With zoos, museums, beaches, waterparks, trails, and more, West Michigan has something for every child – or child at heart – to enjoy in any season. We’ve rounded up 27 kid-friendly activities to help your travel planning.

1. Get Creative with Art Classes

  • The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts‘ Kirk Newman Art School offers classes and art camps for children as young as 5 years old. Students can begin their art exploration in drawing, photography, ceramics, painting, and more. View the class schedule on their website.
  • The Oliver Art Center in Frankfort also offers classes and workshops for youth and families year-round in a variety of media, including clay and ceramics, painting, collage, drawing, pastel, textile arts, culinary arts, fiber arts, writing fiction and poetry, editing, and wellness arts. Be sure to sign up for the Youth Summer Art Camp.

2. Find Family Fun in Lansing

  • Make Lansing your weekend destination for a great family getaway. Michigan’s capital region is just a quick drive away and full of fun things to see and do. Explore the Michigan History Center or experience the Impression 5 Science Center. Keep busy at one of the many recreational centers, or challenge the family to high-speed karting at High Caliber Karting. Let this be the family weekend that creates memories to last a lifetime.

3. Head to Captivating Coldwater Country

  • With an abundance of things to see and do, Coldwater Country is your home for family fun. Play laser tag and virtual reality games at Adventure Zone. Add in mini golf and go-karts as the weather warms. Or step back in time and aboard an authentic 100+ year-old steam engine train at the Little River Railroad. Get outside and enjoy the horseback trails with Hidden Pond Horse Rescue. And, make sure to stay up late and head to the Capri Drive-In to catch a double feature at one of the remaining drive-in theaters in Michigan.
  • Discover family fun at Tibbits Opera House. Enjoy Popcorn Theatre's kid-friendly plays every Friday and Saturday at 10 am from June 7 to Aug 3. With engaging performances, it's the go-to spot for West Michigan adventures. Visit Tibbits.org for more info.

4. Head to Harbor Country

  • Gathering the family in Harbor Country is easy and makes lifelong memories to share for generations. There are great area hotels offering kid-favorite amenities like pools, water fun, games, and campfires. Plus, Harbor Country restaurants offer kids' menus and selections for even the pickiest of eaters. Learn more on the Harbor Country website.

5. Enjoy A Variety of Fun Options in South Haven

  • Children of all ages can find something fun to do in South Haven. Spending a day at the beach provides ample entertainment for anyone who enjoys the sand and water. Make sandcastles, play on the play equipment (located on both North and South Beach), and go for a swim. Be sure to enjoy the splash pad in the South Beach area. 
  • Who wants to go for a boat ride? There are plenty of options for children to hop onboard, including the famed Friends Good Will tall ship at the Michigan Maritime Museum. Sign up to help the crew of Friends Good Will retrieve their treasure from the pirates.
  • For the kids who like to ride their bikes, South Haven has two great trails, the Kal-Haven and Van Buren, for biking and hiking.

6. Stroll Through Your Local Farmer’s Market

  • Farmers markets are fun for the whole family. Younger kids can learn — and even get a taste of how honey is made by local beekeepers and teens can try out artisan coffee. Find your market and bring your family for a morning of learning and experimenting, all while supporting local vendors. Friske's Farm Market just south of Charlevoix is a must-visit in Northern Michigan. Whether you're grabbing a bite or exploring the General Store while the kids enjoy the Orchard Playland, your visit will be unforgettable.

7. Tour the Skies in A Hot Air Balloon Ride

  • Altitude Endeavors in Battle Creek invites you to take flight on one of their hot air balloon rides.As the largest and most experienced ballooning company in the Southwest Michigan area, they will ensure that your adventure is professional and unforgettable. The rides are best suited for pre-teens and older, although their youngest passenger was only 2 years old. Altitude Endeavors recommends that children be about 42″ tall and have an interest in the outdoors.

8. Check Out Kalamazoo Area Attractions

9. Visit Muskegon Area Museums

  • Too cold to go outdoors? Spend a family day at the Lakeshore Museum Center. Discover Muskegon's history at Lakeshore Museum Center's five sites. Explore exhibits at the Main Museum, tour historic homes, and step back in time at Michigan's Heritage Park.  
  • While in the area, be sure to visit the Muskegon Museum of Art. Kids of all ages will love the unique opportunity to view the Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books exhibit through May 26th as well as many other exhibits. 
  • Step aboard the historic SS City of Milwaukee in Manistee and embark on a journey back in time, where adventure awaits for the whole family. From interactive exhibits to captivating stories of maritime history, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Join us for a voyage filled with laughter, learning, and unforgettable moments. Get ready to create cherished memories aboard the SS City of Milwaukee – where every adventure is an opportunity for family fun.

10. Make Memories in Mt. Pleasant

11. Savor Fun at Shanty Creek Resort

  • When the weather warms, visit Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire where an unforgettable golf getaway awaits. Four distinctly Northern Michigan golf courses featuring tight fairways, formidable doglegs, and elevation changes will challenge any golfer. Need a lesson? No problem. Shanty Creek has developed and implemented a variety of programs aimed at attracting youth, beginners, and families to play golf.
  • While in Bellaire, take the kids for a hike at Grass River Natural Area, where they will learn about native plant and animal species. Grass River Natural Area offers seven miles of trails, and a living laboratory to explore and learn. The Grass River Center offers a learning environment for public programming, school field trips, camps, and more. 

12. Enjoy Pure Ludington Entertainment

  • Two iconic lighthouses welcome visitors to Ludington while keeping the harbor safe. Embark on a short pier walk to see the stunning North Breakwater Light up close at Stearns Park Beach. The historic Big Sable Lighthouse can be found at the Ludington State Park, where visitors can take a 1.8-mile walk to view it. The Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers are an integral part of keeping the history of the lighthouses alive and have various educational and volunteer opportunities available, including tours. 
  • Mason County Historical Society, which manages Historic White Pine Village has over 30 historic exhibit buildings. The Village offers a historic, family-friendly, fun-filled tour of the late 19th - early 20th-century pioneer village, depicting the rich lumber and agriculture of the region.
  • Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, helps you discover the town’s rich maritime past. The museum brings history to life with digital storytelling, authentic images and artifacts, and engaging interactive exhibits. Kids can enter a world of exploration and learning when they discover the many exhibits and activities here.

13. Celebrate Family Time in Charlevoix

14. Petoskey Area Pleasures

  • Kids of all ages will find something cool to do in the Petoskey Area. Springtime means good times and super fun flights on zipline adventures. Indoors, kids will have a blast bowling and playing laser tag or splashing the day away at Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark.
  • Nearby Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan is tons of fun with experiences in art and science. The Hands-on Room encourages everyone to explore light, sound, music, magnets, motion, earth and life sciences. Next check out the Animal Room which showcases reptiles and amphibians to look at, pet or hold. There are also salt and freshwater fish to watch. If you want to endear yourself to the animals, bring broccoli or apples for the tortoises or worms for the turtle, gar and Miss Puff! Check out their Second Saturdays program where admission for families from noon to 4 pm is FREE! 
  • Set sail for Boyne City's annual Pirate Fest, August 8-10, where families can immerse themselves in a world of buccaneers and treasure hunts on Boyne City Main Street. Join the crew for a weekend filled with exciting activities like pirate-themed games, costume contests, and thrilling ship battles on the sparkling waters of Lake Charlevoix. With live entertainment, delicious pirate grub, and plenty of opportunities to unleash your inner pirate, this festival promises fun and adventure for pirates of all ages.

15. Encounter Animals

  • Located on 80 acres of land in Alto, Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park is a unique, hands-on experience for the entire family. The park boasts a distinct collection of exotic animals and reptiles, and the variety and dynamic atmosphere make Boulder Ridge anything but your average zoo.
  • Meet more than 100 unique animals in one of the largest petting zoos in the area, take a ride on the barrel train, race rubber ducks, and so much more farm fun at Lewis Adventure Farm & Petting Zoo in New Era. From barnyard favorites like ponies and goats to exotics like camels, kangaroos, and lemurs, and sunflower festivals to apple picking, Lewis Adventure Farm has something for everyone.
  • Visit a family-run dairy farm and get an up-close look at the cows, the milking process, and more at Country Dairy….and don’t forget the ice cream.
  • Experience endless family fun at John Ball Zoo. Discover fascinating animals from around the globe, enjoy interactive exhibits, and dive into thrilling activities like feeding giraffes and riding the zipline. Whether it's your first visit or you're a seasoned zoo enthusiast, adventure awaits at every turn. 
  • See our full list of Animal Encounter opportunities in West Michigan here.

16. Discover Indoor Adventures in Allegan

  • Experience the largest indoor ropes course in Michigan at the Allegan Event. Explore the heart-pumping bi-level Sky Trail® ropes course with Sky Rail™ zip rails sitting at heights up to 35 feet. Pair the course with other activities such as the QUICKjump free-fall simulation, Vertical Drop Slide, Clip ‘n Climb® walls, and outdoor zip line spanning the Kalamazoo River. Little kids under 48” are able to explore the Sky Tykes® course at a more comfortable height designed specifically for their needs.

17. Find Family-Friendly Farm Fun (and Ice Cream)

  • A family fun destination with great, fresh dairy products: visit MOO-ville Creamery in Nashville for old-fashioned down-on-the-farm fun and flavor.

18. Embark on a Dune Ride

  • Enjoy the freedom of exploring the Silver Lake sand dunes, Silver Lake Buggy Rentals allows you to drive your own ATV or 2-seat dune buggy. 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.
  • Experience the Silver Lake Sand Dunes on a one-of-a-kind 40-minute dune tour with Mac Woods Dune Rides. A tradition since 1930, Mac Woods Dune Rides take you to one of the tallest dunes on the Silver Lake, letting you out at Lake Michigan for a quick visit for pics and enjoying the view.

19. Take Advantage of Traverse City Attractions

  • Kids of all ages will find something to love in northern Michigan, whether they are visiting a children’s museum or taking a ranger-led hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Right now, the outdoors is the best place to be. Bike along the TART Trail to explore Traverse City and see a cool planetary display that runs along the trail. There’s also plenty of fun to be had at local arcades and bowling alleys during “normal” times. Many hotel properties–including Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, and others–offer tons of kid-friendly activities throughout the year.
  • Escape to Crystal Mountain for the ultimate summer retreat. With lodging, dining, and endless outdoor activities onsite, including golf, a water playground, and new attractions like the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide, there's fun for everyone. Explore the region, including nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, from your base at Crystal Mountain. Book your getaway now at crystalmountain.com.
  • Dive into family fun with H2GO Charters. Enjoy a day of cruising, water sports, or fishing – look into voyage ideas here
  • Experience family fun with the TC Pit Spitters. Enjoy exciting baseball games, tasty snacks, and entertainment for all ages. Don't miss out – grab your tickets today.

20. Learn About the Great Lakes – On the Lake

  • Kids growing up in the Great Lakes state should learn about the Great Lakes. Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay offers two- and three-hour programs for families to learn about life under the surface of the water. Participants will explore the Great Lakes food web by taking and analyzing samples with real equipment that scientists use. Examine creatures living in the benthos (lake bottom), view microscopic plankton through the microscope, identify fish, test the water, and find out how microplastics are impacting the Great Lakes food web. In addition, you can help raise the sails of the 77′ schooner and steer the ship. Book now for your summer adventure.

21. Discover Mackinac Island 

  • Give your kids a history lesson they don’t know they’re taking with the Mackinac State Historic Parks both in Mackinaw City and on Mackinac Island. From cannon firings to dressing in soldiers’ clothing to a walk through history, kids will learn as much here as they would in a classroom.
  • Mackinac Island has something for all ages. Take a horse-drawn carriage tour, visit Fort Mackinac and see live cannon firings, hike and bike the 70 miles of trails, and get out on the water on a boat charter, kayak, or paddle board. Enjoy a stop at the butterfly house, explore the playgrounds, or visit the Maze of Mirrors. Or simply skip stones and enjoy a picnic by the beach. There is so much to explore and fun to be had on historic Mackinac Island. Plan a family getaway today

22. Explore the Great Outdoors Up North

  • With Marquette’s diverse landscape, children can safely participate in a slew of outdoor winter activities like skiing, fat-tire biking, and snowshoeing. Also, Marquette is home to a children’s museum, a pottery and art studio, and lots of great parks.
  • Escape screen time and put a paddle in your kid's hands. Truly disconnect from the hubbub and mayhem and let Keweenaw Adventure Company be your host — they have something for everyone, no matter the age level or experience. You’ll find Lake Superior sea kayaking for all levels of experience, and inland lake stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking for all age levels. They have an excellent safety record and 5-star adventures guaranteed to make you all smile and keep you coming back for more. Book your adventure today.
  • Making memories with family members is one of the top reasons we travel. Sharing new experiences with our loved ones, especially while they're children, are some of the most important moments of our lives. The Keweenaw's unique blend of outdoor experiences, history, and charming small towns offers family travelers an opportunity to disconnect from daily routines and really connect with each other. Take a hike, enjoy a picnic in the park, and look for constellations in the night sky. 
  • Experience wild family fun at Oswald's Bear Ranch in Newberry. Get ready for an adventure like no other as you explore our sanctuary nestled in the heart of Michigan's wilderness. From up-close encounters with rescued bears to guided tours and interactive educational talks, there's excitement for everyone in the family. 
  • Dive into history at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise. Explore tales of legendary wrecks on Lake Superior's shores. With artifacts, interactive exhibits, and guided tours, it's an educational adventure for all ages.

23. Explore Holland

  • Family time is a fun time in Holland. Whoosh down a three-story water slide at the aquatic center, climb atop the Cowardly Lion in the Oz Sculpture Garden, or defy gravity at the Urban Air Adventure Park. Plus, with over 1800 acres of parks for hiking, cycling, picnicking, and playing the outdoor recreation possibilities are endless. 

24. Go Kayaking

  • Create unforgettable family memories with Riverside Canoe. Explore scenic rivers and tranquil landscapes with our convenient rentals. Fun for all ages awaits – plan your adventure today.
  • Experience the thrill of the great outdoors with Big Bear Adventure Co. From zip lining to ATV excursions, we offer unforgettable adventures for all ages. Book your next outdoor escapade today.

25. Go on a Historic Scavenger Hunt

  • Visit Berrien County Historic Discover adventure at our History Center. Follow our Story Trail through captivating tales or join our quarterly Scavenger Hunt for hidden treasures. Fun for all ages awaits – visit here for details.

26. Explore Michigan State Parks

  • Michigan boasts numerous state parks. One in particular where kids can discover their inner explorers is the Gillette Nature Center in Hoffmaster State Park. This center provides educational opportunities for all ages, including nature scavenger hunts, interactive exhibits showcasing the local ecosystem, and opportunities to observe native wildlife. Educational programs, workshops, and hikes will deepen their appreciation for the natural world.

27. Discover Family-Friendly Fun with My Michigan Beach