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5 Kid-Friendly (and Budget-Friendly) Road Trips in Southeast Michigan

Summer is here! That means school is out, the sun is out, and it’s a great time to enjoy the amusements the season has to offer. It’s an especially great time to get out of the house with the kids and see the sights!

But vacations and road trips can be expensive at the best of times, and finding someplace to go that’s both kid-friendly and won’t break the bank can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together a list of affordable, kid-friendly places in southeast Michigan you can go for a day trip. We’ll also include a few money-saving and safety tips to help out your budget and make sure everything goes smoothly.

Tips for a Fun and Inexpensive Day Trip

  • Make a budget. One of the most time-trusted methods of handling your spending is figuring out ahead of time just how much you’re going to spend. Make room for incidentals and special treats, but don’t leave things open-ended.
  • Pay with cash. If you have trouble staying within the budget you set (we’ve all been there), you can help yourself out by paying with cash whenever possible. Having only so much cash on hand will keep you from racking up debt or letting your spending get out of control. Of course, bring some debit / credit cards in case of emergencies, and safeguard that cash carefully!
  • Ready your vehicle. One of the easiest ways to ruin a day trip: a car breakdown or other misfortune. Make sure you have a full tank of gas. Check your tires and fluid levels. Make sure your Michigan car insurance is up to date (and maybe ask for a discount while you’re at it!) If you can, take the car in for a checkup beforehand.
  • Pack your own snacks. This one is a no-brainer for most moms, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.
  • Have a safety kit. Flashlights, road flares, blankets, water… it pays to be outfitted with everything you need to keep you and your passengers safe.
  • Plan with your kids. This is another tip that might seem obvious, but it pays to remind everyone – even yourself – of what to do in case you’re separated or something unexpected occurs. If you have to write your mobile number on your younger kids’ arm, then so be it. Just have a plan in place that’s easy to remember.

Now let’s talk about some of the fun places you can go for a day trip in southeast Michigan!

Mid-Michigan Kid’s Museum

The admission at the Mid-Michigan Kid’s Museum is $7.50 a person, and there will be plenty for your kids to do. There are numerous interactive attractions and interactive play tools, and ten different galleries centered around different themes, such as solar, underwater exploration, arts and crafts, and more. The museum website even features a map showing the different aspects of each gallery, so you know which ones will be most (and least) suitable to your kid’s temperament.

Interlochen State Park

If getting out into nature if your thing, Interlochen State Park is a great destination. You can go for walks among the trees, watch the ducks on Duck Lake, hang out on the beach, or go fishing. Nearby is the National Music Camp, where kids from 3 to 12 can engage in singing, dance, theater, and more. There are also concerts and events at the nearby Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Henry Ford Museum

Granted, this might not be the first place you’d think of when you think of a kid-friendly day trip, but the Henry Ford Museum has more to offer than you might expect. Kids can see screen shows and movies about American innovation, or walk through the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. The museum offers a variety of affordable packages and has no age restrictions. There are also interactive attractions like Buckminster Fuller’s prototype “House of the Future,” imagined in the 1940s.

Fort Mackinac

There’s a lot to do and see at the Mackinac Island State Park. First, there’s a wealth of historical sites, such as Mission Church, the Biddle House, the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, and the Dr. Beaumont Museum. If nature and exploration are more your thing, there are caves and rock formations to see, like Skull Cave, Arch Rock, Sunset Rock, and Robinson’s Folly. There’s also plenty to do for younger kids, like the Kids’ Quarters, which features an interactive play space, and you can take the whole family on the guided trails or go to see the Forest Friends Play Area.

Palms Book State Park

It’s tough to beat Palms Book as an affordable place to see the beauty of nature. For starters, there’s Agate Falls, considered one of the state’s most picturesque waterfalls, with a nearby campground, picnic area, and trails — including the Shore-to-Shore trail, often used by equestrians.

5 Kid-Friendly (and Budget-Friendly) Road Trips in Southeast Michigan

Summer is here! That means school is out, the sun is out, and it’s a great time to enjoy the amusements the season has to offer. It’s an especially great time to get out of the house with the kids and see the sights!

But vacations and road trips can be expensive at the best of times, and finding someplace to go that’s both kid-friendly and won’t break the bank can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together a list of affordable, kid-friendly places in southeast Michigan you can go for a day trip. We’ll also include a few money-saving and safety tips to help out your budget and make sure everything goes smoothly.

Tips for a Fun and Inexpensive Day Trip

  • Make a budget. One of the most time-trusted methods of handling your spending is figuring out ahead of time just how much you’re going to spend. Make room for incidentals and special treats, but don’t leave things open-ended.
  • Pay with cash. If you have trouble staying within the budget you set (we’ve all been there), you can help yourself out by paying with cash whenever possible. Having only so much cash on hand will keep you from racking up debt or letting your spending get out of control. Of course, bring some debit / credit cards in case of emergencies, and safeguard that cash carefully!
  • Ready your vehicle. One of the easiest ways to ruin a day trip: a car breakdown or other misfortune. Make sure you have a full tank of gas. Check your tires and fluid levels. Make sure your Michigan car insurance is up to date (and maybe ask for a discount while you’re at it!) If you can, take the car in for a checkup beforehand.
  • Pack your own snacks. This one is a no-brainer for most moms, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.
  • Have a safety kit. Flashlights, road flares, blankets, water… it pays to be outfitted with everything you need to keep you and your passengers safe.
  • Plan with your kids. This is another tip that might seem obvious, but it pays to remind everyone – even yourself – of what to do in case you’re separated or something unexpected occurs. If you have to write your mobile number on your younger kids’ arm, then so be it. Just have a plan in place that’s easy to remember.

Now let’s talk about some of the fun places you can go for a day trip in southeast Michigan!

Mid-Michigan Kid’s Museum

The admission at the Mid-Michigan Kid’s Museum is $7.50 a person, and there will be plenty for your kids to do. There are numerous interactive attractions and interactive play tools, and ten different galleries centered around different themes, such as solar, underwater exploration, arts and crafts, and more. The museum website even features a map showing the different aspects of each gallery, so you know which ones will be most (and least) suitable to your kid’s temperament.

Interlochen State Park

If getting out into nature if your thing, Interlochen State Park is a great destination. You can go for walks among the trees, watch the ducks on Duck Lake, hang out on the beach, or go fishing. Nearby is the National Music Camp, where kids from 3 to 12 can engage in singing, dance, theater, and more. There are also concerts and events at the nearby Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Henry Ford Museum

Granted, this might not be the first place you’d think of when you think of a kid-friendly day trip, but the Henry Ford Museum has more to offer than you might expect. Kids can see screen shows and movies about American innovation, or walk through the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. The museum offers a variety of affordable packages and has no age restrictions. There are also interactive attractions like Buckminster Fuller’s prototype “House of the Future,” imagined in the 1940s.

Fort Mackinac

There’s a lot to do and see at the Mackinac Island State Park. First, there’s a wealth of historical sites, such as Mission Church, the Biddle House, the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, and the Dr. Beaumont Museum. If nature and exploration are more your thing, there are caves and rock formations to see, like Skull Cave, Arch Rock, Sunset Rock, and Robinson’s Folly. There’s also plenty to do for younger kids, like the Kids’ Quarters, which features an interactive play space, and you can take the whole family on the guided trails or go to see the Forest Friends Play Area.

Palms Book State Park

It’s tough to beat Palms Book as an affordable place to see the beauty of nature. For starters, there’s Agate Falls, considered one of the state’s most picturesque waterfalls, with a nearby campground, picnic area, and trails — including the Shore-to-Shore trail, often used by equestrians.

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