15 Fantastic Family Things to Do in Gull Lake, Augusta, and Richland

Gull Lake Sunset

There is More than Just Farms Here

Head east from Kalamazoo and you will find a number of family-friendly communities. Augusta, Galesburg, Hickory Corners, Richland, Gull Lake and others are all welcoming additional residents as families move here for more land, good schools, and a watery beauty in Gull Lake.

What to do in Gull Lake, Augusta and Richland with Kids

HISTORY: The Barn Theater in Augusta was established in 1946 and is one of the finest professional equity summer stock theatres in the country. As the name implies, this theater began in a dairy barn.

FUN: Gull Meadow Farms has become the must-see fall destination for families, featuring pumpkin and apple picking, a petting zoo, zipline, corn maze and other seasonal activities.

FOOD: The Richland Farmers Market is open on Wednesday afternoons, offering yummy food, local crafts and live music.

OUTDOORS: Gull Lake is a major attraction here. Measuring over a mile wide and five miles long, this body of water delights boaters, scuba divers, and fishermen alike.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

What it’s like to live here

The communities east of Kalamazoo offer a fantastic lake, a large variety of mom and pop style restaurants, and beautiful trails and parks.

Life in Gull Lake

Why people love to live here:

It’s hard to ignore the very large and watery reason why Gull Lake and surrounding communities are special. This lake offers something for everyone: boating, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are all fun options in these crystal clear waters.

While Gull Lake used to be a summer cottage destination, it has evolved to welcome residents year-round.

You should know:

Gull Lake’s name was likely inspired by the many seagulls that headed inland from Lake Michigan.

Historically, the lake was a popular destination for famous families, including the Upjohns (Kalamazoo) and the Kelloggs (Battle Creek).

Gull Lake

Population: 1,158*

Schools:
Gull Lake Community Schools

Known For:
» Gull Lake (fishing, boating, swimming)

*South Gull Lake population (Yorkville, Gull Lake, & Midland Park)

Life in Augusta

Why people love to live here:

The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary sells buckets of corn for visitors to feed their waterfowl. They also care for injured raptors who cannot live safely in the wild.

The Sherman Lake YMCA is a popular camping destination for both summer camps and school field trips.

You should know:

In 1951, neighboring community Galesburg joined Augusta to form Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools. To this day, the primary school and high school reside in Galesburg, and the middle school is in Augusta.

Augusta

Population: 900

Schools:
Galesburg – Augusta Community Schools
Augusta Academy

Known For:
» W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
» Fort Custer Recreation Area
» Sherman Lake YMCA

Life in Richland

Why people love to live here:

The Kalamazoo Balloon Fest attracts hot air balloon enthusiasts to Gull Meadow Farms annually. Stay late for their evening “glow” launches to light up the sky.

The Richland Area Community Center features 22 acres of mowed trails to explore, including canine family members.

You should know:

Richland was founded in 1830; its name “rich land” was chosen due to its fertile soil.

Richland

Population: 800

Schools:
Gull Lake Community Schools

Known For:
» Gull Meadow Farms
» Kalamazoo Balloon Fest
» Richland Farmers Market

Important Message: Area businesses are working to implement procedures based on the new safety guidelines. For each of the attractions and events we mention, we include a link to the business website. Please use this link to confirm the details, hours of operation and any requirements guests must follow before visiting. Thank You!

THINGS TO DO

01 – Experience Fun, Fall Activities at Gull Meadow Farms

Gull Meadow Farms
8544 Gull Rd, Richland, MI 49083

Gull Meadow Farms is a one-stop-shop for fall family fun: apple picking, petting zoo, zip lines, jumping pillow and corn maze are all at one farm. Add cider and melt in your mouth donuts, and it’s easy to see why this local favorite is a must-do for families.

Beyond the fall activities, Gull Meadow also hosts a hot air balloon festival, Christmas visits with Santa and has sunflower days in the summer.

Kids feeding farm goats

02 –  Take an Automobile Tour at the Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum
6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Nestled in Hickory Corners, the Gilmore Car Museum is the largest auto museum in North America, featuring nearly 400 vehicles. After you visit your favorite cars and motorcycles, grab some food from the 1941 Silk City Diner (try the frozen custard).

The museum is open year-round. The grounds also include a recreated 1930s Shell gas station and a rustic campground.

Gilmore-Car-Museum-kids-touring-bus

03 – Grab a Grinder from NEDS

NEDS on Gull Lake
15450 S M 43 Hwy, Hickory Corners, MI

NEDS is known for its food (pizza, grinders, burgers) and their location on Gull Lake (they deliver to the boat launch). They are also a local favorite for the latest food craze: the pickle pizza.

04 – Go Camping at Fort Custer

Fort Custer Recreation Area
5163 W Fort Custer Dr, State Highway M-96, Augusta, MI 49012

Families will find a vast recreation space at Fort Custer for camping. This area features three lakes, wetlands, forests and rolling meadows. There are also 22 miles of trails for hiking and biking.

Fort Custer Recreation Area

05 – Travel Back in Time at the Kellogg Manor House

Kellogg Manor House
3700 E Gull Lake Dr, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

W.K. Kellogg Manor House is the former summer residence of breakfast cereal pioneer W.K. Kellogg and his wife, Dr. Carrie Staines Kellogg.  Located on Gull Lake, the grounds also include a carriage house with chauffeur’s residence, a greenhouse with potting shed, caretaker’s cottage, boathouse, a lakeside pagoda and a windmill imported from Holland.

Built in 1926, this property was fully restored in 2000 and serves as host for many private events and weddings.  Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided walking tour of the grounds.

Kellogg Summer Residence

Photo: W.K. Kellogg Manor House

06 – Walk the Richland Area Community Center Trails

Richland Area Community Center Trails
9400 East CD Ave, Richland, MI 49083

The RACC features 22 acres of mowed trails through forest and open grassy areas, plus a quarter-mile paved loop path. This area also features benches and a gazebo. Leashed dogs are welcome.

07 – Enjoy Southern Inspired Cooking at Chicken House

Chicken House Restaurant
12443 E D Ave, Richland, MI 49083

Opened in 2020, Chicken House serves (not surprisingly) chicken sandwiches. Featuring Crystal Hot Sauce and Duke’s Mayonnaise, these dishes blend some southern flavor with Michigan-made ingredients.

The restaurant also serves burgers, tacos and Plainwell ice cream.

08 – Feed the Birds at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
12685 E C Ave, Augusta, MI 49060

Three miles of trails surround Wintergreen Lake at the bird sanctuary, where families can feed the waterfowl (geese, ducks, swans) with buckets of corn from the visitor’s center.

After your corn buckets are empty, tour their rescued raptors area featuring owls, hawks and eagles. Families will also enjoy the stroller-friendly paved walking path.

kids feeding birds

09 – Play Cornhole at Gull Lake Distilling Company

Gull Lake Distilling Company
 92 E Michigan Ave, Galesburg, MI 49053

Opened in 2020, Gull Lake Distilling Company is a locally-sourced craft distillery, brewery, and winery. This fun place is unique in that it does not serve food- however, you can bring your own to complement their customized cocktails and beer and wine selections. Many grab pizza next door from neighboring Pizza King or visiting food trucks.

GLDC also offers weekly scheduled events, including live music on Tuesdays and cornhole leagues on Wednesdays. Their outdoor space is massive and includes family-friendly picnic table seating.

Outdoor Dining Gull Lake

10 – Grab a Cone at Lickity Split Ice Cream

Lickity Split Ice Cream Shop
301 E Michigan Ave, Augusta, MI 49012

Lickity Split features two local favorites: Plainwell and Mooville brand ice cream. They also sell sno balls, shakes, malts, snacks, sundaes and hot dogs. This shop is also allergen-friendly as they carry sugar-free, dairy-free and nut-free flavors.

11 – Swing, Slide and Play at Richland Township Park

Richland Township Park
6996 N 32nd St, Richland, MI 49083

Richland Township Park offers 48 acres of space to run and play including lacrosse fields, baseball/softball fields, basketball courts and a playground. Families can reserve two pavilions and a gazebo for gatherings.

The park also features 1.75 miles of paved trails for walking, rolling or pushing a stroller.

Kalamazoo Park, Richland Park

12 – Pick up Some Pasties from U.P. North Sandwich & Pasty Co

U.P. North Sandwich & Pasty Co
8140 N 32nd St, Richland, MI 49083

For those unfamiliar, a “pasty” (rhymes with “nasty”) is a widely popular Yooper food from the Upper Peninsula. This portable meat pie dates back to the 1800s when English copper miners came to the UP- and brought their portable, protein-packed pastries with them.

As the name implies, this shop sells plenty of pasties including frozen varieties to warm up at home (take and bake). Make sure to grab a Monster Cookie with your meal (trust us).

Pasty

Photo: U.P. North Sandwich & Pasty Co

13 – Go Boating on Gull Lake

Gull Lake

Spanning over 2,000 acres, Gull Lake is a local beauty and favorite for boating, fishing and scuba diving. The majority of it resides in Kalamazoo County, with the northern tip extending into Barry County. Locals love the clear, deep water with some areas reaching over 100 feet deep.

Fishermen typically fish for bluegill and bass in the spring, and trout in the fall.  Scuba divers can explore Gull Lake year-round; there are hidden underwater artifacts for them to find including a phone booth, car and motorcycle.

Gull Lake is also home to a private island with a walking bridge to the mainland.

Gull Lake

14 – Cool off at the River Oaks County Park Splash Pad

River Oaks County Park
9202 E Michigan Ave, Galesburg, MI 49053

River Oaks County Park in Galesburg is well-known for its large splash pad (open Memorial Day-Labor Day). This park also includes a playground, 20 soccer fields, dog park, and a model airplane field.

All county parks have an admission fee. Daily and annual passes are available for purchase.

Splash Pad

Photo: Kalamazoo County Parks

15 – Hike Chipman Preserve

Chipman Preserve
8395 E Main St, Galesburg, MI 49053

Chipman Preserve offers six miles of scenic trails through forest and grassland. The Preserve is part of the HOP (Hike Our Preserves) Program.

This trail is also popular in the winter for cross-country skiing.

Kalamazoo Hiking Trail

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