10 Family Friendly Day Trips from Grand Haven, MI

By Sarah Boucher, Publisher Macaroni Kid Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Muskegon July 28, 2020

If you're like me and my family, you're ready for a bit of a getaway or change of scenery.  And, perhaps vacations were postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 related issues.  There are lots of places close to home worth checking out for a fun day with the family!  With all that Michigan has to offer for beautiful outdoor venues, you're bound to find something for everyone.  Remember to stay cool while you're out and about to help avoid heat exhaustion.  

Places to visit are listed in order by the closest distance to Grand Haven with approx. travel times.  Be sure to check the website of your destination prior to travel to get the most up to date COVID related information as it pertains to your destination.  

  1. Grand Rapids (35m SE) Walk the iconic Blue Bridge, visit Fish Ladder Park, explore Frederick Meijer Gardens or spend a day at the zoo.  

  2. Silver Lake Sand Dunes (41m N) Silver Lake Sand Dunes is located along Lake Michigan's sweeping shoreline between Muskegon and Ludington. Our lofty, 2,000-acre sand mountain separates miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the 690-acre Silver Lake.

  3. North Country Trail (50m NE) Croton Dam to Oak Drive is a 3.7 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Newaygo, Michigan that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

  4. Pentwater (52m N) Pentwater  is a quintessential, old-fashioned, laid back community with a rich history on the shores of Lake Michigan’s clear waters and sugar-fine sandy beaches. It surrounds a 500-acre inland lake that’s fed by a vibrant river. Rows of downtown businesses offering an eclectic mix of shops, places to eat, and a Village Green that’s a centerpiece park for many fun events year round.

  5. Fort Custer State Recreational Area (1h 34m SE) Fort Custer State Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre park located between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The park features three lakes, the Kalamazoo River, a campground, a swimming beach, more than 25 miles of multi-use trails and much more.  

  6. Warren Dunes State Park (1h 38m SW) provides 1,952 acres of recreational opportunities along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in southwestern Michigan. The rugged dune formation rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views and excellent for hang gliding. The park has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round.

  7. Shipshewana, Indiana (2h 8m SE)The Shipshewana area is celebrated for being home to the third largest Amish community in the United States, for having the Midwest's largest flea market, and for its reputation of hand-crafted wares.  

  8. Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens (2h 25m NE): Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens features 54 acres of woodlands, ponds, apple orchard, meadows, and stream. Guests of all ages and abilities are immersed in the forest on the nation's longest canopy walk, 1,400 feet long, soaring up to 40 feet above the ground.

  9. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (2h 34m N) Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It hugs the northeast shore of Lake Michigan and includes South and North Manitou islands. The park is known for the huge scalable dunes of the Dune Climb.

  10. Frankenmuth (2h 36m NE) Once you land, you’ll be in Bavaria... Michigan’s “Little Bavaria”, but the experiences here are anything but small.  We wear our German heritage proudly here, like an Alpine hat covered in festive pins (just count how many of those you can spot on your trip). You’ll see it in our Bavarian architecture, taste it in our food, hear it pouring out from our festivals, and find it in some of our most iconic things to do. Most of all, you’ll feel it in the warm hospitality that’s so signature to our tiny Bavarian town.

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