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Family-Friendly Stops You Can’t Miss on Your Chicago to Leland Road Trip

A family road trip from Chicago to Leland in Michigan is one that always promises lots of fun thanks to the breathtaking scenery and hidden gems dotting this route all just waiting to be discovered. The distance between these two cities is approximately 550 km and will take you roughly 6 hours driving non-stop depending on traffic. But this being a road trip so driving non-stop is not an option. 

Attractions along the route are so many and diverse that you and your loved ones are guaranteed a good time and will definitely feel rejuvenated and more knowledgeable after the trip. This article highlights some of the family-friendly places to stop on a road trip on this route. 

Saugatuck Dune Rides

Enjoy a 40-minute adventure full of fun and thrills in the Saugatuck dunes. These dunes give you an opportunity for an off-road and bumpy experience you will want to come back for.

You also get a trip down memory lane and learn about the lost town of Singapore that is believed to have been in the area. Nature lovers also get the opportunity to marvel at the flora and fauna in this magnificent place.

Bittersweet Ski Resort

This ski resort located in Otsego, Michigan is a must-visit on this trip. Boasting 35 vertical feet and 20 runs, it presents an unmissable opportunity to blow steam off. It has an indoor lodge with a fully stocked shop and a family-friendly restaurant.

If you love your meat grilled, they have an outdoor grill where you can grab a steak or chicken sandwich. To keep you safe they have Ski Patrols around the clock. They also offer ski lessons from certified ski instructors.

John Ball Zoo entrance

John Ball Zoo

This is one of the family road trip stops you can’t bypass on your way to Leland from Chicago. The zoo offers an opportunity to learn wildlife conservation and preservation even as you enjoy watching the animals.

It’s a nonprofit organization owned by Kent County. It sits on 31 acres and is one of the most attended cultural facilities in Michigan attracting over 600,000 visitors every year. The zoo boasts over 200 different species and over 2000 animals.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

This museum is rated as one of the most kid-friendly. To start with, entrance is free for all those below 17 years. The museum will spark your curiosity about history and culture as you view the different exhibits. There are thousands of exhibits all telling a story and giving you a glimpse into Michigan’s decorated history.

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

This animal park boasts some of the rarest and most endangered animal species in the world. Some of which you are allowed to touch. It’s open seven days a week and you can enjoy a safari walk on an elevated path as you view and enjoy these animals. You can also feed giraffes and pet-selected animals.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

This place is just a spectacle to behold. Enjoy Miles upon miles of sandy beaches, breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from elevated positions, lush green forests, a lighthouse rich in history, flora, and fauna, and a maritime rich in diversity. Visit to play and just experience nature firsthand.

Mitchell State Park

This 660-acre park sits between Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac making it the perfect place to enjoy wildlife in this area. If you love camping, boating, or fishing expeditions it’s a one-stop shop for you. It also has a center displaying exhibits on the fishing and hunting history of Michigan. You can also practice your archery and pellet game shooting on their range.


This is a road trip that has so much to sample and enjoy with its richness in diversity providing attractions that will excite all members of your family regardless of age. But before you step out and hit the road, you have to make preparations to ensure everything goes smoothly. This being a road trip, among the major things to take care of is the car you will use. There are many USA cars for rent companies that you can take advantage of to get one for this trip.

Your choice will depend on among other factors the size of your family. For large families, 9 seater or even 12-seater vans will come in handy because of ample storage and sitting space. Visit to find out information like which rental car has 12 seats, the different models available and to compare the prices from different rental companies. You can then get yourself the best deal in 12 passenger van rentals in Chicago and hit the road in comfort.

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