Morning strolls in the woods are kid-friendly and fun at Halcyon Nature Center (780 Sixth St., 231-869-8221), just east of downtown Pentwater. Wandering through nearly three acres of looping trails, keep your nose tuned in to catch a whiff of sassafras, wintergreen and spicebush, many of which you'll find labeled with wooden stakes. A clearing in the back is loaded with nature games and fun hands-on displays featuring curiosities like 10,000-year-old Mastadon bones that were found just up the road.
A wealth of eclectic shops populate Pentwater's main byway with uncommon novelties and childhood throwbacks. Got your eyes peeled for an old-fashioned tin lunch box or a purse made of juice pouches? Pelican Zim (119 S. Hancock, 231-869-6006) stocks them by the dozens. Need a kite for a few hours of blustery-day fun? Stealth bombers, farmers and even dinosaurs can fly at Air Fun Kites (167 S. Hancock, 231-869-7004). Want top-notch kitchen goodies and a hammock chair to kick back in once dinner's done? The Bitchen Kitchen's got 'em all (320 S. Hancock, 231-869-4522).
Any resort town worth its flip-flops is home to an ice cream parlor or two. But mango mojito-flavored shave ice from the Cosmic Candy Company (168 S. Hancock, 231-869-4852) is this beachy borough's answer to the typical cool-down treat. Sip on your shave ice as you mosey up the street to Charles Mears State Park (W. Lowell St., 231-869-2051). If the sun's making its descent anytime soon, you'll have plenty of company for the classic day-end ritual: a firey sunset shimmering over Lake Michigan.
QUICK BITE: Everything tastes better alfresco, so you can't go wrong with a caprese salad or pasta with garden-fresh veggies enjoyed while overlooking Pentwater Lake from the sunny deck at Village Café. 347 S. Hancock, 231-869-4626.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Pentwater is a great spot to gallery hop; visit pentwatergalleries.com for listings. Music fan? On Thursday nights from June through August, bring a picnic blanket and head to Pentwater's Village Green for live tunes outdoors.