Southeast Michigan Summer Bucket List

Around the end of May for the past few years, we sit down as a family and make a list of all of the places to visit and the things we want to do during summer vacation. Sometimes we get to everything on our list and sometimes we don’t, but it sure is fun to try!

Here is our top 10 for 2018:

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1. Swim in a lake. My kids specifically asked to visit our friend’s private lake, but we have so many nearby. I know a lot of my local moms rave about Spencer Beach in Rochester Hills and we have yet to check it out, so I am hoping to get there this year!

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2. Go to an Art Fair. Living in Berkley means we are lucky to enjoy two big art events in our town: The Berkley Art Bash on June 9th and The Berkley Street Art Fest on July 14th. As former Ann Arbor residents, we tend to avoid the HUGE Ann Arbor Art Fair (July 19-22nd), but plenty of other families make it a summer tradition!

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3. Visit a new park. Our favorites are those without wood chips and plenty of shade. My 5 year old does not like the heat nor the feeling of anything getting in his shoes. We really love Victoria Park in Pleasant Ridge and Inglenook Park in Southfield. What are your favorite parks? Please let me know in the comments so we can try them out! Here are our top 10 Favorite Metro Detroit Parks!

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4. Go to an indoor water park or splash pad. We’ve done Splash Universe, Great Wolf Lodge, Kensington Metro Park, and the Warren Community Center. I would like to try the Troy Community Center or one of the high schools out in Walled Lake. As for Splash Pads, Mount Elliott is pretty awesome, but we do love Heritage Park in Farmington too!

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5. See a new movie. A good place to soak up some air conditioning on those super hot days is the movie theater!  Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation comes out mid-July and is rated PG.  I am sure my kids will be requesting to see it!

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6. Speaking of Metroparks, we want to visit more of them! We tend to visit Kensington the most (again, the splash pad is a big draw), and have been to Stoney Creek and Metro Beach a couple of times, but there are many others we have yet to explore. A Metropark Motor Vehicle Entry Permit gives you access to all 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks and is only $35! So much fun to be had on a family-friendly budget.

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7. Attend an outdoor concert. We love to catch free outdoor concerts during the summer! We usually pack a picnic dinner, a blanket, some insect repellent and maybe some bubbles and glow bracelets. The relaxed atmosphere of the summer concerts is very inviting.

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8. READ! As a school librarian and wife of a former bookstore manager, I cannot recommend reading enough! Whether your kids are school-age or younger, please, please, please devote time every day to reading. We hit up at least one library every week. Our favorites are the Southfield Public LibraryFarmington Community Library, and of course our hometown Berkley Public Library.

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9. Take day trips to places like the Arbor Hands-on Museum, Detroit Historical Museum, Michigan Science Center, Imagination Station, Flint Children’s Museum, Impression 5, Detroit Institute of Arts, Greenfield Village, The Henry Ford… the list goes on and on. My kids never stop learning over the summer; they learn through play and experiences. I love watching them discover new things and make connections to the world around them. 
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10. Relax! Allow for unstructured time with and without the kids. One of my favorite ways to unwind and enjoy a little “me” time is to relax in my hammock with a good book or magazine. 

Julie McKeeman

Julie is first and foremost a mom of two amazing kiddos, Elliott and Bennett. She is married to her beautiful wife, Betsy, and is an elementary school librarian.

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