Bay City State Park | @shineonsunfish
Bay City State Park | @vaderthesablegsd
Make It An
Unforgettable
Beach Day

Picture sparkling freshwaters, sandy shoreline made for building castles, and ample spots to fish, picnic, and paddle.

Bay City

With almost a mile of natural shoreline on Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay — plus a groomed swimming beach, splash park, and playscape, with almost five miles of trails — it's no wonder Bay City State Park tops as one of 20 best in Michigan!

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Saginaw

Enjoy this 40-acre, spring-fed lake and sandy, supervised swimming beach — with kayaks, paddleboats, and rowboats you can rent, plus a playground, picnic area, and fishing.

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Dow Gardens | @sallyannrudy
Dow Gardens | @jes_salvador7
Take Your
Adventures
Into the Trees

Boasting the country's longest canopy walk, Dow Gardens goes beyond wildest dreams — with giant cargo nets stretched in-between treetops and a glass-floored overlook, four stories over an orchard!

Midland

110 acres of botanical gardens where exploration's always encouraged, with a Children's Garden of pint-sized plots planted by local families. While here, be sure to enjoy Whiting Forest — where the country's longest canopy walk will take you all four stories high in the trees (and to a huge playground the kids won't want to leave)!

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Frankenmuth

Whip through the trees at lightning speed as you zipline and climb along six ropes courses, designed for ages seven on up. (Consider Twilight Climbs or Glow Nights if you'd rather skip the mid-day summer heat!)

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Midland

Wander 19 miles of trails together and let your little explorers run free in a giant nature play area. Or, discover the log cabin Homestead Farm on Sunday afternoons, Memorial Day to Labor Day.

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Saginaw Children's Zoo | @saginawzoo
Wilderness Trails Zoo | @pixel_sq
Find Plenty of
Places to
Go Wild Together

Whether you'll meet exotic animals at either of two zoos, or listen to the crowd roar on a classic day at the ballgame — these summer outings were made for family togetherness!

Saginaw

Follow peacocks roaming free on the paths to find more than 150 animals (including adorable African penguins), then ride the hand-carved carousel and miniature train!

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Birch Run

Enjoy 56 acres of amazing encounters, from a Reptile Sanctuary to a full Rainforest Experience. You can even rent wagons on-site to wheel your little ones through it all!

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Midland

Cheer with mascot Lou E. Loon when you catch a day game at Dow Diamond. Share popcorn, soda, and hotdogs, and consider it a summer day fit for the family scrapbook!

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Bavarian Belle Riverboat
BaySail
Hop Aboard A
Family Boat Tour

From family-friendly freshwater sailing to narrated riverboat cruises and paddleboat rentals — you'll love each one of these refreshing outings!

Frankenmuth

Rent an AquaCycle paddleboat that's just $20 for a crew of four, or hop on their electric boats for a 30-minute or one-hour river cruise of Frankenmuth.

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Frankenmuth

Relaxing, one-hour narrated tours, where the kids will "ooh" and "ahh" from the deck of this 150-passenger paddlewheel riverboat.

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Saginaw

Guided boat tours tailored just to your family, where you'll spot rare wildlife while you're whisked through the "Everglades of Michigan".

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Bay City

Gather your crew for a Great Lakes 101 or Sunset Sail, where you'll all love exploring the Saginaw Bay aboard a towering tall ship schooner!

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Bay City

2.5-hour Saturdays on the Saginaw River Tours, where a live guide highlights sights to see — like a lighthouse that'll leave your little ones speechless!

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Multiple Cities

Rent tandem kayaks from a local shop and pair up for a family paddle on peaceful waters.

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Mussel Beach Drive In | @paigelevas
Mussel Beach Drive In | @paigelevas
Build Up to The
Ultimate
Cool-Down

From splash pads to bumper boats, mini-golf and ice cream shops — find more than a few places you can cool off after your day of fun in the sun.

Multiple Cities

From Spray by the Bay at Bay City State Park to Saginaw's Celebration Square Splash Park, Frankenmuth Jaycee Spray Park to Gerstacker or Longview Spray Park in Midland — these refreshing parks and pads will keep everyone cool and happy.

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Multiple Cities

Tee up for the family trophy at any of four outdoor mini-golf courses! Try Kokomo’s in Saginaw and Alpine Mountain in Birch Run (both with equally fun bumper boats) or Buoy 18 and Dutch Village in Bay City.

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Multiple Cities

On Frankenmuth PedAle Trolley's Circle Cruiser (a circular bike where you'll all face each other while pedaling) or rented tandem rides from a local bike shop — you'll love rolling through town together this summer!

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Author
Blair Cook

A Great Lakes Bay native, Blair is the Founder at Brandscape — a boutique creative company specializing in content. Her favorite part? Sharing stories about the Pure Michigan places she loves!