West Michigan is a mecca for family vacations. Use these
itineraries to help plan a vacation to suit every family
Northern West Michigan has its fair share of quaint islands. Mackinac Island and Beaver Island are two of travelers favorites, and for good reason.
Wanting to get away for a weekend to a place where there are no cars, and life consists of fudge, bicycling and horse rides? Mackinac Island is for you!
Take weekend family vacation to the Island! Spend Friday night in mackinaw city at the Fairview Beachfront Inn and the kids will enjoy the indoor water park all night. Saturday morning, hop on the Arnold Line, Star Line or Sheplers Ferry. All ferry’s leave out of Mackinaw City and take you right to the Island. Once on the Island, hop on a Mackinac Island Carriage Tour and travel the island in a horse drawn carriage and make sure you stop by JoAnn’s Fudge for the best fudge on the Island!
Traverse City is a fantastic spot for a family getaway. Kids and parents alike will all enjoy every activity this wonderful City has to offer.
The kids will be entertained for hours at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. The museum Offers hands-on learning through play. Open Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat 9:30am-5:00pm, Thur 9:30am-8:00pm (5:00-8:00pm Family Night, $1.50 admission) & Sun noon-5:00pm. Admission $6.50/person ages one year and above. Pals members & children under one are free.
After a morning at the museum, sail into history aboard the Traverse City Tall Ship Company’s tall ship Manitou, a beautiful replica of a 19th century schooner. Enjoy a two-hour cruise or spend the night aboard the ship as part of our popular "Floating Bed & Breakfast package." Or join them for a four-day windjammer cruise on Northern Lake Michigan.
Families of all kinds will enjoy everything region three has to offer! No matter what age the kids (or parents for that matter), there is plenty of family fun in Region 3 to delight.
Indoor Water Parks
Double JJ Ranch waterpark and Golf Resort is home to 60,000 square feet of indoor water park excitement. Come race down Western Michigan's tallest indoor waterslide. More thrill slides, a lazy/crazy river, wave pool, water fort, toddler pool, water basketball, and hot tub offer TONS of ways to get wet 365 days a year.
Another great place to take the kids is the Best Western Splash Park Inn in Ludington. The Best Western has a large atrium with figure 8 pool slide, indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, game & fitness room, playground, picnic tables & grills, guest laundry. Stay here and you will receive free breakfast with belgian waffles. Whirlpool,business & kids suites w/two bedrooms or fireplaces.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend a real live rodeo? Well, you can fufill your dreams right here in West Michigan. Every Saturday night during the summer months, the Double JJ resort hosts a rodeo. Head on out to the ranch for all the cowboys, horses, roping, and rodeo clowns you can handle! The Double JJ also offers horseback riding,
Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area
Combine miles upon miles of white sand dunes with dune buggys, jeep rentals, and boat rides and you get the Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area. For activites the whole family can enjoy, check out these places.
Craigs Cruisers is a family fun park at Silver Lake. Craigs Cruisers has a slick go-kart track, paddle boats, rookie carts, bumper boats, kiddie karts, game room, and mountain mini-golf. Open 10 am - 11 pm.
Visitors of all ages enjoy the exciting, scenic Mac Woods Dune Rides. Join knowledgeable drivers who understand the history and environment of the constantly changing sand mountains for a safe, fun-filled 7 mile dune ride lasting about 40 minutes. To climb to the summit and see spread in all directions such a vast panorama is breathtaking! Glide down the sweeps into the valleys, drive past sparkling Silver Lake and visit Lake Michigan's lovely beach!
No reservations are needed except for groups of 20 or more. Bring your camera or video and sunglasses! You'll want to visit and photograph this magnificent natural wonder again and again!
Take on the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in a rugged Jeep or quad or tour the sights of the Silver Lake area on a sporty moped. Parrot’s Landing Jeep Rentals and Tours will provide everything you need at reasonable rates for a full day of fun in the sun at Silver Lake, Lake Michigan and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
Their Jeep Wranglers are a splendid way to tour the sand dunes of Silver Lake. They seat two in the front and the 42" backseat can seat two adults or three small children. After your tour guide instructs you on using your Jeep, they will lead you up to the dunes where you will have an awesome adventure.
Hourly tours can be scheduled anytime throughout the day while sunset tours begin at 7:30 pm, allowing you ample time to have some fun before the real beauty begins. Watching the sun dip down over the lake from the top of a dune is an incredible experience.
Razor J’s Adventure Tours offer off-road dune tours on the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Silver Lake. Following a experienced guide you drive one of their Polaris Ranger RZR sport UTV's into 500 acres of pure fun. Located at the former site of Sandy Korners Adventure Tours only about 1/8th of a mile from the entrance of the sand dunes. Their guided tours are ideal for people that would like to experience the dunes without the hassle of owning your own dune vehicle.
A truly unique opportunity to play on the famous Silver Lake Sand Dunes at your own leisure. Silver Lake Buggy Rentals has two-seat buggies, four-seat buggies and quads available. This is not a tour! Cruise the dunes, picnic on the beach or swim in Lake Michigan. The choice is yours when you rent from Silver Lake Buggy Rentals.
A Day on the Farm
Head over to Country Dairy in New Era and learn what it is like to live on a dairy farm. Check out Moo School to enhance your knowledge on all things dairy, and you will even get to meet the cows! Make sure to grab a glass of the “bottomless” milk and you can’t leave without trying fresh ice cream!
After you learn all about cows, head on over to Lewis Farm Market. Lewis Farm Market has a large Petting Farm, featuring over 50 animals, including a camel and wallaby!. This market is family-owned, specializing in home-grown produce on 700 acres. They serve seasonal produce and baked good. They also offer gem mining, and Michigan’s only animated chicken show, barrel train, pedal carts, and a fall corn maze.
Whether you are looking to spend a day or a week in West Michigan, Region 4 can host any length trip. With dozens of family friendly activities, you can spend as much time as you please here!
Spend the night at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Water park in Grand Rapids. The Ramada Plaza has an indoor water park, slide included, that will entertain the kids for hours. Once out of the hotel, head on downtown and stop in the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. The Grand Rapids Children's Museum celebrates childhood and the joy of learning by providing an interactive, hands-on environment that inspires learning and encourages self directed exploration. After channeling your inner child, take a short walk to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. The Public Museum has many hands on and interactive exhibits that change regularly. Make sure to check ahead of time to see what the main exhibits are going to be while you are in town! If you still have energy left make your way to the John Ball Zoo. The monkeys, bears, stingrays, and dozens of other animals will put a smile on just about anyone’s face. There is also a petting zoo and ropes course challenge.
Depending on the day or week you are in town, you may also catch a game or a show at the Van Andel Arena and Devos Place. Make sure to check the schedules ahead of time!
The lakeshore town of Muskegon is home to Michigan’s only amusement park, Michigan’s Adventure. Spend a day riding rollercoaster’s and playing in the water park. Muskegon is also the city where you can pick up a car ferry to take all the way over to Wisconsin. The Lake Express High Speed Ferry shortens the commute to our neighboring state to 2.5 hours!
Head to the lakeshore town of Grand Haven and spend the day on the beach or in town and at night you will want to catch a glimpse of the worlds largest Musical Fountain. Depending on the week you are in town, you may be able to experience one of West Michigan’s largest festivals, the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. This festival celebrates all the men an women who honor our country in the Coast Guard Service. This week long event is held every year during the first week of August.
Make your way down the lakeshore to another beach town, Holland. Spend a day at some of the fantastic attractions this town has to offer. Holland takes pride in its Dutch heritage and you can learn all about it at Nelis’ Dutch Village Theme Park and Wooden Shoe Factory. Kids can play all day here and even have their own pair of wooden shoes made for them- a great souvenir to take home! After spending some time here, head on over to Windmill Island where you can catch a glimpse of a real operating Windmill. You will also enjoy the vast gardens this island has to offer. Depending on the time of the year you are here, you may be able to catch the Tulip Time Festival. Held every year in May, Tulip Time celebrates the city’s rich Dutch heritage and showcases millions of blooming tulips.
Region five is filled with family oriented festivals! If you are planning a trip to this region, check to see if any of these are being held when you are here!
Mayfaire Renaissance Festival- Marshall- Last two weekends in May, including Memorial Day. Five days of family entertainment as lords and ladies, jugglers, jesters and jousters recreate the Renaissance! Medieval martial arts, unique merchants, colorful costumes and lively music fill the Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall.
Silver Leaf Renaissance Faire- Battle Creek- Step into the story book and create memories during five fun-filled weekends! Attend the hard-hitting International Joust Championship but don't miss one moment of celebration and laughter during our themed weekend fun! Enjoy unique shopping, entertainment, food and activities.
Michigan Fiber Festival- Allegan- Held on the Allegan County Fairgrounds. Unique opportunity to see and learn about natural fibers and the animals and plants that produce them. Animals on display, free fiber art demonstrations, sheep shearing and dog herding. Art competitions, musical entertainment, Pioneer Village and vendors with finished items or supplies.
Cass County Fair- Cassopolis- Grandstand entertainment features bullmania, superstock tractor pull, demolition derbies, & SJO motorcross. See harness racing, horse pulls, livestock judging & auction, 4-H exhibits & family entertainment throughout the grounds.
National Blueberry Festival- South Haven- Enjoy fresh blueberry products, pancake breakfasts, fishboil dinner, parade, kids event, Little Miss & Mister Blueberry Pageant, 5K run/walk, arts & crafts show, blueberry bake-off and FREE concerts. A true family event that is kid friendly with most events FREE!
Allegan County Fair- Have you ever..Raced a duck? Pet a kangaroo? Rode the Vertigo? Ate a deep fried oreo? Rode a camel? Entered a cow or a cake? Won a squirt gun game? Smiled from the inside out? There is always something new at the Allegan County Fair!
While you are visiting this region, spend a day in Saugatuck and enjoy the thrill of a Saugatuck Dune Ride or a Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruise. Both are fun for the whole family and each include their own kind of thrill.
Make the drive down the lakeshore to St. Joseph to ride and see the Silver Beach Carousel and Amusement Park Museum. Here the horses, the tigers, the hippocampus, the panda, the clown fish – in all, 48 unique carousel figures and two chariots – are whirling with excitement to see you. Come pick your favorite and ride beneath 1000 twinkling lights as the band organ’s music happily soars and dips with the beat.
On your way to St. Joseph, stop in Battle Creek at the Binder Park Zoo and feed the giraffes. Watch as their long black tongues wrap around a lettuce leaf and pull it right out of your hand! It will provide hours of entertainment!
And if you or someone if your family likes a good scare, the Niles Haunted House in Niles opens for the Halloween season in September.