Kids + Family

It’s not uncommon to meet visitors to the area who have been coming here since they were children…and are now bringing their own kids to experience the same special vacation that they grew up with!

Here are some resources that may be helpful when planning your trip to Glen Arbor + the Sleeping Bear Dunes, for things to do with kids and family:


Glen Arbor Arts Center
Providing art classes for children, adults and families year-round and the family friendly summer-long Manitou Music Festival known for an annual free concert at the Dune Climb in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We are ground zero for creativity.

M22 Glen Arbor

In the summer, on the new outdoor patio between the stores “Coastal” and “M22 Glen Arbor” is a great new outdoor patio. The business hosts a Sprouts, kids art class weekly in the morning and on Thursday evening, they host Live Music select weeks in the prime of summer. Check our Event Calendar.

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear

Connecting the community to the history and preservation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and historic farmland, They offer visitor information as well as host programs and tours. A couple of great kid and family friendly summer events include: Celebrate Historic Sleeping Bear in July and Port Oneida Fair in August.

Glen Arbor Township

The Glen Arbor Township hosts things like Tennis Lessons & Pickle Ball, among other community classes and activities year round. 

Cottage Book Shop

The Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor hosts special events like Kids Reading Hour and Author visits. Contact them to see what’s coming up. Check our Event Calendar.

The Leelanau School

Public Tennis and Pickleball are held at the Leelanau School. FREE and Open to the Public. First-come-first-served. Open Every Day, Seasonally. Located at: The Leelanau School, One Old Homestead Rd., Glen Arbor, MI 49636  > Learn More


Glen Arbor Township Park
Newly renovated in 2018: Playground, Tennis Courts, Basketball Hoops, Pickle Ball Courts, Restroom Facilities, Park Benches 
Located at the corner of State Street & Lake Street (Glen Arbor)

Old Settler’s Picnic Area
Small Playground, Picnic Seating, Dock, Restroom Facilities
Located on Dunn’s Farm Road near County Road 616 (Burdickville)

Empire Village Park | Empire, MI
Playgrounds (Large and Small), Beach Volleyball, Beach Access, Restroom Facilities
Located at the end of Niagara Street


Check out our Community Event Calendar for current events and to see what’s happening now. Local Businesses and Organizations can post their events here

Fun Short Trips:

Horse Wagon Rides | Glen Arbor, MI

Wednesdays and Fridays in July & August from 6 pm to Dark. Cost is $6 per person. Brought to you by Black Horse Farms and Fantail Farms. Pickup locations: Leelanau Vacation Rentals, Boonedocks, Cottage Book Shop, M22 Glen Arbor & Glen Arbor Wines

The Dune Climb | Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Send the kids up the steep, sandy climb…then watch them speed down with delight!  A favorite for all ages. Restrooms and vending machines available on-site, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

(Disclaimer: Bring water & sunscreen! It gets especially hot on the sand in the elevation. Know that the “Dune Trail to Lake Michigan” Round trip is 3.5 miles and may take 2-4 hours depending on the weather and your physical condition.) 

Glen Haven | Glen Arbor, MI
Visit the Boathouse Museum (in the Cannery), General Store and Blacksmith Shop for demonstrations.
Restroom facilities available on-site, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Empire Museum Complex | Empire, MI

Historic complex featuring multiple buildings including a Sail & Rail display, a barn with horse-drawn equipment, a fire house, a blacksmith shop, an old saloon and more. Call for current hours to visit, explore and learn!

Things To Do...Bike ride the Heritage trail; paved; Sleeping Bear Dunes; explore; family friendly

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail | from Empire, MI to Port Oneida
Ride from Glen Arbor to the Dune Climb along the trail.  Need bikes?  Rent them at The Cyclery in town.  The current trail is 13 miles long, but expansion is in progress.

The Crystal River

The perfect river for all ages and ability levels. It is incredibly gentle and never too deep so even toddlers can enjoy the paddling experience! Trips available through Crystal River Outfitters.


There are many options for family-friendly dining in the area, with both eat-in to take-out options.  If you have a question about the kid-friendly nature of a specific restaurant, we suggest that you contact them directly or email us with your questions.

> Go to List of Dining + Specialty Foods

> Groceries


From sampling cherry candies at Cherry Republic to perusing the toy section at The Totem Shop, there are lots of kid-friendly shopping destinations in Glen Arbor.  Be sure to visit the children’s section at The Cottage Book Shop, as well as staying for their Story Time during the summer.

> Go to List of Specialty Shops

> Go to List of Art Galleries

>Go to List of Businesses that provide Recreation


Find and Go Seek
A listing of upcoming kid-centric events in the Leelanau and Traverse City area.

Have something to contribute? Send an email to: [email protected] ~ We’d love to hear from you!