Why Glamping with Friends in Michigan for $200 Was Worth It

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I don’t love winters, but come summer, I'm proud to be a Midwest girl. I chose not to schedule any major trips this summer since the weather is beautiful and I've done little to explore my own region despite living in the Chicagoland area my entire life.

So I did something new and searched for “tipi glamping experiences” for the summer. To my surprise, I found a tipi campsite just two hours away.

Two friends joined me for a weekend road trip to the St. Joseph, Michigan, area and it was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time. This is why I think southwest Michigan is worth exploring with friends in the summer.

Small-Town Vibes

St. Joseph is a city with a population of less than 10,000. It's nostalgic and lends those small-town vibes. As someone who's accustomed to seeing the hustle and bustle of the city, St. Joseph was a welcome change of pace.

The girls and I were able to check out a cute coffee shop in the morning as well as some vintage shops. The downtown area was a lot busier and rambling with tourists, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. We found some of the best homemade fudge shops, candle stores, and boutique clothing stores. Window shopping while sipping on a refreshing drink from one of the little cafés was just as satisfying.

We headed to the beach during our trip and the water was beautiful. It wasn't too crowded and as an added bonus, there were historic lighthouses to explore right on the Benton Harbor beach. It was easy to pretend I was in Maine right off the Atlantic Ocean. A girl can dream, right?

The campsite also came with an outdoor shower, grill, and fire pit. The host also showed us where the generator was so we could turn on the air conditioning at night to cool off. Inside, the tipi had a comfortable full-size air mattress, battery, and solar-powered lamps, along with plenty of seating and supplies.

At $150 per night split among three friends, this was a steal.

The area my friends and I stayed in is well-known for its beaches, boating, and vineyards. Our visit was short, so we weren't able to indulge in boating. However, we did manage a visit to Vineyard 2121, where I invested $15 on a wine tasting.

I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay in southwest Michigan. If you're ever driving through the Midwest and want to experience a different type of camping adventure or explore some clearwater beaches, I highly recommend St. Joseph.

Beaches and Lighthouses

Michigan is such a unique state in that it's almost completely surrounded by a lake except for one side. This means the area’s beaches are plentiful and as beautiful as an ocean beach. As much as I enjoy going to the Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago, they are few and tend to become crowded.

Glamping Near the Lake

Of course, the highlight of our weekend trip was glamping in a tipi near the lake. The tipi was huge; it had its own campsite, along with a camper stocked with a stove, sink, and other supplies. The host met us when we arrived and gave us the grand tour, explaining how everything worked.

Food and Entertainment in Michigan

If you're on a budget, St. Joseph is perfect for free activities such as scenic bike rides, hiking, and recreational activities at the beach.

A Frugal Day Trip or Fun Camping Weekend Idea

After splitting the cost of the glamping tipi, buying a few shirts and souvenirs at the discount gift shop, and trying out a few local restaurants, I spent around $200.

Read our other stories in our Travelpalooza series.

Tags: Family

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Written By

Chonce Maddox

Choncé is a CFEI and freelance writer from the Midwest who loves to encourage open discussions about personal finance with her writing. See Full Bio

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