Americans have a vacation deprivation issue.
American workers left an average of more than four days or 29% of their paid time off on the table last year, but the majority of Americans (64%) say they desperately need a vacation.
To address this issue and encourage Americans to map out their travel plans for the rest of the year, the U.S. travel industry is celebrating National Plan for Vacation Day on Jan. 25 with tips, planning resources, destination ideas and other incentives for Americans to get the most out of their earned time off.
It’s your vacation time: make sure you use it.
- Flash Flood Water Park: In the summer, whoosh down the twists and turns of the outdoor slides.
- Mill Race Park: The kids are going to want to go straight to the play structure, which features towers and slides. The park includes picnic benches.
- Waco Kitchen: Enjoy a panoramic view of the airport while eating lunch. To get to this restaurant, you’ll go past the Waco hangar, where they build and restore biplanes.
- Binder Park Zoo: The zoo is a great place for such animal encounters, whether it’s standing face-to-face with a giraffe or watching the bear siblings wrestle. It also includes a carousel, dino park, a whimsical train ride, nature paths and a large picnic area.
- Battleground Skate Park: Battleground is a converted store space in the mall, with ramps to test skills. If there wasn’t room in your car for a BMX bike, though, don’t worry because the skate park does rentals.
- Torti Taco: Torti Taco is near the zoo and the mall, with a second location coming downtown. The food is fresh and authentic, with a salsa bar. Teenagers (or crazy adults) might want to try the super-hot Torti Burrito Challenge.
- Kids ‘N’ Stuff Museum: Head over to Albion for a hands-on museum. Kids can build, pretend, experiment and create. It’s aimed at preteen ages and younger, but even older siblings can be engaged in playtime. There’s also a room for babies, who might not be able to keep up yet.
Trip For Two
- Cereal History Exhibit: Learn about the history of cereal at the Battle Creek Welcome Center. The exhibit explains how cereal grew from a kitchen fail to a multi-million-dollar business. The Welcome Center is also the best place to buy Battle Creek mementos or to take your picture with Tony the Tiger.
- FireKeepers Casino Hotel: The gaming is hot at FireKeepers, with 70 game tables, a poker room and more than 2,900 slots. What might be even hotter, however, is the food. Six restaurants serve some of the best food in Battle Creek.
- Shopping: There are lots of quirky shops to discover in downtown Marshall. You’ll find specialty stores with outdoor gear, stationary, mandolins, plants, toys, natural dog treats, books and more. If you want one of the famous nut rolls from Louie’s Bakery, make sure to come on a day other than Sunday or Monday, when it’s closed.
- Sage Creek Winery: Stop by Marshall’s Sage Creek Winery and you’ll be treated like family. They have some bold dry wines, but it’s the sweet and semi-sweet wines where Sage Creek really has fun.
- Brunch: If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, then plan your stay around the weekend and go to brunch at Grand River Brewery. It has a free-range Bloody Mary bar along with ricotta pancakes, eggs benedict and poutine for breakfast.
- Marshall Riverwalk: Go for a walk along the river. Marshall has an easy 1.6-mile path that includes paving and a boardwalk. It’s a peaceful stroll no matter the season. Follow the river, and you’ll find Dark Horse Brewing Co., with its famous brews and beer garden.
Escape With Friends
- Albion Malleable Brewing Co.: Malleable serves good food in a chill environment. The burger was voted best in Michigan by Mlive and the Belgian-style beer has won at the Great American Beer Festival.
- Bohm Theatre: Take your gang down the street from Malleable to the Bohm Theatre for a movie or concert. After all, it was a favorite spot for the notorious Purple Gang in the 1930s. The restored movie palace plays the current blockbusters on the weekend.
- Kayaking: The Kalamazoo River is a fairly smooth ride and you’ll see lots of wildlife. Or rent a kayak from Better Together Floats for a paddle on the Battle Creek River.
- Disc Golf: People take their disc golf seriously in Battle Creek, so prepare to be challenged. We recommend Irving Park to start. It’s a nice little green space across from Kellogg Community College and the hospital. Besides the disc golf course, there are walking paths, grills and a Japanese garden. The area is especially beautiful in spring, when trees bloom by the water. For more courses, look up Begg Park, Dexter Lake Church and Leila Arboretum. Territorial Brewing Co. has disc golf and axe throwing.
- Taqueria San Francisco: This Mexican food restaurant is so popular, they have two locations. The OG restaurant is at 691 Capital Ave. S.W. You can’t leave without trying a mangonada. If you’re still not feeling adventurous, there’s a large selection of ice cream, paletas, chocolate-covered bananas, elote...we said they have tacos, too, right?
- Sweetwater’s Donut Mill: Swing by in the morning for something sweet. There’s a specialty doughnut every week, where the bakers flex their creativity. Rice Krispies and marshmallows on top of a doughnut? Yes please. But you can’t go wrong even with a simple glazed doughnut or apple fritter at Sweetwater’s.
- Brunch: If you want a late breakfast indulgence on Sunday, try Kitchen Proper in Battle Creek or Copper Athletic Club in Marshall. Their menus change every month with exciting new options and creative cocktails. For something more traditional, try the buffet at Clara’s on the River. You can have as much bacon and mini waffles as you want.
Golf All Weekend
- Harper Village: A good homebase for three nearby golf courses. Harper Village has quality hotels, shopping and two grocery stores. Close to Binder Park Zoo, a kayak launch, downtown Battle Creek and FireKeepers Casino.
- Binder Park Golf Course: Binder Park is a 27 hole course located in Southwest Michigan among rolling hills, natural ponds and wildlife areas. The well-maintained course winds through tree-lined fairways near Binder Park Zoo.
- The Medalist: With five sets of tees, the award-winning and picturesque golf course can be enjoyed by any golfer. State-of-the-art GPS units on every cart not only give exact yardages but allow golfers to order over 110 food & beverage items that are delivered directly anywhere on the course.
- Cornwell’s Turkeyville: Down the road from Medalist you’ll find this restaurant and theater and store and RV park. The cafeteria serves up all homestyle turkey dinners, from the classic dinner to a grilled cheese with turkey.
- Cedar Creek Golf Club: A local favorite, this is an 18 hole par 72 course that is always in top shape.
- Territorial Brewing Co.: Located at a former golf course, this pub overlooks rolling green hills. Try a craft beer with German-inspired food, or choose a hamburger if you’re not in the mood for schnitzel. Switch up your golf game by playing Territorial’s disc golf course or try the axe throwing.
- Southern Swing: If you have a large group or want someone else to do the vacation planning for you, contact Kelli Beattie, sales coordinator for Southern Swing. Kelli will take the work out of it by offering you the best deals, booking tee times and hotels, and smoothing the way for you to enjoying your time on the greens.