Traverse City is an ideal location for a fun family outing. Whether you’re playing putt-putt miniature golf, enjoying some of those delicious cherries, hitting the beach or sitting down with an ice cream cone, you’ll be making those small memories that your kids will remember forever.
We’ve done the searching for you and found seven spectacular family things to do in Traverse City – and a few cities nearby. Most of these activities are available for year-round fun, as well. So feel free to take a trip in the spring or winter – whatever the weather.
Half the fun will come from choosing a fun activity from this list. The other half just comes from doing it as a family.
- Address: 1730 S. Garfield Ave., Traverse City
- Phone: 231-252-4455
- Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
- Costs: $12/play all day, $5/toddler area, free/parents; check website for discounted group rates
Don’t let the colder seasons stop you from finding fun family things to do in Traverse City. Let your kids enjoy the great indoors during a winter or rainy-day trip in 10,000 square feet of inflatable fun. With multiple unique bounce houses, your kids will be sure to forget what weather is happening outdoors.
- Address: 154 E. Front St., Traverse City
- Phone: 231-932-9205
- Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Want to enjoy an adult beverage but don’t want the kids to feel left out? Cherry Republic actually offers a wine tasting bar and lets the little ones join in on the fun – with a soda pop tasting, of course! And, naturally, you’ll all get to scoop up gourmet cherry eats and gifts made from the city’s famous cherries (both sweet and tart varieties).
- Address: 161 E. Grandview Parkway, Traverse City
- Phone: 231-922-4903
- Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Traverse City’s most popular beach features over 1,500 feet of sand. It also has picnic tables if you want to have your lunch outside. If you’re not feeling up to swimming in the West Grand Traverse Bay, opt to play in their small waterpark featuring multiple sprinkler systems.
- Address: 15500 N. Lighthouse Point Road, Northport
- Phone: 231-386-7195
- Hours: Noon-4 p.m. daily in May and September-November, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily June-August
- Costs: $5/adults, $2/kids ages 6-12, free/ages 5 and under
You might be thinking, “Why is a lighthouse listed under ‘family things to do in Traverse City’?” If so, you might be surprised by how much kids can get out of this experience. Enjoy a walk through the nature trails toward the lighthouse and climb up to see the views of Lake Michigan, Cathead Bay, Grand Traverse Bay and the Manitou Passage. There is also a fog-signal building and a Shipwreck exhibition. On Saturdays in June-August you actually have a chance to hear the fog horn!
- Address: 3575 N. U.S. Highway 31 South, Traverse City
- Phone: 866-478-9653
- Hours: Check website; vary by season and attraction
- Costs: Attractions only available for hotel guests to avoid long lines and overcrowding; check website for lodging rates
Yeah, we know you know about the Great Wolf Lodge, one of Michigan’s standout indoor hotel splash spots. But did you know they have more than just a waterpark? Enjoy a relaxing hour or two at Scooops kid spa with an “Ice Cream-Themed Manicure,” head outside for some “howl-in-one mini golf,” try bowling at “Ten Paw Alley,” or just have some classic fun at the “Northern Lights Arcade.” Check out the lodging rates and consider booking a room to gain access to all of this family fun.
- Address: 1705 S. Garfield Ave., Traverse City
- Phone: 231-947-2610
- Hours: bowling center: 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday and Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; arcade and attractions; 3-11 p.m. Monday, 3-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, Noon-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
- Costs: Check out everyday deals on website; prices vary for different activities
At Lucky Jack’s, let your kids blow off steam with laser tag, bowling and bumper cards. And don’t forget about the arcade, packed with 80 gaming options and offering redemption rewards from candy to a new Nintendo Wii. Afterwards, sit down and enjoy a pizza or a build-your-own burger.
- Address: 240 E. Front St., Traverse City
- Phone: 231-944-1036
- Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Milk & Honey is a locally owned, inviting and colorful ice cream parlor that makes creative cones with local ingredients. Because they use frozen granite, they’re able to make ice cream flavors however you like them. Vegan ice cream is offered, too. Not in the mood for ice cream? They also serve sandwiches and coffee.
Photo from Traverse City’s Facebook page