Fun Things To Do In Michigan In The Fall – Planning a family vacation in Michigan? Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the country and borders the four Great Lakes, many of our favorite fun things to do in Michigan with kids include enjoying Michigan’s lakes and waterways.
But wait, there are many more family attractions in Michigan! From the family-friendly Henry Ford Museum in Detroit to quaint towns like Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, here are the places you won’t want to miss on your Michigan family vacation.
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The Great Lakes are full of sailing and shipping. All the action on the water means you’ll be able to visit something you can only see on the shores of the sea: the Lighthouse!
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There are 115 lighthouses in Michigan. Lighthouses range from simple metal structures on the coast to historical museums with visitor centers like the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
This summer, on your Michigan family vacation, be sure to climb the tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes open to the public, the New Presque Isle Lighthouse!
Most Americans associate Detroit with the heart of the automotive industry. However, Detroit has a big heart of its own. It is ready to share its history and fun for families on their Michigan vacation.
Located on 125 acres of hands-on activities and interactive animal exhibits, the Detroit Zoo is one of Michigan’s top tourist attractions.
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While in Detroit, you can catch a glimpse of a different kind of tiger, take your family to Comerica Park to see the Detroit Tigers baseball team. Sunday is “Kid’s Day” at this baseball park, which also houses an amusement park and baseball museum.
During your stay in Detroit, head to the Michigan Science Center. One of the more fun and educational places to visit in Michigan, this museum boasts a wealth of hands-on science activities and fun that kids will love.
Michigan’s diverse, fun atmosphere is best expressed in its mid-sized cities with big personalities, such as Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, is famous worldwide for its arts and “foodie” culture. It hosts a number of events throughout the year: Summer Festival, Ann Arbor Art Fair, Film Festival and more! Additionally, Ann Arbor boasts one of the state’s most popular hands-on museums for children.
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Grand Rapids is a great place to enjoy a Michigan vacation with outdoor activities at the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and the John Ball Zoo. The city is also home to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and even a fish ladder at Fish Ladder Park!
Kalamazoo Air is the proud home city of the Zoo Aviation Museum and Indoor Amusement Park, which has been called “the best place to go out of town!” Cities like these cultivate family fun in Michigan, hosting festivals throughout the year to celebrate the weather, local history and unique interests.
No visit to the Detroit area is complete without taking in the nine-plus acres of “America’s Greatest History Destination” at the Henry Ford Complex.
The complex is a full day excursion for families. During your visit, you will spend the day exploring the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, and the IMAX Theater.
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This impressive museum and historic site highlights not only Henry Ford’s achievements, but the hard work of ordinary Americans who built this country.
The exhibits at these sites are diverse and impressive, including a Rosa Parks bus, a presidential limousine, and many other interesting historical artifacts from America’s industrial age.
Kids will have fun learning about the assembly line process while working with other kids to build miniature Model-T models.
Every day, this family-friendly museum builds and rebuilds an original Ford Model T. This is one of the best museums for families in the entire United States!
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The “Cherry Capital of the World” has been named a “Top Ten Tourist City” by Parents Magazine. It is located in the northwestern part of the lower peninsula.
Traverse City, comfortably nestled between the arms of Grand Traverse Bay, has a unique character all its own. Due to the area’s geography, the waters are protected, resulting in a long stretch of beaches for water sports including swimming, fishing, sailing and paddling.
Every year in early July, Traverse City goes all out to celebrate all things cherry at the National Cherry Festival in East Bay Park. If you miss the National Cherry Festival, be sure to check out Cherry Republic in downtown Traverse City, which is open year-round.
Head north to Traverse City to see large orchards, visit roadside fruit stands, sample local juices and discover the state’s best wineries. Then visit the eclectic Old Mission General Store, Village Schoolhouse, Old Mission Inn and Old Mission Point Lighthouse at the very end of Mission Point, the village of Old Mission, founded in 1839.
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Michigan has a rich history of immigrant settlement. As a result, it also has some small towns steeped in culture from places like the Netherlands, Germany and Finland. This old Dutch charmer found in Holland, Michigan is always fun and family friendly.
Explore the Dutch village of Nellis for hands-on learning. Then visit the Windmill Island Gardens to climb to the top of Dezwan, the highest point in the U.S. It is the only authentic Dutch windmill in the world.
Afterwards, be sure to see the highlights of Holland’s Dutch festivities, which begin in early May at the Tulip Time Festival. You’ll find parades, concerts, Dutch food, dancing and cultural performances throughout the city.
Frankenmuth is Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” and one of the most popular places to visit in the state, despite its small size. While in town, celebrate Bavarian culture at one of the many festivals held in the city throughout the year, or experience delicious German food at one of the many restaurants such as Oma’s Restaurant and Bavarian Inn Restaurant.
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As with all waters in Michigan, you’ll find a beautiful selection of beaches and dunes. Your family can dig in their toes and build sand castles on the shores of Lake Michigan while admiring the lake view.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore includes a breathtaking 64-mile curve of beaches, coves, islands and dunes worth exploring on Lake Michigan. Here’s a great guide to visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
First, families can hike the dunes on the Cottonwood Trail. It is not as steep as the popular Dunes Trail. Kids will love taking off their shoes and walking barefoot when the sand isn’t too hot. Remember that if you or your children run down the dune, you will have to climb back up.
Next, visit Grand Haven State Park, Michigan’s #1 state park, to visit a beach named one of the “Best Secret Beaches on Earth” by Travel & Leisure magazine. While there, be sure to visit the unique musical fountain.
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Finally, near Sawyer, Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park offers another beautiful stretch of dunes that rise 260 feet above the lake for hiking or relaxing by the water’s edge.
Planning to enjoy a summer of family fun in Michigan? Enjoy the dunes with your kids and stay at these family-friendly hotels!
What many Americans don’t know is that the state of Michigan is split in two, with the Mackinac Bridge connecting the Lower Peninsula with the Upper Peninsula (UP).
Although the U.P. About 1/3 of Michigan’s land area, only 3% of the population lives here. What this means for locals and visitors is mile upon mile of unspoiled natural beauty! Wilderness, secluded beaches, stunning rock formations and over 324 waterfalls make Northern Michigan a natural playground for a family vacation.
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The UP hangout is located in the family-friendly city of Marquette. Not only is it a beautiful harbor town on Lake Superior with several summer festivals, but it also has parks, restaurants and UP’s only children’s museum. Marquette is the perfect starting point to explore the “wild side” of Michigan!
Looking for more family fun in Michigan? See our Michigan travel guide for family-friendly activities in Marquette.
It’s no secret that Mackinac Island is one of the perfect vacation spots in Michigan. It’s no surprise that Mackinac Island rightfully deserves its place in every Michigan travel guide.
Take a 30-minute ferry to the island from Mackinaw City on either the Mackinac Bridge or the south side of St. Ignace UP. Then prepare to travel back in time to explore the island by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle or on foot. Cars are not allowed on the island!
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Historic Fort Mackinac offers visitors the opportunity to experience the typical conditions that the soldiers and families of the fort experienced in the 19th century. The view from the fort overlooking the city is one of the best in Michigan.
Of course, no trip to Mackinac Island is complete without enjoying their iconic, freshly made fudge and strolling the town streets with an ice cream cone! Make it a day trip. Or better yet, stay overnight at one of the island’s historic hotels or B&Bs to fully experience its rich history.
Convinced that Mackinac Island is the place for your Michigan family vacation this summer? Read tips for having fun on Mackinac Island with kids.
There’s a good reason Michigan is called the “Great Lakes State.” Lakes are inevitable. Michigan is
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