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What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

sandy, utah
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What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

This was accidentally posted to the Kalamazoo forum so I'm posting it again in the Michigan Forum. We'll be coming to visit my son's family near Kalamazoo the first week of July. I've never been to Michigan and have made a huge list of things (with Trip Advisor's help) I'd like to see within 90 min. of Kalamazoo. My son said I need to narrow it down to my "Top 10" list which I'm finding it difficult to do. We'll have granddaughters, age 2 1/2, 5 and 7 with us. Things that I'd like to tour like the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids or Menno Hoff in Shipshewana may not be age-appropriate. I love nature, museums, easy hikes, lighthouses and anything that's a good photo op with the grandkids. I'd love to hear your top suggestions and a possible 5-day itinerary, taking into account that one of those days is July 4th. Thanks for your help.

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12 replies to this topic
Manistique, Michigan
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1. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

You say you have a list that you want to narrow down. Could you post this list and then we can tell you about your choices.

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2. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

As Yooperbacker suggested, that 'must do' list could really be helpful to know. Also, though it sounds picky, the exact dates would be great to know to. The day we celebrate freedom, falling midweek, means festivals and firework displays are very spread out time wise this year allowing people to watch many firework displays.

There are lighthouses to tour, however, some are open most of the time while others are open maybe a couple days a week. Even so, walking the piers are always fun.

I would also suggest dune rides in Saugatuck or Silver Lake Dunes. Also perhaps a boat ride, rather it be a speed boat, lunch or dinner cruise, a beautiful sunset cruise (you cannot beat the sunsets here), or a historic sailboat boat cruise. Maybe even a day trip via the Badger Lake Express Ferry. I would highly suggest a visit to Saint Joseph, MI.. for Silver Beach. If you enjoy gaming New Buffalo and Mount Pleasent both have places that you can let your kids play (watched) while you loose your money. No cayons here but places like Warren Dunes State Park and Silver Lake Dunes are a beautiful site.

Just a short drive south is the lovely Langly Covered Bridge, the longest in the state.

Some top attractions are Meijer Gardens, John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Kalamazoo Airzoo, Valley Museum, Gilmore Car Museum, Prison Tour, State History Museum with a capital tour, and the musical fountain in Grand Haven, as well is boat museums and amusement rides in Muskegon, MI.

My mind is limited but southwest Michigan I know quite well, as does many others here. And even those who do not sure often add very useful insight and information. The more info we can gather the more we can be of help. :-)

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sandy, utah
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3. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

Yooperbacker- The list is 3 pages long (I included hours, prices, etc.) which I don't think anyone really wants to read and is basically all the top-rated things TripAdvisor recommends seeing in Grand Rapids, Hickory Corners, Battlecreek, Kalamazoo, Portage, Shipshewana, Elkhart, Holland, St. Joseph and some other beach towns in between.

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Grand Rapids
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Kalamazoo
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Portage
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sandy, utah
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4. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

francis k: A lot of your suggestions are on my list. It's just narrowing things down that is proving so difficult. The actual dates we'll be doing sightseeing is M-F July 2-6. Any fireworks display would have to be really close to Portage because of how late it would be.

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Portage
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5. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

As you have seen (even though much is still missed on TA) West Michigan has countless options. It is even harder for us to choose as we really are not aware of all the interests that accompanies your group. However..a couple thoughts

My pick would be the fourth to check out the air show, hot air balloons and fireworks show ($8) in Battle Creek www.bcballoons.com and perhaps check out South Haven, MI the third for fireworks. In Battle Creek, consider also www.alligatorsanctuary.com and do the animal encounter. One on one, taking pictures of the girls holding these amazing creatures. Or Binder Park Zoo to feed those crazy long necked animals. While in town, also check out the Federal Center (you can tour inside) and Flash Flood. Also something different nearby is www.turkeyvile.com Turkeyville which is well known for their play productions and buffet. The Hololulu house in Marshell is close by too. In Battle Creek the Historic Bridge Park would make a nice walk.

The Meijer Gardens is great for the young and old with two areas really designed for kids. This is a big place. The Kalamazoo Airzoo Museum also has a back building to see plus offers real plane rides.

Other than fireworks, nightly lightshows can be found in Grand Haven and Jackson, MI.

Concering lighthouses, Michigan City is open most days. Whiteriver, Silver Lake, Ludington and Ludington State Parks is too. Saint Joseph is periodicly including July sixth. Muskegon is on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays I believe. However, please note the requirements to see if everyone qualifies.

Also, just incase, at two hours and twenty minutes (non rush hour times) you could visit Chicago and see Navy Pier.

Chitownfriend wil help greatly on norther Indiana.

There is chocolate tours close by as well.

Visit www.beachtowns.org www.lakeeffectliving.com www.wmta.org www.michigan.org www.experiencegr.com and www.discoverkalamazoo.com for more local info.

I would love to be of more help but I think we just really need more direction. Mount Pisgah in Holland, MI would be an awesome workout. The choices are great but Lake Michigan and it's sunsets are something to behold.

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6. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

Just a couple more thoughts. Chocolate tours https://sbchocolate.com/tour/

Nearby house tours

https://conference.kbs.msu.edu

www.hendersoncastle.com

South st and Stuart ave in Kalamazoo is a couple great streets to check out for historic houses.

Maybe some Dutch fun

www.dutchvillage.com

Or a trip in history

www.ssbadger.com (shoreline cruises July fourth)

Childrens fun

www.impression5.org

Or childrens rides

www.miadventure.com

Or an inside waterpark and horse ride.

https://doublejj.com

Or climb some trees

www.treerunnergrandrapids.com

Really endless possibilities. You all will have a fantastic time.

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Kalamazoo
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7. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

I’m not familiar with much of the interior of lower michigan, so, i’ll just stick to the coast....

st joseph is a must-see with the grand kids—beach, huge splash pad, cutesy downtown, childrens museums, etc... walk out to the lighthouse at the end of the pier. also, silver beach pizza....you gotta go to silver beach pizza!

Warren dunes state park—-beautiful dunes and nice beach.

Saugatuck dune rides—-the little-uns might be too small (esp the 2 1/2 y.o., tho the 7 y.o. Should be fine), but that doesn’t mean the rest of the family can’t do it! Saugatuck town is nice a nice hang out.

Never been, but i’ve heard good things about the air-zoo.

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Warren
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Saugatuck
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8. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

As always, great info from Strange Tripper. Just wanted to let you be aware the Saugatuck Dune Rides are one year of age or more so your good.

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Saugatuck Dune Rides
Saugatuck Dune Rides
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sandy, utah
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9. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

Thanks so much for all your great suggestions. What we don't get to this trip will be added to the next.

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10. Re: What's your Top 10 Must-Sees for Southwest Michigan?

Since you’ve never been to michigan, i think you’ll be pleasantly surprised on how awesome it is.... next time you come, plan on a week-10 days and explore the west shore, mack island an da yoop.... da yoop is spectacular.

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