Kid-Friendly Road Trip Planner
Here are six boredom-busting family road trip ideas the cover everything from what to see, local eats, and where to crash!
Above the Fruited Plain
Lake Michigan's eastern shore is a woodsy wonder
The Route: Just west of Kalamazoo, MI, Highway 31 begins its crooked path along Lake Michigan through rambling pear and cherry orchards. In Fennville, pick your own at Crane Orchards (craneorchards.com), then sidle up to their homey café, serving pies an hour out of the oven. The road leads north to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a preserve with freshwater beaches and miles of trails. The star is the 110-foot climbing dune—a natural wonder regularly attacked by hyperkinetic kids. “My four- and six-year-old run up and down ten times before I even hit the top,” says Jolene Young, a local park ranger. The highway continues north along the lake, through woods studded with log cabins. At the point where lakes Michigan and Huron meet is Mackinaw City. Here, ferries make the trip to Mackinac Island, once the province of fur traders but now known as the U.S. Fudge Capital. May's Candy Shop (maysfudge.com) serves 16 flavors, including Orange Pineapple and Rum Walnut. Check out Fort Mackinac; in the costume room, kids get decked out in vintage garb, then see cannon demonstrations. Ready? Fire!
Sleep: On Mackinac, the family suites at the Mission Point Resort (missionpoint.com) are so roomy you really won't know where they are when you play hide-and-seek.
Local Eats: Northern Michigan is known for meat turnovers called “pasties.” Hunt's Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Company (mackinawpastie.com) has the classic piping hot.