What to do in Gull Lake, Augusta and Richland with Kids
There is more than just farms east of Kalamazoo. 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 SWMI neighborhoods for families moving here for more land, good schools, and a watery beauty in Gull Lake.
Gull Lake MI Area Snapshot
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.
In this Article
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).
Population: 1,158 (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.
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.
Things to Do in Gull Lake MI & Surrounding Cities
The communities east of Kalamazoo offer a fantastic lake, a large variety of mom-and-pop-style restaurants, and beautiful trails and parks.
1 – 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.
2 – 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.
3 – 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.
4 – 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.
5 – Travel Back in Time at the Kellogg Manor House
W.K. 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 a chauffeur’s residence, a greenhouse with potting shed, a caretaker’s cottage, a boathouse, a lakeside pagoda and a windmill imported from Holland.
Built in 1926, this property was fully restored in 2000 and serves as a host for many private events and weddings. Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided walking tour of the grounds.
6 – 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.
7 – 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.
8 – Take a Stroll through the W.K. 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.
9 – Eat Outside at Gull Lake Distilling Company
Gull Lake Distilling Company
92 E Michigan Ave, Galesburg, MI 49053
Opened in 2020, GLDC is a locally-sourced craft distillery, brewery, and winery. They were also voted as one of the top breweries in SWMI in 2022.
Their outdoor space is massive and includes family-friendly picnic table seating and regularly scheduled activities including trivia nights and live music.
10 – Try ALL of the Flavors with an Ice Cream Flight from The Front Porch
The Front Porch of Galesburg
55 E Battle Creek Street Galesburg, MI 49053
The Front Porch of Galesburg welcomes diners to an All-American traditional drive-in hot dog stand experience, complete with draft-pulled root bear and hand-dipped ice cream.
The Front Porch reopened in 2023 with new owners and serves Mooville ice cream.
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.
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).
13 – Set Sail on Gull Lake
While Lake Michigan is undoubtedly a fantastic beach destination, Gull Lake is tops for inland lakes in the area.
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 depths of 110 feet.
Fishermen typically fish for bluegill and bass in the spring, and lake trout in the fall. Scuba divers can explore the lake year-round; there are hidden underwater artifacts for them to find including a phone booth, car and motorcycle.
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.
16 – Catch a Show at The Barn Theatre
The Barn Theatre School
13351 West M-96, Augusta, MI 49012
The Barn Theatre School for Advanced Theatre Training in Augusta has been a local performing arts favorite for over 75 years. Snag some tickets to an upcoming show on their website.
How deep is Gull Lake?
Gull Lake reaches depths of 110 feet.
Which fish are in Gull Lake?
Fishermen find lake trout, bluegill and bass in Gull Lake.
How big is Gull Lake?
Gull Lake spans over 2,000 acres.
When is the Kalamazoo Balloon Festival?
The 3-day annual Kalamazoo Balloon Festival takes place at Gull Meadow Farms in Richland, typically during late summer/early Fall (Friday- Sunday). In 2023, the festival is scheduled for August 11-13.
How Many Cars are in the Gilmore Car Museum?
The Gilmore Car Museum is the largest automotive museum in North America, featuring about 400 vehicles.
Are you a Gull Lake MI area fan?
Let us know in the comments with your favorite things to do in Gull Lake, Hickory Corners and other nearby cities!