RECOMMENDED: Make plans for Memorial Day weekend in Chicago
South Haven, Michigan
Good for Beach bumming
Distance 63 miles, 1.25 hours
Keep your fingers crossed for summer weather over the holiday weekend, bring your ragged copy of Brooklyn and park it on the sand in South Haven, Michigan. The beach spans for miles, the sand is silky smooth and the hotels are positioned practically waterside. Load up on the local cuisine—blueberries and perch—and then retreat to the tchotchke-laden Hotel Nichols(201 Center St, South Haven, MI, 269-637-8725) to catch some z’s (rooms start at $120).
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Good for Hitting the greens
Distance 82 miles, 1.5 hours
Show off your golfing prowess at one of two 18-hole courses at Wisconsin’s resorty Grand Geneva(7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI, 262-248-8811). Spend the night (rooms start at $139) and enjoy two free rounds plus a 30-percent discount on a spa treatment to pamper your post-game aching bod. If the hotel’s horseback riding and tennis courts don’t sway you away from the green, sign up for a full day of playing for a discounted rate of $124 on Sunday. Did we mention the GPS-equipped golf carts?
Harbor Country, Michigan
Good for Vintage furniture shopping and fine wining
Distance about 95 miles, 1.75 hours
The Midwest’s answer to Martha’s Vineyard, the heavily wooded, occasionally swampy Harbor Country, Michigan, boasts serene beaches and verdant farms. And just in case the weather isn’t quite beach-ready, you can’t go wrong with hitting up the area’s many fab vintage home-decor shops. Standouts include Ipso Facto (1 W Ash St, Three Oaks, MI, 269-756-3404) in Three Oaks, which features a well-edited yet eclectic mix of mid-century, 1970s, mod, Americana, Scandinavian modern and industrial furnishings. Elsewhere in the area, the officially designated Lake Michigan Shore wine trail includes 12 wineries and tasting rooms. Depending on your preference for cab franc versus sauvignon blanc (or how far north you feel like hauling), select four or five spots to try. Looking to stay close? Head to the cluster of spots surrounding Round Barn Winery(10983 Hills Rd, Baroda, MI, 800-716-9463), where you can sample brandy, vodka, wine and beer. Then retire to the Lake Country Inn(18 W Merchant St, New Buffalo, 269-612-0606) in nearby New Buffalo for some B&B charm (rooms start at $118).
Good for Spa-ing (with beer)
Distance 145 miles, 2.25 hours
Here are two reasons to visit Kohler, Wisconsin, over Memorial Day weekend: its Festival of Beer and, of course, the Kohler Waters Spa(501 Highland Dr, Kohler, WI, 920-457-7777). Fest highlights include Saturday’s Cheers to Beers grand tasting, where you’ll find dozens of micro- and craftbrewers around the Kohler Design Center and an Eggs & Kegs buffet on Sunday morning. Book a room at the spa’s Carriage House (800-344-2838; rooms start at around $300) and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the action.