Mackinac in early November, or where should we go?

My husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in November and have been talking about a weekend getaway. Right now we’re looking at driving up to Mackinac City, looking around, spending the night, and then coming back home through Frankenmuth. What’s still open around Mackinac that we can visit at this time of year? Is it worth going, or should we wait to go till the ferries are running again so we can visit the island?

We’re not completely committed to the idea, so I’m also interested in hearing from Dopers about other good places for a weekend getaway. It has to be (a) not too expensive and (b) within a six-hour drive from our house (Fort Wayne, IN area).
Water views are a plus, fine dining isn’t a priority but a decent (doesn’t have to be luxurious but does have to be clean and comfortable) hotel room is.

Opinions, experiences?

What do you like to do?

Mackinac City isn’t all that great. It’s, well, a tiny semi-touristy city. Traverse City is more interesting IMO - you could spend the night there and explore the Leelanau & Mission Peninsulas during the day. If you’re a wine drinker this is especially nice, there’s bunches of wineries you can stop at. Even if you’re not, the scenery is pretty.

If it weren’t November, I’d suggest Mackinac Island. There’s a chance the ferries will still be running - Arnold Transit goes late into the fall - and if it’s a nice weekend you could get lucky and spend a day on the island.

November’s just a weird time in this part of the world. In general, it’s cold and cloudy, and no snow, so skiing/snowshoeing/etc is out. But there’s always a chance of it being really nice - I remember Thanksgivings that are beautiful, weather-wise. And we’ve had a glorious October.

Charlevoix is one of my favorite northern Mich towns. Not sure about hotels there, but plenty of fall foliage, Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix, light houses, and a quaint town to roam around. We stayed at a really nice Log Cabin we rented for about 10 days there. I do recommend it.

Heh! Good luck!

Went up there for the first time last month. Things were already starting to shut down.

The impression I took away from it… there’s a reason they call it fudge island, and it has nothing to do with the 17 fudge shops there… heh!

I was hoping for no snow, so no travel difficulties. And some of my best memories are of cold gray days on Manitoulin Island walking along the beach at Providence Bay with the wind in my face, so I’m not worried about cold and gray. I’m not a fan of crowds, so off-season is a good thing. If Manitoulin weren’t such a long drive, I’d be headed there.

I’ll look at Traverse City and Charlevoix, thanks! Keep the ideas coming; I’m open to other things. I really just want to get away and don’t care a whole lot where it is; even though cities weren’t my first thought I’m even considering a weekend in Chicago, Columbus, or Indianapolis. Just to get out of town!

I second Traverse City. Stuff to do around there in both summer and winter, so things will still be open. It’s on the water, and as mentioned, the wineries around there are a nice bonus if you like wine. Plenty of hotels in the area as well.

I would not suggest Mackinac City or Island this late in the year.

Some of my other favorite towns in MI are Grand Haven and South Haven, both on the west coast, both great little-ish river mouth towns. Grand Haven especially gets really busy in the summer, but an excellent riverside-to-lake and lighthouse boardwalk and downtown area. South Haven is a little smaller, but also charming.

If you are looking for something a little more urban, about 40 minutes directly west of Grand Haven is Grand Rapids, which has lots of things to do. If you like museums, they have a rather nice public museum, an art museum, and the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, all within a few blocks of each other.