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Michigan’s Top 10 Family Attractions

Here's what you need to know...
  • Michigan has activities and attractions that are ideal for the entire family
  • The state has more than 3,000 miles of shoreline, so you can take time at the beach after visiting your favorite location
  • You can follow Interstate 75 from Ohio straight through to the Upper Peninsula

There’s a lot to see and do in Michigan, so you can easily keep the entire family entertained throughout the four seasons. Whether you’re new to the state or just looking for a new spot to explore, there are some sites that you really should take the kids to. Here are the top 10 destinations that are waiting for you in Michigan.

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Vacationing in Michigan

Situated between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, the state actually consists of the Upper Peninsula and the larger land mass that sits just north of Ohio. The Wolverine State became part of the union in 1837, and the capital is Lansing.

The five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge connects the two land masses. The world’s longest suspension bridge, it took three years to build and first opened in 1957.

In addition to the massive lakes that sit to the east and west, the state also has more than 11,000 inland lakes, more than 36,000 miles of streams, and roughly 3,126 miles of shoreline along the Great Lakes.

Why Michigan is Great for Families


Michigan is a top destination because it has something for kids of all ages. Families love the sandy beaches as well as the magical forests. You’ll find quaint towns just outside of larger cities, so you can explore the countryside or spend a night on the town.

The destinations are scattered throughout the state, so you can plan family vacations for years to come, make regular weekend trips, or just focus on one fun area.

Top 10 Family Attractions in Michigan

If you’re planning a summer vacation or just want to know where to travel to on the next long weekend, look to Michigan for great options.

The entertainment is ideal for everyone from young children to the grandparents, and you’re sure to make some great memories.

#1 – Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo has the traditional safari animals along with critters from the arctic. At the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, you can watch more than 80 penguins explore their underwater habitat or catch some sunshine. Check out their educational options for camps, family programs, and scout programs.

#2 – Zehnder’s Splash Village

Have fun in the water at an indoor park. Zehnder’s is one of only two waterparks in the country with a retractable roof, so you can enjoy the sunshine in the summer and still get in your splash time during the winter.

It has more than 50,000 square feet of aquatic fun so that you can keep the entire family entertained when you travel to Frankenmuth.

The cost is $14 for adults and only $10 for children between the ages of 2 and 14. Passes for the entire day run about $45 for visitors aged three and up.

#3 – Outdoor Discovery Center

Situated southwest of Grand Rapids, Holland is home to the Outdoor Discovery Center. This nature preserve is home to birds of prey, and visitors can bring their pets in provided they stay 50 feet away from animal enclosures.

Enjoy the visitors center, and sign up for different community programs that run throughout the year.

When you want your family to learn about nature and discover how they can take care of the planet, visit Macatawa Greenway. People are encouraged to visit the center, and annual memberships are available for $50.

#4 – The Treehouse

Detroit is a top vacation spot for its history and contribution to the car industry. However, younger kids really look forward to visiting The Treehouse.

The indoor playground is located right in Chelsea, and it has a 9,000 square foot play area featuring a climbing structure, slides, baby and toddler zone, swinging bridges, and a massive tree house.

Kids ages one to 15 are only $8 each and over 16 years old are free when accompanying a child.

#5 – Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

If you’re in the eastern part of the state, then the Children’s Museum is sure to delight you. Exhibits may include adventures in balance, a bubble making area, musical section, and the imagination playground.

The exhibits are rotated out to keep everything fresh, although there are some favorites that are always available for playtime. Entrance fees are typically $8.50 or less.

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#6 – Michigan’s Adventure

This Cedar Fair park is located in on the eastern side of the state north of Dalton. It has the roller coasters you love along with great shows that you’re sure to enjoy.

Daily tickets start at $31, and you can add fast pass options for as little as $67. It even features a waterpark so that you can cool off after a morning of walking through the park and taking in the great special events.

#7 – Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth

Visit the Old Country without leaving the heart of Michigan. Just north of Flint, you’ll find a charming Old World Village featuring its own riverfront, horse-drawn carriages, and Glockenspiel architecture.

You’ll discover an incredible range of German beers as well as more than 40 shops and boutiques. Special packages are available so that you can plan an entire vacation around this prime destination.

#8 – Soo Locks Boat Tours

Michigan has plenty of water to explore, and that includes the lock system that once allowed boats to travel inland.

Located in the Upper Peninsula, this must-see tourist attraction will get you out on the water to show you these technological marvels that have been used for more than a century.

Sightseeing tours start at $29 for adults, and package deals are available. In addition to seeing the locks, you’ll also get to take a closer look at giant hydro-electric plants, and you’ll get to travel through the lock connecting Lake Huron to Lake Superior.

#9 – The Robot Garage

Michigan was home to Henry Ford and his assembly line, and now it’s home to another technological wonder featuring robots. There are camps, classes, and all types of special events.

If you’re going to be in Birmingham, Rochester Hills, or Grosse Pointe, then you can check the schedule to see what classes your kids might be interested in. You can pay $99 for an annual membership that will allow you to take advantage of regular visits, discounts on services, and special kid’s nights.

#10 – County Historical Museum

Travel to Upper Michigan for the Iron County Historical Museum. Admission fees for adults are $10, and children are only $5. You’ll be able to explore nearly 10 acres of land, including an old mine site.

There are 26 different historical buildings, and 100 cool exhibits are on display to teach kids more about history.

Safety Tips for Traveling with the Family

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One of the best things you can do before a long road trip is to get your car tuned up and checked out.

You’ll get better gas mileage, and you won’t have to worry about a preventable breakdown. You can ask for a safety inspection that will look at fluid levels, lights, braking systems, heater and coolers, and other important components.

You’ll also want to check the seats, including booster seats. Make sure that everything is in good working condition without any seat belts that are jammed or loose child seats.

Take the time to give the car a good cleaning so that you can start the trip out on the right foot. This is a great opportunity to find loose toys that can be turned into projectiles if you have to hit the brakes, child locks that need to be engaged, and knobs that are too loose.

You’ll also want to pack some important items for the road, including:

  • Bottled water and emergency snacks
  • Warm blankets
  • Basic tools for changing a tire
  • Flashlight, first aid kit, and flares
  • Jumper cables
  • A fully charged cell phone
  • Sunblock

Compare Car Insurance for the Best Rates

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Before you head out on a road trip or sign up for a summer camping program that will require frequent treks across town, make sure that you have the right insurance. An automobile insurance plan will protect your assets while keeping your liability levels low.

You can look at premiums from three companies or more to be sure that you’ve found the best rates and coverage.

You don’t even have to spend hours on the phone. With online comparison tools, you can enter your information, choose the levels that work for you, and then let providers reach out to you with their rates. Be sure to ask about discounts you may qualify for.

Once you narrow down the field to just a few companies, be sure to look at their customer service ratings and financial strength. The cheapest company is not a bargain if they refuse to pay out claims. It may be worth it to pay a little more for great coverage that can protect you now and for years to come.

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