A family friendly lake town, St. Joseph, Michigan offers an entire day of fun for the whole family. And unlike other beach towns dotted along the shore of Lake Michigan, St. Joe (as the locals refer to it) has several indoor attractions, making it a great place to check out on a rainy day or when you need a break from the beach.
My family typically stays in nearby South Haven but we love to spend a day in St. Joe, just 30 minutes away. It’s a great change of pace with kid-friendly activities that keep our whole family entertained. From a great pizza place to an interactive children’s museum, you’ll find plenty to do with kids in St. Joseph, Michigan.
Related Post: Fun Places to Visit in Michigan with Kids
A Day in St. Joseph, Michigan with Kids
Curious Kids’ Museum and Curious Kids’ Discovery Center
This adorable children’s museum is actually split between two locations and offers two separate (and very affordable) admission prices or a combo ticket to visit both. The smaller Curious Kids’ Museum is up on the bluff near downtown and has several hands-on exhibits for young kids. I’d recommend this for the under-10 crowd since it’s geared more towards younger visitors. Down the hill and a short drive or walk away is the larger Curious Kids’ Discovery Center and has several fun exhibits for kids including a small climbing wall and fun interactive water play area which is better for ages 4+. We visited both on a rainy day and my kids were thoroughly entertained. The Silver Beach Carousel is in the same building but is a separate admission. This restored carousel is great for kids of all ages!
If you’re not staying elsewhere or want more time in the sun, you can visit Silver Beach located right in town. It’s a family-friendly city beach that has lots of amenities like restrooms, lifeguards (in season), and a playground. There is a parking fee but you can park all day and check out many of the other attractions, all from the same location. Take a stroll out on the South Pier to see the lighthouse or spread out on the sand for a picnic and some time in the water.
Whirlpool Compass Fountain
This huge interactive spray fountain is right next to Silver Beach and the Discovery Center. Open during the summer, this fountain acts as a giant splash pad for kids and adults looking to beat the heat. The fountain rotates through a variety of spray features and there are benches circling the area so that you can keep an eye on your kids. This is a FREE attraction and my kids love visiting here. Just watch out for the Water Cannons!
Related Post: Where to Eat in South Haven, Michigan
Silver Beach Pizza
Located inside the still functioning train depot, Silver Beach Pizza is a must visit for our family. Their delicious and unique pizza offerings make for a great lunch or dinner stop. I suggest you arrive at non-peak hours since the wait can get long during the lunch and dinner rush. Or place a t0-go order and let your kids run in the nearby Compass Fountain while you wait for your pizza. If you park in the city lot, they’ll reimburse you for your $5 parking fee so save your receipt.
Don’t leave without stopping into Mimi’s Cupcakes for a delicious treat. This family owned store features over 70+ flavors of cupcakes so you’ll be sure to find something you love. You might even spot their cupcake truck out near the beach or bluff. It’s the perfect sweet ending to celebrate your day in St. Joseph.
Whether you are visiting from another part of West Michigan or spending a family vacation in St. Joe, your family will love exploring all the kid-friendly attractions and family restaurants that make this one of southwest Michigan’s hottest spots.
Need more ideas for kids in West Michigan? Check out my post about nearby South Haven for more family fun ideas.
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Have you visited this lakeshore hotspot? What’s your family’s favorite beach town to visit during the summer?
Katie White says
Thanks for the mention! To clarify though, the Silver Beach Carousel and Curious Kids’ Museum are housed in the Silver Beach Center, not the Carousel housed inside the Curious Kids’ Museum.
Katie – thanks for the clarification. I updated the post to reflect the change 🙂
Eric Schuh says
Missing quite a bit from that list. Rent a 6 person bike or a 2 person kayak. There is the annual chalk the bluff or the art fair on the bluff. Go walking or fishing out on the pier. Homemade waffle cones at Kilwins or frozen yogurt at yo bubbs. Then there are the statues around town that they do every year. http://www.stjosephpublicart.com/
Thanks for the extra suggestions, Eric. With such a great town, I know I could never fit it all in one post!
This place looks like a blast for the kiddos! Michigan isn’t that far away either!
It’s one of our favorite places and there are so many things to do up and down the coast in that area! I highly recommend a visit and please let me know if you have questions! I’d love to help 🙂
We are planning visit St Joseph
We Have to Kids 8 and 6 year old
We are going first time and we are looking for Nice hotel to stay with The pool
And i Would like to know about attraction’s for kids
I haven’t taken my daughter to St. Joseph, but did go to a wedding here. It was a beautiful outdoor October wedding set in a barn. I forget the name of the property. Stayed at a gorgeous waterfront hotel too. Wonderful experience and would love to go back!
It is such a pretty town and perfect for kids or an adults weekend away!
Bee Lovewell says
Read your blog post and the comments. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit.
I have never been to Michigan, but this sounds like a beautiful and fun little town & adventure! I love little splash pads & fountains around town…fun, free & you get to stay cool! And darn those cupcakes they look AMAZING!
I hope you get a chance to visit! It really is a great place for families 🙂
R.M. Lopez says
This looks like such a cute town to visit !
Hi Lindsay – this is a great town to visit with kids! I am from Canada and visit family in Chicago sometimes. So this can be a day or a weekend trip for us when we are over there. Putting this on the list! Thanks for sharing. I did not know about this place before.
St Joe is great for day trip, especially since all the attractions are in a concentrated area and you just have to park in one spot to explore. If you go for a longer weekend, I’d recommend South Haven, just about 30 min further north. It’s a super cute tiny beach town and we spend lots of time there every summer. If you search on my site, I have a post about kid friendly stuff in South Haven too. Hope you get a chance to explore southwest Michigan! It’s a favorite of mine 🙂
Found your South Haven post here: https://www.letmegiveyousomeadvice.com/south-haven-michigan-with-kids/ . The town looks great! Love the beach and that wooden castle playground. I wish I knew about these places before during my visits without the kids. Normally I just stayed with my family and visited Chicago downtown. Next visit will be different! Thank you again! I will be coming back to these posts!
Nat, please let me know if you get to visit! I’d love to hear what you think!
Love St. Joseph’s! I missed out on trying Mimi’s — will need to come back to try!
It’s a great excuse to come back! St. Joe is such a fun town 🙂