Michigan is one of the most visited states in the country due to its stunning landscapes and friendly locals.
This shining jewel in the middle of the United States is a veritable paradise for families, thanks to its abundance of fantastic attractions and breathtaking scenery. Our family vacation to Michigan was fantastic because it was jam-packed with fun things for the kids to do.
Our family had a great time participating in both indoor and outdoor pursuits and visiting the many amazing sights the city had to offer.
Best Places to Visit in Michigan With Family
Include the children of your neighbors. Trips like these are great for families because they are inexpensive.
1. Participate in one of Grand Rapids’ Festivals
Grand Rapids residents enjoy nothing more than attending one of the many free festivals held throughout the year. The Festival of the Arts in June brings a new energy to Grand Rapids. The festival features six stages of music, dance, and visual arts, and was inspired by the massive red Calder sculpture La Grande Vitesse in 1969.
With a focus on martial arts and Asian dance performances, origami workshops, and Asian-inspired food and beer, the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival debuted in 2017. In addition to ArtPrize, which features more than 1,500 art installations and a voting process that allows each visitor to select their favorites, other noteworthy festivals include the GRandJazzFest, the Polish Festival, and the Hispanic Festival.
2. Go to the Great Lakes Bay Area’s Theme Parks
Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay, which is nestled along the thumb of Michigan, is a great place to spend the weekend with your family, no matter the weather. Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark in Frankenmuth is a 50,000-square-foot indoor waterpark with water slides, a lazy river, and cabanas large enough for the whole family.
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Midland is home to both the Roll Arena, which is in the top 10 roller rinks in the United States according to USA Today and the Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center, which features 32 lanes of bowling and indoor miniature golf.
3. Explore Ann Arbor’s Cultural Scene
It’s no surprise that Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, is jam-packed with opportunities for learning and growth for the whole family. Visit the Museum of Play first. There are exhibits for all ages, from colorful blocks perfect for babies to hands-on displays of Michigan’s flora and fauna.
Leslie Science and Nature Center offers activities like butterfly watching, stargazing, and vegetable gardening, while the Wild Swan Theater hosts productions of The Wizard of Oz and Strega Nona. Keep your stomach full. Zingerman’s Delicatessen serves up delicious and nutritious sandwiches, cheese, and baked goods after the show.
4. Take a Trip to Traverse City’s Beach
Traverse City, Michigan’s Lake Michigan beaches are the best (and cheapest) place to cool off during the hot summer months. One of the best beaches is at Bryant Park. The park’s picnic tables, playground, soft golden sand, and on-duty lifeguard make it a hit with families.
Clinch Park, located in the heart of town, features a sandy beach and playground equipment adjacent to the water, while Good Harbor Beach, located on the outskirts of town, is more peaceful and offers stunning views of the Manitou Islands and a clear stream that originates in the white pine forests of northern Michigan and flows directly into Lake Michigan.
5. The St. Ignace Bridge
The Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac and connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, is one of the state’s most iconic landmarks. Camp out at Straits State Park to take in breathtaking views of the 5-mile bridge, which are even more impressive once the sun goes down and the bridge’s one hundred lights come on.
Some hardy souls paddle kayaks in the icy waters beneath the Mighty Mac’s towering peaks, while others brave the depths of the Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve to spy on centuries-old shipwrecks. If you time your trip right, you can be one of the select few to walk across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day.
6. Go Sandboarding at Silver Lake
The bright red dune buggies at Mac Wood’s have been taking tourists into the heart of the Silver Lake sand dunes near Lake Michigan’s shore since 1930. The ride up the golden dunes in the buggies is reminiscent of the scenes in Lawrence of Arabia, and the ride down is just as exciting.
The only system of dunes in Michigan open to ORV traffic was formed by natural forces, which buggy drivers explain between hills. Take your own boat out on Silver Lake and go waterskiing or have a picnic at the base of the dunes.
You could also go swimming and sunbathing in Lake Michigan at the Silver Lake State Park beach. Stunning views of the dunes, Silver Lake, and Lake Michigan can be had from the top of the Little Sable Point Lighthouse.
7. Sail the Blue Waters of Michigan
The oldest lighthouse in Michigan, Fort Gratiot, keeps watch over the waters of Port Huron. See the beautiful Blue Water Bridge to Ontario and its graceful shadow cast by the towering white lighthouse, which was built in 1825. Sailing on Lake Huron is the best way to take in the stunning scenery of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s coastline.
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The Bermuda schooner Jade Lady is available for charter through Lady of the Lakes Sail Charters, or you can hop on the Jakab, a classic yacht that cruises the St. Clair River from May through September.
8. Organize Your Detroit Urban Getaway
Downtown Detroit’s steel and glass skyscrapers make for a dazzling backdrop to any riverfront explorations. Enjoy the affordable, family-friendly Riverfront activities that have sprung up in tandem with Detroit’s resurgence.
The Cullen Family Carousel, decorated with Michigan-themed birds, fish, and frogs, is located in William G. Milliken State Park, Michigan’s only urban state park, close to the park’s wildflowers and wetlands.
Mount Elliott Park has water toys and a splash pad, and you can get there by renting one of the city’s cheap Mogo bicycles and riding along the RiverWalk. Alternatively, you can take the ferry to Belle Isle State Park.
The most popular park in the city of Detroit is located on an island in the middle of the river and features a swimming beach, aquarium, nature zoo, kayak rentals, and the best spot to take pictures of the city’s skyline.
9. Visit the National Parks of the Upper Peninsula
Paddle the length of a pristine harbor while keeping an eye out for local moose while hiking along Lake Superior-washed cliffs and through towering white pine forests. Whether your family enjoys tent camping in the wilderness or a cottage at the luxurious Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale National Park is a fantastic destination.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is home to many of the United States’ most renowned national parks, among them Isle Royale. Visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to take in the picturesque scenery of sandstone cliffs and arches in shades of orange and red, perfect for Instagram. Visit Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to study the region’s significant role in the copper industry.
10. Visit Michigan’s Beachtowns for Some Good Old-Fashioned Americana
Since Henry Ford’s automobile made family road trips possible, Michigan’s beautiful Lake Michigan beaches have been attracting tourists. Get a kick out of the past by checking out the strangest of the state’s historic Beachtown artifacts.
From Beethoven to Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift, the water spray at Grand Haven’s Musical Fountain dances to the beat of the music all summer long. Or, head out to the House of David retreat a little ways from Benton Harbor to watch an old-fashioned game of baseball played without any protective gear.
A trip through Pure Michigan is unparalleled. Take your family on the trips that will create the fondest memories. We have everything: museums where you can get your hands dirty, beaches where you can relax, festivals in the summer, hiking trails, and urban retreats. It’s time to hit the road with the kids in tow.