If you’re headed to the Great Lakes in Michigan, get ready for a family trip that’s unlike any lake trip you’ve taken in the past. The Great Lakes include five interconnected lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. These are the largest groups of freshwater lakes in the world. You can find a Great Lakes vacation rental along the more than 3,000 miles of coastline, some with beaches and others with rocky edges. Enjoy days filled with boating, swimming, fishing, and snowmobiling when visiting the Great Lakes. On the shores, you’ll find small towns and large tourist resorts with amusement parks and water parks. Put these kid-friendly activities on your schedule during your vacation in the Great Lakes region.

1. Go Boating

sailboat sunset
Flickr / Jim Bauer

Spend at least a day boating while staying on the Great Lakes. No matter where you choose a vacation rental, there are outfitters and marinas along the lake where you can rent a sailboat, pontoon boat, or power boat. Pack some sunscreen, and bring a cooler along to enjoy some cold drinks as you explore the shores from the water and enjoy the feel of the wind in your hair. Give your kids an added treat by asking them to help you steer.

2. Visit an Amusement Park

cedar point rides
Flickr / Jeremy Thompson

Kids love amusement parks, and Cedar Point Amusement Park won’t disappoint the young thrill-seekers in your group. With more than a dozen roller coasters, this park is a dream come true for your teens and tweens. Smaller kids can flock to the Snoopy Space Race and Snoopy Bounce for a little slow-paced fun. There are also rides your entire family can enjoy together. Head to the park vendors to grab some ice cream, hot dogs, pizza, and other carnival foods.

3. Spend a Day at the Beach

sandy beach
Flickr / TabascoGarden

Thanks to its many miles of coastline, the Great Lakes has numerous beaches, including Empire Beach, Orchard Beach, and Rogers City Beach. Splash in the water, play in the sand, and fly a kite when the breeze kicks up. Pack a cooler before leaving your vacation rental, and enjoy an alfresco lunch with your family when taking a break from the water. Most of the beaches allow pets, so your dog can have a great time, too!

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4. Learn About Shipwrecks

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Flickr / James Sisk

Take the kids to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum to sneak in some learning into your vacation week. Located in Paradise, this museum displays numerous exhibits about the most famous shipwrecks. Enjoy a guided tour from a docent who will awe your kids with legends of shipwrecks. After exploring the museum, check out the attached lighthouse that warned ships for decades.

5. Go Fishing

fishing reels
Flickr / Ben+Sam

Enjoy a fish fry dinner at your vacation rental after a day of fishing on the Great Lakes. You can rent a boat or select a fishing charter from one of the many companies that line the lakes. If you don’t want to go out on the water, spend the day at one of the beaches that allow fishing, or find a fishing pier. You’ll find many types of fish in the area, including white fish, lake trout, and walleye.

6. Spend a Day on the Farm

camel on grass

Take some time out to pet cuddly farm animals at the Lewis Farms and Petting Zoo. In the fall, you can try your hands at navigating the corn maze and get up close and personal with a camel. Take a train ride with your little ones on the BumpAlong Barrel Train, or just enjoy the rocking chairs while your kids play with and feed the friendly farm animals.

7. Visit a Local Farmer’s Market

farmers market
Flickr / Brianna Laugher

With so much lush, fertile land around the Great Lakes, it’s no surprise that you’ll find farmers markets in many of the communities surrounding them. The Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market and Green Acres Farm Market are open daily. Let your kids pick out their favorite fruits and snacks while you pick out some vegetables to cook with dinner at your vacation rental. Many of the farmers markets feature vendors offering freshly made cheeses, jams, jellies, butter, baked goods, and many more treats for your family to enjoy.

8. Play Some Golf

mini golf

Indulge in some fun competition by playing a round of miniature golf with your family. There are many mini golf courses, including Great Lakes Glow Golf, Lochen Wood Mini Golf and Ice Cream, and Lockside Mini Golf. These courses offer between nine and 18 holes. After crowning a winner, take the entire family out for dinner at a local restaurant.

9. Go Cross-Country Skiing

ski trail bridge
Flickr / Huron-Manistee National Forests

Michigan winters get quite nippy, so you’ll see plenty of snow on the ground and a couple of frozen lakes. Many of the state parks around the lake allow cross-country skiing on their trails during the colder months. Bring your own cross-country skis, or rent skis from a local outfitter. Another popular winter activity is ice skating on the lake, and you can rent ice skates from local retailers as well.

10. Enjoy a Speedy Day

go kart racing
Flickr / John Barrie

Kids of all ages love racing around a track on go-karts, which makes Great American Adventures a great place to spend an afternoon. After battling it out on the go-karts, practice your golf swing at the indoor driving range. Younger kids can enjoy a few rounds of mini golf or head over to Water Wars, another on-site attraction, for an exciting water balloon battle.

 
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