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Pure Michigan Road Trips

Pure Michigan Road Trips With Kids

Looking for a great family road trip in Pure Michigan? We’ve got you covered!

KZOOkids has compiled a list of kid and parent approved Michigan road trips sure to be fun for the whole family. We’ve been there! And we want to share our insider tips with you. 

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Ann Arbor

When many Michiganders hear “Ann Arbor,” they automatically think of the University of Michigan. However, there’s definitely more to Ann Arbor, and much more for kids!

Families can enjoy cool, kid-friendly exhibits at the U of M Museum of Natural History and hands-on fun at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Following your trip to the museum, find a sweet treat at Zingermen’s Deli, Cupcake Station, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop and Kilwin’s. Craft beer fans should check out the BBQ brewery Blue Tractor.

Round out your day with a quick shopping trip through Literati for books and Mudpuddles for toys!

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Detroit

There are countless family fun experiences just waiting for your family in the Detroit and suburban Detroit areas. From Legoland to multi-sensory museums, there is truly something for everyone in Detroit.

Noteable attractions for families include: the interactive touchpool at Sea Life Aquarium (Auburn Hills), Michigan Science center complete with IMAX and Planetarium (Detroit), and budget-friendly Outdoor Adventure Center, complete with fishing and other wild-life simulations (Detroit).

Sports fans will of course enjoy stops at both Ford Field and Comerica Park. To see more of the great city of Detroit, be sure to check out the Detroit People Mover, where a .75 cent token can take you to 13 different stops all around the city of Detroit.


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Holland

Holland

Just a short drive up US-131 will get your family to the beautiful city of Holland. Hidden surprises in Holland make this city the perfect destination for families looking for an experience out of the ordinary.

If wooden shoes are on your wishlist, be sure to visit Nelis’ Dutch Village where you can find wooden shoes for the whole family, as well as carving demonstrations. To experience more of the historically Dutch culture of Holland, visit Windmill Island Gardens where you’ll find a five-story lighthouse and 36-acres of gardens, picnic areas and canals.

If your little ones need some time to run and play, Holland State Park is one of the most frequently visited state parks featuring large beaches on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa.

Other activities for families include Craig’s Cruisers and Holland Aquatic Center. If shopping is something that interests your family, we recommend checking out the Holland Peanut Store for a sweet treat, Sandcastles for Kids and Tip Toes.

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Lansing

If your family is looking for a full day of fun activities, Lansing may be your destination! There are several educational opportunities in Lansing, including the Michigan State University Campus (never too early for a college visit!), the State Capitol building, and the Michigan Historical Museum.

For the budding zoologist in the family, Potter’s Park Zoo will surely be an experience to remember. The Zoo is open year-round and features over 450 animal residents! Impression 5 Science Center provides countless hands-on learning experiences for kids as well.

If your family enjoys unique dining experiences, we recommend checking out the MSU Dairy Store where not only can guests enjoy tasty ice cream and cheese, a self-guided tour will teach families how milk, cheese and ice cream are processed.

Golden Harvest Restaurant is a unique cafe with highly recommended food (when you can get a table at the very popular restaurant!) and for a good pizza we recommend Deluca’s Restaurant.

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Ludington

For the outdoorsy family, Ludington offers a great mix of outdoor fun and historical experiences. Ludington State Park features hiking and walking trails, beaches and kayak rental.

If you’re feeling even more adventurous, hop on the SS Badger Carferry for a visit across the lake to Wisconsin. The SS Badger Carferry is the largest cross-lake passenger service on the Great Lakes and includes free movies, television, kids activities and much more.

The historic White Pine Village holds special events throughout the year for families to enjoy. Sandcastles Children’s Museum is an interactive experience for families, including a real, 4-passenger plane, control tower and SS Badger replica.

For some good, old fashioned playtime, the Waterfront Park features an amazing playground with areas for all ages of kids and spaces for picnics and walking trails the whole family will enjoy.

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Manistee

Manistee is a hidden gem in Michigan! Located North of Ludington, Manistee is a great destination for families looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

Start your journey on the Riverwalk, a 1.5 mile walk through the downtown business district with an end at the First Street Beach. The beach is home to two amazing playgrounds, a wooden castle themed structure and a more updated play structure as well.

For some unique local food choices, we recommend House of Flavors, a 50’s style diner with great ice cream, and bluefish Kitchen + Bar, where guests can sit outside and watch boats pass along the river.

With access to miles of beaches and historic lighthouses, a trip to Manistee will be one your family remembers for years to come!

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Saugatuck

If a quaint experience of local shops and dining, access to beaches and even “mountain” climbing sounds like an adventure for your family, look no further than Saugatuck. Voted USA Today’s “Best Coastal Small Town in America,” Saugatuck boasts enough out of the ordinary experiences to make visitors forget they are still in Michigan!

Guests will enjoy time at Oval Beach, a ride on the Chain Ferry and a trip up Mt. Baldhead (all 282 steps of it!) Unique to Saugatuck are the Dune Rides for an adventurous ride through gorgeous Michigan coastal terrain.

Visitors will also enjoy taking an historic paddle boat ride at the Star of Saugatuck.

For tasty local dining, we recommend Phil’s Bar and Grille, Back Alley Pizza Joint and Pumpernickel’s Eatery.

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South Haven

Believe it or not, there is more to South Haven than warm sand and the clear water of Lake Michigan (although with seven public beaches, we understand the reputation!) Families journeying to South Haven for a day-cation can enjoy many other stops in the city of South Haven.

The local Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays and features many varieties of fresh, local food.

For a special experience, check out the Pirate Chaser Adventure Cruise. There are several family-friendly dining options to help round out your stay in South Haven.

Clementine’s, Su Casa and Sherman’s Dairy Bar are some of our favorite options for a taste of local cuisine.

After eating, be sure to stop at the Kid’s Corner to give the kiddos a chance to burn off some energy before heading back home. This huge play structure features a wooden castle theme as well as baby/toddler swings plenty of space to run around!

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Silver Lake

Silver Lake is a little over 2 hours drive from Kalamazoo, but worth every minute of the trip! The Silver Lake Campground and Resort offers a hotel-style camping experience, complete with concierge services, heated pool, clean bathrooms and other amenities.

During your stay, be sure to check out Country Dairy for an experience like no other! Not only can you enjoy delicious food and ice cream, guests can learn about the process of making milk, cheese and ice cream during the “Moo School” tour.

There are so many options for family fun in Silver Lake, and we recommend visiting Mac Wood’s Dune Rides for incredible views of the dunes and local countryside. Craig’s Cruisers, Lewis Farm Market and Petting Zoo, and Double JJ Waterpark are some of our other favorite family activities in the Silver Lake area. With so much to do, you’ll want to stay all summer long!

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St. Joseph

Just an hour away from Kalamazoo is a beach experience sure to put a smile on your kids’ faces! Visitors to St. Joseph will be amazed by the beautiful beaches, unique shopping and dining options, museums, splash pad and more!

Silver Beach and Silver Beach Center provide many opportunities for families to play and unwind. Kids will love the hand-painted carousel, Curious Kid’s Museum and on-site playgrounds at the beach.

The Whirlpool Centennial Park and Compass Fountain is one of the largest splash pads in Michigan and is a hit for the whole family.

For unique dining, we recommend Silver Beach Pizza and Schu’s. For dessert, be sure to check out Yo-Bubbs Frozen Yogurt or the Chocolate Cafe.

Who knew there were so many great options for vacationing in Michigan? All within a few hours drive of Kalamazoo, these road trip options are sure to create lasting memories for your family!