Outdoor Hiking and Fun
Yankee Springs Recreation Area – Middleville
30 miles of hiking trails, 12 miles of challenging mountain bike trails, 9 miles of horseback trails, as well as two public beaches, picnic shelters, and two universally accessible fishing piers one at Gun Lake and one at Deep Lake.
Blandford Nature Center – Grand Rapids
Visit the Wildlife Center or walk the Wildlife trail.
The interpretive center is currently open free of charge Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 12 to 5pm. Starting June 3, all non-members will pay a $3.00 admission fee.
The trails are open every day from dawn until dusk.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park – Saugatuck
Hike the trails and have a picnic in the picnic area. The Lake Michigan beach is a 0.6 mile hike from the picnic parking area.
Rosy Mound Natural Area – Grand Haven
We love Rosy Mound and enjoy the 0.7 mile hike to the Lake Michigan. Perfect, quiet place to go for a swim. Keep in mind there is no life guard on duty and no dogs allowed. Motor vehicle parking fees are in effect from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
John Ball Zoo – Grand Rapids
I’ve been going to John Ball since I was a little girl. Grizzly bears, chimpanzee, lions, wallabies and more. There’s also the brand-new Jandernoa Treetops Outpost: an elevated structure built for kids! Cargo netting to climb on! Rope bridges to cross! Tunnels to run through and lots of stuff to explore!
Find the hours and rates.If you’re planning to make multiple trips, pick up a household membership for $70. This gets you FREE admission at John Ball and FREE or reduced admission to over 140 other zoos and aquariums.
Critter Barn – Zeeland
Browse around the farm, enjoy a tour with a Critter Crew member, meet rabbits, chickens, ducks, cats, hogs, cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, turkeys, pot-bellied pigs, peafowl, geese, and a horse!
Learn about farm life. Hold, pet, cuddle, feed, watch, interact and learn.
Admission is FREE, donations are welcome.Check out the Critter Barn hours.
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park – Alto
Located on 80 acres of land in Alto, MI, Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park is a unique, hands-on experience for the entire family. The park boasts a distinct collection of exotic animals and reptiles, and the variety and dynamic atmosphere make Boulder Ridge anything but your average zoo.
Check out the Boulder Ridge admission rates and hours. If you plan to make multiple trips this summer, pick up a family membership for $75.
Fun at the Orchards
Our kids LOVE going to the orchards and picking fruit. It’s one of the highlights of our summer and fall.
DK Orchards – Conklin
I’ve been going to this orchard since I was a little girl (formerly Vince Brown Farms). We picked peaches and apples each year with my Grandpa and Grandma – good memories!
You get to ride on a wagon behind a tractor out to the orchards and you can’t beat the prices. Each year we can quarts and quarts of apple sauce and peaches with the produce that we pick.
Robinette’s Apple Haus – Grand Rapids
I haven’t personally gone here, but I’ve heard fantastic things about it…donuts! If they happen to be making cider, you may watch it being made (during the fall). There are corn mazes and hayrides in the fall.
There’s a mountain bike trail that you can ride for $3 a day. A helmet is required and a waiver must be signed.
Crane Orchards – Fennville
We love to go to Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant with Grandpa and Grandma and pick a few apples in the orchard.
Sweet Cherries – Picking usually begins late of June
Peaches – Picking usually begins the end of July or early August.
Fall Apples – Picking usually begins in early September & continues throughout October.
20-acre corn maze in September
No credit cards accepted at the orchard.
Gardens and Museums
Frederik Meijer Gardens
Beautiful gardens and sculpture park with a lot of space for kids to roam, including the Lena Meijer’s Children Garden. Check out hours and admission rates. And my kids love to roll down the hill by Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse.
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum – Starting May 22, 2013, grab your hard hat, tool belt, and dig up some fun in our brand new exhibit, Kidstruction Zone!
Places to Cool Off
Lamar Park Splash Pad – Wyoming
Have a picnic and enjoy the FREE splash pad and play ground.
In addition to Rose Mounds and Saugatuck Dunes (under hiking), here are a few more Lake Michigan parks…
PJ Hoffmaster (Muskegon) – this is one of my favorites with hiking in the beautiful woods.
Holland State Park – Holland (make sure you make a stop at Captain Sundae – two words: Pirate’s Booty)
Tunnel Park – Holland
Grand Haven State Park
Celebrations and Festivals
Festival of Arts 2013 – June 7, 8 and 9, 2013
Festival of the Arts is a community celebration in downtown Grand Rapids, featuring arts, entertainment, food and fun activities for the entire family.
2013 Rockford Start of Summer Celebration – June 13th-16th, 2013
Carnival rides, food, games, contests, crafts, demonstrations, music, beer tent, fireworks on Saturday night, and more…
Lakeshore Art Festival – Muskegon – July 5 and 6, 2013
A unique blend of arts, crafts, music, food and fun along the scenic shoreline. The Lakeshore Art Festival features hundreds of artists and crafters, a Children’s Lane, a food area including a Michigan Food Market, and street performers.
Coast Guard Festival – July 26-August 4, 2013
Every day is filled with activities, events, and attractions for all ages. Many activities are FREE, and you will find plenty of fun and choices from Kids Day to the Street Dance and Cruise-In Car Show, to carnival rides, picnics, Grand Parade, and ship tours.
For the Grown-Ups
Swing Dancing at Rosa Parks Circle – Grand Rapids
May 21, 2013 – October 08, 2013
Every Tuesday 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Rosa Parks Circle
Tuesday Night Bike Rides
Join Central District Cyclery shop staff on rides for all skill levels. The FREE ride starts in front of the shop on Monroe Center and takes a new route each week.
Tuesdays 6:30 PM at Central District Cyclery, 52 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Checkout the Central District Cyclery Facebook page for details and changes due to weather.
So there you have it…
I’d love hear any other Grand Rapids staycation ideas that you have. Feel free to leave a comment below.