Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, is the cute beach town of Grand Haven Michigan. The popular place is known as the Coast Guard City and is a great place for beach days, boating and so much more. So if you are looking to visit a coastal city with a variety of activities, then check out this list of great things to do in Grand Haven MI. It might surprise you!
Is Grand Haven Michigan worth visiting?
Yes! It was one of our favorite places to visit in Michigan this summer. With soft sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, the musical fountains and a walkable downtown, it was a great place to visit.
I hope you enjoy this list of great things to do in Grand Haven MI!
- 1. The Main Attraction: Grand Haven Beaches
- 2. Walk The South Pier To The Grand Haven Lighthouse
- 3. Explore Around On The Grand Haven Boardwalk
- 4. Downtown Grand Haven
- 5. Make Memories At The Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium
- 6. Be Mesmerized By The Grand Haven Musical Fountain
- 7. Miles Of Bike Paths
- 8. Fresh Finds At The Farmer’s Market
- 9. See The Pere Marquette 1223
- 10. Rosy Mound Natural Area
- 11. Charter A Fishing Boat
- 12. Take A Ride On The Harbor Trolley
- 13. Visit The Animals At John Ball Zoo
- 14. A Full Day Of Fun At Lewis Adventure Farms
- 15. Take A Wing Surfing Lesson
- 16. Enjoy Live Music At The Deck
- 17. Step Back In Time At Tri-Cities Historical Museum
- Places To Eat In Grand Haven MI
- Annual Festivals In Grand Haven
- Other Places To Visit In Michigan
1. The Main Attraction: Grand Haven Beaches
Visiting the beautiful beaches of is definitely among the top things to do in the Grand Haven, MI. In fact, the town is known for its lovely soft-sandy beaches and sunsets. While in town you can visit numerous beaches however there are two convenient beaches downtown to visit:
- Grand Haven State Park: This state park beach is home to the Grand Haven Lighthouse. It is a very popular place because of its location and lighthouse views. The park also has a campground, swim beach and access to the pier. Its a great place to spend a beach day or watch the sunset . You do need a recreation pass to park a car here, although you can walk onto the beach from the boardwalk without a fee.
- Grand Haven City Beach: This beach is located between the state beach and Noto’s restaurant. There is free parking at the city beach and it is pet friendly at specific times during the year. This beach tends to be a little less crowded and another great option to enjoy the beach.
2. Walk The South Pier To The Grand Haven Lighthouse
One of the best things to do in Grand Haven MI, is to visit the historical Grand Haven Lighthouse & Pier. It’s located at the Grand Haven State Park and can be accessed by the end of the boardwalk path.
You can walk out to the pier day or night. The historic lighthouse and the inner light are both painted red and connected by a lighted catwalk. At night it makes for a picturesque setting to see the sunset in the background.
3. Explore Around On The Grand Haven Boardwalk
The Grand Haven Boardwalk connects the Chinook pier and downtown area to the beach. This is a 2.5-mile roundtrip walk along the Grand River Channel. Along the way you will find picnic areas and benches, grassy areas, restaurants and shops. It’s a great place to watch ships passing by as you stroll through the city. The walkway is people, bike and pet friendly .
4. Downtown Grand Haven
The downtown area of Grand Haven is centered around Washington Avenue. This is where you can find the majority of restaurants and shopping. From casual dining, music on rooftops, unique retail store fronts, kite shop, ice cream, fudge and more. It is a popular place to walk around and explore. And if you like blueberries, make sure to stop into The Blueberry Haven for all things blueberry.
5. Make Memories At The Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium
This outdoor beautiful waterfront amphitheater sits right on the Grand River channel next to the riverfront boardwalk. With fantastic views during the day and night, it makes a perfect place to watch the nightly Musical Fountains. And it also hosts live music events all summer long. You can enjoy dancing on Wednesday nights, free live music on Friday nights and paid events through out the season. So check the calendar for upcoming artists and events.
6. Be Mesmerized By The Grand Haven Musical Fountain
This eye-catching performance of water and lights takes place every night at dusk from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The free water show is a combination of water, lights and well known music of all varieties synchronized into a 25 to 30 minute evening of entertainment. The best place to watch the musical fountain is at the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium. The stadium is grass or concrete seating, but you can also bring a chair or a blanket if you prefer. Enjoy, as the fountains have been entertaining audiences since 1962. https://www.ghfountain.org/
7. Miles Of Bike Paths
I love cities that are bike friendly! And Grand Haven definitely is. There are more than 100 miles of bike trails, so you can bike around lakes, rivers, beaches, sand dunes, wilderness, shops and restaurants. We had a great bike ride around Spring Lake. The views were beautiful and it was an easy to follow path. Biking is a great way to get some exercise and explore the city. If you didn’t bring your bike, there are a few places in town that rent, bikes, e-bikes and scooters.
8. Fresh Finds At The Farmer’s Market
If you follow my travels, it’s no surprise I love farmers markets! I search them out wherever we go! And yes, the Grand Haven Farmers Market is one to visit. It was not as big as I would have thought, but it had an amazing variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Located at the Chinook Pier under the green canopy. Open Saturdays and Wednesdays from 8am to 1pm May through October.
9. See The Pere Marquette 1223
Before or after you shop the farmers market, make a stop at the Pere Marquette Locomotive located nearby the Chinook Pier. It’s a nice park with a permanent display of a historic locomotive, that is one of two surviving Pere MarquetteIt Berkshire locomotives. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. If you like trains, its worth making a stop to walk through the park to see the display.
10. Rosy Mound Natural Area
A great place for a hike is at the Ottawa County Park, Rosy Mound. This scenic 1.5 mile roundtrip hike includes beautiful views of Lake Michigan, sand dunes, wooded dunes and boardwalk trails. The hike has 1000 feet of stairs, so it is considered moderate in difficulty. Located just a few miles from downtown Grand Haven, you can experience the natural beauty of this classic Great Lakes dune system.
11. Charter A Fishing Boat
One of the best places to book a charter fishing trip is Grand Haven. With over 40 registered charter boats, the captains here know where to take you to catch Chinook Salmon, King Salmon, Steelhead and Lake Trout, all found in Lake Michigan. Ask your captain about the Catch and Cook program, it allows you to take your catch into participating restaurants to prepare and enjoy your catch.
12. Take A Ride On The Harbor Trolley
The Lakeshore trolley runs seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can get on and off at many locations throughout town. It’s a great way to explore the city and a fun thing to do with the entire family.
13. Visit The Animals At John Ball Zoo
Located on the west side of Grand Rapids about 40 minutes from Grand Haven, is John Ball Zoo. With a variety of animals from all over the world, you will be sure to have a fun-filled day at the park.
14. A Full Day Of Fun At Lewis Adventure Farms
For an outdoor adventure, head to Lewis Farms in New Era about 35 minutes from Grand Haven. We went to Lewis Farms for the u-pick Sunflowers but we found so much more. This adventure farm is loaded with activities and has so many fun things to do for kids and adults. It is a highly recommend family activity. There are animals and a petting farm, seasonal corn maze and u-pick flowers, orchards, shooting ranges, tractors and the list goes on. Plan to spend at least half the day if not more. https://www.visitlewisfarms.com/
15. Take A Wing Surfing Lesson
Never say you are too old to learn something new. We both decided to try a new sport in Grand Haven. Wing surfing, which is a much easier version of kite boarding. The Grand Haven area has ideal condition so for both kite boarding and wing surfing. We took lessons from Mackite down in Pere Marquette, about 30 minutes south of Grand Haven. It was alot of fun and we hope continue to practice our new skills.
16. Enjoy Live Music At The Deck
If you decide to take a wing surfing lesson, you have to stop at The Deck afterwards and grab some food. It is just down the street from where the lessons are held. And its even worth driving to Muskegon just to go to The Deck. It’s the best beach bar in town with awesome views, a great venue, live music and really good food. Only open seasonally from May to September with live music every day of the week. Make sure to get the dirty nachos and brussels sprout, you won’t be disappointed.
17. Step Back In Time At Tri-Cities Historical Museum
The museum is a free history museum located downtown Grand Haven on Washington Avenue. Showcasing a variety of exhibits, you will find both rotting and permanent exhibits showcasing a variety of historical interests including geology, logging, fashion sports and so much more.
Places To Eat In Grand Haven MI
There are many great places to enjoy a meal or a drink and some even with a view. These are a few we tried.
- Anna’s House: Serving breakfast and cocktails daily. We had the Twilight French Toast and it was delightful.
- Noto’s at the Bil-Mar: For an upscale meal with incredible views this is your place. The restaurant faces Lake Michigan and has a great views for cocktails and sunsets.
- Kirby House: American style restaurant that occupies an old hotel with a rooftop patio and live music.
- Snug Harbor: Casual dining with a rooftop patio overlooking the Grand River.
- Pronto Pups: Open only in the summer months, a cash only roadside stand offering only corn dogs and soda. A local favorite and a must try. That is us enjoying a pronto pup!
- Toasted Pickle: Unique sandwich shop with a cool vibe.
Annual Festivals In Grand Haven
- MAY: Kite Festival: In May you can enjoy a wonderful weekend on the beach watching the sky fill with flying kites.
- JUNE: Grand Haven Art Fair: A weekend in June will transform Washington Avenue into an outdoor art gallery. Showcasing art from over 100 artist with music, food and fun.
- JULY: 4th of July Fireworks: After a day at the beach, enjoy the enchanting musical fountains followed by a beautiful display of fireworks.
- JULY/AUGUST: Coast Guard Festival: This largely attended festival is an honoring of those who served in the US Coast Guard. A week long celebration the last week of July with picnics, parades, fireworks, car show, craft fair and more. The entire city is bustling from downtown to the boardwalk to the beach.
- SEPTEMBER: Salmon Festival: This celebration is an end to summer and a welcome to fall. To invite fall tourism and celebrate the fall harvest and salmon migration with arts, education and entertainment.
Other Places To Visit In Michigan
Grand Haven is a great place to visit! There are a variety of things to do in Grand Haven MI, for the entire family. I hope you find this list helpful and you enjoy your visit to Grand Haven as much as we did. We would love to hear from you below and please share this with someone who would like to visit Grand Haven Michigan.