Cozy cabin? Check. Corn maze? Check. Craft beer? Check. Feed a mini horse? Also, check. Cadillac, Michigan provided us with a weekend of classic fall favorites, with a few fun surprises. Follow our itinerary for a lovely weekend getaway to enjoy some of Michigan’s best fall activities.
Day 1: Friday
Cozy Stay at Mackinaw Timbers Cabins
Since we’re from Ohio (don’t shoot, we come in peace!), we left Friday morning and arrived about 4pm. We checked in and got settled in our cozy cabin for the weekend with Mackinaw Timbers Cabins.
We were happy to have a private tour with the owner to get a feel for the place. The cabins date back to the 1940s from the days of Michigan logging. The new owners have renovated the cabins and they have a nice rustic, vintage feel.
They are clean and comfortable, but not so upscale I felt bad lugging my muddy boots in after a day of adventuring. Our cabin had everything we would need to shower, sleep and cook.
Each cabin is tastefully decorated with antique decor, kitchenware, pictures, and even old-timey board games. We love cribbage, so we sipped some wine and enjoyed a game later in the evening. It was a very nice touch!
Cabin prices range from $90 to $190 per night. There is a fire pit as well and for $4 you can get your own wood. The weather was rainy most of the time we were there so we didn’t get to enjoy the firepit, but it would have added to the ambiance.
Dinner at Lakeside Charlie’s
After settling in, we went to dinner at Lakeside Charlie’s, which was a recommendation from the cabin owner. It was on the water and felt like a cozy pub. Everything we had was delicious, and it was obvious they have a good chef and a well-balanced menu. I had the chicken with mushroom sauce and fresh vegetables. Jared got the fish and chips.
My meal was the best meal I had all weekend. Everything was cooked perfectly, and the flavors were wonderful. We each got a glass of their house red wine, which was good, and inexpensive.
Skeggox Axe Throwing
We have never tried axe throwing so we were excited to check out Skeggox Axe Throwing. When we arrived, we had the place to ourselves so we appreciated the extra one-on-one instruction and attention as we were getting the hang of things. Later in the evening, more people arrived so we could, you know, show off our new skills.
It was a lot of fun! There are different types of axes to throw, and different ways to throw them. We tried a few different axes and throwing styles until we each found our own groove.
You’re allowed to bring in your own booze and snacks, which is a nice perk. Prices are half-hour lanes for $15, one-hour lanes for $25, and two-hour lanes for $45.
Day 2: Saturday
Breakfast at Blue Heron Cafe
We started our day by going to Blue Heron Cafe for breakfast. They had a full breakfast menu, but also a case of donuts and pastries. Before we even sat down, Jared was ordering a donut to go with his coffee.
I had the zucchini frittata and Jared had the farmer’s omelet. The zucchini frittata hit the spot and the hashbrowns were scrumptious.
Fall Fun at Dick Family Farm
We spent the morning at Dick Family Farm, which turns out was one of our favorite parts of the entire weekend.
The farm sells food including popcorn, roasted almonds, drinks, donuts, ice cream, and cider. Since it was a chilly day, we opted for some hot cider.
You can pay for the following activities: u-pick pumpkins, corn maze, apple launcher, duck race, and animal feed. We have never done a corn maze (shocking, I know, since we’re from Ohio), so we really wanted to try one.
The Michigan-Shaped Corn Maze
The corn maze was very clever and not only challenged my sense of direction but also my geography. The maze was in the shape of the state of Michigan, and there were eight “cities” you could go to. When you find one, you hole punch your card.
The goal is to get all eight cities (and also get out alive). We were able to find all eight! And by “we” I mean my husband, and by my husband, I mean he definitely asked other people for help. Either way, we did and lived to tell the tale. I also thought the bridge from “Mackinaw City” to the “Upper Peninsula” was clever and adorable.
Free activities include a petting zoo, haybale mountain, nature playscape, basketball arcade, corn pit, photo-op boards, interactive educational displays, and yard games.
The Petting Zoo
We played a little basketball and enjoyed the crown jewel of the farm which was the petting zoo.
There are mini horses. Seriously. Mini horses! If you haven’t seen NBC’s Parks and Recreation, you may not get this reference but I’ve always wanted to pet a “Lil Sebastian” and see what the fuss is about mini horses. They are amazing.
Feeding the animals was so much fun and a reminder to eat vegan. I know it’s hard to tell by the pictures of us smiling ear to ear, but we really loved the animals.
Thrift Shopping at Salvation Army
We have a tradition of visiting thrift or secondhand stores in any city we visit. Not only are they a great deal and good for the environment, but you also get a flavor for the community by what sorts of things end up in a thrift store.
We stopped by the Salvation Army on Wright St., which is close to the main downtown area. Lots of clothing, jewelry, and household goods. Jared even tried on some jackets!
Lunch at Burke’s Waterfront
We went to Burke’s Waterfront for lunch. The restaurant is right on the water, which is why we chose it.
They had a lot of Mexican options so I had the fajitas and Jared go the special of the day: a wet burrito. Sitting by the water while we ate was really nice, even if the weather wasn’t so great. We love any opportunity to be up close and personal with nature, so a restaurant on the water is the best.
The service was also good and it was very busy when we were there. It felt like it was a real local favorite.
Cadillac Craft Beer Festival
We were excited to try some of Michigan’s best beers at the Cadillac’s Craft Beer Festival. Although this happens only once a year, it gave us an idea of what local beers we might try if we visit on a non-festival weekend.
Both of our favorite beers were from Cheboygan Brewing Company. The blueberry cream ale and blackberry blonde ale were just so flavorful and you could taste the berries very distinctively.
My second-favorite beer was made by Short’s Brewing Company. It was called the Pure Michigan Autumn IPA and used only ingredients from Michigan. I liked the taste and the name, as I thought it was clever.
Grand Traverse Brewing had a single-barrel 100% rye whiskey to try that we both loved. We learned from the owner that they provide visitors with tours every day, so we want to get up there to check that out in the future.
We sampled a lot more beer, mead, and even spirits. There was also one coffee vendor, Chunky Bear Coffee Roasters, that made boozy coffee drinks. That was very good and kept us warm after being outside in the rain.
There were a few food trucks, as well as shopping vendors and live music. We sat and enjoyed some of the live music, which was very good.
The cost for general admission tickets is $29 ($35 at the door) and includes five 5 oz pours, music, and games.
Dinner at Clam Lake Beer Company
After the festival, we went to Clam Lake Beer Company for dinner. It was packed with the festival going on, so we took a spot at the bar. To be honest, I love sitting at the bar because I feel I always get better service and I get to be in on the action.
I had the cauliflower crust pizza and Jared got the black bean burger. He loved the burger, which came with onion rings. The pizza was good, but the black bean burger was even better. We are both suckers for onion rings (well, any fried food!) and they were fresh and tasty.
Other Evening Activities in Cadillac
Another evening option is to enjoy the Cadillac Social District. District hours are 10 am to 12 am. That gives you plenty of time to grab a drink from a participating establishment to do some strolling and shopping within the district.
We had really had our fill of drinks from the beer festival and Clam Lake. So we opted for no more drinks but did enjoy walking around.
There is also a new trail being constructed in Cadillac called White Pine Trailhead. Even though it was still being constructed while we were there, it looks very promising. It is reported to be the longest rail-to-train linear state park, connecting Grand Rapids to Cadillac.
Day 3: Sunday
Breakfast at After 26 Depot
After checking out of our cabin, we headed to After 26 Depot for breakfast. This was our favorite breakfast place because of the amazing work that they do. It was nice to enjoy a good breakfast and know we were supporting a great cause.
It’s a non-profit restaurant that exists to support the community of adults with developmental disabilities and cognitive impairment. The reason it’s called “after 26” is because after the age of 26, adults in Michigan with these disabilities age out of the system.
With no more state services, many of these individuals have a void in their life without a meaningful job or connections to the community they live in. This restaurant hires these individuals and provides them with a job, and interaction with the public. It’s an amazing concept for a restaurant that not only serves the people who work there but the community.
If you have a chance to support this restaurant, I would highly recommend it. Also, the food was great! I had a veggie hash with eggs and a side of fruit. The restaurant is also right by the water so you can enjoy breakfast and a view.
Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center
I’m not a fisher or a hunter, so I wasn’t sure what I’d think about visiting the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center. Even though I’m not a fisher or hunter, I do love museum exhibits. There was a wing all about fishing and a wing all about hunting.
In the fishing wing, I read about ice fishing and wondered if I would ever be brave enough to sit in an ice fishing shanty for long, frigid hours while waiting for a single fish to bite. I think the answer is no, but I admire those who can do it!
The hunting wing had plenty of things to look at, touch, and listen to. There were sounds of wild turkeys, various furs to pet, and a nice assortment of animal droppings to look at. I learned that my dog’s droppings look exactly the same as a red fox. (Learn something new every day!)
The staff is very friendly, and you can tell they enjoy talking to visitors. The wall of notes from satisfied students on a field trip was just as interesting to me as the exhibit. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a second-grader.
Heritage Nature Trail
Right by the Carl T. Johnson Center, we took a nice hike on the Heritage Nature Trail. The hike goes through a forest, and there are a few observation platforms to view the water and wildlife. It was a nice morning walk that didn’t require hiking boots.
Easy, flat terrain and an opportunity to breathe some fresh air.
Michigan Coffee Company
After the museum and hike, we stopped by Michigan Coffee Company for a mid-morning coffee break. They had an assortment of fall drinks so I went for the Mackinac Fall Latte which had English toffee and almond flavors. It was the right mix for fall!
We headed back to Ohio after a nice fall weekend in Cadillac. Our boots were wet and muddy, which is always the sign of a good trip in my book.
For even more fall travel inspiration in Cadillac, Michigan, check out:
30+ Favorite Family-Friendly Things to Do in Cadillac Michigan This Fall
Hit the Links & Enjoy Some Drinks This Fall in Cadillac Michigan