All Ages

9 Best Family Weekend Trips in Michigan

You’ll find a little bit of everything in Michigan—big cities, small towns, national parks, beaches, and even a European influence in many towns. (We’re looking at you, Holland). Consider one of these family weekend trips in Michigan for your next adventure.

Think Detroit isn't family-friendly? Think again. Many of the Motor City's neighborhoods -- including Corktown, Greektown and Mexicantown -- are riding to a rebound, with foodie-approved restaurants featuring urban farm-to-table fare. In fact, the restaurant boom is partly responsible for the city's renaissance.

Detroit has long been a fantastic and educational destination for families, though, considering it's the birthplace of the automobile. You can tour the Ford Piquette Plant where Henry Ford invented the Model T, even stopping for a photo in an old car. For more history, head to The Detroit Historical Society, where you can walk what looks like the old streets of Detroit. Be sure to have coneys (hot dogs) while you're in town, too -- they"re a big deal in Detroit!

Looking for a place to stay? See Detroit Family Hotels.

Recommended Hotel: Inn on Ferry Street

Mackinac Island

Traveling to Mackinac Island (pronounced MAK-uh-naw) is like traveling to the past. The remote island, located in Northern Michigan, is only accessible by ferry or boat, and once there, guests enjoy purely old-fashioned fun during their weekend family getaway in Michigan -- particularly at the island's grand resorts. One of them, appropriately named the Grand Hotel, features horse-drawn carriage tours, afternoon teas, ice cream socials and lawn games. Plus, it's all-inclusive!

The recently remodeled Mission Point Resort is another popular choice, with lakeside fun including swimming, golfing and kite flying. There's also an arcade, movie theater, and kids' club, and kids under age 12 stay free.

Want to stay on the island? Find Mackinac Island Family Resorts.

Recommended Hotel: The Grand Hotel

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is famous for its giant sand dunes that tower above the cobalt blue waters of Lake Michigan. Visitors like to climb the dunes before practically flying back down!

Other activities at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park include hiking, biking, swimming and camping. You can also stop by the historic Glen Haven General Store, or visit during the Port Oneida Fair in August; the fair lets visitors experience what Midwest life was like in the late 1800's/early 1900's. It's the perfect destination for a Michigan weekend getaway with kids.

Looking for a nearby hotel? See Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Hotels.

Recommended Hotel: The Homestead Resort

Traverse City

Traverse City is home to another one of the Best Beaches for Families in 2016: Clinch Park. The small city has several beaches, in fact, along with several opportunities to hike and bike along Lake Michigan.

Traverse City also has a vibrant downtown scene that brims with new restaurants, breweries and wineries. Other highlights include skiing at Hickory Hills, getting lost in Jacob's Corn Maze, and zipping down the slides at Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City.

Find Traverse City Family Hotels.

Recommended Hotel: Inn at Bay Harbor - A Renaissance Golf and Spa Resort

Grand Rapids

Did you know Grand Rapids is known as Furniture City? It's home to several office furniture companies, and the city prides itself on this with furniture exhibits just about everywhere -- even in hotels! There's more to Grand Rapids than fancy furniture, though.

The up-and-coming city has been compared to cities in Europe for its world-class museums, festivals and restaurants. Check out the Downtown Market for fresh pastries, meat and produce; learn about our 38th president at the Gerald R. Ford Museum; and explore the Meyer May House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Looking for a family-friendly hotel? See Grand Rapids Family Hotels.

Recommended Hotel: JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids

Ann Arbor

Things to do in Ann Arbor, Michigan include the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, perfect for young children; Main Street, for boutique shopping and dining; and the Michigan Theater, for professional, kid-friendly shows. The most popular attraction, however, is the University of Michigan, which has its own Museum of Art and Museum of Natural History. Of course, it's also popular for sporting events at Michigan University Stadium. Ann Arbor is a small town that's truly great for a weekend family getaway in Michigan.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ann Arbor
Holland, Michigan resembles Holland in the Netherlands, with open fields, charming windmills, tulip gardens and even a tulip festival (Tulip Time Festival) each May. The popular festival takes place at Nelis' Dutch Village, where families enjoy rides, a petting zoo, playground, and Dutch food -- fresh cheese, homemade fudge and more.

Holland has several beaches, parks, and lakes, too -- take a cruise for close-up views and great photos of Holland Harbor Light, otherwise known as the Big Red Lighthouse. Parents -- Holland also has a hip downtown scene that's well-known for its breweries and distilleries.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Holland

South Haven

It's all about the great outdoors in South Haven, Michigan. Hiking and boating are popular, with several vendors offering lake cruises. The area is also well-known for its wineries and orchards, where families can pick fresh fruit right off the vine. For a special experience, take a flight with Michigan Warbirds Airplane Rides. Be sure to stop by the South Haven Lighthouse for photos, too.

Recommended Hotel: Sun 'n Sand Resort


More outdoor opportunities abound in Saugatuck, Michigan, with several beaches and state parks to explore. Take the Saugatuck Chain Ferry across the Kalamazoo River while you're in town -- kids are encouraged to help steer the ferry! When it's time for a bite to eat, head to Butler Street, where you'll find charming cafes and shops.

Recommended Hotel: Starlite Resort