A Travel Team Guide to Fun Activities in Southwest Michigan

Family on the dunes in grand mere state park

Are you getting ready to participate in an exciting sport or robotics tournament in Southwest Michigan? Welcome!

Here’s a guide to what our competition-loving region has to offer.


Watching tournament action all weekend can be boring for children who come along for the trip. Here are some places you can give them a break.

Lincoln Township Park Splash Pad


Choose your favorite hand-carved animal figure or chariot on the Silver Beach Carousel and go for a spin around the Carousel House. There is an assortment of family-friendly activities, including interactive exhibits, a well-stocked refreshment stand and gift shop, and free games that will delight toddlers to grandparents. It rightfully boasts of being the happiest place in Southwest Michigan!


You can fill an hour or more at these hands-on learning centers geared toward toddlers to pre-teens. The children’s museum is on the bluff in downtown St. Joseph, and the Discovery Zone is below the bluff in the Silver Beach Center. The biggest challenge will be pulling your kids away from all the interactive fun.


Directly across the road from the Silver Beach Center is the FREE Whirlpool Compass Fountain, open from May to early September. The 200 ft. diameter fountain sprays water 30+ ft. in the air and has water cannons that run every 15 minutes. More water fun is available at three St. Joseph beaches — Silver BeachLions Park Beach and Tiscornia Park Beach. There are also a variety of other family-friendly parks in the area, even one with a skate park.


If you’re looking for a place where your restless toddler can play while you stay caffeinated — leave the game and go to The Little Things Play Cafe. This safe indoor play space includes wooden climbing structures and centers that nurture imagination. If other parents of young children are on your team, invite them to come with you to sip locally sourced-coffee and chat while your kids play close by.


This is Southwest Michigan’s newest splash pad. It is 1,854 sq. ft. and includes zones for toddlers, families, and older kids. Water blasters, a frog sprinkler, and two interactive spraying flowers keep children squealing with unabashed delight. Check out these other Southwest Michigan splash pads near your tournament.


Each of your children will find a fun activity they will love to do at Hidden Pointe. There is an exciting 18-hole miniature golf course, Eddie Cole’s Jumpshot Basketball, batting cages, arcades, and go-karts on a unique 100-foot banked track. They also have a large event venue that is ideal for team parties.


If your tournament is near Dowagiac, Sprague’s Family Fun Farm is the place to bring your restless fans from July to October. Show your kids where their fruits and vegetables come from and let them taste the just-picked flavor difference. In the fall there are hayrides, one of the area’s most amazing corn mazes, a big pumpkin patch, and lots of on-the-farm fun.

girls team huddle sports softball baseball youth sports


Even the smallest team players can have voracious appetites after a day of tournament action. Many Southwest Michigan restaurants and caterers can feed your group with ease. Several other popular family restaurants around St. Joseph can host your group with advance notice. They include Silver Beach Pizza,  Clementine’s TooThe BuckAzul TequilaMark III Grille & Bar, and Round Barn Brewery & Public House.

Your team and families will especially have fun at these three places that combine good times with delicious food.

  • Nardo’s Pizza in downtown St. Joseph has spacious seating within eyesight of an arcade room. Their five-star-rated pizzas are the only way to entice your pinball wizards to stop playing.
  • Peat’s Cider Social in Stevensville has bowling lanes, an arcade room, popular local food trucks Friday through Sunday, plus beverages for the kids and hard ciders and meads for the adults.
  • Staymaker at Journeyman Distillery gets high marks for serving healthy options for a range of dietary needs and following earth-friendly food practices. Another stand-out reason to come is Welter’s Folly, an 18-hole putting green considered one of the 10 largest in the world. It’s fun for the whole team, but coaches and team parents especially enjoy playing while sipping Journeyman’s renowned distilled spirits.


There are so many fun things to see and do in Southwest Michigan as a team or as a family. Plan to come a day or two early or extend your stay after the tournament ends. Besides going to the suggestions above, these activities bring you closer together as a team and family.

Two people exploring Bear Cave.


North Pier Lighthouses & South Pier | St. Joseph

Southwest Michigan’s two most iconic lighthouses are on the North Pier, accessible from Tiscornia Park. There is the black and white outer lighthouse and the red and white inner lighthouse. Both are over 100 years old and are no longer in active service.

When Lake Michigan is calm you can walk out the pier to see both lights up close. Self-guided and guided tours are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend.

You can reach the South Pier from Silver Beach County Park. Both piers are popular places to fish, watch Great Lake freighters and private boats, and see spectacular sunsets. In the winter, when conditions are just right, the piers, lighthouses, and catwalks become majestic, jaw-dropping beautiful ice formations. It’s unforgettable.

Bear Cave | Buchanan

Explore West Michigan’s only cavern, formed over 10,000 years ago by glacial drift. With its fascinating geological formations and historical lore, Bear Cave offers a rare adventure.

Eden Springs Park | Benton Harbor

Experience the charm of yesteryear with miniature train rides at Eden Springs Park! Restored by dedicated volunteers, these original House of David steam and gasoline engines pull passenger cars through the park’s historic landscape. Eden Springs is open on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer and for special event rides on weekends leading up to Halloween and Christmas.

Lake Arvesta Farms | South Haven

Embark on an outdoor adventure at Lake Arvesta Farms! Swim, challenge each other on the floating obstacle course, and fly down the water slides, kayak, and paddle board. Throughout the year, play outdoor or indoor pickleball on an 18-hole disc golf course. This is an especially fun place to bring school-aged kids and teens.

Michigan Flywheelers Museum | South Haven

One of the easiest places to go back in time is the Michigan Flywheelers Museum. This is a great place to introduce your kids to the history of rural America. See vintage farm equipment and take a self-guided tour through Olde Town.

group kayaking down river during summer family kayak


Beach Day at Warren Dunes State Park

Soak up the sun in Sawyer at one of Michigan’s most popular beaches. Race down giant dunes, swim, build sandcastles, hike, or play beach volleyball. The dunes are a great workout if you sandboard in the warm months and snowboard in winter. If you bring your team’s four-legged mascot, there’s a dog beach for romping on the sand and in the water.

Kayak or paddle board scenic rivers and Lake Michigan

One of the most memorable and fun outings is group paddles on Southwest Michigan rivers, inland lakes, and Lake Michigan. Hook up with one of the rental services in St. Joseph, New Buffalo, Dowagiac, and South Haven. Bring your kayaks or SUPs and expand your water trail options.

Hike dozens of trails 

It’s easy to find a hiking trail near your lodgings. Hike through woods, orchards, and vineyards, over bogs and wetlands, through prairies, across beaches, tree-top high boardwalks, and along scenic lakeshores and rivers.

Challenge each other at fun centers

Besides Hidden Pointe listed above, the St. Joseph area is home to two other popular family fun centers. Bring the team or your family to:

  • Slackers Family Fun Center in Stevensville is open seven days a week and will keep your kids hopping between laser tag, laser maze, bounce houses, arcade video games, pool tables, mining and so much more.
  • Captain Mike’s Fun Park in Bridgman is your summer destination for go-karts, junior go-karts, 18-hole miniature golf, bumper cars, bumper boats, water cannons, jump shot basketball, water wars, batting cages, an arcade room, and “The Captain’s Galley” Snack Bar!

Visit a farm or market

Southwest Michigan is renowned for its century-old family farms and markets where you can handpick in-season strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, pumpkins, and much more. Or bring home ready-picked favorites, plus jams, pies, salsas, and more from their markets. Several offer weekend harvest events in the fall with hayrides, games, and corn mazes.

A fun side trip is to tour Shuler Dairy Farm in Baroda on Tuesday through Sunday afternoons. Watch them robotically milk the cows, see calves and a bull, learn more about innovative farming technology, and, perhaps best of all, eat fresh ice cream.

Go shopping in downtown St. Joseph

This pedestrian-friendly, lake resort downtown has free nearby parking and sidewalks. This makes it easy to explore their blocks of toy and book stores, ice cream and candy shops, boutiques, trendy clothing stores, home decor shops, restaurants, craft wine and beer tasting rooms and so much more.

Sail a tall ship on Lake Michigan 

In so many ways, this is the ultimate adventure. Hop aboard the replica tall ship Friends Good Will in South Haven. Choose for day sails, adventure sails, and sunset sails. Or see the Big Lake from St. Joseph’s Tall Ship MJ. This vintage wooden schooner is available for daily sailing excursions, private events, and special group programs.

Play outside in winter

If you are in Southwest Michigan for a winter sporting tournament, there’s plenty of fun to enjoy during your extended stay. Several of our parks offer snowshoeing, fat tire biking, and cross-country skiing. Go ice skating or play ice bumper cars indoors at The Garden Ice Arena (open year-round) or skate outdoors at these area rinks. Skate rentals and concessions are available at both.

Downhill skiers and snowboarders can get thrills at Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area in Jones. While it has challenging slopes for intermediate-level skiers and snowboarders, it is best known for its beginner lessons and experiences.

Before you finalize your plans, check out these other winter bucket list ideas.

Let us help you plan your stay

We’d like to help make some of your travel team’s best memories in Southwest Michigan. Please give us the details of your upcoming event for your group of 10 or more. We will reach out to area hotels, restaurants, entertainment sites, and services, then provide you with choices that will enhance your plans and fit your budget.

Plan your stay