Easy Day Trips for Families + Destinations Under 2 Hours from Kalamazoo

Trips under 2 hours from Kalamazoo

Looking for a Mini Getaway?

….but still want to sleep in your own bed tonight?

As a parent, I have struggled with planning vacations- especially in the toddler and infant stages. The idea of “getting away” or an “easy day trip” to explore a new town with kids sounds good in theory. Once I start mentally packing the car with diapers and sippy cups and extra outfits and extra diapers…I am already overwhelmed and we haven’t even left the driveway.

However, the need to explore is still there. Where can I take my kids to explore that is new, offers family-friendly options, and allows us to come home at the end of the day?

We’ve rounded up eight destinations that fit the bill for a quick getaway. These favorites are all less than two hours away and offer places to splash, hands-on museums to learn, and animals to visit. Leave the pack n plays at home, pack the extra diapers (sorry- those are a given), and head out on your next mini-adventure.  

SEE ALSO: Family Road Trip Ideas 2 – 5 Hours From Kalamazoo »

8 Day Trips to Take from Kalamazoo

1 – Battle Creek (Estimated drive: 30 minutes)

Cereal City is a only short drive and full of fun options. Our top picks include a visit Binder Park Zoo (make sure to feed the giraffes), or explore nature’s beauty in Leila Arboretum.

Kids Feed giraffe at Binder Park Zoo


2 – Grand Rapids (Estimated drive: 50 minutes)

Less than hour away, Grand Rapids is packed with attractions indoors or out. Staying in? Visit the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, or cheer for the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena.

Girl Children's Museum Mirrors
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Headed outside? Catch a ride on a camel at John Ball Zoo, explore 150 acres of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, or take a stroll along the Grand River at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

3 – Holland (Estimated drive: 1 hour)

Tulip Time isn’t the only time to head to Holland. Visit an authentic windmill at Windmill Island Gardens, or splash around at the Holland Aquatic Center.

Love animals? snuggle a bunny and other furry friends at the Critter Barn.

Girl at Petting Zoo

4 – Saint Joseph (Estimated drive: 1 hour)

Known for its proximity to Lake Michigan, Saint Joseph offers more than its sandy favorite, Silver Beach. Visiting during the cold season? Move the water party inside at Surfari Joe’s – which offers day pass admissions.

In the summer, play in the splash pad at Whirlpool Centennial Park or visit over 100 hands-on exhibits at Curious Kids MuseumDon’t forget the Silver Beach carousel; we’ve heard the animals dress up for different holidays!

Light board children's museum
Curious Kids Museum

5 – Shipshewana, IN (Estimated drive: 1 hour)

Start your visit to Shipshewana with a buggy ride and go sightseeing in Amish country; most trips conclude with a delicious meal at an Amish home. Once your belly is full, stop at Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park to feed a zebra.

You can also watch candy being made, or shop your day away at the Midwest’s largest flea market, the Shipshewana Trading Place.


6 – Lansing  (Estimated drive: 1 hour, 15 minutes)

Michigan State University houses more than textbooks and dorm rooms: grab ice cream at The Dairy Store, visit the Broad Art Museum, or explore the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens.

While in our state’s capital, brush big teeth at Impression 5 Science Center, take a tour of the state capitol, or visit Potter Park Zoo – did you know it was open year-round?

Impression 5 Lansing Children's Museum

7 – Ann Arbor (Estimated drive: 1.5 hours)

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor hosts one of the best children’s museums in the area, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (expect a few hours here).

Ann Arbor Children's Museum

Make a stop to scenic Gallup Park, this premier park has multiple playgrounds, walkways and bridges, a picnic sites this is the perfect outdoor setting to explore.

Local favorite Zingerman’s Deli is located near campus and worth the stop for chocolate bread and hot chocolate.

8 – Fort Wayne, IN (Estimated Drive: Just under 2 hours)

Did you know that Fort Wayne is the second most populated city in Indiana, after Indianapolis? Check out this big city for animal fun: take a ride on Crocodile Creek at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo or visit the butterflies at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

Need an indoor option? Science Central is a great place for hands-on learning and FREE reciprocal admission for Air Zoo members. Make sure to visit the Kids Central exhibit where kids will be entertained by the giant piano keyboard, water table and water play activities and bubble windows.