As fun as it is to play outside in the snow during the winter, there are times when you just want to stay warm and find something exciting to do inside. With the opening of a few large indoor water parks in recent years, Michigan offers so many different options for families who are looking for even just a quick day or weekend getaway together during these long, cold winter months. Here are a few to check out!
Great Wolf Lodge has 12 resorts throughout the US, including one in Traverse City, Michigan (northwest portion of the lower peninsula). Not only is this a fun spot for indoor recreation, but northern Michigan is home to quite a few ski resorts as well, so you can indulge your outdoor winter sports passions too. Great Wolf Lodge offers accommodations for up to eight guests – with some very fun and unique options for families with kids, and waterpark passes are included in your rate. We stayed there for a night a little over a year ago and my kids loved the KidCabin® Suite with their own little sleeping area, complete with bunk bed and its own television. My husband and I also enjoyed the suite – especially having the separation from the kids while still having them under the same roof, so to speak. But it’s the huge, 84-degree indoor waterpark that’s the big attraction, and it’s certainly a lot of fun too. There are 8 huge slides, 5 pools, giant water fort, a lazy river and more. Every few minutes a giant bucket dumps 1,000 gallons of water on anyone standing below, and for the littlest guests, there’s a kiddie pool and slide too. Even outside the water, there are fun activities – from the MagiQuest® adventure game, to the arcade, and the Cub Club™ offers a lot of fun activities too. Great Wolf Lodge is easy driving distance from just about anywhere in Michigan, and only about 4-5 hours from either Chicago or Detroit. For more information and to see photos, you can check out their website, follow them on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. You can also sign up for e-mails that include special offers and deals too – and there are some special events going on this month that you can check out!
The Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, MI (west side of the lower peninsula) is another exciting option for a fun family vacation in the wintertime. Along with plenty of outdoor winter activities, their new indoor waterpark includes Michigan's tallest indoor water slide, a lazy/crazy river, wave pool, and kids play areas. There are 4 total pools, hot tubs, and even a rope suspension bridge over the waterpark for the more daring to try out. For fun outside the waterpark, an arcade is also available – and don’t forget the outdoor activities that include everything from snow tubing to dog sledding. For sleeping accommodations, there are options for rooms or suites for up to 13 people, and they also have Family Cabins that sleep up to 6, and one and two-bedroom Log Homes. You can get waterpark passes included right in your rate, or purchase them separately. The Double JJ Resort is located near Muskegon (right on Lake Michigan) and only about 3 hours from Chicago or Detroit. For more information and to see photos, you can check out their website, follow them on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. You can also sign up for their mailing list to keep updated on events and deals going on at the resort.
If you’re looking more for just a simple overnight stay – or if you’re headed to the Grand Rapids area in general, then check out the Holiday Inn Express® Grand Rapids – South hotel – which includes its own indoor waterpark with a 3-story, double figure eight water slide, hot tub, zero depth toddler pool, and 10,000 sq. foot pool. This is a traditional hotel without options for suites - but kids eat for free, so if you can save on your travel costs that way. For adults, there’s also a health/fitness center and high speed Internet access. The Holiday Inn Express Grand Rapids – South is conveniently located near the junction of US-131 and M-6 for easy access to the Interstate, and Grand Rapids is less than 3 hours away from Chicago or Detroit. For more information and to see photos, you can check out their website.