20 Fun Summer Activities for Kids in Traverse City

School’s out for summer! Now is the time to create summer memories with the family in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan.

Looking for summer fun that’s close to home with something to interest everyone in your crew? Then check out Traverse City, a summer paradise for families! While Traverse City is known for its award-winning Wine Coast and food experiences, there are tons of fun family adventures to keep kids of all ages entertained. 

Enjoy the quaint charm of the area, special summer traditions (Cherry Festival, anyone?) and the stunning natural beauty of the region. 

Here are 20 things to do with kids in Traverse City this summer:

1. Enjoy a beach day at Clinch Park.

Clinch Park is the perfect place for a sunny day by the water. Swim, build sandcastles and enjoy the splash pad!

family at splash pad summer activities for kids in traverse city
Photo credit: Traverse City Tourism

2. Make a sweet stop at Cherry Republic.

Taste an array of cherry-based products, including sweets, snacks and beverages. This is a must-visit for cherry lovers and a fun way to introduce kids to new flavors.

3. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Climb the dunes, enjoy the scenic views and have a picnic. The breathtaking scenery adds to the fun.

kids running in sand dunes: summer activities for kids in Traverse City
Photo Credit: Traverse City Tourism

4. Grab a bite at Grand Traverse Pie Company.

Indulge in delicious, homemade sweet and savory pies made with local ingredients. Some local favorites include several varieties of cherry pie (of course), apple crumb, quiche and chicken pot pie.

5. Explore the Great Lakes Children’s Museum.

Engage in hands-on exhibits and interactive play areas. This museum is designed to educate and entertain young minds.

6. Go to the Cherry Festival.

Participate in the National Cherry Festival with parades, games and cherry-themed activities. This popular event is packed with fun for the whole family.

7. Get a scoop of Moomers Homemade Ice Cream.

Enjoy farm fresh ice cream, so fresh that the cows are just a few steps away. It’s a delightful way to try one of their more than 160 premium flavors while soaking in the farm atmosphere.

Summer activities for kids in Traverse City: link

8. Have a game day at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Park. 

Play mini-golf, ride go karts and try the arcade games. This park offers a variety of activities that kids will love.

9. Go for a family hike at the Boardman Lake Trail.

 Enjoy a family-friendly hike along the beautiful lake. The convenient trail leads to many locations in the area. It’s a great place to explore nature, spot some swans on the lake or turtles at the shoreline while getting some exercise.

Summer activities with kids in Traverse City: Boardman Lake Trail
Photo Credit: Traverse City Tourism

10. Enjoy a zip line adventure at Crystal Mountain Resort.

 Experience the thrill of kid-friendly zip lining over a swimming pool. This is an exhilarating activity for adventurous kids.

11. Float in a kayak.

Does your family enjoy waterbound adventures? Rent kayaks and explore the serene waters, perfect for older children.

12. Visit the COGNiTiON Science & Discovery Center.

 Interactive exhibits turn learning into an exciting adventure for kids of all ages. As a Certified Autism Center, COGNiTiON is a welcoming space where every child can explore, discover and have fun.

13. Have fun fruit picking at local farms.

 Visit a U-pick farm and enjoy picking fresh in-season strawberries, blueberries or cherries. Educational for the kids, delicious for everyone!

14. Visit Historic Barns Park.

Experience the botanical gardens and explore the historic barns, saved from demolition by locals. It’s a peaceful and educational outing.

15. Go paddle boarding on Grand Traverse Bay.

Rent paddle boards and enjoy the calm waters of the bay. This activity is both relaxing and fun.

16. Have a horseback riding adventure at Ranch Rudolf.

Take a guided horseback ride through scenic trails that showcase the natural beauty of the area.

Family bike ride: summer activities for kids in Traverse City
Photo Credit: Traverse City Tourism

17. Take a spin on the Traverse City TART Trail.

 Bike or walk along this extensive trail system (Traverse Area Recreation Trail aka TART) that is a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast.

18. Visit Dennos Museum Center.

Explore art exhibits and the hands-on Discovery Gallery for kids. The museum offers a mix of culture and fun.

Family at museum summer actitivies for kids in Traverse City
Photo Credit: Traverse City Tourism

19. Go fish at the Boardman River Nature Center.

Learn about local fish species and conservation in this educational and interactive experience.

20. Take a tour of Rainbow Valley Family Farms.

 Love animals? Make an appointment for a personalized tour of this family-owned alpaca farm. Interact with the alpacas, give them a treat and take a photo! Rainbow Valley Family Farms is a Certified Autism Center.

For more information about visiting Traverse City visit traversecity.com/

Jenny Kales
Jenny Kales
Content editor Jenny Kales has been in the business of writing for more than 20 years. A natural storyteller, she loves helping Metro Parent clients tell their stories in a way that resonates with their audiences.

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