Need a good staycation or a day trip that isn’t too far? We’ve got you covered. These destinations are a short drive away, don’t require a TSA pat-down, and are perfect for your whole family to enjoy.
One hour northeast of Ann Arbor you will find plenty of options for shopping, food, and entertainment at the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. Brick lovers can build all day at Legoland Discovery Center. Visit Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, which houses more than 250 species of underwater occupants. Need a break from the sprawl of the mall? Take a short drive to Rochester and visit Paint Creek Cider Mill for some lunch or just cider and donuts. Don’t worry. You can walk off those calories at the nearby Paint Creek Trail. Or you can work it away with a treetop obstacle course, creating the perfect day trip for the family.
Legoland Discovery Center
4240 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills
Paint Creek Cider Mill
4480 Orion Rd., Rochester
Sea Life Michigan Aquarium
4316 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills
TreeRunner Adventure Park
7553 Meadow Brook Rd., Rochester.
Parents and littles alike will love Detroit Kid City, a Detroit-themed play café where the motto is “where imagination grows and coffee flows.” This day trip is located only an hour’s drive east of Ann Arbor. After the kids have gotten their wiggles out, visit the Sanders-Morley Chocolate Factory. Take a guided tour from the factory observation walkway and see the bakers in action. Did someone say “samples”? Pop into the Sanders-Morley Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppe for a peek into the candy kitchen and grab a sweet treat.
Detroit Kid City Play Center
37051 Gratiot, Clinton Township
Sanders-Morley Chocolate Factory
23770 Hall Road, Clinton Township, MI
Forty minutes east of Ann Arbor lies Dearborn, home to the Arab American National Museum. Families can explore exhibits, take a guided tour or attend monthly events like the English-Arabic storytime (ages 2-6). Or check out the Henry Ford Museum for the ideal day trip to a museum. The Henry Ford offers plenty of activities, including Greenfield Village or the American Innovation Museum, which little ones and older children will love. After the museum, continue the cultural experience and head to Shatila Bakery for some Middle Eastern delicacies like mamoul, kashta, and baklava. Kids will love the cookies: ghouribeh, barrazik, makaroon, and more.
Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
Henry Ford Museum
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
14300 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn
The Motor City provides plenty of attractions for families on a day trip. The Motown Museum is an important stop for music lovers. Or maybe your kids prefer science. Check out the Michigan Science Center, which allows kids a hands-on experience with learning what makes the world go round. Older kids and tweens will enjoy biking along the Detroit River, thanks to MoGo bike rentals.
2648 West Grand Blvd, Detroit
Milliken State Park and Harbor
1900 Atwater St., Detroit
Michigan Science Center
5020 John R St., Detroit.
MoGo Detroit Bike Rental
Farmington Hills/ Northville
Gamers will appreciate this 30-minute trip to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, which houses one of the biggest collections of vintage coin-operated pinball machines. Afterward, take a short drive to Northville’s Guernsey Farms Dairy for Michigan-made comfort food.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
31005 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills
Guernsey Farms Dairy
21300 Novi Rd., Northville
Frankenmuth celebrates “Osterbrunnen” this month, a Bavarian Easter tradition, with unique and colorful egg displays around town. Drive the quick 90 minutes north and kids can visit the Easter Bunny at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Try your hand at pretzel rolling at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Need a little fun in the water? Consider a day pass for one of the indoor water parks. Tweens and teens will enjoy the challenge of Frankenmuth’s newest escape rooms at the Great Lakes Escape Game, where you can choose from four different adventures, like Big Beard’s Brig, The Heist, and Immunity Quest.
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
25 Christmas Lane,
Zehnders of Frankenmuth/Splash Village and Waterpark
730 S. Main St, Frankenmuth
Waterpark day passes available
Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge
713 S. Main St, Frankenmuth
Great Lakes Escape Game
566 S. Main St., Frankenmuth
A short 45 minutes east of Ann Arbor you will find family-friendly days (Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-6pm) at the Fowling Warehouse. This truly original Michigan game combines bowling and football (yes, really!) and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for the tweens and teens. While exploring the town, make sure to visit the Polish Art Center, part store, part museum. You will see beautiful hand-painted Easter Eggs and many other traditional arts, crafts, and foods of Poland.
The Fowling Warehouse
3901 Christopher St., Hamtramck
Polish Art Center
9539 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck
One hour northwest of Ann Arbor, the Mitten State Capitol has plenty to see and do. Michigan State Capitol offers daily guided tours of the rotunda, the battle flag collection, gallery of governors, the governor’s office, and the historic Supreme Court chamber. Check the website for special advocacy days like Hunger Solutions Day (3/14), Music Education Advocacy Day (3/20), and World Down Syndrome Awareness Day (3/21). After visiting the Capitol, check out R.E. Olds Transporation Museum. This museum holds the history of vehicles dating back to 1886.
If you want something outdoors, check out Potter Park Zoo, home to 500 animals that are looking to be visited. Looking for some hands-on fun and learning? Try the Impression 5 Science Center, where you can see new exhibits like “Pop! A Bubble Experience” and “Flow: A Water Experience.” Train lovers will want to catch the exhibit “Trains: Full Steam Ahead!” before it leaves the station on April 8th.
Michigan State Capitol
Capitol Avenue at Michigan Avenue, Lansing
R.E. Olds Transporation Museum
240 Museum Dr., Lansing
Potter Park Zoo
1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Lansing
Impression 5 Science Center
200 Museum Dr., Lansing
Think Sandusky is only Cedar Point Amusement Park? Think again. Two hours southeast of Ann Arbor there’s plenty to do in the off-season. Drive only two hours southeast to enjoy a tropical spring break at local water parks and a resort. Get a day pass or spend several days exploring. Learn the history of the carousel at the Merry-Go-Round Museum.
Indoor Water Park
2001 Cleveland Rd, Sandusky
and Water Park
7000 Kalahari Dr., Sandusky
301 Jackson St, Sandusky
Museums, zoos, science centers — all of this, and Tony Packo’s hot dogs, too? Toledo has a lot to offer. Head downtown for hands-on experimentation at Imagination Station. Visit the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, which offers touch tanks, behind-the-scenes tours, an aerial adventure course and so much more. Future archaeologists will want to catch the exhibit The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo at the Toledo Museum of Art, then head to the family center to create their own masterpiece. Across the street, the Glass Pavilion is sure to impress, with daily glassblowing demonstrations.
1 Discovery Way, Toledo
National Museum of the Great Lakes
1701 Front St., Toledo
Toledo Botanical Garden
5403 Elmer Dr., Toledo
Toledo Museum of Art and Glass Pavilion
2445 Monroe St., Toledo
Toledo Zoo and Aquarium
2700 Broadway St., Toledo