Memorial Day doesn’t have to mean hours stuck in traffic trying to get out of town.
It can also mean a quick 1.5-hour cruise to Warren Dunes State Park in southwest Michigan, where waiting for you is your own private sanctuary.
And casino, if you’re into that sort of thing…
Dune This: Warren Dunes State Park
Feel the warm sand in between your toes while exploring one of nine dune treks in the 2,000-acre preserve overlooking Lake Michigan, or opt for a traditional hand-held stroll along three miles of quiet, gently lapping shoreline.
12032 Red Arrow Hwy., Lake Charter Township (269-426-4013)
Lodge This: Birds of a Feather Lodge
Feel like renting your own hidden private estate in the dunes? Now you can thanks to this secluded but modern two-bedroom cabin-style home located on the quieter north end of the park. Chill in the outdoor deck’s hot tub before walking to the beach for a quick lake jaunt in your very own (included) canoe.
$195 and up per night. 5207 Floral Ln., Bridgeman (312-415-5500)
Eat (and Drink) This: Tabor Hill Winery
Head to the nearby vintner for a casual walking tour of the leafy vineyard and its modern video demonstration cellar. Then head to the adjacent restaurant overlooking the vineyard sunset, where you’ll pair a 2009 Lake Michigan pinot noir with Thai basil frog legs, grilled bison, and sausage or portabella mushroom linguni.
185 Mount Tabor Rd., Buchanan (800-283-3363)
Bet on This: Four Winds Casino
Looking for a little more action? The Native American chic Four Winds Casino has got you covered with high-stakes gambling in your own private VIP lounge. Order from the martini bar and enjoy a free Asian noodle buffet as you earn next year’s trip in earnings while playing blackjack, craps, and baccarat.
1111 Wilson Rd., New Buffalo (269-926-4500)