Bavarian Inn Lodge
This lodge in Frankenmuth is unlike any we’ve stayed in before. Just like the city in which it is located, the Bavarian Inn possesses an utterly charming Bavarian theme. The sprawling lodge has 360 European-themed rooms, an indoor waterpark, four indoor pools (including an adult-only pool), and three whirlpools. There is an 18-hole indoor miniature golf course and the largest hotel family fun center in the Midwest with over 160 video and redemption games. You and your kids won’t be bored.
The lodge was bought and remodeled in 1950 by William Zehnder Jr. and his wife Dorothy, who, at 96, works in Zehnder’s Bakery across the street from the hotel. Almost 70 years later, the lodge is still owned and run by three generations of Zehnders, giving this massive place a locally owned, familial feel.
One of the coolest aspects of staying at the Bavarian Inn is crossing Michigan’s largest covered wooden bridge to get to it, which helps transport your mind into vacation mode. It really does feel like you’ve left the United States and traveled to Germany. Within walking distance from the lodge are the Frankenmuth River Place Shops, an authentic re-creation of a Bavarian village, and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, which features a 51-year-old Glockenspiel that was imported from Germany and houses a magnificent 35 bell carillon and figurines telling the story of the Pied Piper every hour.
Bavarian Inn Lodge
One Covered Bridge Lane
Frankenmuth, Michigan 48734
In previous posts you read why Mackinac Island is a must-visit spot in Michigan, but where should you stay? There are no bad options on the island, but our favorite is certainly the Grand Hotel. As you cross Lake Huron and approach the island by ferry, the first thing you’ll notice is the Grand Hotel’s front porch—the world’s largest at 660 feet. This massive 332,500-square-foot hotel houses more than 150,000 overnight guests every season.
If you think the hotel looks swanky, then you’re absolutely right, but don’t let this deter you from staying here (although, there is a dress code for the evening hours). Five U.S. presidents have visited, as well as many other distinguished guests, such as Rosemary Clooney, Mark Twain, Robert De Niro, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If you’d like to tour the hotel but aren’t staying the night, you’re can do with a $10 admission fee. If you’d like to enjoy a nice dinner in the main dining room, that will set you back about $80.
On their large front lawn, you can enjoy pickleball, croquet, and bocce ball, just like your grandparents used to play. The pool, which holds 500,000 gallons of water, has plenty of space for all the guests, and their award-winning 18-hole golf course is also a must. At dinner you’ll enjoy the sounds of the Grand Hotel Orchestra, and yes, you’re allowed to dance. Everything from the porch to the lobby to the rooms and the grounds are meticulously maintained and beautiful. It truly does feel like you’ve stepped into the past.
286 Grand Ave.
Mackinac Island, Michigan 49757