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Summer in Michigan is so lovely, it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t last forever. While we enjoy our backyard barbecues, evening boat rides, and beach days, we try to live in the moment, and not think about the chilling days in the near future. But maybe thinking ahead is the best plan to make the most of our winter months! Think of it this way: summer is for relaxing and enjoying the spoils of our lovely state; winter is for travel


Luckily, we have a great airport in Grand Rapids! Chasing sunshine is convenient and affordable! Here are our recommendations for the best winter getaways out of Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport.


Three different airlines offer direct flights from Grand Rapids (GRR) to Orlando (MCO), which makes it the most popular destination out of Grand Rapids! Orlando is  warm year round and full of activities for everyone! With resorts that range from very affordable to very high-end, world-class theme parks, incredibly fun and refreshing water parks, frequent concerts, and plenty of beaches within a driving distance, Orlando is perhaps the best bet for a weekend getaway that will check all the boxes.

Our Orlando recommendations:


  • Walt Disney World Resort. We are Disney Travel Agents and have 15+ years of experience planning magical vacations. While we recommend spending at least 5 days at Walt Disney World to really experience each of the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and Disney Springs, Disney can also be an excellent weekend trip from Grand Rapids! 
    • Pick one theme park or event to explore (like EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays or Festival of the Arts!) and spend another day relaxing at your resort pool. Finish with an unforgettable dinner at Disney Springs, and you’ll have had the perfect dose of magic to carry you through the winter blues.
    • If you’re an active vacationer, check out RunDisney’s schedule and have the most fun EVER crossing the finish line (and earning your Mickey pretzel)  in one of Disney’s parks.


  • Universal Orlando Resort. Universal Orlando is the perfect size for a weekend getaway. Its 2 theme parks and water park, Volcano Bay, will keep you busy for 2+ days, and their nearby resorts are convenient and fun places to stay. We recommend Cabana Bay for unbeatable views and great pools for an excellent value.
    • Universal is a very merry place during the holidays with an awesome parade, themed treats and shows! After the holidays, Mardi Gras at Universal Studios is a festival with mardi gras-inspired food and drinks from all over the world, plus a parade and a whole concert line-up!


A weekend in Nashville will put the pep back in your step — literally! Music City is full of activities for families, couples, and girls’ trips. There’s something for everyone. There are direct flights from GRR into Nashville, making traveling there convenient and affordable. 

“Creativity is the heart and soul of Music City and there’s never a shortage of inspiring things to do. From new sounds that fill our speakers to old songs that fill our hearts, Nashville has the musical attractions to honor both past and present. Even Nashville’s creative community spills out into an art scene filled with art galleries, theaters, and performance stages. Step back into time to learn about Nashville’s history or explore a Nashville museum to discover artifacts, memorabilia, and more. From music, culture, and the arts to food, sports, and shopping, there is an “only in Nashville” experience waiting for you.” –


If you’re seeking sun, sand, and a skyline, Miami is the place for you! Miami is the destination for relaxing days and night life. Add in an arts district, incredible architecture, fine dining, and cerulean waters and you’ve got a city sure to please anyone.

Kick off your trip with a visit to South Beach (frequently chosen as one of the best beaches in the USA), take a sunset cocktail cruise, do a day trip to Key West, or adventure in the Everglades!

Savannah + Hilton Head

According to Visit Savannah, “Savannah, Georgia, is a charming Southern escape where art, period architecture, trendy boutiques and haunted stories are all set under a veil of Spanish moss. Savannah is where exemplary cuisine comes straight from the coast and refreshing cocktails are served at every meal.” If you’re looking for a slow-paced, family escape with history — and a few ghosts — Savannah is the place for you. We recommend a relaxing day of exploring boutiques, historical sites, and amazing food. Try one of many walking tours! Venture out at night, if you dare, for a ghost tour that will educate you on American history in a spooky, fun way!

Direct flights from GRR to Savannah make this an easy escape!

If sun and sand sound more appealing than history, ghosts, and foodie restaurants, head up to Hilton Head Island! “Hilton Head Island is a wonderland of white-sand beaches, tidal creeks, towering live oaks, and winding pathways. A place where classic small-town charm meets refined coastal elegance. Where the catch of the day is tonight’s family-style feast. Where the past is honored and traditions celebrated. And where laughter, connection, and lifelong memories are made.” –

St. Pete + Clearwater Beach

Another great Florida getaway is St. Pete / Clearwater! “Home to Tripadvisor’s No. 1 Beach in the U.S. in 2021, this friendly, laid-back beach town is part family destination, part low-key haven for aspiring beach bums. Wherever you are in St. Pete Beach, you’re never far from great spots to eat, drink and shop.” – 

If you’ve done the impossible, and spent enough time at one of many jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches in the area, check out the incredible Dali Museum or do some shopping on Central Ave!

Whatever getaways are on your list, West River Travel is happy to help you plan the right trip for you! We love getting to know our clients and their wishes so we can customize your vacation. Schedule some happiness!

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