When they're splashing at outdoor spray parks and indoor waterparks, ziplining and zoo-going — even building sky-high castles on soft, sandy beaches — that's when you'll know you've picked the perfect Pure Michigan spot that'll leave your kids shouting, "Best. Day. Ever!".
So, pack your suitcases — and don't forget the suits! We've got plenty of ways to turn those long, lazy days of spring and summer into lifelong family memories made — on beaches and boat tours, on waterways and at waterparks... even high up in the treetops, together!
Freshwater Sailing + Family Boat Tours
Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips (Saginaw) Guided boat tours tailored to your family, where you'll spot rare wildlife — maybe even mature Bald Eagles — while being whisked through the "Everglades of Michigan"!
BaySail (Bay City) Gather your crew for a Family Ecology Sail, where little ones will love exploring the Saginaw Bay Watershed's amazing ecosystem aboard a tall ship — the Appledore IV. Or, hop on for a family-friendly BBQ Dinner Sail, where most departures feature live, local entertainment.
Frankenmuth FunShips (Frankenmuth) Rent an Aqua Cycle pontoon paddleboat for 45 minutes of pedal-powered fun that's just $20 for a family of four! Or, hop on their electric boats for a 30-minute or one-hour family river cruise that'll have you all unwinding together.
Bavarian Belle Riverboat (Frankenmuth) Relaxing, one-hour, narrated tours on the Cass River, where the kids will "ooh" and "ahh" from the deck of a towering, 150-passenger paddlewheel riverboat!
Bay City Boat Lines (Bay City) 2.5-hour Saturdays on the Saginaw River Tours, where a live guide highlights sights to see — like the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse that'll leave your little ones speechless!
Kayak Rentals (Multiple Cities) Rent from Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures, Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals in Midland, Cattail Kayak Rental in Pinconning, or Float Paddle Center in Bay City for a self-guided family paddle on our peaceful waters.
Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark (Frankenmuth) One of "30 Top Indoor Waterparks around the World" (U.S. News & World Report, 2018), offering 50,000 square feet of aquatic fun across two waterparks — one with a retractable roof — and a six-story family raft ride you'll all brave together. Private cabana rentals with flat screen TVs and food and beverage service make for days at the waterpark that parents dream about, too!
Bavarian Inn Lodge (Frankenmuth) Indoor waterpark featuring four indoor pools and three whirlpools — one of each reserved just for grown-ups — plus body slides, twister slides, and the largest family fun center inside any Midwest hotel! Buy wristbands for unlimited play on the 18-hole, indoor mini golf course and consider everyone's getaway made!
Sanford Lake Park (Sanford) More than half-a-mile of lake frontage and 1,000 feet of soft, sandy beach — enjoy a floating kayak and canoe launch, 18-hole disc golf course, and plenty of places to picnic. Let the little ones splash at Turtle Tides spray park or build sandcastles on the beach, take a break to lounge under a rented Funbrella, and enjoy a full day of beaching, boating, and fishing.
Bay City State Park (Bay City) Almost one mile of natural shoreline along Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay — with a swimming beach, splash park, and playscape — plus access to the coastal wetland of Tobico Marsh, with two observation towers and almost five miles of trails.
William H. Haithco Recreation Area (Saginaw) 40-acre man-made lake and sandy, supervised swimming beach — complete with on-site paddleboat, rowboat, canoe, and kayak rentals — plus a playground, picnic areas, and plenty of grills.
Spray Parks + Splash Pads
Spray by the Bay Spray Park (Bay City) Spray park inside Bay City State Park, with water features tailored to different age groups and a neighboring playscape.
Celebration Square Splash Park (Saginaw) Filtered water, zero-depth splash pad — with three bays catered to kiddos of different ages — and free admission. Part of the four-acre Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park — home to a skate park, bocce ball courts, and a European-style playscape with rock climbing wall.
Turtle Tides Spray Park (Sanford) 4,000-square-foot, aquatic-themed splash pad inside Sanford Lake Park — paired with 1,000+ feet of soft, sandy beach.
Gerstacker Spray Park (Midland) Downtown Midland spray park near the Tridge with motion-activated water features — open dawn to dusk, June - October.
Longview Spray Park (Midland) Spray park featuring everything from dumping buckets to water spouts that'll keep the kids cool all summer long, June - October.
Frankenmuth Jaycee Spray Park (Frankenmuth) Free, fully-accessible spray park inside Memorial Park, designed to encourage sensory learning, water play, and recreation for people of all abilities.
Natural Wonders + Outdoor Adventures
Frankenmuth Aerial Park (Frankenmuth) An unforgettable adventure in the trees! Zipline and climb together along six aerial ropes courses — set inside a sprawling forest — at varying challenge levels for every member of the family, ages seven and up.
Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens (Midland) A magical, 54-acre forest where you'll explore the nation's longest canopy walk together — 1,400 feet long and 40 feet up in the trees — and enjoy a four-zoned orchard and 13,600-square-foot playground, too!
Dow Gardens (Midland) 110 acres of botanical gardens where your family's free to roam — exploration encouraged — including a colorful Children's Garden with plots planted and tended by local families.
Chippewa Nature Center (Midland) See sap turned to sweet maple syrup at the Sugarhouse in spring, or discover the 1870s-style Homestead Farm on Sunday afternoons, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wander 19 miles of trails together and let your little explorers enjoy a nature play area, The Woods.
Saginaw Children's Zoo (Saginaw) Follow colorful peacocks roaming free on the paths to find over 150 animals — Cotton-top Tamarins to African Penguins — who call this incredible zoo home. Buy dollar rides on the hand-carved wooden carousel and iconic miniature train, or opt for $5 day passes for unlimited spins on both!
Wilderness Trails Zoo (Birch Run) 56 acres of exploration, from a Reptile Sanctuary to a Rainforest Experience. Rent wagons on-site to wheel your little ones through it all!
Great Lakes Loons Baseball (Midland) Cheer along with Lou E. Loon — official mascot of our Single-A Minor League Baseball team — when you catch a Great Lakes Loons game at Dow Diamond. Share popcorn, soda, and hotdogs, and consider it a classic, summer day, fit for the family scrapbook!
Kokomo's Family Fun Center (Saginaw) 18 holes of mini golf, plus the added fun of a five-story roller coaster! Try bumper boats, go-karts, laser tag, batting cages, and a Eurobungy trampoline — or, spend some time in the massive arcade!
Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art (Midland) Explore interactive, family-friendly exhibits inside the hands-on Hall of Ideas and swing by Spark!Lab® Smithsonian, where everyone can be an inventor!
Mid-Michigan Children's Museum (Saginaw) A colorful museum with immersive play-and-learn exhibits — where ten galleries designed for kiddos under ten fill 16,000+ square feet of gallery space with hands-on fun!
Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center (Bay City) Let your little ones explore the universe inside a Dome360 Theatre with shows like "Perfect Little Planet", where they'll discover our solar system through a new set of eyes — alongside a family from another star system!