Help kids make the farm-to-table connection by visiting one of the many U-pick farms in Northwest Michigan to pick your own fruits and veggies!
We compiled a list of U-pick farms and, as we visit them, we’ll provide feedback on how the experience was from a kid’s and parent’s perspective. If you have an experience to share with us about one of these farms, let us know! Because fruits and veggies are so seasonal and the picking conditions vary day-to-day, check with the farm before you go to confirm the picking hours and crops.
Apples: August – October
Blueberries: July – August
Cherries: Mid June – July
Pears: August – October
Nectarines: July – August
Peaches: July – August
Plums: July – September
Raspberries: July – September
Strawberries: June – July
Grapes: August – September
Cole Farm, 241 East Eddy School Road, Mancelona MI 49659
Crops: cucumbers, flowers, tomatoes
Coleman Farms, 13295 Coleman Road, Kewadin, MI 49648
Farmer White’s, 11373 US-31, Williamsburg, MI 49690
Editors note: Up North Kids stopped by for the 2017 strawberry picking season. Berries were great, very kid-friendly and easy to get to. There was an outhouse (we didn’t need it – yay!) and a small veggie stand where you can purchase pre-picked berries and other seasonal fruits and veggies as well as jams and jellies. They only take cash or checks.
Kalchik Farms, 8659 Bellaire Highway, Bellaire, MI 48615
Kastanu Farm, 4781 Powell Road, Kewadin, MI 49648
King Orchards, 4620 North M-88, Central Lake, MI
Crops: sweet & tart cherries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples
Royal Farms, 10455 North US 31, Ellsworth/Atwood, MI 49729
Grand Traverse County: Traverse City, Acme, Williamsburg, Old Mission Peninsula, Long Lake, Silver Lake, Kingsley)
The greater Grand Traverse area is known for its beaches, but not all beaches are meant for kids. We’ve taken a look at all the beaches across the region and picked out the ones where we think your kids (and you) will have the most fun. We considered bathroom access, picnic tables, playgrounds and a few other important features when compiling our list.
Know of one we missed or have a great picture to share of your kids having fun at their favorite Northern MI beach? Let us know!
Notes: this beach is best for older kids who don’t need a playground or bathroom access at a moment’s notice. It’s close to downtown TC, across from a outdoor sports rental store and right in the heart of West Bay. Parking is very limited but this beach is on the TART trail.
Hours: splash pad is open generally Memorial Day to Labor Day, weather permitting. 11am-6pm daily
Other: Splash Pad is adjacent to the beach, concessions, rentals (stand up paddle boards, beach chairs, etc.), lifeguard during daytime peak swim times. This beach is really close to downtown Traverse City, adjacent to the marina and on the east side of the Open Space.
Summer in Northern Michigan brings us such great opportunities to get to the beach and go fruit and veggie picking at our favorite farms. Gloomy, rainy days are going to come, though. Here are some fun ways to keep your kids busy if they’re stuck inside! Fair warning: a trip to your favorite “dollar store” may be in order before the rain arrives.
Crazy colander hats! Great for focus and toddler hand-eye coordination, the supplies for these crazy colander hats can be used over and over. My nearly-three-year-olds were super focused on getting the pipe cleaners through the holes. To my surprise, instead of making crazy hats they turned them into spiders! They were occupied for about ½ hour with this activity and then carried them around for another ½ hour. Probably best for toddlers & pre-schoolers.
Balloon ping pong! Super easy and the kids were actually excited to clean up all the toys on the floor before the fun could begin! Of course you’ll need to be cautious of the balloon residue as some of the balloons will pop – we even turned on the ceiling fan full blast to keep the balloon ping pong party lively! A larger space (i.e. the basement) is prudent for this activity since the kids are chasing balloons around without a care in the world, particularly oblivious to tables with corners. We played in a very small living room area without injury so use the space you have! Should be fun for all ages!
Blue Angel Flying School! Challenge your pre-teens to a Top Gun flying challenge. First they have to design and build a flight-worthy airplane and then they have to prove it’ll fly… straight. Keep track of the winners of each round on the target board and use it over and over again.
Giant tic-tac-toe! Some masking tape for the game board and paper plates for the game pieces and voila! A game perfect for a rainy day at home or if you’re stuck in a hotel room!
Dinosaur Egg Discovery! Who wouldn’t be curious to see what’s inside the mystery egg? This one takes some preparation before the rainy day – make a bunch and store them for future fun. It’s a basic salt dough recipe with a few additions you’re likely to have at home. Hide just about anything in the egg to keep them curious.
The summer Olympics in Rio are around the corner, August 5 – 21. Celebrate with your kiddos a little closer to home with these fun and simple activities.
DIY Olympic Torch! Before any games can begin, the torch must be lit! Create your own torch for a relay using simple stuff you might already have at home. Use the torch to symbolically light your evening bonfire!
Olympic Arts & Crafts! A fun craft for the youngest to the oldest kids. Use paper, visit your nearest thrift store for a framed canvas you want to paint over or make Olympic uniforms on t-shirts!
Noodle Hurdles! What CAN’T pool noodles be used for?! Make adjustable hurdles for toddlers to teens in your back yard or at the park.
Hoola Hoop Hurdles! An alternate to the Noodle Hurdles, these would be fun to try at a beach party!
Straw Javelin Throw! A perfect indoor activity using only straws and bowls, the straw javelin throw will pit moms against kids for the gold medal.