How To Have an Awesome Lansing Summer
There are so many summer things to do around Lansing. You can still go up north or camping, but there are plenty of fun things to do with kids right here in Lansing. From playgrounds to splash pads to u-pick fruit, there are so many summer adventures waiting for your family.
Lansing Summer Things to Do for Families
Welcome to your Lansing Summer Fun Hub! If you want to get out of the house throughout the summer, use this hub to plan spur-of-the-moment or in advance. Here you’ll find places to play, kayak, listen to music, watch outdoor movies, pick fruit, and more.
We’ve compiled a list of all the top Lansing summer things to do. Add them to your Summer Bucket List and get started now!
Summer is Different This Year
We are going to have a great summer. But we may not be able to visit our favorite places at all or in the ways we have in the past. Due to the coronavirus, many places are closed or have restrictions in place. These may change at the last minute so be sure to double-check with your destination before heading out.
Air Zoo virtual summer camps are the same – but different! Our camps feature science, animals, outer space, and more, in a safe, engaging, and thought provoking program. Camps run June 22 through August 28 online, with material packets available to pick up prior to camp. Join us for some imagining, exploring and discovering together!
6151 Portage Road
Portage, MI 49002
Lansing Summer Things to Do Outdoors
A mid-Michigan summer is so special. The world seems to come to life again after a long winter of hibernating and a spring spent wondering if winter is really over. There are trails to explore, gardens to visit, parks and playgrounds to play at, and beaches and splash pads to beat the heat.
Families will have the best summer ever with this list of the top Lansing summer things to do outdoors.
Get Into Nature
In addition to beautiful hiking trails, Greater Lansing also has gorgeous gardens and nature centers. Be sure to visit Fenner Nature Center and Woldumar Nature Center for indoor exhibits and outdoor trails.
The MSU Children’s Garden Center/Horticulture Center is a great way to spend a day. (Garden is open for 2020, but all summer programs are cancelled.) MSU also has the Rivertrail and Gardens and Greenhouses. Or enjoy some quiet tranquility at the LCC Japanese Garden.
Explore a New Trail
Venture out of the neighborhood and visit a Lansing area trail or bike path. Explore the woods, river or even downtown. No matter your destination, your family will have a great time getting there.
The Greater Lansing area has so many options for how to be active outside during the summer. Kayak in downtown Lansing with River Town Adventures. Play a game of soccer at Beacon Field. Go horseback riding at Sundance Riding Stables or Northfork Farms and Outback.
Bike the Lansing/MSU River Trail with Riverfront Cycle, River Town Adventures, and MSU Bike Service Center. Get out on the bike track at Capitol Area BMX or just watch all of the action and fun from Nip N’ Sip. Race at Grand Woods Park’s RC Car Track or go disc golfing in their trails along the Grand River.
Thrill-seekers will want to try out high ropes courses in Howell.
Run and Play at a Park or Playground
Lansing offers a huge variety of parks and playgrounds. Some have play equipment or beaches while others have hiking trails and sports courts. No matter what your family needs, you can be sure to say there are many good parks and playgrounds near me. Our map will help!
Special Note: Due to the coronavirus, many parks and playgrounds may be closed. Most trails are open. Be sure to research your destination before you leave.
Getting up close and personal with animals is a perfect summer thing to do. Lansing has several cool options. Head down to Brenke Fish Ladder in Old Town and watch for the fish in the river. Watch the water rush through, climb the stairs, and wave to kayakers.
Cool Off in a Water Park, Pool or Splash Pad
From local favorites like Hawk Island to road-trip worthy spots like Kensington Metro Park, there are over two dozen places near Greater Lansing to cool off this summer. Some places have just a pool or a splash pad or a beach while others have some combination of the three. Be sure to research your destination ahead of time to ensure it meets your family’s needs – and make sure it’s open for 2020.
Be sure to use our map to find the perfect splash pad near me!
Special Note: Ingham County splash pads and beaches are closed this year. Grand Ledge splash pad is also closed.
Find Your Next Greater Lansing Instagram Spot
Lansing is crawling with art. Charge up your phone, grab some snacks and check out our Lansing Area Mural Crawl. With over 20 amazing stops, your Instagram is just waiting for these pictures.
Lansing Outdoor Restaurants, Farmer’s Markets, and Ice Cream Shops
Michiganders love food. Summer is a great time to savor delicious foods throughout Greater Lansing. Pick your own fruit, visit a Farmer’s Market, dine on a patio, or cool off with ice cream. Whatever your taste buds are craving, we’ve got you covered.
Fill Your Table with Fresh-Picked Fruit
Getting out and picking your own fruit is a family favorite Lansing summer thing to do outside. Whether it’s blueberries, peaches, raspberries or apples, there are multiple farms and orchards to meet your needs. If you have little kids, be sure to find out if the fruit is low enough for them to reach. Some places only accept cash so make sure to research payment options for your destination.
If picking fruit isn’t your thing, you can also get that farm-to-table quality from shopping at a Farmer’s Market. Greater Lansing has nearly a dozen of them! This includes Michigan State Capitol Law, South Lansing/Barnes, Dewitt, East Lansing, and Holt.
Restaurants Where You Can Eat Outside with Kids
When the weather is finally warm enough to be outside, it’s time to search for outdoor restaurants near me. Whether you need fast and easy or good vibes and great food, over 40 Lansing area restaurants have patio dining options.
Be sure to use our map to find the perfect outdoor restaurant near me!
Grab a Scoop at a Local Ice Cream Shop
A mid-Michigan summer and ice cream just go together. Whether it’s Superman, Mackinac Island Fudge or anything in between, visiting an ice cream shop is a treasured summer thing to do. From MSU Dairy Store to Mooville and Scoopy Doos, wherever your family travels this summer, your taste buds will thank you.
Be sure to use our map to find the perfect ice cream shop near me!
A “1980’s” Lansing Summer
Let the slower pace of our quarantined spring continue into the summer. Take this time to enjoy some “old school” activities with your families.
Here’s a big bucket list of old school summer fun ideas for families – to keep you going all summer long.
23 Ideas for an Old School Summer
1) Make (and eat) homemade popsicles.
2) Fly a kite.
3) Play with bubbles in the backyard.
4) Start your bike ride at Benke Fish Ladder. Stop from some treats at Cravings, The Old Town General Store, and Ice cream at Arctic Corner or Scoops.
5) Make your own pinwheels.
6) Have a nighttime photo shoot with sparklers.
7) Cut watermelons in half and let the kids go at them with spoons–yum! Then have a seed spitting contest.
8) Make S’mores.
9) Have a sleepover at Grandma’s.
10) Catch fireflies in a jar.
11) Paint the house/driveway with water.
12) Wash the family vehicles and don’t worry if everyone ends up soaked (adults included).
13) Camp out in the backyard (or in your living room).
14) Climb the dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
15) Put up a lemonade stand.
16) Make mud pies.
17) Play in the sprinkler, hose, or kiddy pool.
18) Play hide-and-seek outdoors.
19) Roller skate on the river trails.
20) Have a neighborhood hula hoop competition.
21) Throw an outdoor tie-dye party.
22) Play capture the flag at a big field in one of our parks.
23) Send snail mail and continue friendships through being a pen pal.
Engage Your Brain at a Lansing Area Summer Camp
Spending time at summer camp is a treasured activity for a lot of families. Whether it’s gymnastics, STEAM, art or literacy, Lansing has dozens of options for kids to have a fun new summer thing to do.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Lansing Summer Fairs, Festivals and Events
Know what’s happening every day with our monthly calendars. Check out these Lansing summer highlights you won’t want to miss.
Many festivals and special events are not being held in 2020. Be sure to verify before you head out.
- Be a Tourist in Your Own Town and have a $1 staycation. June 2.
- Experience Lansing’s Concert in the Park Series. Wednesdays from June 13 to Aug. 1.
- Catch an LCC Amphitheater Performance in June and July.
- Sharpe Park is a family favorite. Many scope out their spots each year but no matter where you choose to watch them – they are fantastic.
- Downtown Lansing – Schedule a kayak from River Town Adventures or bring your own boat for an awesome view.
- Lansing Lugnuts
- Think yours are the best? Comment below and tell us your favorite view or location.
- Watch the Fourth of July Parade in Downtown Lansing.
- See an Outdoor Movie:
- Go to the Car and Bus Races at Speedway. Cheer the busses on or watch the crazy eights for a blast of a night with family and friends!
- Get away at a Summer Camp in Greater Lansing.
- Go to Greater Lansing’s Festivals
ROAD TRIP IDEAS
Lansing Summer Road Trip Destinations
Want to (safely) get out of town for a bit? Here are some great go-to options that are fun and safe for the whole family.
We recommend you contact your destination directly to verify their status for 2020.
Take a Drive to the Beach
A family favorite is St. Joseph where you’ll enjoy the beach, a splash pad, and more! Our other go-to spots are Tunnel Park in Holland, Lakeside Beach in Port Huron including a splash pad, and South Haven Beach for one of the prettiest sunsets you’ll see. Where do you like to beach it during the Summer?
Trek up north or stay around town! Where does your family like to camp? Hawk Hollow is a great spot to take a quick camping trip if you want to stay close to home.
Head Over to Detroit
Go on a bike ride through Dequindre Cut and land at the splash pad in front of the Renaissance Center to cool off. Cross the bridge to Belle Isle to swim at the beach and slide on a burlap bag down the huge slide.
Go to a Festival in Grand Rapids
They have something going on all summer long!
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is Like None Other!
There’s lots to do with kids and amazing entertainment going on into the night during this week long event.
Have a Blast With Your Family This Summer, Lansing!
No matter what you do this summer – lovely days at home, bike rides through the city, trips up-north, days at the beach – whatever it is – we wish you the very best memories with your family!
P.S. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!