Nothing says fall like a family road trip. The continuous bathroom breaks, uncomfortable seating and repetitive playlists make getting to your destination all the more exciting.
But above that, going out of your way to go to a new place is a bonding experience like no other. Seeing your family outside of the usual settings feels important, like you’re getting to know each other in a new way.
With the coronavirus pandemic, parents have to work harder than ever to find fun and safe activities to do with their kids. And taking them to a waterfall is the perfect mix of getting to enjoy the outdoors while taking a break from the everyday hustle-and-bustle.
Waterfalls are not only extremely photo friendly, but they’re memorable. Something you don’t experience every day, nothing beats showing your family what magic looks like.
Sound like fun for your family? Pack up the kids and head to one of these waterfalls in the Midwest.
- Location: Haight Township, Michigan
- Drive time: 8 hours, 28 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 50 feet
This beautiful and expansive waterfall has space for kids to wander on the lower area, as well as stairs leading to the upper area. An $11 recreation passport is required to visit. Optional picnic areas, camping, and a gift shop available, too.
- Location: Lehman Township, Pennsylvania
- Drive time: 8 hours, 23 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 100 feet
With hiking trails and a gorgeous mountain and forest view, this series of eight waterfalls is known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania” and is well worth a trip. There is an admissions fee of $15 for adults on weekdays and $18 on weekends and holidays as well as a child fee for ages 4-10 of $9. Children 3 and younger are admitted free.
- Location: 2535 Ross Road, Tipp City, Ohio
- Drive time: 3 hours, 2 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 37 feet
Open from 8 a.m. to sunset, you won’t want to miss the chance to see what has been called a “Miniature Niagara.” Unique plants cover and expansive set of hiking trails and forest views for an unforgettable experience.
- Location: 1501 Green Road, Madison, Indiana
- Drive time: 5 hours, 15 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 83 feet
Stateparks.com says that this park is most beautiful during the winter and spring seasons. But the creek and canyon are picturesque all year round. If you walk or bicycle into the park it is $2/person.
- Location: Calumet, Michigan
- Drive time: 8 hours, 48 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 90 feet
With access to a pond with fish and other wildlife, kids will get to see the full extent of nature. They’ll also witness a part of history as Keweenaw Fault is visible from the top of the waterfall.
- Location: Munising Township, Michigan
- Drive time: 6 hours, 9 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 40 feet
This 1.2-mile trip there and back is a quick hike with breathtaking results. The lower viewing portion has a trail with flowers that bloom in the spring.
- Location: Munising, Michigan
- Drive time: 6 hours, 8 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 50 feet
This pet-friendly trail calls for a short hike up a shaded canyon. This makes it easier for kids to endure the walk while getting to take in a stunning waterfall from multiple viewpoints.
- Location: Burt Township, Michigan
- Drive time: 5 hours, 59 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 75 feet
While the best view is at the bottom of a long staircase, kids and pets will find enjoyment in the trails and beach that accompany this magnificently tall waterfall.
- Location: Paradise, Michigan
- Drive time: 5 hours, 22 minutes from Detroit
- Height: 48 feet
With a lot of area to explore as well as rowboat rentals, your family has the opportunity to see the falls up-close. There is an upper and lower area, but the upper area is accessible via 94 steps, which might a little more challenging for kids to tackle. An $11 state recreation passport is required to enter the park.
- Location: Lemont, Illinois
- Drive time: 4 hours, 15 minutes from Detroit
- Height: Not listed
Dupageforest.org cites that this waterfall is home to over 300 animal species and over 700 plants. This offers an inside look at many of the species local to Illinois. With trails accessible to horseback riders and bicyclists, there are many different ways to enjoy the scenic route.
This post was originally published in 2020 and is updated regularly.
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