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.
A Day in St. Joseph, Michigan with Kids
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.
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!
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.
Have you visited this lakeshore hotspot? What’s your family’s favorite beach town to visit during the summer?