It’s the dog days of summer in the Motor City – and, for local families, the next couple of months are a chance to spend time together enjoying all the fun things to do in Michigan in the summer (especially with that Sept. 5 Labor Day extending summer vacation out longer!). Here are 10 sure-bets for family fun in southeast Michigan that you’ll definitely want to cross off your list before the school bell rings.
1. Woodward Dream Cruise
Tote out the folding chairs and take in the awesome autos at the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, officially rolling the classic cars into town Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 (though locals know the unofficial show begins much earlier. Try to get up and down Woodward for errands. It takes for-ever!). Or check out the oodles of upcoming parades and kids’ activities at a bevy of hometown shebangs listed in the Metro Parent calendar.
2. Take in a Detroit Tigers game
Head on out to the Tigers ballgame at Detroit’s Comerica Park. No matter how the home team’s doing out on the field, the family promotions and fun are a homerun. Be sure to take a ride on the carousel and enjoy Ferris wheel rides while you’re here. Kids can become part of the Detroit Tigers Kids Club, too. And don’t forget the Friday and Saturday night fireworks that follow select games!
3. Go sightseeing at local attractions
Be a tourist in your own town. In Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo offers Wild Summer Nights, featuring kid-friendly music Wednesday evenings in July and August. Or catch a historic baseball game Saturdays and Sundays June 11-Aug. 21, 2016 at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Don’t forget about the fun at the Michigan Science Center, Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum and all of the awesome museums and attractions in southeast Michigan.
4. Visit water parks in Michigan’s southeast region
Flip for your local wet spot. Families love Oakland County Parks’ popular parks – at Waterford Oaks Waterpark and Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights – or get doused at Ypsilanti’s Rolling Hills Water Park. Metroparks also offer fun options, including the Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center in Belleville. Zero-depth “spray ‘n play” options are fit for tots. Or check out H20 Zone in Westland. Peek at our list of Water Parks, Spray Grounds, Public Pools in Southeast Michigan for more inspiration and details.
5. Get sports nutty
Hit the park – or backyard – and set up a zany obstacle course, the ladder-golf set or badminton net. Limbo only takes a broomstick, and tag is gear-free. Round up a few of the neighborhood kids for lemonade and a heart-pumping afternoon in the sun. Or, take it a step further and sign up for a sports camp. Check out our list of 20 Sports Camps for Kids in Southeast Michigan.
6. Hike or camp
The wild outdoors is a trail-stroll away in local, county and state parks. Try the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks for themed hikes, and detour to the nature centers for fun programs (browse our list of local hiking trails, and our list of nature centers to help you get more ideas!) No matter where you live, in fact, there’s a nature spot near you. Looking to spend more time in nature? Plan a camping trip! There are Michigan State Parks camping sites all across southern Michigan.
Instead of schoolbooks, cram that backpack with handmade treasures. Downtown in Detroit, for instance, PuppetART has puppet-making workshops after every show, which mostly take place on Saturdays. Check your local library for loads more.
8. Gone fishin’
Catch a new skill – or at least some memories. The Michigan Kids Fishing Center suggests Ford Lake Park in Ann Arbor, Trenton’s Elizabeth Park and Hines Park. Plus, most public marinas on Lakes Erie and St. Clair and the Detroit River have a fishing pier.
9. Beach bum
Our neck of the Great Lakes State brims with beaches, like those at Camp Dearborn in Milford, or Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township. Swim in buoyed areas or slap on the SPF and soak up some rays. Try Independence Lake County Park, in Webster Township, for its sandcastle-prime shore, too.
10. A sweet summer treat – ice cream
They’re already screaming for it. And our region happens to have some of the best ice cream in Michigan, from Wayne and Washtenaw counties and up to Oakland and Macomb. Check out our list of the Best Independent Ice Cream Shops in Southeast Michigan for more sweet stores.
Find even more fun things to do in Michigan in the summer! Download our free 100 Days of Summer Family Activities and Attractions in Michigan guide, and visit the Metro Parent calendar for the scoop of family friends metro Detroit events happening all summer long.
This post was originally published in August 2010 and has been updated for 2016.