Family-Friendly Day Trips Near Detriot

From Bavarian towns to one-of-a-kind museums, Michigan offers many great short excursions great for the whole family.

Henry Ford Museum. Credit: Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford Museum. Credit: Henry Ford Museum
Written by Chris Reilly

There's nothing like a mini-vacation to get away from the stresses of everyday life. These great destinations offer easy excursions that the whole family will love. Better yet, they're right in your own backyard. All you need is a tank of gas (or less) to get there

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Why Go? Michigan's "Little Bavaria" is a true family destination. Take a horse drawn carriage ride, shop along historic main street, several museums and  enjoy special events year round. There's also lots of indoor activites, including an indoor water park the world's largest Christmas store.  

Must Do: Frankenmuth is well known for their famous chicken dinners, and is home to the “two largest family style restaurants in the country,” according to Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau Membership and Events coordinator Ashley Hopp. “Come hungry.”

Insider Tip: Hopp recommends stopping by the visitor's center to get a coupon book good for big discounts at events, attractions and retailers throughout the town.

The Fine Print The Frankenmuth Visitors Center  is open 361 days per year—it’s closed on Christmas, New Years, Easter and Thanksgiving.  


Michigan Science Center

5020 John R Street

Detroit, MI 48202

(313) 57-8400

Why Go? With two full floors packed with fun activities and hands-on exhibits, the whole family will be entertained for hours. The Dassault Systèmes Planetarium is one of the finest digital planetarium projection systems in the world, and don't forget to catch the film at Michigan’s only IMAX® dome theater with a 70-foot-wide, five-story high screen. Children five and under will find many exciting activities in “Kid's Town.”

Must Do: Visit the Tilt-O-Rama and get that queazy feeling walking around like an astronaut.

Insider Tip: “The Science of Rock and Roll,” exploring how science and technology influenced the birth and evolution of the music form, runs through December 31.

The Fine Print: Museum hours are Wednesday – Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. General admission is $12.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids from 2-12, and kids under 2 are free. The IMAX®, Planetarium and Special Exhibits cost extra, and are much less expensive if purchased as part of your general admission ticket rather than separately.  


Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum
20900 Oakwood Boulevard


(313) 982-6001

Why go? The expansive grounds and museum feaures four one-of-a-kind attractions and 200 acres of fun and fascinating activities. Special exhibits include an IMAX® theater and an impressive amount of historical artifacts, such as the first Ford Mustang convertible and the limousine President Kennedy was riding in on that fateful day.  Greenfield Village features people in period costumes, actual homes and structures of the period, and be sure to see Cotswold, an English village brought over and reassembled stone by stone.

Must Do: James Cameron’s "AVATAR: The Exhibition” will be at the museum until January 26, 2014, taking visitors deep into the world of Pandora and the making of this extraordinary film.

Insider Tip:  “I highly recommend comfortable shoes,” says Melissa Foster, Media & Film Relations Manager at The Henry Ford. “There is a lot of walking to be done inside and outside. Also, plan on staying a couple of days – with five attractions, there’s not nearly enough time in one day to take it all in.”

The Fine Print:  The Henry Ford Museum is open 7 days a week, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Greenfield Village is open April 15-November 3, 2013, 7 days a week, 9:30am-5pm. The village is closed beginning January 1 - April 14, for the Winter Season, though the museum remains open.


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