GobyIt’s springtime (finally!), the weather’s getting nicer by the day, and kids will soon be out of school for the summer. And for parents everywhere, it’s time to start planning – for how to keep the kids occupied and busy over the summer months, and for summer family vacations. The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is an especially popular time to travel, and there’s plenty that West Michigan has to offer – from festivals to local baseball games, museums, and great shopping opportunities.

When putting travel plans together, there’s a great resource to help find out what’s going on wherever you’re looking to go – Goby.com. It’s a search engine – but not for your typical types of searches. Instead, Goby focuses on “exploring fun things to do with your free time, from taking a unique vacation to creating this weekend’s adventure”. And they have a mobile app that you can download to your device of choice so that you can take Goby with you wherever you go – allowing you to find something fun to do even when you’re already out and about.

So what does Goby suggest for vacation planning in West Michigan? Well in the next few weeks there’s a lot happening – everything from the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts, an Antique Tractor and Engine Show in Ravenna, the Hudsonville Art in the Park, live music performances from New Kids on the Block & The Backstreet Boys and Steve Martin Performing With The Steep Canyon Rangers (among others), and more.

You can use also Goby to find places to stay – including lakefront rental cottages and bed & breakfasts along with more traditional hotels. And if you’re looking for great options for local restaurants, you can use Goby to find those too – like Marinade’s Pizza Bistro in Rockford (someplace I’d never known about) or Pietros Italian Restaurant in Grand Rapids (someplace I’ve eaten at and love).

If offbeat attractions are more your thing? Don’t miss the Hot Dog Hall Of Fame in Rockford or Vickeryville (a real ghost town). Goby gives you the chance to see more than just the popular tourist destinations, but really be able to find and visit the heart of places that you travel to. So whether you’re heading to West Michigan – or anywhere else this summer, give Goby a try!

Here’s how you could win your very own iPad2 to use the Goby app on! Check out the details for the Traveling Mom May 23rd Twitter Party – the topic is ‘Travel Planning’, right up goby’s alley, of course. And by participating in the party, you could win a cool goby t-shirt, an iPod – or the grand prize, an iPad2! Check out the details and official rules for more information.

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Deb writes as West Michigan TravelingMom as well as at Mom of 3 Girls and Just a mom’s take on things…. You can also find her on Twitter – she’s @DebMomOf3.