Spring Break Ideas for Lansing Area Families: FREE Ideas & Staycation Vibes + One-tank Getaways!
Are you sticking around the Lansing area this Spring Break?
Staying close to home doesn’t mean you can’t do something exciting for Spring Break – even in 2021! There are so many fun ideas your kids will love in the Lansing area we don’t always have time to do in our daily routines. Spring Break in Lansing is the perfect time to plan a “visit.”
Even though you’re not going on a mega trip, the next time someone asks, “do you have big plans for Spring Break?” you can say “YES! Right here in Lansing!”
Below you’ll find a list of FREE + more ideas for the week along with short trip destinations worth the drive and packed with fun for your entire family.
BONUS: If you decide to take a last-minute trip, we have some great suggestions that will ensure you have a fantastic Spring Break.
Oh – and check the calendar to see TOP events happening this month!
FREE Spring Break Ideas
If you’re planning a Spring Break staycation but don’t want to break the bank, these ideas are FREE but we also know they are things your family will love.
Some of our family’s best quality time memories have been made at these places.
Visit the MSU Horticultural Gardens + Campus
The MSU Horticultural Gardens are a must visit each year as our city starts blooming “back to life.” It’s absolutely breathtaking! After-all, MSU Campus is known for its beautiful campus!
Hemmed throughout MSU’s campus you’ll find gardens galore and each one is unique enough on its own to warrant a trip to each! As you play, be sure to make time for the MSU Children’s Garden as it’s geared toward interaction and free play.
**Note: Outside of Covid19 times, you’d usually be able to make stop in the Butterfly Gardens but this year it will be strictly virtual. You can catch the butterflies at the MSU Science festival for 2021.
Yes, we will all miss seeing the butterflies in person this year (keep reading to find where you CAN see butterflies this year 2021), but they are not the only reason to visit the gardens.
From the outdoor gardens and arboretum, the walking trails and architectural design of the buildings, to the bustle of the Downtown East Lansing – MSU Campus is the perfect start to your Spring Break Itinerary.
Lewis Landscape Arboretum
East Lansing, MI 48824 (located directly across the street on Service Dr. from the Children’s Gardens)
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824 (located directly behind the IM Circle Building and runs along the river walk.)
REACH Art Studio
Go to walk-in-wednesday storytime (ages 2-5) or an art (Pottery, Painting etc.) class at REACH Art Studio. Creating at REACH is guaranteed fun because of the kind staff, knowledgable teachers, and sweet atmosphere.
Feed and Visit the MSU Horse Barns
The barns and bathroom are closed at this time but visitors are welcome to walk around and say hello to the horses. Hanging out with the horses is so peaceful. No matter how many bags of carrots and apples we bring it seems like never enough. The horses just love it! And so do we.
MSU Horse Barns
3327 Collins Rd, Lansing, MI 48910
Plan to Attend the MSU Science Festival
MSU Science Festival is VIRTUAL this year and runs April 1 – 30th. In years past there is so much to do it’s hard to comprehend, so using the guide to plan is key. This year, you’ll want to pick and choose the virtual events to tune into.
MSU Science Festival
Virtual in 2021
Visit Four Nature Centers
You could almost play a full day of fun at one of Lansing’s nature centers. You’ll see the natural beauty in our area by playing and exploring on the grounds and discovering animals and reptiles in the welcome centers.
Harris has an amazing treehouse, Woldumar has some of the best hiking trails plus natural playground, Fenner has a natural wonderland play area created by visitors and you can join in by adding to it, and Howell is known for its wading creek and more.
Pack a picnic, bring a change of clothes just in case, and plan for an epic day in nature.
Woldumar Nature Center
5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, MI 48917
Harris Nature Center
3998 Van Atta Rd, Okemos, MI 48864
Fenner Nature Center
2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910
Howell Nature Center
1005 Triangle Lake Rd, Howell, MI 48843
Lansing’s Best Parks and Playgrounds
Pick the best Lansing parks to visit on the big list playgrounds in our area.
Parks may be a little slushy at this point in the year but still so much fun if you wear the right footwear. So, grab some rain or winter boots, layer up in case you get hot, and make a bucket list of parks to visit during Spring Break!
Take a Tour
The Michigan State Capitol Building is holding tours of 10 or less people right now. Read about the 5 ways you can tour the Capitol.
100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
Michigan Hall of Justice (guided or self-guided)
925 W Ottawa St, Lansing, MI 48915
(Closed at this time) Beaumont Tower – walk the long spiral staircase up to see the carillon being played. Kids are fascinated by the huge bells and castle-like architecture.
375 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824
LCC has a sculpture walking tour. It’s pretty great because you not only get to see art but you experience the fun of Downtown Lansing as well.
Stop to feed the ducks on the river and feed the fish in the Japanese Gardens. This trip is packed full of adventure and a sure-shot fun time out and about.
Go on the Mural Crawl. There’s SO MUCH ART in our city! Find it all in one day or take time throughout the week to check these pieces off your art bucket list.
You can use the mural map to guide you.
Hike, Bike, and Walk
When people think of Lansing they usually focus on the Capitol, and that’s wonderful. But I like to think that Lansing is also known for so much more, one being hiking trails and paved paths. There are so many and we have something so special in them – most trails connect to each other.
You could potentially plan a special bike ride around the entire Greater Lansing area just by the paved trails! It’s pretty fantastic, really.
You can make a hiking/biking/or walk plan with this guide: Lansing Area Trails and Paths + 5 Best Paths for Social Distancing.
Potter Park Zoo offers FREE admission for all Ingham County residents on Mondays from open till noon.
Plus, here are 17 reasons to not just visit the zoo any day of Spring Break but experience it.
Potter Park Zoo
1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912
Preuss Pets is a local gem! Take a trip to feed their koi fish in the indoor or outdoor pond, hear the parrots talk and the birds sing, plus visit all of the other animals, creatures, and fish.
This is a guaranteed Spring Break highlight right here!
1127 N Cedar St, Lansing, MI 48906
Go Disk Golfing
Disk golfing is so fun for the entire family and Lansing’s got the courses for it.
Read: Three Perfect Reasons Why Your Family Needs to Play Disc Golf (aka Frisbee Golf.)
Visit the MSU Broad Museum
The Broad is open with FREE ticketed entry and welcomes kids! Read: why you’ll love visiting the MSU Broad Art Museum with kids.
*Note that some options are not available right now during Covid19. Check with the MSU Broad if you’re hoping for something in particular.
Even a walk on campus to see the grounds is worth it. Stop for lunch across the street at many local restaurants and shops.
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU
547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824
Explore Greater Lansing Districts
That’s right, we have pockets of art and adventure all around town now that can’t wait for you to explore.
- ReoTown has Blue Owl Coffee, ReoTown Marketplace, other shops and is connected to the Lansing river trail.
- Old Town Art District offers food, coffee, vintage shops, art galleries and an on-step to the Lansing river trail leading you downtown Lansing.
- Downtown Grand Ledge Bridge Street is an antique heaven set along the river with parks, the library, and fun galore.
- Downtown Dewitt means a stop at Sweetie-licious and other yummy food choices. Don’t miss a stop by their great park downtown.
- East Lansing has something for everyone with shops and MSU Campus.
- Williamston is a fun and great little quick trip for delicious food, parks and walking the downtown area.
More Things to Do During Spring Break in Lansing
There’s more to add to your Spring Break plans!
Based on what your family enjoys doing, these options can help you make a sure-shot plan.
Some Indoor Options are Available
Use the Indoor Play Guide find to find options like jumping parks, gymnastics, roller skating, and library events and more. *Note that some places may not be open or have restrictions based on Covid19 procedures.
Launch Lansing has a Spring Break Special of unlimited jump and laser tag.
Date Night or Friend’s Night Out!
Visit a Museum
There are enough museums around here to fill up your entire week with fun! Culture, learning, art and creating, exploring, and a whole bunch of other opportunities await:
- Impression 5 open with ticketed entry.
- The MSU Broad open with FREE ticketed entry.
- R.E. Olds Museum
- All Around Africa World Museum
- Nokomis Learning Center
- The MSU Broad Art Lab is offering on-demand creative times to groups (minimum of 6 people).
Bonus Museum Options:
Museums for ALL: FREE MI Museum Admission for Families with an EBT Card.
Play at Adventure Centers
Experience High Caliber Karting and Entertainment. Throw Axes, go-kart, and more.
FunTyme Aventures is opening for Spring! Head here for put-put golf and batting cages and have a – you guessed it – fun time!
Go on a Unique-treat Taste Tour
Gear your taste buds up for hand-rolled ice cream and bubble tea at Unicha in EL, flavored popcorn at Cravings and Horrocks, pan dulce at Don Panchos, donuts (gluten-free and vegan options) at Groovy Donuts .
Spring Break “One-Tank” Getaway Trips Close By and Worth the Drive!
Spring Break mini road trips can be really fun, doable, and take minimal planning.
Packing light in few bags makes a day trip with kids pretty smooth. Along with sleeping in the car, being prepared with drawing kits, books, and a couple of small toys can be immensely helpful when we head out of town.
As day trips are concerned, we are so lucky to live in the Lansing area! We are right in the center of Michigan making fun getaway spots easy in any direction. Or as LFF team member, Sarah, puts it – “one-tank” getaway options.
Top Spring Break “One-Tank” Getaway Destinations:
So, we aren’t at the ocean taking in the heat and sun? No worries, there’s a water park for that:
- Mt. Pleasant – Soaring Eagle Waterpark
- Grand Rapids/Lakeshore Area – Holiday Inn Water Park Hotel, Holland Aquatic Center ($6 per person! Call before you visit to make sure you plan for a specific time.), Kroc Center, 45 min to 1 hour from Lansing
Spring Break in Grand Rapids
Just a 45 min or 1-hour drive from Lansing.
The Frederik Meijer Gardens is the perfect day trip getaway option. Just 1 hour west you’ll find this garden oasis. Their Butterflies are Blooming exhibit will be running until the end of April which means right through most spring break weeks.
Did you know they have the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation!? So special!
The Frederik Meijer Gardens
1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
The John Ball Zoo opens back up just in time for Spring Break and start out with a bang with a new traveling exhibit. A trip to JBZ is a win win for families.
The John Ball Zoo
1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Spring Break in Kalamazoo
We love Kalamazoo and KZOOKIDS has an Ultimate Spring Break planner that will guide your family through great options for itinerary.
My family personally loves visiting the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. It’s FREE to the public and a great indoor destination during Spring Break. 1-hour drive from Lansing. They are offering times to go on Tues. and Thurs. so plan accordingly.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Bonus: just “next door” in Battle Creek is the Kingman Museum and is newly FREE to the public as well!
Spring Break in Detroit
Living just One hour and 30 mins from Detroit is such a gift! It makes visiting easy.
Belle Isle is free to the public and their Conservatory, Aquarium, and Nature Center are a blast for both the kids and parents. *Note: be sure to check before you visit to make sure your specific choice is open on the day you visit.
Plus, check out other things happening around the waterfront and Campus Martius for guaranteed fun during the week.
You can also plan a trip with this Detroit trip review from Melody over at GRKIDS. You’ll find info on murals, the Outdoor Adventure Center (a personal fav!), shopping Eastern Market, biking the D’Quinder Cut, food and more!
Spring Break in Chicago
Yes, a visit to Chicago is a one-tank trip! I kind of forget that sometimes.
Go to the Beach
Last but NOT least – get to the beach! We can tend to forget that the beach isn’t just for the summer months.
North, south, east or west we’ve got some pretty amazing options for spring break fun – 50+ beaches actually! So, pack up some gear, bring a coat, and take in the fresh air! It may not be 80 degrees but it will be just as magical.
What are your Plans for Spring Break this year?!
Whether you choose to have a staycation or go on a getaway – have an awesome Spring Break, friends! Have fun and let us know which your family ends up loving by commenting below or tagging us on Instagram.