Unique Spots for Spring Break Family Staycations

Unique Spots for Spring Break Family Staycations

Finally, the snow is starting to melt. It’s almost as if spring is right around the corner and you know what that means—spring break! If you’re searching for some spring break destinations, but don’t have nearly enough frequent flier miles or piggy banks, perhaps the “staycation” is more up your alley.

Here is a list of family-friendly activities and locations that are perfect for the spring break staycation, all divided according to their Michigan region. Given the typical changing weather our state is known for, I have provided both indoor and outdoor options considering it can go from sunshine to snow at any given time of the day.

East Michigan:

hitsville
Hitsville USA, otherwise known as the Motown Museum is home to Berry Gordy’s original Studio A, where famous Detroit musicians spent time, hung out and recorded. Photo by alainsojourner

1. Indoor: Hitsville U.S.A. (Motown Museum) 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit

Motown Records was established in 1959 by Berry Gordy. Each year since opening the recording Studio A to the public as a museum, thousands of visitors pass through Hitsville U.S.A. to relive the days of  The Four Tops, The Temptations, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes.

The museum has artifacts, photographs, memorabilia, and early recordings of popular hits. You might even spot a celebrity Michigan native like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, or Bob Seger stopping by along your guided tour.

For pricing and more information, click here.

2. Outdoor: Belle Isle, 2 Inselruhe Avenue, Detroit

Belle Isle aquarium2
The oldest aquarium in the nation is located on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI. It opened in 1904, but closed down in 2005. However, after extensive renovations, the aquarium re-opened in 2012 and has welcomed thousands of visitors for free since its re-opening. Photo courtesy of Belle Isle Conservancy.

The State of Michigan recently purchased and spent millions renovating the historic Belle Isle just outside of Downtown Detroit.

The massive grounds include an aquarium, conservatory, Great Lakes museum, nature zoo (open seasonally), iconic Scott Fountain, Memorial Lighthouse, beaches, golf ranges, athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic tables, bike and walking paths, a giant slide and much more.

Everything you can think of and want in a park is here, and better yet—historic. The Belle Isle Conservatory & Aquarium is the oldest aquarium in the United States, opening in 1904. It includes 118 species and more than 1,000 fish.

As for all state parks, a Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to Belle Isle ($11 for Michigan vehicles, $5 for Michigan motorcycles), or you can purchase a window sticker at the entrance booth ($9 for a day pass).

Join the Michigan Science Center for a docent-led tour of the Belle Isle Aquarium & Conservatory on March 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for free. For more information, click here.

West Michigan:

The $22 million Japanese Garden was unveiled in 2012. It features four waterfalls, two ponds, bridges, a gazebo, a Zen-style garden, and a bonsai garden. Photo by Cory Morse.
The $22 million Japanese Garden was unveiled in 2012. It features four waterfalls, two ponds, bridges, a gazebo, a Zen-style garden, and a bonsai garden. Photo by Cory Morse.

1. Indoor/Outdoor: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 East Beltline N.E. in Grand Rapids

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the country’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences. The sprawling 158-acre grounds include indoor and outdoor exhibits, gardens, sculptures, children sensory gardens, a library, a Japanese garden, boardwalks, and more.

The Butterflies Are Blooming! exhibit runs from March-April, featuring more than 6,000 tropical butterflies that free-fly in the massive conservatory.

For pricing and more information, click here.

2. Indoor: Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids

An antique 1928 Spillman Carousel adorns the musuem. The carousel is one of only three of its style known to have been made. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Museum. The carousel is made up of forty-four hand-carved, elaborately jeweled wooden horses, two chariots and six menagerie animals: a giraffe, whale, deer, goat, tiger and camel.
An antique 1928 Spillman Carousel adorns the musuem. The carousel is one of only three of its style known to have been made. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is the oldest and second largest museum in the state, with over 250,000 artifacts. The museum includes collections of automobiles, zoology, furniture, fossils, and more. While at the museum, you can take a stroll through the streets of Old Grand Rapids in 1890 or go for a spin on the 1928 Spillman Carousel.

For pricing and more information, click here.

Northern Michigan:

1. Indoor/Outdoor: Boyne Resorts, One Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls

Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs is a great Michigan destination across the seasons. Enjoy golf, zip-lining or skiing and dog-sledding. Photo courtesy of Boyne Highlands.
Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs is a great Michigan destination across the seasons. Enjoy golf, zip-lining or skiing and dog-sledding. Photo courtesy of Boyne Highlands.

Michigan’s largest ski resort coins the phrase: “Four Seasons. Three Resorts. One BOYNE.” With locations in Harbor Springs, Boyne Falls, and Bay Harbor, Boyne knows a thing or two about Northern Michigan fun.

From ski lodges to golf resorts and hotel spas to indoor water parks, Boyne Resorts offers something for all ages. Whether its skiing or sledding down their numerous snow covered hills, relaxing with a luxurious massage, or enjoying a golf outing on a warm day, the Boyne properties should be on your list of possible spring break destinations.

March 11-13 is the Kids’ Festival Weekend including stay, ski, and play. For pricing and more information, click here.

March 18-20 is their Carnival Weekend, a mix of Mardi Gras and St. Patty’s Day fun for the adults. For pricing and more information, click here.

2. Indoor: Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark3575 U.S. Highway 31 S, Traverse City

This hotel boasts about its kid-friendly design and offers something for a wide range of youngsters. The hotel includes a fitness center, tons of kids activities, games, storytime characters, and more.

The massive waterpark includes a waterfort tree house, a four-story waterslide, lazy river, hot tubs, and cabana rentals. Dry-land welcomes bowling, minigolf, a kids spa, and eateries.

For current spring break packages, pricing, and more information, click here.

Tour guides often invite guests to lay on their backs and gaze up at the dazzling dome within the Capitol building. Photo by Jonathon Gruenke.
Tour guides often invite guests to lay on their backs and gaze up at the dazzling dome within the Capitol building. Photo by Jonathon Gruenke.

Mid-Michigan:

1. Indoor: State Capitol Building, Capitol Avenue at Michigan Avenue, Lansing

Take a tour of the Victorian Era, State Capitol building. Guided tours are offered daily and include visits to the House and Senate galleries, discussion of the legislative process, and of course the building’s architecture and history.

To schedule a tour and for more information, click here.

2. Indoor: Impression 5 Science Center, 200 Museum Drive, Lansing

Recently undergoing massive renovations, the Impression 5 Science Center is proud to be a dynamic place for interactive learning for children and adults. Anyone with curiosity and finds joy in learning about science in a fun and hands-on way is welcome.

The exhibit area is 25,000 square feet and contains more than a dozen exhibits, activities, a chemistry lab, a build zone, nature area, a bubble room, and so much more.

For pricing and more information, click here.

Southeast Michigan: 

1. Indoor/ Outdoor: River Raisin National Battlefield Park1403 East Elm Avenue, Monroe

For true history buffs, the River Raisin National Battlefield Park is one of a few national battlefield parks in the National Park System. In fact, it’s the only one from the War of 1812. The grounds preserve and commemorate the battles and aftermath with exhibits, a fiber optic map presentation, original military firearms, dioramas, cannons, and monuments scattered throughout the hiking trails in the park.

For hours of operation and more information on this free park, click here.

Southwest Michigan:

The Gilmore Car Museum houses one of Michigan's largest collections of vintage automobiles. Photo by Steve Tinker.
The Gilmore Car Museum houses one of Michigan’s largest collections of vintage automobiles. Photo by Steve Tinker.

1. Indooor/Outdoor: Gilmore Car Museum6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners

Michigan is widely known for its many automobile feats—R.E. Olds, General Motors. This gem of a museum celebrates them and the golden years of classic automobiles by featuring over 300 vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

Aside showcasing numerous pristine motor beauties, this 90-acre campus includes an authentic 1941 Blue Moon diner, vintage gas station pumps from the ’30s, recreation of vintage dealerships, and more.

For pricing, hours of operation, and more information, click here. 

2. Indoor: Curious Kids’ Museum415 Lake Blvd, St Joseph

Committed to a “learning is fun” environment, the Curious Kids’ Museum features hands-on creative fun for children and their parents. The museum has over 100 exhibits for children ages 1-10 including discovery fun centers on the Great Lakes ship, face painting, musicology, apple orchard, and vet clinic.

For hours, pricing, and more information, click here. 

Where are your favorite Michigan “staycation” spots? Share in the comments below!