On Labor Day weekend, 2020, five girls and I made our way to Muskegon from Chicago for a three day weekend. During our trip, we experienced summer activities and some incredible bonding moments that made this very unprecedented year, a little more ordinary.
If you are looking for a quick getaway with your friends and need some additional options outside of the cool cities and small-town guide, check out this three day itinerary to Muskegon, Michigan.
Girl’s Trip to Muskegon, Michigan
While planning for our trip, we had a few requirements, in addition to the heath and safety precautions we have all taken since the start of the pandemic. Those included:
- Airbnb rental price.
- Driving Distance from Chicago—3hrs or less.
- Things to do in and around the town.
After reviewing our list, we discovered that Muskegon, Michigan had all of the things we were looking for, plus more. Muskegon, Michigan, is known for its sandy shoreline, outdoor water sports, and inland activities ultimately making it the best place for our weekend girl’s getaway.
Day One: Settling in and Turning Up
On day one of our six-person road trip, we gathered early on Friday morning for a three hour trek North to Muskegon, Michigan. Upon arrival, we found ourselves a secluded Airbnb nestled on a hill in a very woodsy area. The beautiful 3 story Lakefront home Complete with an arrangement that could comfortably fit six people, a full kitchen, and access to a secluded beach—a big highlight.
After we settled in to our home for the weekend, a few of us went to the store to grab groceries for the weekend: snacks, alcohol, the essentials.
We decided that night one would be grounded in getting to know each other better for this girl’s trip. The six of us had one friend who was the glue to the entire group. Outside of activities planned by her, we rarely spent time with each other. Because of this, we decided that Friday night would be our time to stay at the house to cook and get to know each other better. That evening was just that! We danced together, played games, together and created a deeper bond.
After dinner, we made our way to our private beach for a night swim—we lived our best lives that night.
Day TWO: Horse Back Riding and Sunflower Fields
Saturday was our first day exploring Muskegon, but we couldn’t start out our big day on an empty stomach. A few of us gathered around the kitchen to prepare a fantastic feast. Our brunch was fabulous! The menu featured breakfast cocktails with fluffy pancakes, a hearty bowl of eggs, savory sausage links, and a bowl of fresh, ripe watermelon.
After brunch, we set out for our big day out. While planning for our trip, we wanted to make sure that we not only got away from Chicago but really enjoyed activities that you could only find in a small town or at least in a suburb outside of Chicago. These activities for our trip included horseback riding and visiting a farm. We ventured 25 miles north to a nearby city of New Era for these fun things to do.
Our first stop that morning was Lewis Farms, a family-friendly outdoor farm and zoo with plenty of things to do for kids of all ages. Since it was too early in the season to go apple picking, we decided to take advantage of the farm’s annual sunflower field.
It was absolutely beautiful! Large sunflowers standing six feet or even taller in various shades and sizes covered rows and rich land rows. The sunflower field was the perfect place to take photos, so we made sure to take full advantage. Once we finished galavanting the sunflower field, we grabbed our own blooms for the road before heading back to the farm.
We had a few minutes to spare before our horseback ride, so we made our way to the gift shop and restaurant at the farm for a quick nosh. At the shop, you can find anything of your heart’s desire from fresh preserves and sauces to giant apple fritters and donuts, and believe me, we found some favorites that day.
After our trip to the farm, we were fortunate that we didn’t have to go far for a horseback ride located just five miles down the road. We arrived at Stoney.
Stony Lakes Stable is a family-owned horseback riding in Michigan. The stable is a simple equestrian center with straightforward rules. We had a few riders who were first-timers and some who were more experienced, We were each paired with horses that match our individual riding levels.
My horse for our 1.5 hour ride was Tonto. A sweet horse with an independent spirit like myself. The six of us hopped on our horses, Led the pack for our group, and headed through the countryside of New Era, Michigan. The horseback experience was great. It was a fantastic way to end the afternoon.
Day Three: Sunday Funday in Downtown mUSKEGON
For our final day in Muskegon, Michigan, we made our way to downtown Muskegon for a ‘Sunday Funday.’ Downtown Muskegon is a small but a mighty block of shops, restaurants, and bars full of local residents.
Our first stop that day was Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, a local brewery with a fantastic taproom and various beers brewed on-site. We found a great table outside of the brewery’s extended patio for our afternoon drinking at Pigeon Hill.
Most of us are novice beer drinkers but found some delicious options that we could all enjoy thanks to the helpful staff at Pigeon Hill. We all opted for a flight of beers for our first round, which was the perfect way to sample Pigeon Hill’s incredible variety of beers on tap. As a non-beer drinker, I was pleased with each of my beer choices, and would definitely pick up a 6-pack of these brews from my local grocery store.
After our first round of drinks, we each order a few more cocktails, food from next door, and played a some drinking games to keep things interesting. After we finished up our drinks at Pigeon Hill, we made our way down the commerical strip to discover our next ‘Sunday Funday’ outing.
As we walked through the downtown area, we randomly came across an outdoor patio at a relatively new hotel. We were quickly welcomed by locals and enjoyed an evening of drinks and dancing with a fantastic group of people who looked just like us.
After several rounds of drinks, photo ops, and shout outs to “Chicago’s finest,” we left the party to make our final stop of the evening—dinner on the harbor.
For dinner, we went to the Lakehouse, a high-end seafood restaurant also located downtown. Unfortunately, the rain that was predicted throughout the day finally landed, and we were forced to dine indoors. Regardless, we had an incredible dining experience filled with succulent seafood pasta dishes, steaks, and crab cakes. After a long day of drinking and dining, we made our way back to our weekend retreat and retired early for the night.
Girls Weekend to Muskegon, MICHIGAN
On Monday morning, we packed our bags and headed down our private beach for one last hooray. While at the beach, we reflected on our time together in Muskegon, Michigan. That weekend, we created many memories during that short time that will be remembered for the rest of our long lives.
This girls’ trip was the perfect way to close out the summer. We’ve all experienced things this year that we could’ve never imagined, from highs to lows. As we go into the colder months and even more uncertain times when we can travel again, we know that we can look back on Muskegon, Michigan, and reflect on the time we spent in this small town, away from the big city, fondly.