100 Day Trips for Detroit Families to Take This Summer

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We know it can get a little boring heading to the same spots in your hometown, especially towards the end of summer break. It’s time to shake it up and head out on a little drive to find new and exciting places. There’s so much to explore without having to travel very far away from home if you live in and around Detroit. We’ve compiled a list of 100 day trips within about two hours (or less) driving radius of Detroit. Bookmark this one and use it all summer long!

Be sure to check out the interactive map at the end to help plan your day trips!

30 MINUTES to 1 HOUR

day trips

Downtown Detroit 

  • Shop at Eastern Market either for the Saturday market or stroll around and visit the area businesses and restaurants.
  • Spend the day relaxing or playing at Belle Isle. Whether you enjoy sitting on the beach or learning at the Nature Center, there’s something to keep everyone entertained. For all the details to make the perfect day trip out of it, check out our Guide to Belle Isle.
  • Take a stroll down the Detroit Riverwalk and enjoy the parks and views of the Detroit River.
  • Bring your bike and pedal down the two-mile stretch at Dequindre Cut.
  • Head over to Comerica Park and watch a Detroit Tigers Game. Don’t forget to have a hot dog!
  • Spend the day lounging around at the beach at Campus Martius Park. You’ll also love wandering around in the green spaces or grabbing something to eat from one of the local restaurants.
  • If you’re not quite sure where to start exploring in downtown Detroit, hop on a tour hosted by Detroit Experience Factory. They have a tour for every interest from architecture to history. 
  • There’s always something new to see at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Check out the different art exhibitions or try one of their self-guided scavenger hunts.

Birmingham

  • If you’re a car fan, you have to check out the Woodward Dream Cruise the weekend of August 21. Stop and watch along Woodward Avenue or bring your own classic car for a cruise.
  • In the middle of the city is Shain Park, a great place to take some time to play. Your kids will love the play area, or come later in the evening for a concert in the park.

Toledo 

  • For tons of hands-on fun, head to Imagination Station. Your kids will love learning and playing in this STEM inspired wonderland.
  • You can do more than just see art at the Toledo Museum of Art. Enjoy a family art class, watch a demonstration on glassblowing, or take a tour of the sculpture garden outside. 
  • With more than 60 acres of land, the Toledo Botanical Gardens is the place to go for a relaxing day. Be sure to check their website to see which plants and flowers are in bloom!
  • The National Museum of the Great Lakes tells the history of the Great Lakes, our area’s most precious resource. Spanning hundreds of years, you’ll see artifacts and hands-on exhibits to learn all about these mighty waters.
  • Get wild and check out over 10,000 animals at the Toledo Zoo. From penguins to lemurs, the Toledo Zoo has a favorite animal for everyone.
  • Maumee Bay State Park is the perfect place for families who love the outdoors. Your day trip can be spent fishing, swimming, or walking the storybook trail. 

Ann Arbor

  • Visit the University of Michigan Natural History Museum where you can learn about the Earth’s billion-year history. Currently the museum is only open to students, faculty, and staff, but you can check out their virtual exhibits online.
  • Take a walk around Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. You’ll love strolling through thematic trails and fields and learning all about the plants that surround you.
  • Your kids can let loose at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. There’s so much to learn about and explore for every age inside each exhibit.
  • Take a walk around the University of Michigan campus. There are so many cool buildings to explore and a lot of history ingrained into the campus.
  • Learn about and get up close with the animals at Dominos Petting Farm. They have tons of farm animals to meet from alpacas to rabbits. 

Chelsea

  • Be sure to visit the Downtown Chelsea Area for great businesses and restaurants. There are also several options for walking tours downtown.  
  • Every year is different for the Chelsea Sculpture Walk. New art comes in each summer so don’t miss the chance to see the new pieces before they’re gone.
  • Ever wonder how they make those little boxes of Jiffy Mix? Well now you can learn how by taking the Jiffy Mix Factory Tour, which includes a sample at the end! Factory tours are currently on pause during COVID-19, please check their website for updated information. 
  • Chelsea is being hailed as one of the most up-and-coming cities for local breweries and distilleries. Check out all of the options here.

Holly

  • Visit the Downtown Area for a small-town experience. They host summer evening concerts and a farmers market on Sundays.
  • Learn about the history of the city at the Hadley House Museum. This Victorian house is full of information about Holly and the surrounding area.
  • Get outdoors and enjoy Seven Lakes State Park. With so many activities to try, you’ll be coming back time and again.

Dearborn

  • Spend the day at The Henry Ford Museum learning all about American innovation. From trains to planes and cars, you’ll be mesmerized by how much there is to see. 
  • Take a step back in time at Greenfield Village and experience what life was like a hundred years ago. There are seven different time periods to explore and tons of fun things to see like a working printing press and glassblowing demonstrations. 
  • If you’ve ever wondered about the history of Ford and how Detroit became the Motor City, take the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Here you’ll see the history of car manufacturing all the way through the future of technology in driving.

Royal Oak 

  • A hometown landmark not to be missed is the Detroit Zoo. Be on the lookout for the elusive polar bears or get up close and personal with the giraffes.  
  • The Royal Oak Farmer’s Market is open all year on Saturdays from 7am to 1pm. They also host an antique market on Sundays from 8am to 3pm. 
  • Head to Royal Oak during Labor Day weekend for Arts, Beats & Eats. Dozens of artists, musicians, and food vendors will be there to entertain you. 

Auburn Hills

  • If you or your kids love Legos, Legoland is a must-visit. From rides to building areas, Legoland has everything your family needs for a fun day together.
  • Michigan’s largest aquarium is Sealife Aquarium in Auburn Hills. Watch the sea turtles eat their breakfast and get up close and personal with sea life in the touch pool. 
  • For the competitive family, Top Golf is the place to go and have some fun. With games set up for every level, you’ll have a blast teeing off and scoring points. 

Fenton

  • Supe’s Exotic Jungle is an interactive zoo that lets you get up close with the animals. Experiences include petting a shark and hand-feeding a lemur.

Monroe

Downriver

  • Plan a day trip downriver and visit the Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens to see the beautiful flowers in bloom. They offer a variety of unique classes and events such as live music, planting classes, and cocktail hours.
  • Stop by the Allen Park Street Fair for food and entertainment. The street fair takes place the first week in August.
  • Heritage Park in Taylor is home to the Lamarand Splash Pad. This baseball-themed splash park also has a playground.
  • Head to Sterling State Park, the only state park located on Lake Erie. Bring a bike, kayak, or a picnic and enjoy the lakeside view.

Grosse Ile

  • The Gibraltar Bay Alpaca Farm is a great place to see and learn all about alpacas. Not only can you pet the alpacas, but you can also purchase goods from their store.
  • If you’re looking for kid-friendly places to go, Centennial Farms is a must-try. This spot has playgrounds, a walking trail, and a farm.

Harsen’s Island

  • Bring a kayak and paddle down the Middle Channel to explore the marsh. The calm waterways make for a relaxing day of kayaking.
  • Explore the San Souci area where there are great restaurants and shopping areas. Be sure to check out some of the area breweries and distilleries.

Port Huron

  • Visit the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, the first and oldest lighthouse in Michigan. Weather permitting, you can climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse.
  • Learn all about the Port Huron area and its history at the Port Huron Museum. If walking inside isn’t your thing, hop on one of the Port Huron Trolley Tours.

West Bloomfield

  • If you like sky high adventures, the TreeRunner Adventure Park is the place to go. There’s something for everyone with multiple levels of difficulty, trails, and challenges. 

1 to 2 HOURS

day trips

Frankenmuth 

  • If you’re a fan of Christmas, you have to visit Bronner’s. The 2.2 acre store is open 361 days a year and is all Christmas, all the time.  
  • Bring the whole family for some water fun at Zehnders Splash Village. They have two water parks, one indoor and one with a retractable roof, so weather is never in question.
  • Tour around Frankenmuth in style either on a river cruise or carriage ride. You’ll learn about the town’s history and see some of the famous landmarks along the way.
  • Take some time to explore the Frankenmuth River Place Shops. With more than 40 stores, you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Bay City 

  • Riverwalk Trail is a thirteen-mile trail that stretches through Bay City. The scenery is ever-changing and there are plenty of jump-off points throughout the trail to make it as long or as short as you like. 
  • See what life is like on the USS Edson at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. You’ll get to tour the ship and learn about the history. For true enthusiasts, you can even book an overnight stay!
  • Take a tour on the water with Appledore Tall Ships. You’ll feel like you’re king of the world sailing the Saginaw Bay.
  • Sunrise Pedal Trolley is a great way to spend time with your closest friends. Hop on board and pedal around Bay City!
  • Learn about astronomy at the Delta College Planetarium and Learning CenterWhile the planetarium is currently closed, check out their social media platforms for online events.
  • Charter a boat and take a guided fishing excursion on the Saginaw Bay. You never know how many fish you’ll catch!

Grand Rapids

  • The Grand Rapids Art Museum offers classes, tours, and exciting art exhibitions. Their ever-rotating exhibitions make for a unique trip each time you visit. 
  • For those who enjoy modern art, take a trip to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. Their new facility opens mid-July 2021. 
  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is all about kids getting to play! Their hands-on exhibits will have your kids learning and laughing all day long. 
  • For animal fans, the Blandford Nature Center is a must-visit. They work to educate about nature and animals and even have a farm to visit close by. 
  • Visit the Fulton Street Farmers Market every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday through the end of October. They have wonderful local vendors and a beautiful venue for the market. 
  • You might need more than a day trip to explore Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. With outdoor and indoor gardens plus 300 sculpture works to see, you’ll keep busy all day.
  • There’s a reason Grand Rapids is called Beer City, USA! With more than 80 breweries, the Beer City Ale Trail has so much to explore.

Lansing

  • The Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium helps all ages get excited about astronomy and space. They have a wide variety of shows and talks on different topics. 
  • For the car history enthusiast, a trip to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is a must. Learn about Lansing’s automotive history and see some really cool cars, too. 
  • Bring a bike or take a walk down the Lansing River Trail. 13 miles of paved trails go through parks, Downtown Lansing, and natural areas. 
  • We love strong women and to learn about them, take a visit to the Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame. Here you’ll learn all about Michigan women who made a difference in the world. 
  • Take a walk around campus at Michigan State University. Don’t forget to see Spartan Stadium and the Sparty Statue while you’re there!
  • Lansing has been working hard to revitalize Old Town and we know you’re going to love it! This vibrant business community is committed to keeping the history alive while restoring its former glory.
  • Get up close and personal with the animals at Potter Park Zoo. Not only can you see the animals, but you have the option to do fun things like ride a camel or feed the birds.
  • Take a tour of the Michigan Capitol Building and learn about the history of our great state! If you’re a native Michigander, chances are you haven’t been here since elementary school.
  • Just outside of Lansing in Grand Ledge is The Ledges, home to 300 million-year-old rock formations on the shore of the Grand River. The Ledges also has disc golf, canoeing, fishing, and a skate park.

Kalamazoo

  • Visit the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and learn about different styles of art. Stroll the exhibitions on your own or take one of their interactive tours.
  • If it flies, it’s a part of the Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum. Learn about and experience everything flight related from the Wright Brothers to becoming an astronaut.
  • Kalamazoo is home to some of the nation’s most famous breweries including Bell’s. Hop on a beer tour or see them all for yourself. 
  • Take a hike on one of the trails at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Explore nature or participate in one of their nature programs. 

Midland

  • There are so many things to see and do at Dow Gardens, you can take several day trips just to this one spot! Walk around the gardens to see what’s in bloom, take in a summer evening concert, or be among the trees on the longest canopy walk in the Whiting Forest. 
  • Catch a Great Lakes Loons Game at Dow Diamond. This minor league team is a town favorite for family fun.
  • Check out the Farmers Market open on Wednesdays and Saturdays until the end of November. With plenty of vendors and artisans, this is one of our favorite markets to go to.
  • Each year, 3,000 dahlias are planted on Dahlia Hill, an eight-level terraced hillside. The flowers are in bloom from August to October so don’t miss out! 
  • The Chippewa Nature Center has plenty of trails and places to explore the great outdoors. Join in a class or walk out to the river overlook. 
  • Explore the downtown area and walk The Tridge, one of Midland’s most famous landmarks. This three-footed bridge connects Chippewassee Park, St. Charles Park, and the Farmer’s Market areas by crossing over the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers.

Lexington

  • Enjoy the little town by the lake and stroll through their downtown area. They have great stores for shopping and some wonderful local restaurants, too. 
  • You’ll be sitting on the beach in no time when you travel to Lexington. Lake Huron beaches can be rocky, but some of the best ones are listed here.  
  • Just outside of Lexington is the Croswell Swinging Bridge. This is a pedestrian suspension bridge that spans 139 feet. 

Battle Creek

  • Get to know the animals at the Binder Park Zoo. From giraffes to giant tortoises, there’s something for everyone at Binder Park.
  • The Leila Arboretum is one of the more unique arboretums in the state. Come see the Fantasy Forest, The Kaleidoscope Garden, the urban farm, or play a round of disc golf — all while enjoying the sights of nature.
  • Not far from Battle Creek is the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary. They are home to hundreds of reptiles from adoption, rescue, or other organizations.

Lambertville 

  • With more than 400 animals, the Indian Creek Zoo lets you see all of them closer than most zoos. You can also book a private encounter with a sloth or giraffe! 

Flint

  • The kids get to have all the fun at the Flint Children’s Museum. From science to the arts, there’s something for every interest. 
  • It’s not just learning about space at the Longway Planetarium. They have shows about all kinds of things from under the sea to the skies over Michigan. 
  • Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad has 37 different historical buildings and things to explore in their turn-of-the-century working village. There’s so much to see and learn about at this wonderful destination! 
  • Kids and adults alike will love checking out The Sloan Museum of Discovery. Their current exhibit, Above and Beyond, explores space travel and the history behind it.

Jackson

  • A fireworks show accompanies the illuminated and musical waterfall at The Cascades. The show runs nightly Wednesdays through Sundays.
  • If you’re in to true crime, you have to visit Cell Block 7, Michigan’s Prison Museum. The guided tour takes you through the prison and teaches you the history and development of the building.
  • One of the most popular rail trails in Michigan is the Falling Waters Trail. The ten-and-a-half-mile trail is completely paved and is perfect for walking, running, or biking.

INTERACTIVE MAP: 100 DAY TRIPS

Navigating the map is quite simple. Click on the white outlined rectangle in the upper right corner. A new window will appear and you can scroll through to find the perfect places to stop on your day trip. Once you find a location, click on the marker for more details!

How many day trips do you think you can squeeze in this summer? If you’re looking to make an overnight trip, check out 12 of Michigan’s Best Campgrounds Offering the Full Great Lakes Experience

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