Summer Vacation Fun in Frankenmuth

Michigan's 'Little Bavaria' offers a ton of fun summer activities for families. Learn about the city's must-do options and get tips for planning your visit.

Do you want to treat your kids to a fun cultural excursion this summer? Look no further than Frankenmuth.

Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” is just an hour and a half from Detroit and is well known for its signature Bavarian-style architecture and programming dedicated to the area’s German heritage.

But did you know that the Saginaw County town also offers more than 100 attractions and destinations for you and your family to enjoy?

From shopping opportunities to historical tours and daring adventures, Frankenmuth has something for everyone – and the fun can start as soon as you check into your hotel, depending on where you stay.

“The Bavarian Inn Lodge is a great choice for all ages – whether you’re trying to get away as couples or if you come as a family,” Joanna Stratman, the inn’s assistant general manager says. “We have a huge fun center, four pools, two water slides, an 160-video game arcade and 18-hole mini golf course just right here in the building.”

And they are centrally located in the city too.

“It’s just a beautiful and short walk across the covered wooden bridge to get downtown,” Stratman says.

Which is perfect because downtown is where you’ll find many of the shops and activities that Frankenmuth has to offer.

“Frankenmuth River Place Shops offers a very unique array of shops like the SugarHigh Bakery, which won Cupcake Wars a few years back,” she adds. You’ll also find the Funky Skunk, Frankenmuth’s original Irish Store, The Michigan Shoppe, which specializes in Michigan items, and much more.

You can even catch the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, which tours the Cass River, at Frankenmuth River Place Shops.

“In town, there’s a couple riverboat tour options,” Stratman says. “We have the Bavarian Belle, which is a large river boat that has hourly times throughout the summer and then there’s the smaller-scale Frankenmuth FunShips, which offer samplings or tastings during the cruise.”

Frankenmuth also offers the PedAle Trolley, which is a human-powered pedal trolley that makes stops at different shops or eateries along the main strip.

Not into tours? Feel free to make your trip your own and wander farther into downtown to explore more shops like the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus or check out the educational offerings at the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, the Michigan Heroes Museum or Grandpa Tiny’s Farm.

And when you get hungry, you can stop by some of the award-winning eateries like the Frankenmuth Brewery, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth and The Bavarian Inn Restaurant

“The Bavarian Inn Restaurant has chicken dinners that are world-renowned and they also offer a daily pretzel rolling experience,” Stratman says.

And that’s not all.

In addition to daily offerings, Frankenmuth also hosts annual festivals including the Cass River Colonial Encampment on July 20, the Michigan Honey Festival in August and the Frankenmuth Auto Fest in September.

“In the summertime, there’s always entertainment and things going on throughout the entire town,” Stratman says. The experience you have depends on what your family wants, but there’s definitely something for everyone.

For more information about the Bavarian Inn, or additional details on how to make the most of your trip to Frankenmuth, visit


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