Lots of Family-Friendly Options in Rockford
On the north side of the Grand Rapids suburbs you will find the wonderful community of Rockford.
Aside from the awesome festivals and celebrations Rockford hosts, the town also boasts great playgrounds, cute shops, incredible eateries and restaurants, a good farmers’ market, and a great boardwalk along the Rogue River. They often host concerts in the park during the summer, too.
Favorite Stop: Aunt Candy’s Toy Company
One of our favorite little shops in Rockford is Aunt Candy’s Toy Company.
Actually run by ‘Aunt Candy’ (on left), this wonderful little shop boasts hard-to-find specialty toys, long-time favorites, and offers special orders. In the back of the store you will find a small play area where kids aged five and under can try out some of the toys and give Mommy a breather from trying to stop little fingers from picking up every single item!
Ice Cream in Rockford
Rockford has two great places for ice cream and we can never decide which one we like better.
Rocky’s has been in Rockford forever and has a constant line of customers during the summer months (they are closed in the winter).
Though their prices are just a touch higher, Custard By the Dam is open year round and if you have a family member that does not like ice cream (as I have) you will find a fantastic fudge and candy shop also inside. When we eat at Custard By the Dam we like to enjoy our treats by the water–it’s conveniently right out their backdoor.
The dam, the boardwalk on the west side of the river, and the parks near the dam are great places to walk and enjoy nature.
On a recent trip we were fortunate enough to see trout trying to jump up the dam!
Take a Walk Along the Rogue River
There are some great opportunities to enjoy nature and scenes of the river along the Rogue River Nature Trail. The trail, which starts at the dam and runs north along the west side of the Rogue River, has lookout points and a few dirt path trails leading off to other adventures!
As a mom I am relieved that there are clean, modern and convenient restrooms located in the Welcome Center. There are plenty of ‘time-out’ benches as well.
The Richardson Sowerby Park is a good park. Located just south of the 10 Mile bridge, it borders the river, has great views, a nice lawn, the all important restrooms, and plenty of trashcans (which I know all moms truly appreciate).
My new little walker and longtime climber had a great time climbing stairs and slides and trying to sit under the swings (while in use).
Grab a Bite
There are many great eateries in Rockford, but for dinner we usually end up with hot dogs since there are two great hot dog joints in Rockford. It’s hard to say which one is better: The Corner Bar or Dam Dogs. The city of Rockford is actually fairly split on this issue! The hot dogs pictured above are from the Corner Bar, and as you can see they’re pretty awesome!
Rockford is a great way to spend the day, and if you need to you can even make a stop at the Kent County Recycling Center on your way into town.
There’s so much more to find in Rockford; I’ve barely even scratched the surface here. Have fun exploring!