By Mary Genson
Great options for exploring are a short drive away. Maybe you only have a few days to travel, didn’t get your planning done early, or the budget doesn’t allow for a big trip. There are many ways to create an enjoyable day with family or friends within reach. Cities within the Midwest provide exciting memories, without the hassles of airports or long travels. Sometimes it is easier to stay close to home, but that does not mean it won’t be fun.
There are several drivable destinations in the midwest that are full of family friendly activities, food and lodging. We will give you tips the next few weeks.
Known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth is famous for fried chicken, family fun resorts, and celebrating Christmas year round. In addition to the many attractions, Frankenmuth is a very walkable destination for families to explore about an hour and 15 minutes away from Ann Arbor.
The Zhenders family has upheld the tradition of food and hospitality for 160 years. Enjoy the full experience with a traditional family style fried chicken meal. Or, opt for the same chicken at a reduced price downstairs at the Z Chef’s Café.
730 S Main St, Frankenmuth. 844-802-8323.
Not only providing fried chicken to the people of Frankenmuth, Zhender’s also owns the largest waterpark in the city. The 50,000 square foot waterpark includes various attractions including a dumping bucket, water slides, zero-entry activity pool, water sports, lazy river and much more.
1365 S Main St. Frankenmuth, Mich. 989-652-6106.
The countdown until Christmas day is always up at Bronner’s. This massive Christmas store has over 6,000 styles of ornaments. Many of the ornaments are Bronner’s exclusives.
25 Christmas Ln, Frankenmuth. 989-652-9931.
Fun is a priority at this family resort. It is home to four indoor pools, 3 whirlpools and two water slides. There is also a large arcade with over 160 games and a mini golf course.
1 Covered Bridge Ln, Frankenmuth, Mich. 989- 652-7200.
Walk the cobblestone sidewalks of this Bavarian themed mall with bakeries, shops, wineries and more.
925 S. Main St. Frankenmuth, Mich. 800-600-0105.