Child playing on the beach at North Bar Lake near Traverse City

A favorite pastime for anyone during the summer - Traverse City beaches!

Summer break is just around the corner which, for kids, means days at the beach, summer camps, playing in the water, sports leagues… the list could go on! But if you’re looking for some other ways for the kids to have fun, and learn while they’re at it, we’ve got a list of some favorites in the Traverse City area!

Boardman River Nature Center

Connecting kids, adults and the community with the natural world is exactly what the Boardman River Nature Center does.  Nestled along the banks of the Boardman River on 505-acres, the Center offers visitors the chance to discover and learn about Northern Michigan’s flora and fauna, in addition to exploring their gallery of exhibits (including live animals!) that rotate throughout the seasons.

Great Lakes Children Museum

The magic of Traverse City begins with the beautiful waters surrounding it and the Great Lakes Children Museum brings all that magic to life with their hands-on interactive exhibits.  Step onto the “living river”, steer a freighter through the Great Lakes, learn about ways to protect the watershed or adjust the flow of water and watch levels rise and fall – kids get a first-hand experience into everything that makes the Great Lakes function.

A young child plays at the water table at Great Lakes Children Museum in Traverse City

A young child plays at the water table at Great Lakes Children Museum in Traverse City

Traverse Tall Ships

Ready to get out on the water after learning all about it? The Traverse Tall Ship brings kids and adults alike the opportunity to sail aboard their 1800’s replica cargo schooner, Tall Ship Manitou. Climb aboard for a regular Day Sail, Guided History Tour or even a Moomers Ice Cream Sail! Passengers can help hoist the sails, assist the crew with the lines or possibly even steer the ship if weather permits!

The Tall Ship Manitou out for a sail in West Grand Traverse Bay

The Tall Ship Manitou out for a sail in West Grand Traverse Bay

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

You might have heard about the stunning views and breathtaking beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore but did you know that the park also offers fantastic educational opportunities for kids – like becoming a Junior Park Ranger? Kids can take part in activities that teach about the different park environments to earn their Junior Ranger badge or patch and receive their official Junior Ranger Certificate showing their dedication and hard work towards the National Parks!

Turn your visit to the park into a history lesson by visiting Glen Haven – just north of the Dune Climb.  Visit the US Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum, Cannery Boathouse, Blacksmith Shop and General Store and learn how Glen Haven was once a bustling maritime station.

Children hiking along trails within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Children hike along the trails of Sleeping Bear Duunes with a Park Ranger leading the way!

Traverse City History Center

When it comes to learning about the history of Traverse City there is no better place to do that than at the History Center of Traverse City and one of the best ways to take it all in is on The Magical History Tour. Board up the bus for a 90 minute guided tour throughout the heart of Traverse City stopping along various historical landmarks and learning about the people that were influential in developing Traverse City.

These are only just a few of the great kids activities in Traverse City! What are your favorite things to do with your family while you're spending time in our area?