you're arranging it on short notice. Driving would make it easier, but you're not driving from Detroit to somewhere warm, and back, inside of a weekend.

This isn't to say that you can't have a fun, indulgent time on a quick December trip. It just probably won't look like what you're currently imagining.
posted by jon1270 at 6:04 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Kalahari resort in Sandusky Ohio. Large indoor waterpark, bars, and restaurants all under one roof.
posted by COD at 6:08 AM on November 7, 2016

I'm flexible. So long as wherever I'm staying has an indoor or heated outdoor pool - I'm good. I love swimming, it's my number one way to relax. So long as I can swim, I'm not picky.

Stuff like COD's suggestion sounds right up my alley.
posted by INFJ at 6:19 AM on November 7, 2016

Drive up to Frankenmouth. There is a water park. And fun places to browse including a huge Christmas shop. Also that all you can eat chicken place. I can't think of the name.
posted by Ftsqg at 6:29 AM on November 7, 2016

I've known folks who've gotten GREAT deals on Groupon Getaways. A lot of them are vacation packages that come with some other fun perks, so that might be good if you've never planned a vacation before. And because you're going in December, there's probably a ton of off-season deals going on.

Some of them have a "you have to listen to our time share spiel" caveat (Florida ones are notorious for this) but there's no obligation to buy anything, and you still get a pretty sweet vacation out of it.

Heck, there's even a Groupon Getaway for Kalahari Resort right now if you were really feeling COD's suggestion.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:31 AM on November 7, 2016

How are you with trains? Amtrak to Chicago is about $180 round trip (though can be as low as $74 depending on dates) and 4.5 hours, but you can get up and walk around, and the ride is really part of the trip. Bring a book and a snack, and expect delays! Once there, you're right downtown, within easy walking distance of a zillion things, cab distance of a zillion more, and hotels with pools and spas. My other suggestion is a short drive to Ann Arbor — look at performances (Blind Pig, The Ark, U-M) or other events in town, and if anything really grabs your interest, build a vacation around that.
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 8:02 AM on November 7, 2016

Oh! And I want to recommend a Michigan enhanced driver's license instead of a passport. It costs $45 and only takes 2-3 weeks to arrive. That would then open up the possibility of a Canadian trip.
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 8:35 AM on November 7, 2016

Starved Rock State Park in Illinois is probably a little farther than you want to go (about 5 hours by car), but it'd fit your budget in December and the lodge has a nice heated indoor pool. The park is GREAT in the off-season, with excellent bald eagle watching and great hiking (from very easy to very strenuous) and photogenic icefalls and so on.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:52 PM on November 7, 2016

I don't know Michigan well en ough, but Great Wolf Lodge has a location and may fit the bill.
posted by TravellingCari at 10:49 AM on November 8, 2016

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