Whitehall: Detroit Mom’s Favorite Michigan Vacation Spots

I love the idea of getting away somewhere that feels far away from home but without the added stress and financial burden of hopping on a plane somewhere or even a really long drive. That’s why I love heading over to the west side of the state during the summer. The clear water and pristine beaches that Lake Michigan offers are some of my favorites.

Just over three hours from Metro Detroit is Whitehall, a little beach town I’ve fallen in love with over the last two years. My family and I had our first trip there in the summer of 2022 and have vowed to go back each year. This town is also located 20 minutes north of Muskegon so between the two places, you have a multitude of options to find sun, sand, food, fun, and a getaway that will feel like you’re much farther from home than you actually are.

Where To Stay

Michillinda Lodge | 5207 Scenic Dr., Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 893-1895
This resort is the reason we fell in love with Whitehall. Located right on the edge of Michigan, you not only have an amazing beach and sand dune view for your stay but everything else you could possibly want all right within the resort. Amenities offered with your stay include a playground, sandbox, heated pool, basketball court, tennis courts, shuffleboard, volleyball, picnic areas, grills, horseshoe, and beach access so you really don’t even need to leave the resort in order to have a great vacation. Don’t even get me started on how beautiful the sunsets are!

I have not personally stayed anywhere else when visiting the area but there are several other options including a bed and breakfast, camping sites, and hotels to fit your family needs, which you can find all right here

Favorite Restaurants

Bone Ends | 604 E Colby St, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 893-3000
This is a small tex-mex BBQ restaurant where you order and take a seat! Perfect for something quick, easy, and yummy. I personally love the tacos here and always get a side of tex n’ mac! Gluten free, dairy free, and vegan menus are available too! 

Brunch House | 3065 Henry St, Muskegon, MI 49441 | (231) 747-6986
We can’t visit Whitehall without making a day trip to Muskegon, and when we do, we always start with brunch at this restaurant. It’s kid-friendly and we have never had anything off the menu that we didn’t absolutely love. A must visit! 

Gary’s Restaurant | 906 E Colby St, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 894-1234
If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast in Whitehall, Gary’s is the place to be! The menu has something for everyone and they are very accommodating to children. The restaurant is a bit small so if you have a party of five or more, you may have a bit of a wait–but it is worth it. 

San Marco’s Mexican Restaurant Bar And Grill | 3001 E Colby St, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 894-2000
This is one of my favorite places because it is large enough to accommodate a large or small party, and the food is great! They have an extensive kids menu available and if you have someone to drive you home, make sure to take a look at the margaritas! 

Favorite Outdoor Activities

Duck Lake State Park | 4733 N Scenic Dr, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 744-3480
I haven’t been able to visit this park yet but it’s on my “must do” list for our next trip. The park has access to Lake Michigan as well as Duck Lake and a large sand dune, too. You can swim, fish, rent a kayak, picnic, and walk the trails.

Michigan’s Adventure | 4750 Whitehall Rd, Muskegon, MI 49445 | (231) 766-9959
A fun family adventure day! This amusement park has a water park, rides, games, arcade, and more! Definitely plan on spending the whole day. Between all that there is to do and the wait times for rides, time flies by. 

Pere Marquette Beach | 3510 Channel Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441 | (231) 724-4100
We love this beautiful beach in Muskegon to enjoy a day at Lake Michigan. Be prepared for crowds and to park and walk. The sand is beautiful, the water is clear, and there is even a playground. 

Favorite Cultural Activity

White River Light Station and Museum | 6199 Murray Rd., Whitehall, MI 4946 | (231) 894-8265
Another spot that is on my to-do list is this museum. This historic lighthouse was built in 1875. You will climb to the top of a spiral staircase and enjoy the view looking out to the water and sand dunes that surround the area. While you’re there, you can also immerse yourself among the 19th and early 20th century photographs and nautical artifacts that this museum houses.

Favorite Place for Sweet Treats

Dairy Treat | 209 E Colby St, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 894-0223
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some unique and tasty ice cream flavor options. They use local dairy for their treats!

Favorite Date Night Spots

The Deck | 1601 Beach St, Muskegon, MI 49441 | (231) 755-5022
A unique BBQ restaurant located right on Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon. It offers good food and a fun atmosphere. The top deck is a full service area and the below deck is first come first serve. Grab a drink, order some food at the take-out window, and seat yourself! Don’t forget to try out their swings and enjoy some live music in the evenings, too! 

Mylan’s Waterfront Grille | 115 N Mears Ave, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 894-0946
With upscale food and beautiful views, this is the spot for a romantic date night! Located right in downtown Whitehall, you could have a nice evening stroll around town and visit some shops to finish off the night. 

Favorite Place for an Adult Beverage

Fetch Brewing Company | 100 W Colby St, Whitehall, MI 49461 | (231) 292-1048
This brewery is located right in downtown Whitehall and has a great and fun atmosphere. Grab a drink and some snacks and enjoy the energy that downtown has to offer. You can even take a stroll around town with your beverage in their social district. Be sure to check out the rules and guidelines for the social district here!   

Bonus Tips to Whitehall

  • Check out the Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail for biking.
  • Visit the downtown area shops for some cute souvenirs.
  • If you stay at Michillinda, make sure to stop at the White Duck Country Market for anything you need!

What’s your favorite Michigan vacation spot? Check out our previous spot: Silver Lake Sand Dunes!


  1. Hi, Natasha — I’m Chris…a non-parent, but a Novi resident and (up until around 2012) an annual visitor to Michillinda, dating all the way back to when MY mom started going there in the 1950s.

    I’m glad you found the place so inviting. Perhaps (?) you’re aware of the fire in December in 2012 that destroyed the Main Lodge. Absent that, my only returns to Michillinda have been periodic poppings-in when I’m in Muskegon to visit my former college roommate and his wife.

    If you’re ever interested in getting a brief rundown on the history of the place, I’d be happy to chat with you.

    Here’s a link to the news story after the fire…which positively broke my heart.

    Have an enjoyable summer…hope you’re able to get back to Michillinda THIS year, too.



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