The Magnificent Midwest: Planning a Michigan Family Reunion
Michigan provides various options for family reunion destinations. It’s difficult to be fully confident in your family reunion location when choosing between cities bursting with culture and a secluded wilderness with views of the Northern Lights. Let’s review some of the top Michigan family reunion destinations:
Dazzling Detroit Destinations
An industrial giant, the Motor City manufactures more than the cars that give the city its nickname. Detroit family reunions roar with life as energy pumps through its streets; it has a culture unlike any city in America. With a variety of family-friendly attractions, it serves as a perfect Michigan family reunion destination.
- Detroit offers a number of museums that will engage families. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is one of the largest African American museums in the world. The main exhibit “And Still We Rise” recreates scenes of slave ships, plantation quarters and slave auctions. The old brick building of Motown Records (the production label responsible for exposing musicians such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson) is now home to the Motown Historical Museum. Take a tour of the studio where Motown’s most talented artists recorded tunes that made massive impacts on American culture.
- Detroit Zoo is one of the most modern zoos in the country. The zoo’s 125 acres are divided into free-ranging natural habitats where over 3,000 animals make their homes. A miniature railroad carries families across the grounds. Highlights include a four-acre great ape complex and the world’s largest polar bear exhibit, where visitors walk through a 70-foot clear underwater tunnel as polar bears swim around them. In Belle Isle Park, stroll along five miles of scenic shoreline to Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and Belle Isle Nature Zoo, where plants and animals native to Michigan can be found. Each location is ideal for planning a Michigan family reunion.
- Detroit is a sports lover’s paradise. With professional basketball, baseball, football and hockey teams, it will be difficult to find a week without at least one home game. Check schedules and buy tickets in advance because all teams have excellent group options.
Recreational Reunions in the Upper Peninsula
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (what locals call the U.P.) juts out of the northeastern part of Wisconsin and stretches into the Great Lakes. Waves from Lake Superior, Michigan and Huron all lap the shores of the U.P. Because of its vast coastline and miles of untouched forests, it is an excellent place for adventurous families to gather for their next Michigan family reunion.
- Establish your Upper Peninsula family reunion in Marquette, the U.P.’s biggest city. Relax on the shore of Lake Superior for a while before exploring the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula. Marquette offers an array of recreational activities from golfing and fishing to hiking and biking.
- The U.P. is home to various state and national parks. Discover over 50,000 acres of undeveloped forest in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The Tahquamenon River cuts through the park before cascading nearly 50 feet over a 200-foot-wide precipice. One of the biggest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River, this waterfall, wrapped in seclusion by miles of coniferous forests, is a gem. You won’t want to miss this on your next Michigan family reunion!
- Sandstone cliffs and sand dunes rise over the shores of Lake Superior to form Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Whether you want to traverse the multicolored sandstone cliffs, relax on the beaches or plow through the sand dunes, Pictured Rocks has something to offer every family member. While you should make exploring the wilderness your priority, make sure to check out Au Sable Lighthouse, which was built in 1874 to warn ships of the dangerous “shipwreck coast.”
Picturesque Reunions in Traverse City
Within driving distance of Northern Michigan’s best attractions, Traverse City will be a good spot for your Michigan family reunion not only because it is well located, but also because of its sandy beaches and local shops. Spend the morning swimming and the afternoon sampling some of the best fudge and cherries in America.
- Old Mission Peninsula stretches 22 miles north of Traverse City. It is worth making the drive solely for the scenery. Center Road runs along the steep ridge at the middle of the peninsula and gives travelers spectacular views of the water and landscape. At the tip you will find Old Mission Lighthouse, which stands over Old Mission Beach, where you can walk hundreds of feet into Lake Michigan without submerging your entire body.
- Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the most popular destinations in Michigan. It brings together a sweeping view of Lake Michigan with towering shoreline dunes and acres of inland forests. Pierce Stocking Drive is a scenic highway that exposes you to some of the most beautiful wilderness in the park. Children and energetic family members should tackle the Dune Climb that opens up to fascinating views of the surrounding terrain. But only those in the best shape should brave the Dune Overlook. Instead of climbing up the dune, you begin by descending to Lake Michigan, and once you’re down, there’s only one way back—up the extremely steep, 400-foot sandy face of the dune.