With school out, it’s often difficult to keep the young ones entertained all summer. But not in Northern Michigan. Let them spend an afternoon splashing in Charlevoix‘s Fountain of Youth on a sweltering July day or drive through the country to Brownwood Acres where they can fill up on sugary treats and penny candy. The added bonus—you get to go too!

Kids Fishing Pond

Little anglers will love tossing a line into Elk Rapids’ family friendly “Kids Pond,” stocked with smallmouth bass and steelhead. A boardwalk surrounding the pond provides easy access. Find the pond not far from downtown, off Dexter Street just below the spillway. ELKRAPIDS.ORG.

Raven Hill Discovery Center

This hands-on science, history and art museum has activities and exhibits both indoors and out, making it a perfect kid-friendly day trip whatever the weather. Outdoor adventures include a music garden, wetlands boardwalk, pond, labyrinth, accessible treehouse and more; indoor attractions include a fiber studio, print shop, one-room schoolhouse and even a live animal room where kiddos can learn about native wildlife. Lots of classes, too; check online for schedule. 4737 FULLER RD., EAST JORDAN, 231.536.3369, RAVENHILLDISCOVERYCENTER.COM.

Brownwood Acres

Filling a paper lunch sack full of saltwater taffy, jawbreakers, lemon drops, gummies and other penny candy at historic Brownwood Acres’ general store has long been a summertime tradition for kids in the Torch Lake/Central Lake region. As the original location for the award-winning Brownwood Acres preserves and tart cherry juice company, this five-generation, family-owned enterprise is also home to a great gift shop and historic one-room schoolhouse. Make sure to check out the eclectic flea market each Sunday morning, where Brownwood’s longtime proprietress still makes homemade doughnuts every week. 2493 SE TORCH LAKE DR., CENTRAL LAKE, 231.544.3910, BROWNWOODACRES.COM.

Charlevoix Fountain of Youth

This interactive, heated fountain in Charlevoix’s East Park was designed specifically as a playscape for young children, featuring a safety-textured surface where water gushes, sputters and splashes in unpredictable patterns. The result is a squeal-inducing delight for little ones, who love to run around in the mini geysers. The fountain is open for playing every day between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.; 9:30 p.m. starts the fountain’s nightly display, where the water is programmed to “dance” to a music and light show. Next to the Harbor Master Building, 100 E. CLINTON, CHARLEVOIX.

For more summer vacation ideas in Northern Michigan, grab the 2013 MyNorth Vacation Guide!

Your Guide to Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Leelanau, Benzie & More

From the same people who produce Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, this is a colorful, easy-to-use guide to Northern Michigan vacation ideas from Ludington to Traverse City, from Charlevoix to Mackinac Island and everything in between. It is filled with ideas, tips and hundreds of websites that connect you to fun, food, activities, lodging and recreation in every part of Northern Michigan.

  • More than 140, full color pages with stunning photography and travel stories
  • Maps of each region
  • Hundreds of resources
Buy the complete 2013 MyNorth Vacation Guide now!

Be sure to also check out our free online area-specific vacation guides!