There are numerous waterparks throughout the state of Michigan, offering a wide variety of water-filled fun and excitement through regular outdoor waterparks and indoor waterparks. With the many indoor waterparks in the state, residents and tourists alike can enjoy water slides, splashpads, wave pools, and much more anytime during the year.
These waterparks provide something for nearly everyone, from water playgrounds for young children to lazy rivers to exhilarating water slides. Several of the parks, especially the indoor ones, also provide other attractions, dining, and accommodations.
1. Zehnder's Splash Village
2. Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City
3. Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark
4. Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel
5. Red Oaks Waterpark
6. Michigan's Adventure
7. Splash Universe
8. Waterford Oaks
9. Boyne Mountain Resort
10. Adventure Bay Family Water Park
11. Gold Rush Waterpark
12. Action Wake Park
The 15 Best Water Parks in Michigan near me today according to local experts:
- 1. Zehnder's Splash Village
- 2. Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City
- 3. Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark
- 4. Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel
- 5. Red Oaks Waterpark
- 6. Michigan's Adventure
- 7. Splash Universe
- 8. Waterford Oaks
- 9. Boyne Mountain Resort
- 10. Adventure Bay Family Water Park
- 11. Gold Rush Waterpark
- 12. Action Wake Park
McGulpin Point Light
Located in Mackinaw City, Michigan, McGulpin Point Light is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses within the Straits of Mackinac, operated as a living history museum and public park facility featuring a discovery trail, outdoor attractions, and overnight accommodations.
The development of lighthouses along the shores of the Great Lakes dates back to the incorporation of the Northwest Territory under the terms of the American Constitution, which added 440,500 square miles of land surrounding the Great Lakes to United States territory. In 1868, the McGulpin Point Lighthouse was commissioned by the United States Lighthouse Board as a full lighthouse structure with a tower and attached brick 1.5-story lightkeeper’s quarters. The Norman Gothic-style structure was completed the following year at a cost of $20,000 and was operated along the Straits of Mackinac until 1906 by lightkeeper James Davenport. The success of the lighthouse throughout its tenure served as inspiration for the design of several other nearby lighthouses, including Eagle Harbor Light, White River Light, and Sand Island Light.
Following its 1906 deactivation, the lighthouse’s keepers quarters were passed into private ownership and served as a personal residence throughout much of the 20th century. In 2005, the property and its adjoining 11.5 acres of land were listed for sale at a price of $1.75 million, and in 2008, it was purchased by the governing board of Emmet County for preservation and use as a living history museum facility. Nearby lakefront property was allocated for visitor trails, amenities, and parking facilities, and the lighthouse’s lantern room was reconstructed and restored to its historic condition with the aid of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and Moran Iron Works. In May of 2009, the lighthouse’s light was relit as part of a ceremony hosted with local Odawa indigenous groups and the facility was officially opened to the public.
Today, McGulpin Point Light is owned and operated by Emmet County as a living history museum facility and public visitor attraction, offering self-guided lighthouse tours and a variety of indoor and outdoor visitor activities. The lighthouse is located on McGulpin Point near Fort Michilimackinac and the 550-acre Headlands International Dark Sky Park reserve area. The facility is open to the public throughout the morning, afternoon, and early evening hours from May through September. Admission to the facility is free, though donations are recommended to fund ongoing visitor operations.
Visitor admission includes self-guided access to the lighthouse’s original light tower and restored lantern room, which offer panoramic views of nearby Lake Michigan. The lantern room features a newly-installed McGulpin Point Light Lantern, a 3.0-second-duration single-flash white light which is visible throughout the Straits of Mackinac and is still used as a guide service for mariners today. A self-guided cell phone tour is offered for visitors, highlighting historic aspects of the lighthouse and its surrounding grounds. A gift shop is housed within the facility’s lighthouse keeper’s quarters, offering a wide variety of books, multimedia items, apparel, and souvenirs, including official Dark Sky Park merchandise.
In addition to the lighthouse structure, several other attractions are showcased on the facility’s grounds, including The Big Rock at McGulpin Point, a notable historic navigational rock measuring 33.8 by 37 by nine feet and weighing more than 54 tons. The historic rock was used by early French explorers and settlers to the Great Lakes region and predates the discovery and use of Plymouth Rock by nearly a decade. The rock’s use and importance has been noted in a variety of significant historical documents, including accounts of conflicts between British, French, and indigenous groups throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. A Discovery Trail is also offered at the facility, using costumed reenactors and display figures as cultural docents to elaborate on the region’s history and social and civic uses. Five stations are featured throughout the trail, focusing on several important eras in the lighthouse’s operation.
Overnight accommodations are available at the lighthouse’s keeper’s quarters for visitors booking a minimum of a two-night stay. An apartment sleeping four guests is available, offering a queen bed, pull-out couch, kitchen and dining areas, private bath, and onsite laundry and parking amenities. The apartment provides easy access to nearby attractions, including downtown Mackinaw City and Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Rates are available for peak and off-season rentals, with a $100 security deposit required for all reservations. Reservations must be made in advance by contacting the lighthouse facility directly via phone or email.
500 Headlands Rd, Mackinaw City, MI 49770, Phone: 231-436-5860
More Ideas: Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park in Michigan is a rugged, isolated island in Lake Superior. The island is enjoyed by hikers and backpackers; boaters, canoeists and kayakers; and scuba divers. Although the park covers over 800 square miles, just over 200 square miles of the parkland are above water. The national park can be accessed through two areas, Rock Harbor and Windigo. Rock Harbor is on the northeast end of the park, and can be accessed by boat or seaplane. Hikes of varying lengths are available.
Hikes in the Rock Harbor area take visitors through the southern border of the boreal forest, the world’s largest on-land biome, south of the northern tundra. Boreal forest is characterized by coniferous trees, mostly spruce and pine. Rock Harbor Lodge provides lakeside lodges and cottages for overnight visitors who prefer not to camp. The historic Rock Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1855, and is the oldest on the island. The lighthouse has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. The 50-foot tower of stone and brick topped by an octagonal beacon, is attached to a keeper’s house which contains a small museum. Visitors may climb the tower. The historic Edison Fishery is also located in the Rock Harbor area. The 1880’s fishery includes a net house and sleeping cabin built in 1895, a fish house and residence built in 1900, an additional sleeping cabin from 1925, and a 1934 chicken coop. The fishery is still operational and is open to the public. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Windigo is located on the southwest end of the National Park, also accessible by boat or seaplane. With a slightly different terrain than the north, the forests of the southern end of the park are characterized by birch and maple trees. Two rustic camper cabins are available in Windigo in addition to campsites and backcountry camping. Canoeists and sea kayakers enjoy taking advantage of the many inland waterways, lakes and bays. Fishing is available in these inland bodies of water as well as Lake Superior. Several shipwrecks are in the area, making the park a popular site for diving. The fresh, cold water has allowed the historical shipwrecks to remain remarkably intact. Wildlife on the island includes a wolf and moose population, which has been extensively studied, as the predator and prey live in a closed environment. The mainland park headquarters are located in Houghton, Michigan, where the visitor center offers a 25-minute park orientation video. Other mainland ports of entry include Copper Harbor and Grand Portage.
History: Isle Royale was occupied by Native Americans as far back as 3000 BC. Large amounts of copper artifacts indicate that early residents were mining the nearby Keweenaw Peninsula. Prospecting set off a copper boom in the area, which was in full effect by the mid1800’s. An extensive fishing industry in the area has considerably declined, with just the historic Edison commercial fishery still open. Most notably, the island served as a navigational outpost for several years, with lighthouses guiding ships through the notoriously difficult waterways. In the 1920’s, when the mining in the area had come to a close, and the area was at the height of its popularity as a resort community, several area residents began to explore the idea of a National Park. For the next 20 years, the community worked hard to promote the idea. The area was officially designated as a National Park in 1946. Several improvements were made in the mid-1950’s as part of the Mission 66 Program, created to revitalize the nation’s parks before the 50th anniversary of the Parks Service in 1966. Through this movement, concern for the area wildlife deepened, and in 1976 the area was designated a National Wilderness Area. In 1980 the park became an International Biosphere Reserve.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Rock Harbor Lodge is a full service lodging facility, the only one on the island. It also offers sightseeing tours, as well as recreational boat rentals. Sightseeing tours aboard the MV Sandy operate during the summer months. Boat tours are guided by the National Park Service and most include hiking, or options for hiking after drop off by boat. Rock Harbor lighthouse is accessible only by boat, most tours to the lighthouse include a trip to the Edison Fishery.
800 East Lakeshore Drive Houghton, MI 49931, Phone: 906-482-0984
More Ideas: Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners
The Gilmore Car Museum had its beginnings in the 1960s, when Donald S. Gilmore started to collect vintage automobiles. Some of the first ones he collected were a 1920 Pierce Arrow, a 1913 Rolls Royce, and a 1927 Ford Model T. Gilmore became passionate about collecting cars after restoring the Pierce Arrow, and continued to collect world-renowned automobiles. He bought 90 acres of land near Hickory Corners in southwestern Michigan to accommodate his growing collection. Gilmore's wife Genevieve thought of the idea of creating a museum from the automobile collections, and in 1966 they opened their museum to the public.
With more than 180,000 square feet of space, the Gilmore Car Museum is today North America's largest automobile museum. The historic campus of the museum includes several vintage buildings, such as a 1930s Shell station, six partner museums, a train depot, and a restored 1941 Silk City diner, among many others. In addition to the outstanding automobile collection, visitors can also explore more than 100 restored children's pedal cars as well as one of the largest automotive mascot displays in North America.
Displayed throughout the Gilmore Car Museum are numerous pieces of stunning classic automotive artwork. Included among these dazzling pieces are watercolor renditions by Roland L. Stickney, paintings of famous automotive advertisements by Art Fitzpatrick, and the Passing of the Horse, a 1983 limited edition Stanley Wanlass bronze sculpture that greets guests as they come inside the Automotive Heritage Center. Vintage dealerships are also on display at the museum. These include a 1918 dealership for the country's most successful air-cooled automobile, the Franklin, and accurately detailed vintage dealerships for Cadillac, Lincoln, and Ford. Visitors will feel as if they have stepped back in time.
The Gilmore Car Museum consists of both year-round exhibits and seasonal exhibits. Some of these seasonal exhibits include George & Sally's 1941 Blue Moon Diner, Automotive Mascots, and Disney Magic and More. The Blue Moon Diner is a historic, restored roadside diner that was saved from Meriden, Connecticut. Since 2004, it has served thousands of guests to the museum. The Automotive Mascots exhibit features thousands of mascots, both iconic trademarks and custom-designs, once used by drivers of a bygone era. Disney Magic and More features pedal cars, vintage toys, and Disney magic that will delight both kids and kids at heart. The highlight here is the only movie set that has ever left Walt Disney Studios. The car and studio set of The Gnome-Mobile, the 1967 Walt Disney film, can only be seen at the Gilmore Car Museum.
Also on display at the Gilmore Car Museum is a Shell gas station from the 1930s. This authentic replica features a large amount of memorabilia from the time period, back when a gallon of gas only cost 18 cents. Inside are public restrooms, Shell memorabilia, and gas pump globes. The museum doesn't just showcase cars, there are also several motorcycles for visitors to see. Rare examples of motorcycles from the past can be seen in the Motorcycle Gallery, including a 1910 Cleveland, a 1947 Indian Chief, and the 1952 Triumph Trophy TR5 that The Fonz rode on Happy Days.
6865 West Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, MI 49060, Phone: 269-671-5089