Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. Hit the road for Calhoun County and have fun without breaking the bank.  

Camp at Fort Custer 

Camping is not only a Michigan tradition, it’s a great deal for an overnight stay. As a state park, Fort Custer Recreation Area is super affordable when you have a state recreation passport.  

For a site with a 20-30 amp electrical hook-up, you’ll pay $27. For a 50 amp campsite, it’s $31. 

Besides a campsite, Fort Custer has a beach, bike and hiking trails, fishing docks and boat launches.  

If you bring your mountain bike for Fort Custer, you should also check out The Dump in Marshall, a free community trail with mountain biking challenges. 

Enjoy happy hour 

Griffin Pub and Grill has great deals during happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Pair it with a food special, like $1 chicken tacos on Monday (starting at 4 p.m.). 

Try the brand new New Holland Brewing Co. Happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. You get $2 off select appetizers, cocktails and pints. New Holland brews its own beer and spirits in Battle Creek. 

Torti Taco Bar and Grill has all-day drink specials, depending which day you visit. Monday is half-off mojitos, or try $3 off a glass of wine on Wednesday. Torti is also part of the Social District, which means you can buy a half-off margarita to-go on Friday night and take it to a free downtown event, like Vibe@5 from July 7 to Aug. 11. 

Explore Battle Creek’s offbeat side 

There’s a lot of quirky art to be found around town. Start at the Battle Creek Welcome Center to pick up a guide for the local murals. Thanks to Color the Creek, we have more than 30 murals by artists from all over the country. New ones are added every year during the middle of August. You can see the artists in action! 

While at the Welcome Center, be sure to check out the Cereal History Exhibit. Did you know that the key to making Corn Flakes was discovered by accident? 

More of Dr. Kellogg’s inventions, like a light bulb bath, can be found at the Kellogg Discovery Center in the Historic Adventist Village.  

Near the Welcome Center is a giant portrait of Abraham Lincoln made completely out of pennies. It’s a past ArtPrize winner. The Lincoln Room is also a good place to charge your phones and use the free WiFi from the Giving Cup. 

Fantasy Forest is a not-to-miss roadside attraction. When beetles destroyed ash trees at Leila Arboretum, the grove was turned into an art display. Artists with chainsaws came and carved whimsical sculptures that’s free to the public, along with the rest of the park (if you like disc golf, definitely bring your gear). You’ll see everything from a UFO to a phoenix. 

Find enchantment in Marshall 

Marshall has preserved much of its 1800s architecture, giving the town a storybook feel. In fact, one of the houses inspired author John Bellairs to write the classic children’s book “The House with a Clock in its Walls.” You never know what witches or wizards may live behind the doors. 

See another version of the house at Ketchum Park, where there’s a playground that recreates iconic Marshall buildings. 

While downtown, catch a break from the heat at Bogar Theatre. This small theater only charges $6.50 for adult tickets, or $5 for shows before 6 p.m. Order a popcorn and enjoy fantastical stories on the big screen.