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6 Fabulous and Fun Things to Do with Kids in Northern Michigan

guide to things to do in northern michigan with kids

Kid-Friendly Fun in Northern Michigan

Looking for something fun to do with your kids in northern Michigan? Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway, a fun spring break activity or things to do on your next family vacation, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to discover six things to do with kids in northern Michigan.

Play in the Sand at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

9922 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630

It may well be one of the most beautiful spots in the world, and you won’t find better beaches or more perfectly aqua blue freshwater anywhere in the country.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the perfect place for Michigan families to enjoy any activities that require being outdoors. Head for dunes and Lake Michigan, for sure, but don’t miss the Crystal River.

If you have younger children, the Crystal River is the perfect place to float down in a kayak or a tube: the water is only as deep as two feet in most places and is safe for all first-time kayakers or tubers.

Hike up the Sleeping Bear Sand Dune Climb, and then sprint down and jump in the cool Lake Michigan waters to off rinse the sand from your feet.

PRO-TIP: Relax after a busy day exploring the dunes on a drive through the seven-mile-long Pierce Stocking Drive, home to the iconic Dune Overlook.

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sleeping bear dunes climb things to do in northern michigan with kids

Splash Around Great Wolf Lodge

3575 N U.S. 31 S, Traverse City, MI 49684

Looking for more than just a day trip with your kids and family? Look no further than the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City for your family vacation.

You can visit this lodge any time of year: the indoor waterpark includes splash pads, as well as many more fun activities for old and young alike. It’s the perfect place for indoor play and the perfect place to make lasting memories with your kids.

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Michigan’s Adventure Amusement and Water Park

4750 Whitehall Rd, Muskegon, MI 49445

The largest amusement park in Michigan, your kids are sure to have a fun-filled day at this park, whether they stick to roller coasters or prefer the water park features.

Check out their new Camp Snoopy that features five new rides based on the characters in the Peanuts comics.

Need some energy to walk around the amusement park and spend some time standing in line for the rides? You’ll find many dining options at this park as well: find everything from pretzels, Dippin’ Dots, and ice cream to full meals.

PRO-TIP: You’re just minutes away from P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, one of the most beautiful state parks in Michigan, with one of the best interpretive nature centers, too. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit. Why not make it a beach day and spend your time splashing on the shores of Lake Michigan?

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Splash Around in Ocqueoc Falls

Travel about an hour north of Alpena to find the largest waterfalls in Michigan’s lower peninsula, also the only universally accessible waterfall in the United States.

Hike of bike the more than six miles of trails and if it’s warm enough, duck your head under the falls to cool off.

This pristine forest setting is so beautiful, you’ll find yourself returning year after year.

PRO-TIP: Take a side trip to Rogers City, Michigan’s Nautical City,” tucked away on the coast of Lake Huron just a short drive east of the falls. Rogers City’s lovely parks are prefect for stretching out with a picnic lunch with lots of room for the kids to run around.

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Mystery Town USA

200 S Nicolet St, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

This is such a fun place to take the kiddos to immerse themselves into some of the greatest mysteries of all time. With physical experiences based on mysteries such as The City of Atlantis, Area 51, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and more your kids will not know the difference between reality and the mysteries that unfold before their very eyes in this sideshow attraction.

Is it a tourist trap? Maybe, but it’s also some good, old-fashioned fun for all.

PRO-TIP: Pack a picnic lunch and unwind in the Alexander Henry Park, where you can gaze in wonder at the amazing Mackinac Bridge and perhaps inspire a future architect or two.

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Paddle over a Shallow Shipwreck at Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary

Alpena is one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets, as is the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary. Picturesque Thunder Bay – with its many small islands – is a prime destination for divers from all over the world.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects the waters surrounding the 116 shipwrecks below the surface.

These shipwrecks, victims of an area of the Great Lakes known as “Shipwreck Alley” due to the treacherous conditions caused by huge gales that can quickly whip up in the area, can be explored by divers or by glass-bottom boats.

A number of the shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary lie in fairly shallow waters and can be easily accessed via paddleboard or kayak.

You can also take an Alpena Shipwreck Tour to catch a glimpse. Shipwreck Tours are also available in in a glass bottom boat.

PRO-TIP: Take a tour of the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. One of coolest things about this museum is the full-size replica wooden Great Lakes schooner and shipwreck where visitors can walk the decks, feel a Great Lakes storm, and touch the massive timbers of the boat resting on the lake bottom…without getting wet. If you’re prone to sea sickness, you might want to hold off on lunch until after you’ve toured the ship.

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About the Author –

Charlotte Dennison is a content creation intern at My Michigan Beach. She grew up in Vermont and has summertime family ties to the great state of Michigan in both Ann Arbor and Lake Hamlin. In addition to content creation, she spends her time studying writing, editing, and publishing at Emmanuel College in Boston. Writing has been her dream since the start of high school, and she hopes to turn content creating into a life-long career. Charlotte is jazzed to be interning at MyMichiganBeach.com. Outside of writing Charlotte enjoys curling up with a Stephen King novel and her cat on rainy city days.

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