Family-Friendly Summer Activities in Southwest Michigan

written by Valerie Gangas | Jul 6, 2023 | Southwest Michigan

“If it could only be like this always – always summer … the fruit always ripe…”
– Evelyn Waugh –

Festive summer fruits

Summer is now officially here, so you and your family have some excellent options to choose from if you’re in Southwest Michigan and looking for fun!

We’ve put together a sample of some of the great things you can do throughout most of Michigan and Indiana’s towns along Lake Michigan. Enjoy these family-friendly summer activities.

Visit The Beach

The fact is, Lake Michigan and “family beaches” could easily be synonymous with one another! And given there are so many popular—and truly magnificent —beaches along the miles and miles of Lake Michigan’s gorgeous shoreline, we’re going to refer you to a recent post about that very subject…“Our Hidden Treasures: Lake Michigan Beaches”. Note: To ensure your family has a great time at any of the beaches mentioned in the article linked above, please check to see whether or not the beach listed has family-friendly facilities like restrooms, children’s playgrounds, picnic tables, grills, etc.

Go On A Hike

Hiking trails abound in Southwest Michigan, especially near and around the best family beaches along Lake Michigan. One of the best places to start is Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, MI. The park’s 6-plus miles of trails feature rugged dune formations rising up to 260 feet above the lake, plus 3 miles of shoreline and 2 popular campgrounds. Warren Dunes State Park | Michigan Another superb spot for hiking is Saugatuck State Park between Saugatuck and Holland, where you and your family can enjoy any of a number of hiking trails (totaling 13 miles) that wind through 1,000 acres of rolling wooded dunes, some of which lead to fabulous views of Lake Michigan, as well as one ending up at a 2.5-mile stretch of beach. (Note: Lake Michigan beach is a minimum of a 0.6-mile hike from the parking area.) Saugatuck Dunes State Park | Michigan And if you’re in or near New Buffalo, there are many excellent ones, including Canopy Walkway in Galien River County Park, and Turtle Creek Preserve Pathe South. Best Hikes and Trails in New Buffalo | AllTrails

Little boy and his family walking along a sandy path near Lake Michigan
woman standing in an apple orchard with an arm full of apples after picking them

Explore Local Farms/Orchards

Looking for a ton of family fun while doing some summertime visiting? Pack up the kids and go to a local “Pick-Your-Own” farm in Southwest Michigan! Besides being able to get literally the freshest fruits and veggies around (many of which are organically and/or sustainably grown), there’s also the joy of picking it yourself off the vine or branch and joining in with your family as they do the same!

Beard’s Produce in Dorr, MI offers a nice selection of strawberries, blueberries, corn and pumpkins for parents and kids to pick from. And in Fennville, Dees Lakeshore Farm provides for your “picking pleasure” with raspberries and blueberries, as well as homegrown peaches, cherries, apples and pumpkins. At Hillside Orchards in Berrien Springs, you and your family can find apricots, sweet cherries, nectarines and peaches in the summertime. Also in Berrien Springs, Lemon Creek Fruit Farm has the same offerings and more, except no apricots. Here’s where you can get more info about these and many more Southwest Michigan ‘Pick-Your-Own” farms and orchards – Note: It’s best to call in advance to ensure they’re open for business. Southwest Michigan Southwest Michigan U-Pick farms: Find a pick your own farm near you in Southwest Michigan for fruit, vegetables, pumpkins, organic foods,local produce and more!

Visit a children’s museum: The Curious Kids’ Museum & Discovery Zone in St. Joseph

For some summertime hands-on fun and learning for kids 1 – 10 years old (and their parents), head on over to this popular children’s museum/discovery zone destination! And now through Labor Day, they have a new traveling exhibit in the Gast Traveling Gallery — The “Bug Squad” will be infesting Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone with fun and interactive animatronic insects that speak and move when approached! Join them, their leader Scout and Agent Dan as they explore diversity within our ecosystem, all while learning about the unique abilities of bugs and interacting with them in this full sensory exhibit!

There’s also a “Head West” exhibit with a child-sized covered wagon, plus trains, mazes and more! Here’s a link for detailed information: Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone Exhibits & Information | Curious Kids’ Museum & Discovery Zone – St. Joseph, MI

boy looking at a display in a children's museum near Lake Michigan
Speed boat Going across the water

Take A Boat Tour

Last but not least, if you’re in or near one of Southwest Michigan’s best beach towns and want to take your family out on a Lake Michigan boat tour—where you can enjoy the lake’s breathtaking beauty from atop the waves—check out Oselka Marina in New Buffalo or Harbor Country Adventures in nearby Michigan City, Indiana. Both companies offer boat tours and private yacht cruises, as well as boat and jet-ski rentals. Now’s the time for fun in the sun on the water, and these folks have you covered! or HOME2 – Harbor Country Adventures

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