When the real world starts to feel like a bit too much, it’s time to find a place where magic reigns supreme. Fortunately, for those in Michigan, wonder and enchantment is only a day trip away. The Fairy Forest of Grass Lake Village is one of the state’s best-kept secrets.
This hidden gem is tucked away in a wooded area of Grass Lake (just 20 minutes from downtown Jackson), and visitors will discover something new every time they stop by. With whimsical fairy gardens and breathtaking displays, this is the kind of place that leaves children and adults alike standing in awe of the ethereal beauty that surrounds them.
Begin Your Day with Breakfast at the Roaming Goat
To set the stage for a day of authenticity and immersive experiences, begin your Michigan day trip to the fairy forest with breakfast at the Roaming Goat. The Roaming Goat is a local coffee shop in the heart of downtown Grass Lake that is known for its fresh-roasted coffee, its menu featuring seasonal ingredients, and its displays that are available to featured local artists.
At the Roaming Goat, the goal is to allow each guest to be intentional and savor the experience, which is the perfect ambiance to enjoy before a trip to the fairy forest. Some popular menu items available at the Roaming Goat include pastries, muffins, smoothies, homemade pop tarts, and more.
Editor’s Note: The Roaming Goat closed in April 2023 and we will update the article with information about it successor as soon as that information is available.
Explore the Fairy Forest of Grass Lake Village
Tucked away in the forests of Grass Lake is a whimsical place known to the locals as the Fairy Forest. You can find it by putting the address 153 N. Lake St. Grass Lake, MI 49240 into your GPS, and you’ll quickly be transported to a place that feels worlds away from reality.
The Fairy Forest of Grass Lake Village is seemingly inhabited by hundreds of mysterious creatures that reside amongst the trees and along the pathways. As you stroll through the village, you and your children will discover some of the most awe-inspiring displays — many of which are changed seasonally. This means that every visit to the forest is unique, and children are able to make endless discoveries while they are there.
This year-round destination is completely free for anyone who wants to visit, making it an affordable and accessible day trip for just about anyone who wants to experience it. It is officially open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and it is lighted during that time.
Some say that coming after dark is one of the best ways to enjoy the forest. If you do choose to visit outside of those hours, you are welcome to bring your own lights and explore the pathways on your own.
While most outdoor attractions in Michigan are seasonal attractions, the fairy forest is one of the few that you can enjoy throughout the entire year. In fact, many people find themselves returning during each season in order to see what else there is in store at the fairy forest.
In October, it’s not uncommon to find Halloween-themed displays and to see the work that the fairies have done to get ready for the season of haunts, thrills, and chills.
In December, the forest is transformed into a winter wonderland where candy cane stripes, snowflakes, and holiday lights create a magical atmosphere.
Along the path, there are plenty of benches situated in strategic spots, which allows people to sit back, rest and soak up the enchantment of this one-of-a-kind Michigan destination. Of course, these sitting spots also give adults a much-needed break as the younger visitors run around to find the little fairy houses that are tucked in seemingly every corner of the forest.
With so much to see and do, it can be hard to tear yourself away from the forest. Young visitors who are feeling a bit glum about leaving the magic of the fairies behind are invited to leave a little letter for their fairy friends in the snail mailbox. It’s a special way for children to stay connected with this place, even after they have had to leave and return to their regular lives once again.
Stop for Lunch at Missy’s Little Grass Shack
After you have finished wandering through the forest and discovering magic for yourself, you will likely find yourself feeling a little bit hungry. Fortunately, you can head straight back into downtown Grass Lake for a quick bite to eat at the delicious Missy’s Little Grass Shack.
This casual restaurant is the kind of hometown diner where everyone seems to know everybody else. You’ll soon be part of the family when you dine here.
Missy’s Little Grass Shack is known for its ever-changing daily special menu, which can include savory concoctions such as chicken enchiladas and cheesy potato and ham salad.
More to Explore Nearby
Whether you spend an hour or an entire day at the fairy forest, you’ll quickly find that there are many other attractions to discover in the local area, such as:
The Lost Railway Museum
The Lost Railway Museum is another iconic attraction in Grass Lake. Rather than creating a mystical world for people to explore, this museum preserves the beauty of the past. This museum, which is open seasonally, showcases what life was like at the turn of the 20th century in the Grass Lake area.
Don’t forget to ride on the Boland Express when you visit. This virtual reality experience gives visitors an opportunity to experience what it was like to travel between Jackson and Grass Lake in the early 1900s.
The Coe House Museum
The Coe House is a historic home in Grass Lake that was constructed in 1871. Featuring the hallmark traits of a home constructed in the Italian Tuscan Vernacular style, this home represents the beauty and grandeur of an era gone by. The home itself went through many owners before it was sold to the Grass Lake Area Historical Society in the 1970s.
Today, the historical society operates out of the building, preserving the structure and offering tours to the public. It’s a wonderful place to learn more about the people who shaped the Grass Lake community.
Waterloo State Recreation Area
For a bit of outdoor fun and relaxation, consider heading to the Waterloo State Recreation Area in Chelsea. Famous for being the largest state park in the lower peninsula, this expansive park features several inland lakes, campgrounds, and a winding trail system, making it the perfect destination for outdoor adventurers.
Michigan Military Heritage Museum
One of the most recent additions to the museum scene in the Grass Lake area is the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. This museum opened its doors in Jackson in 2016, and it features several interactive and engaging exhibits related to the state’s military history.
While the museum got its start in Grass Lake, it moved to nearby Jackson in 2021.
Some of the exhibits include a 1917 Ford Model T Ambulance, a World War I trench display that honors the 135,000 service members from Michigan who served, and a World War 2 exhibit that focuses on how Michigan manufacturing contributed to the war effort.
The Chelsea Treehouse
If your kids are looking for a place to stretch their legs and burn some energy, then the Chelsea Treehouse is the best place to go after a morning at the fairy forest. Just a short drive east of Grass Lake, the Chelsea Treehouse is consistently rated as one of the best indoor play places in Michigan, and knowing that it is run by local moms is a huge plus.
Featuring more than 9,000 square feet of space, there is something for children of all ages and abilities at this location, including climbing equipment, a giant tree house, basketball hoops, swinging bridges, and more.
Dine Out On Your Way Home
No matter which direction you are heading on your way home, you will find excellent local restaurants to enjoy along the way. These are just a few to consider:
Common Grill | Chelsea
For more than 25 years, Common Grill has been considered one of the best restaurants in downtown Chelsea. Described as a modern American bistro, the menu items available are both creative and flavorful.
One North | Jackson
One North Jackson is a family-friendly restaurant that effortlessly combines sophistication with a welcoming atmosphere. Its expansive menu is designed to appeal to everyone, making it an easy choice to stop at on your way home from Grass Lake.
Clear Lake Grill | Grass Lake
For a fast, casual meal that is bursting with flavor, head straight to the Clear Lake Grill in Grass Lake. This casual dining locale is best known for its pizza and burgers, making it a favorite among local families and visitors alike.
Plan Your Visit to the Fairy Forest of Grass Lake
The Fairy Forest of Grass Lake Village is a perfect family-friendly attraction, but it’s open and available to anyone of any age or stage of life. If you simply need to get away from it all and fill your soul with childlike wonder, then this is the place to go. Not to mention, there are many local restaurants and nearby attractions that can enhance your visit.