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Pack Your Bags — ‘That Michigan Guy’ Just Created Your Perfect Michigan Summer Itinerary 

From cute beach towns to remote adventures, Ryan Redoute will have you exploring the Mitten from wrist to ring finger

Sarah Bricker Hunt

Ryan Redoute’s Michigan travel content could be considered the real-deal counterpart to the Pure Michigan campaign. Instead of billboard-sized images of iconic Great Lakes States imagery advertised along the freeway, it’s Redoute on his podcast or social media, dishing on hidden gems in quaint Lake Michigan and Huron beach towns or delivering a charming dissertation on the uniqueness of Michigan lingo. If Pure Michigan is the corporate owner who flies in once a month to discuss the quarterly reports, Redoute is that guy in the break room telling you about his latest weekend escapades — and you’re taking notes.

Ryan Redoute Headshot

Actually, he’s “That Michigan Guy” on social media, though he was “that guy in Chicago” for a hot minute several years ago, when he relocated to pursue a career in marketing before the siren call of Vernors and boys who say “Geez-o-Pete” lured him back to his home state — hopefully for good. If Michigan could bottle what Redoute is selling, we’d have to close the border.

Redoute effortlessly channels the Michigan vibe just by existing as his unapologetically queer, authentic self on Instagram, TikTok and especially on his popular “In Michigan!” podcast, where he shares stories and quizzes guests about why this state is the way that it is. Like Michigan itself, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he really wants you to romp all over her lovely beaches and dramatic landscapes. “Why do I love Michigan?” he responds incredulously to an uninspired question. “Girl. What’s not to love!?”

Redoute was more than happy — he was downright exuberant, in fact — to share his tips for creating an unforgettable Michigan summer travel itinerary. “I think if you get to these places this year,  you will look back on your summer and think, ‘I had a great time,’” he tells Pride Source.

Memorial Day Weekend Getaway: Northwest Michigan



Redoute views Memorial Day weekend as the perfect opportunity for a big family or friends get-together. “Just get a lake house from Airbnb or Vrbo, so you can enjoy the great indoors. It’s Michigan so it could maybe be warm… but it could also not be warm,” he advises. Think wineries in Traverse City, fishing in Bellaire, hiking in Glen Arbor or biking through Harbor Springs: active, but relaxed. As he does for every Michigan travel spot he recommends, Redoute encourages visitors to seek out quirky natives who are deeply in love with the Mitten, lake-sized potholes and all.

Midsummer Retreat: Frankfort

“People always think I’m going to Germany when I say I’m headed to Frankfort for the weekend,” Redoute says, laughing. “But no — you have to go to Frankenmuth for that Bavarian theme.” Frankfort, Michigan is a quintessential mid-coast Lake Michigan beach town that isn’t yet overrun with tourists. Expect ice cream and tourist shops and a “huge” beach. “If you want a beach where you’ll never have trouble finding a spot, head to Frankfort,” Redoute recommends. He finds Frankfort is a good midsummer destination — it’s a time of year when the temperature can be quite hot, but when Lake Michigan is still very cool. “It’s good to have a lake to cool off in,” he notes.

Frankfort is also situated in a good spot for visiting nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes. “But pay attention to the warning signs,” Redoute cautions — no one wants to pay that $10,000 fee for a rescue because they can’t hack the climb back up. 

Charming Escape: Saugatuck and South Haven Combo

“Saugatuck, everywhere you look, is this Instagrammable, cute Michigan town,” Redoute says. “And I love that it’s a bit of queer energy mixed with family energy. It’s queer. It’s family-friendly — a perfect little town with cute stores.” Redoute suggests going in late July to early August to get the most from the beach scene (don’t miss Oval Beach) and staying in downtown Saugatuck as a family or making it a couple’s trip. He loves to visit with his husband for romantic getaways.

Compared with Saugatuck, nearby South Haven is a bit more hectic (in a good way), so Redoute suggests establishing a home base in Saugatuck and taking the 20-minute drive down to South Haven for a day. “Visit the famous red pier, take a morning jog on the beach, get some good food — it’s a very fun combo trip to tie these two towns together.” 

Nature’s Retreat: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

You don’t need to strip down for a classic sexy waterfall shot like Redoute did for the photo gracing the cover of our May 2 issue, but you can totally get away with that kind of thing in Michigan’s most remote region, the pristine Upper Peninsula. Redoute recommends picking a spot within driving distance of the Mackinac Bridge, the Chapel Beach Trail and Tahquamenon Falls, which he says remind him of thermal spring spas he’s visited in Costa Rica. “Check out the Upper Falls, but then you can also play for the whole afternoon in the Lower Falls in the water or have a picnic,” he says. “Tahquamenon Falls blew me away. You can just lay in the flowing water and it feels very Michigan magical.”

Ryan Redoute (left) with his husband Paul Joyner visiting Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Courtesy photo
Ryan Redoute (left) with his husband Paul Joyner visiting Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Courtesy photo

Chapel Falls Beach is part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and includes “one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, period, including in other parts of the world,” Redoute says. “You’re just walking through these beautiful trees that are just incredible. It’s just that feeling of being very in the nature of it all. Really, I’m a city girl, but I also love being connected to nature — that’s where Michigan really thrives.” 

Virtual Travel: When You Just Can’t Get Away

If you lack one of the fundamental ingredients for summer travel (time or money), fear not. Redoute has a series of virtual travel tours for unexpected Michigan adventures you can enjoy from home — with a little imagination. Think Michigan’s little-known Serengeti Desert, the Bavarian Inn thermal springs or the oft-overlooked volcano in Holland, nestled right up against the Lake Michigan shoreline. OK, these destinations might be more fantasy than reality (Redoute recently posted a video apologizing for misleading excited Michigan travelers), but isn’t that what vacation magic is all about? 

Follow “That Michigan Guy” Ryan Redoute on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube @ryanredoute. Listen to the “In Michigan!” podcast at apple.co/4dd5tNL.



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