Michigan April 04, 2017
9 In-State Family Vacations You Definitely Took If You Grew Up In Michigan
If you’re a native Michigander, chances are that you embarked on your fair share of family vacations throughout the state growing up. From amusement parks to natural wonders, there are a few classic spots throughout Michigan that seem to serve as age-old destinations for in-state family getaways. Here are nine vacations that most Michiganders have embarked on at least once.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
No matter what your age, there’s something magical about visiting Frankenmuth. If you were lucky enough to spend a day or two here during childhood, you likely have incredible memories of wandering through the town’s Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in awe. After all, is there anything more amazing for a kiddo than checking out a spot that celebrates Christmas all year long? Of course, we’re sure you also have memories of chowing down on a delicious chicken dinner at Zehnder’s — did you ever finish the entire meal in one sitting?
2. Michigan's Adventure
Michigan’s largest amusement park first opened in 1956 under the name Deer Park and has undergone plenty of transitions throughout the years, but one thing has remained constant: this Muskegon fixture has always drawn in excited visitors of all ages for a day of carnival-style fun. Whether you have fond memories of bone-rattling rides on Shivering Timbers, indulging in a massive puff of cotton candy, or simply relaxing atop a ferris wheel, it’s tough to grow up in Michigan without embarking on at least one Michigan’s Adventure excursion.
3. Mackinac Island
There’s no more quintessentially Michigan vacation destination than Mackinac Island, and we’re sure you had the chance to visit at least once during your upbringing in the Great Lakes State. Whether you explored the island as part of an exciting school field trip or enjoyed a bike ride around the shoreline with family, there’s no doubt that you remember your first-ever ferry ride across the Straits of Mackinac. Be honest: just how much fudge did you eat during your maiden voyage to Michigan’s most famous island?
4. Great Wolf Lodge
Younger Michiganders will have fond memories of visiting Great Wolf Lodge, which never fails to excite with its incredible indoor waterpark. Perhaps you were an adult chaperone instead of an enthusiastic child during your family trip to Great Wolf Lodge, but that doesn’t mean your waterpark adventure was any less exciting. With comfortable lodging, plenty of activities for all ages, and a delightfully cozy atmosphere, Great Wolf Lodge is a must-see on the list of family vacation destinations in Michigan.
5. Ann Arbor or East Lansing
If you grew up with a football-loving parent or sibling, perhaps you had the chance to attend a college game or two during your upbringing in Michigan. The sights and sounds of a "football Saturday" are delightfully overwhelming no matter what your age, and there’s nothing quite like rooting for your beloved Spartans or Wolverines in a massive stadium.
Our state capital has plenty of awesome attractions to offer, and chances are good that you’ve enjoyed a tour of the Michigan Capitol Building. Many Michiganders have fond memories of staring up at the stunning rotunda, checking out the governor’s office, and learning about the history and operation of Michigan’s government. Whether you’re a history buff or not, there’s something undoubtedly awe-inspiring about exploring such a magnificent structure.
7. The Detroit Zoo
Heading to the zoo is an age-old family outing, and there’s no shortage of fantastic zoos to explore here in the Great Lakes State. Many Michiganders remember spending day trips at the Detroit Zoo with loved ones and gazing in awe and amusement at all sorts of magnificent animals. From monkeys to elephants, your favorite creatures can be observed up-close and personal at the Detroit Zoo. If you grew up on the west side of the state, perhaps you checked out John Ball Zoo or Binder Park Zoo!
8. Lake Michigan
Whether you ran down the sand dune at Holland’s Tunnel Park, watched the sun sink below the horizon in South Haven, or gazed in wonder at the sweeping views from Sleeping Bear Dunes, every lifelong Michigander has at least one beautiful childhood memory of Lake Michigan. Our state’s west coast is matched in beauty by the stunning shores of Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and our other Great Lakes, but there’s something undeniably breathtaking about the sights and sounds of Lake Michigan.
9. "Up North"
For those of us who grew up in Michigan, no words were sweeter than "We’re going Up North." Perhaps you spent summers at a family cottage on Torch Lake or took an annual camping trip in one of our state’s stunning parks. No matter what "Up North" meant to you as a child, one thing was for certain: the words were synonymous with family togetherness, outdoor exploration, and tons of fun.
These nine spots are only a few of the classic family vacations that exist within Michigan. Where did you make most of your childhood memories in the Great Lakes State? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!