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Michigan Family Vacations: FIVE Top Spots (Your Kids Will LOVE)

5 Top Michigan Family Vacations

Plan Your Perfect Michigan Family Vacation

There’s nothing quite as kid-friendly as a Michigan summer, and the freshwater beaches of the Michigan coastline were made for fun and memory-making family vacations.

With fabulous destinations in Michigan like sand dunes to climb, indoor waterparks and endless lazy rivers, and miles of parks and trails for every outdoor activity imaginable, who needs summer camps to keep busy?

Each summer, generations upon generations flock to the same beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior that they’ve been visiting since they were children – and delight in bringing their OWN children to frolic in the soft sand!

Michigan’s picture-perfect vacation spots can be found throughout both the Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula alike.

With more than 3,000 miles of shoreline to explore, perfect family vacations in Michigan are easy to plan.

If you’re looking to plan a Michigan family getaway, summer break activities or need vacation ideas, read on to discover FIVE amazing Michigan travel destinations your kids will delight in.

Discovering Michigan Beaches

If you’re new to Michigan, or just seeking a new spot for a fantastic vacation or getaway to share with your family, we’ve got some of the best destinations around the state to share with you.

The beaches listed here all have the essential amenities necessary to enjoy a day at the beach with your family, and some of them offer much more.

After all, everyone knows that happy kids are the key to great family vacation. We’ve included a family-favorite Michigan vacation destination: Crystal Mountain – a short distance from Lake Michigan.

Getaways in Michigan

Visiting Michigan with kids is easy: just add sand and water and you’ve got them entertained pretty much all day. Finding a spot to keep the whole family entertained is easy, too: with family-friendly towns to explore; miles of hiking trails to take in the stunning Michigan landscape and family resorts in Michigan offering tons of fun activities, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to visit in Michigan.

We’re sharing FIVE of our favorite spots for Michigan family vacations, but be sure to explore the pages of our website to find even more family travel inspiration.

michigan family vacations

Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph, Michigan

St. Joseph’s Silver Beach County Park was made for families, and families were made for Silver Beach.

Although the beautiful, wide beach at Silver Beach County Park is a giant playground itself, there are many other attractions in this county to entertain.

From the giant splash pad – and trust us, it IS giant – to the large playground structures and beach volleyball courts to the barrier-free walkways, everything needed for a perfect day at the beach is here.

You’ll even find a kids hands-on museum within steps of the beach here. The Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone is an interactive museum for kids ages 1-10 with a never-ending list of amusements to keep them interested. It’s also a perfect spot for indoor play on those occasional rainy days.

One of the most important and family-friendly features of Silver Beach is the presence of Life Guards, as well as the Flag System to warn of dangerous swimming conditions.

These life-saving heroes keep beach-goers safe in Lake Michigan, which while beautiful, can also be unpredictable.

siver beach splash pad

Playground areas, concessions and water sport rentals such as paddle boards kayaks are also available at Silver Beach. In addition to the wide sand beach and long pier jutting out into the perfectly blue Lake Michigan (a favorite beach-wedding spot), the world-famous Silver Beach Carousel and Amusement Park Museum is a must-visit for beach-goers of all ages.

Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, St. Joseph, a quaint little Michigan beach town, has long been a favorite destination for beach-goers and fun-seekers alike. Self-billed as the “Riviera of the Midwest,” St. Joseph’s shopping district offers everything from ice cream-and-fudge shops to gourmet food fare and much more.

St. Joseph Accommodations

There are a wide-range of lodging options for visitors to the St. Joseph area, as well as a wide-range of rates. Chain hotels, independent motels, Bed and Breakfasts and private cottage rental abound.

grand haven pier- best things to do in michigan

Grand Haven City Beach and Grand Haven State Park

Sandy beaches – check.
Clean restroom facilities – check.
Wide, sandy beach with many amenities – check.

It’s official: Grand Haven is a perfect spot for families for a Michigan beach vacation. The reason is simple: wide swaths of soft sand beach sloping gently into a sparkling blue Lake Michigan and a busy beach town brimming with activity all year long. Not far from Grand Rapids, MI, this west Michigan town is a summer vacation favorite with visitors from across the country. Here’s a few of favorite spots in Grand Haven:

Grand Haven Boardwalk
As family-friendly beaches go, a boardwalk is a MUST, and Grand Haven’s boardwalk is a truly enjoyable spot for visitors of all ages. Stroll along the water and let the kids stop for ice-cream, hot dogs and beach trinkets while taking in fresh breezes off the lake.

Grand Haven Pier and Lighthouse
Both Grand Haven City Beach and Grand Haven State Park sit side-by-side along a wide swath of Lake Michigan beach in Grand Haven at the end of the Grand Haven boardwalk. Walking the length of the pier is a popular activity for many Grand Haven visitors, and it can get quite crowded in the warm summer months, as visitors take in the sweeping Lake Michigan vistas.

Downtown Grand Haven
The town of Grand Haven is laid out quite nicely: it’s just a short walk from the beach to the bustling downtown. Families will appreciate the many cute shops and fun eateries catering to a wide variety of customers. Ice cream and fudge shops, casual cafes and more upscale offerings line the streets, mixed among the boutiques offering everything from gourmet kitchenware to toys and beach Tee’s.

Musical Fountain
The evening brings even more fun for visitors to Grand Haven: stick around until 10 p.m. and catch a glimpse of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain: a 25-minute synchronized water and light show on the city waterfront that you won’t forget.

ADA Accessibility in Grand Haven
Grand Haven City Beach is also notable for another reason: wide paved pathways that offer excellent accessibility to the Lake Michigan shoreline for users of wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Grand Haven Lodging

Similar to St. Joseph, accommodations in Grand Haven include chain hotels, independently-run motels and Inns as well as Bed and Breakfasts. Another option is private rentals – both smaller cottages as well as larger lake homes are abundant.

oscoda beach park - best family vacations

Oscoda Beach Park

Experience Lake Huron at it’s best: this sugar-sand beach located in downtown Oscoda offers family-friendly fun for all ages as well as a cute downtown area for exploring.

A splash pad, large waterfront skate park, basketball court and large play structure are among the features of this comfortable park. The large sugar-sand beach slopes gently to clear, freshwater and makes for perfect swimming.

Modern restrooms and a boardwalk for accessibility add to the comforts of this beach.

With sand volleyball courts, a children’s playground and shady grassy areas, there is something for everyone at this fun beach spot, and the proximity to downtown Oscoda add to the allure.

Small shops and cafes, like Sunrise Kava Cafe, which offers everything from wraps to specialty coffees to homemade brownies, line short blocks across from the beach if you’re in need of refreshment.

Where to Stay in the Oscoda Area

The wonderful thing for travelers to Oscoda is the number of affordable accommodations both on and near the beach.

Lined along M-23, the main highway along the Lake Huron shoreline, are numerous cabins and cottages available for rent.

Most of these cottages and cabins are independently owned and operated, and management takes great pride in both cleanliness and providing a memorable stay for all. Visitors may find beach toys, lounges umbrellas, playgrounds and more – a welcome sight for kids of all ages.

crystal mountain slide - best things to do michigan

Crystal Mountain

A favorite family destination ANY time of the year, Crystal Mountain resort is just pure fun.

Located a half-hour outside of Traverse City and within easy driving distance of world-renowned Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this family-owned ski, golf and spa resort has everything needed for a perfect family getaway.

As family resorts in Michigan go, this is one of the best. A wide variety of accommodations, a kids camp, restaurants, a grocery store and more are all set comfortably on an easily walk-able resort campus at the foot of scenic Crystal Mountain.

An large outdoor pool and playground, and Alpine slide down the side of the mountain and chairlift rides are just some of the fun activities for families; there are also off-campus excursions like river tubing through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, all led by Crystal Mountain staff.

There are hiking and biking trails, too, with bike rentals – and helmet – available on site. Michigan Legacy Art Park, located on the grounds of Crystal Mountain, features the work of local artists and is a beautiful and peaceful hiking spot.

The proximity to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, just minutes away, is also a bonus.

crystal mountain lodging

Crystal Mountain Lodging

One of the best features of Crystal Mountain is the wide variety of lodging options available to families – at a wide variety price points. From hotel rooms and suites to condominiums and cottages to luxury homes, Crystal Mountain offers something for every vacation budget.

Your children will love the swings and the volleyball courts, and you’ll love the comfortable benches along this super-clean beach. Watch your children play and take in the scenic views including the twin piers extending in to Lake Michigan.

Explore the Crystal Mountain area and nearby Frankfort, MI

st ignace- best family vacation spots

St. Ignace

Take the five-mile drive across the Mackinac Bridge and you’ll land in St. Ignace, also known as the gateway to the Upper Peninsula.

St. Ignace’s counterpart of the southern side of Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City, is a bit bigger, but St. Ignace has its own charms.

In addition to tourist and the requisite fudge shops (which are actually fun to explore with kids), you’ll also find well-maintained waterfront parks with both sandy beaches with swimming areas and boardwalks.

Kids will enjoy the nearby Deer Ranch, where they can see hundreds of white tail deer up close, as well as Garlyn Zoo, an Upper Peninsula wildlife zoo just about an ours drive west.

An added bonus is that you can catch a ferry to fabulous Mackinac Island from St. Ignace and be on the island in just minutes.

More Places to Explore on Your Michigan Family Vacation

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