Home Travel Michigan with kids – Lonely Planet

Michigan with kids – Lonely Planet

Michigan with kids – Lonely Planet

​​Referred to as a “water, winter wonderland,” Michigan is a household-centered Midwestern vacation spot that gives a full of life, 4-season paradise for youngsters of all ages.

The most important state east of the Mississippi River has the longest freshwater shoreline on the planet, second solely to Alaska for the longest shoreline within the US. Its most stellar actions are actually to be skilled outdoor, however cities resembling Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids additionally provide world-class reveals and parks geared towards kids.

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Is Michigan good for kids?

Michigan borders 4 of the 5 Nice Lakes, with greater than 36,300 miles of rivers and greater than 11,000 inland lakes. This waterside geography is balanced with rolling hillsides, vibrant cities, beautiful seashores and thick forests. Most out of doors actions are centered on kids, or provide a kids’s model, and kids get free or discounted entry to most museums and theme parks. 

A automobile is important to get across the state, as public transportation is missing usually, save for some choices within the bigger cities. It’s greatest skilled as a highway journey, and kids will get pleasure from all of the roadside sights, ice cream parlors and enjoyable stops in between websites. 

The place is greatest in Michigan for kids

A campsite with a tent, surrounded by trees and greenery as the sun comes up in the morning
Michigan affords ample tenting alongside its many lakes and rivers © pawel.gaul / Getty Photographs

Tenting everywhere in the state

Whereas Michigan is the best place for kids to expertise all 4 seasons, summer time reminiscences will all the time be probably the most quintessential. In the event you learn no additional, know that Michigan affords ample tenting alongside its many lakes and rivers, in a wide range of campgrounds which have fascinated kids for many years. (Okay, however critically, maintain studying the entire checklist!)

Michigan campgrounds are clear, secure and very properly positioned for exploring the pure wonders round them. From state forests, resembling Ossineke State Forest alongside Lake Huron, to state recreation areas, resembling Little Presque Isle jutting out within the magnificent and chilly Lake Superior, kids shall be enchanted by the pristine seashores and starry evening skies. 

Visitors walk up and down Sleeping Bear Dunes to and from Lake Michigan
Kids of all ages will like to run or barrel-roll down the dramatic dunes at Sleeping Bear © KLiK Images / Shutterstock

Sleeping Bear Dunes Nationwide Lakeshore

Amongst Michigan’s most splendidly scenic websites, Sleeping Bear Dunes Nationwide Lakeshore can also be some of the spectacular, with sand bluffs towering greater than 450ft above the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan, alongside 35 miles of shoreline.

Kids of all ages will like to run or barrel-roll down the dramatic dunes, however the nationwide lakeshore additionally affords low-influence and brief climbing trails, crystal-clear lazy rivers, a small lake nice for younger beachcombers and 22 miles of non-motorized bike trails.  

Grand Rapids  

The second-largest metropolis in Michigan is characterised by the river of the identical identify, the place you may lease kayaks and canoes for a real Michigan expertise. Entrance to Millennium Park is free, with a small price for the pure seashore and boat rental.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park options rotating seasonal reveals, resembling summer time butterflies and autumn gardens with gourds, and usually is a full of life place for kids to meander freely.

Within the metropolis correct, take a kids’ cooking class at Downtown Market and watch fish “climb” the fish ladder alongside the riverfront. 

A low-angle view of the white tiger sculpture outside of Comerica Park in Detroit
In season, you may catch a Detroit Tigers baseball recreation at Comerica Park © ehrlif / Getty Photographs


One of many Rust Belt’s nice cities, Detroit has tons of distinctive actions for kids. There’s pleasant music memorabilia on the Motown Museum and particular kids’ actions on the Detroit Institute of Arts (with discounted tickets).

At open-air Jap Market you may seize domestically cultivated snacks after which head to Belle Isle (a state park in the midst of the Detroit River) to get pleasure from them for a picnic, kayak classes and even an opportunity to slip down the island’s large slide.

And who doesn’t love a cease for Detroit-type, closely condimented scorching canine on the retro Lafayette Coney Island or American Coney Island downtown? Bonus: from both of these eating places, it’s nearly a 15-minute stroll to Comerica Park, the place you may catch a Detroit Tigers baseball recreation (in season).

Ann Arbor

As its identify suggests, Ann Arbor is a closely treed and laidback metropolis, crammed with inexperienced areas and actions galore for households.

Kids will love tubing down the Huron River in the summertime months, and people 12 and beneath can go to the Automotive Heritage Museum (technically in close by Ypsilanti) without spending a dime, studying about basic vehicles constructed within the area. The Ann Arbor Summer time Pageant hosts free actions for kids, and kids will adore a go to to see rescued animals from around the globe on the Creature Conservancy.

What child doesn’t love pizza? Being a university city, Ann Arbor has a few of the greatest pizza within the area. 

Viewing shipwrecks

The Nice Lakes are spectacular – there’s a lot water! It will possibly generally boggle the thoughts that these portions of freshwater also can create large waves that pummel and sink ships of all sizes.

One of many favourite wrecks to watch, from the consolation of a kayak over shallow Lake Huron waters, is the Dorcas Pendell in Harbor Seaside. One other favourite, for extra adventurous and skilled hikers, is the Francisco Morazan, which is seen from the southern shore of South Manitou Island, accessible for a enjoyable day journey through a ferry from Leland. The glass-backside-boat excursions of shipwrecks alongside Lake Superior’s Pictured Rocks Nationwide Lakeshore are additionally successful. 

Bright white stalactites framing the mouth of a cave, with a bright blue sky and snowy ground seen through the opening
The Grand Island Ice Caves may be reached by strolling throughout a brief stretch of frozen Lake Superior © John McCormick / Shutterstock

Ice caves

Older kids will benefit from the problem and reward of climbing to see the notorious ice caves in Michigan’s beautiful Higher Peninsula. Usually not simply accessible, these adventures are extra applicable for youngsters. Simply you should definitely costume for the climate as a result of it’ll be fairly chilly, and the snow and ice may be troublesome to traverse – use ice cleats!

The Eben Ice Caves exterior of Marquette create an unbelievable draping impact, with large “icicles” which are irresistible for memorable photographs. The Grand Island Ice Caves are equally spectacular and may be reached by strolling throughout a brief stretch of frozen Lake Superior.

The Beaver Islander ferry passing the Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse in the Pine River Channel between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix
Take a day journey or in a single day to Beaver Island, courtesy of Michigan’s ferry system © Deb Perry / Getty Photographs

Planning suggestions and getting round

Whereas Michigan isn’t recognized for its public transport – it’s residence to the Motor Metropolis, in any case – there are some non-automobile choices to get between cities. A direct Amtrak practice route hyperlinks Detroit and Ann Arbor, to call one choice, however for a fair higher “pure Michigan expertise,” use the ferry system.

To expertise transiting the Nice Lakes, Mackinac Island, Beaver Island, Grand Island, Drummond Island and South Manitou Island are only a few of the various decisions for day journeys or overnights. For an extended journey, you may ferry throughout Lake Michigan from Muskegon, Michigan, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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