Being a storefront downtown Grand Haven, we get asked what there is to do in Grand Haven all the time, so we decided to compile a helpful list! This list is perhaps fully accomplished in the summer, but most can be enjoyed year round!
And for such a little town, we sure do have a lot to do! So when you’re wondering what to do in Grand Haven, think big, consult this list, and remember the grand possibilities! You’ll find in this post our favorite beaches, nature away from the beach, and then shopping, food and other activities.
Go to the Beach
Being on the freshwater coast of Lake Michigan means we have sandy beaches and nature’s beauty available for miles! Sunbathe, play volleyball, make a sandcastle, fly a kite, walk the shoreline, bury your brother, play in the waves, watch the sunset, learn to kite surf, and so much more!
You’ll notice in the photos to come that Grand Haven’s iconic pier is without the catwalk as of 2016-2019. Work has begun to put it back up after pier and catwalk restoration as of June 2019 and we will update pictures when it is complete!
Here are our favorite beaches:
Grand Haven State Park and City Beach
We’ve combined these two because they’re right next to each other! This is the classic Grand Haven beach area that extends south from the pier. This is the busiest beach, but sometimes people watching is half the fun! There are tons of volleyball courts, cabanas for rent, food and drink stands, playgrounds and more! The south end of the city beach welcomes dogs on-leash between Memorial Day and Labor Day before 11am and after 5pm. Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, dogs are welcome on-leash at anytime. You can even camp at the State Park!
The city beach is free with limited parking. To enter this state park, you’ll either need Michigan’s Recreation Passport, a Non-Resident Daily Pass for $9, or a Non-Resident Annual Pass for $32.
South Harbor Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Rosy Mound Natural Area
This classic Great Lakes dune system has some of the best hiking views in the area and is a relatively short, .7 mile from the parking lot to the Lake Michigan shoreline, yet invigorating trail with 1,000 feet of stairs. There are additional trails to extend your hike or run to a greater length.
We love hiking here, but be aware that it does require a county park pass or a $7 daily fee from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. No dogs.
March 1 through October 15: 7am to 10pm
October 16 through February 28: 7am to 8pm
13925 Lakeshore Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417
This is a large park with lots of parking and fun things to do both in the sun and water and in the shade, making it good as a day spot. There’s a lodge with modern restrooms, picnic shelter, tables and grills, playground, hiking and cross country skiing, horseshoe pit, scenic Lake Michigan views, swimming beach and a dog beach!
This is another county park where motor vehicle parking fees are in effect from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
9791 Lakeshore Drive N
West Olive, MI 49460
PJ Hoffmaster State Park
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park features over three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, a 297-site modern campground, towering Lake Michigan dunes and the Gillette Visitor Center. Gorgeous Lake Michigan views, miles of hiking trails, and the dune climb stairway for a panoramic view of the dunes and Lake Michigan make this park a must-see!
To enter this state park, you’ll either need Michigan’s Recreation Passport, a Non-Resident Daily Pass for $9, or a Non-Resident Annual Pass for $32.
6585 Lake Harbor Rd, Muskegon, MI 49444
Nature Away from the Beach
This 20-acre park is great fun offering 3 shelters, a restroom, 2 volleyball courts, 2 horseshoe pits, a soccer field, a playground, 2,750 feet of trails, swimming, a floating fishing/viewing platform, and some boardwalk.
15600 Comstock St., Grand Haven, MI 49417
This is an awesome wooded park with the beautiful Pigeon River flowing through it. We kayak and run/hike here all the time!
You’ll find a Nature Center, kayak and canoe launch, Hiking trails and cross country ski trails with scenic views, grills and picnic shelters, restrooms and snowshoe rental in the winter.
8115 West Olive Road
West Olive, MI 49460
Hofma Park is a huge wooded and wetland area with many miles of trails, a floating bridge, a shelter, a restroom, a soccer field, a softball field and a playground.
15581 Ferris St, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Duncan Memorial Park, more commonly referred to as “Duncan Woods”, is approximately 40 acres of unspoiled virgin forest between Lake Forest Cemetery and Sheldon Road. This beautiful park has many walking trails among the small hills.
1113 Sheldon Rd; Grand Haven, Michigan 49417
During the summer, this 280+ acre park is fantastic for cross country running, hiking, dog walking, and biking over ten miles of trails that wind through old pine plantations, mature deciduous forests and through bottomland forests along the Pigeon River.
In winter, this park is a winter wonderland with cross country skiing and ski skating, including rentals. Ski trails are groomed, tracked and reset as needed throughout the day. A sledding hill is also provided. Three miles of ski trails and the sledding hill have are illuminated for evening use. The Pigeon Creek Lodge provides ski rental, a food and beverage concession and serves as a warming house. Hiking, dogs, biking, snowshoeing and horseback riding are not allowed on groomed cross country ski trails.
7am to 8pm;
Open until 10pm with hills and trails illuminated during satisfactory snow conditions.
West Olive, MI 49460
Downtown Shopping, Food & Other Activities
Walk the Boardwalk
Okay, so this one technically goes to the beach, but the main activity is walking along the river to the end of the pier! This is a 1.5 mile long stretch of paved path along the Grand River harbor starting with the shops at Chinook Pier. Along the way, you’ll find restaurants, marinas, charter fishing boats, and grassy knolls culminating at the catwalk, pier and lighthouse. The downtown shopping area is just across Harbor Drive from the boardwalk.
Our downtown may be small (the bulk of it being contained in 3 blocks on Washington Ave.), but it sure is fun, charming, relevant, unique, and will please a wide variety of interests! you’ll find clothing stores, candy stores, homewares, galleries, toy stores and more!
Learn How to Make Jewelry at The Creative Fringe (Or just shop our jewelry, beads, and local rocks, including Michigan & Grand Haven things!)
We provide a unique and unforgettable experience right in the heart of downtown. We offer complete beginner jewelry making classes and advanced classes alike. Classes range from $19-$59 and 1.5-4hours, depending on the class. Check out our class descriptions with photos here!
You can even design your own jewelry without a class! Our staff members can put together most simple projects on the spot, so come get creative! We also have a Make and Take Table where you can make simple projects, perfect for kids, starting at $4.99!
If you’d rather just shop, we always have a huge selection of artisan jewelry made by our talented staff for every style. Come explore our charming store filled with jewelry, rock and crystal specimens, beads, jewelry making supplies, and more!
Get a Pronto Pup
These deep-fried dogs are a Grand Haven staple. You’ll almost always encounter a line, but it moves fast and is worth it. Just try one to find out why.
313 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Eat Ice Cream While Watching The Musical Fountain
Our little beach town has a slew of ice cream shops right along the boardwalk and downtown (Pump House pictured above). Scout out your favorite, then have a seat among the rolling grass to enjoy an evening with The Musical Fountain.
The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is a synchronized water and light show accompanied with music of all varieties. Although us locals may take it for granted, it truly is a fun and engaging spectacle! Each 25-minute show features a variety of well-known music and plays daily at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day as well as Fridays and Saturdays in May and September.
Coast Guard Festival
2019 dates: July 26 – August 4
The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival is an annual celebration of all things Coast Guard and Grand Haven’s biggest and most famous event of the year! Parades, a carnival, beer tents with bands, fireworks, a car show, a craft fair & more take over our town for a week! It can get extremely busy, but it’s always a ball!
Get a Craft Beer at Oddside Ales
This expansive bar and coffee shop offer tons of their locally brewed beer on tap along with other adult beverages, amazing coffee beverages, and you can either bring in your own food or order The Toasted Pickle from your bartender there. This place looks fantastic after their 2019 remodel!
Eat a Sandwich
There are plenty to choose from around town, but our absolute favorites are The Toasted Pickle (top picture) and Lucy’s Deli!
112 Washington Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
133 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Eat BBQ, Drink Beer & Watch Live Music at Grand Armory
Grand Armory is another craft brewery right downtown, also containing Aldea coffee and Righteous Cuisine Barbecue. This two floor space is a quiet coffee shop by day and a live music venue by night serving the best BBQ in town.
Watch the Sunset (even from a restaurant)
The sunsets in Grand Haven can be absolutely spectacular and never get old. For the best sunset views while dining, you have the deck of the more affordable Snug Harbor on the river and the much more expensive Noto’s at the Bil-Mar on the beach. Both are a great experience!
Skate Park, Imagination Station and Mulligan’s Hollow
We’ve combined these because they’re all at the Tri-Cities YMCA!
The awesome, all-cement skate park features a view of Lake Michigan, full-sized bowl, quarter pipe, hubba box, box, rails, c-rails, 2 five stairs, and one 7 stair rail.
The imagination is a huge 10,000 square foot playground that provides tons of interactive fun and is handicap accessible!
Mulligan’s Hollow is a giant sand dune and hiking in the summer and a sweet snowboard and ski park by winter! Rope tows forever!
1 Y Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Additional Shopping at Chinook Pier, Centertown and Easttown
At Chinook Pier off the boardwalk, you’ll find gift shops, surf shops, food and more! This is also where charter fishing boats are docked.
Centertown, a shopping area further east on Washington Ave at 7th ave, has a health foods store called the Health Hutt, restaurants, Grand Haven’s best breakfast spot, Morning Star Cafe, and other shops.
In Eastown even further east on Washington Ave, past US 31, you’ll find fresh-pressed juice at Bodhi Tree, an alpaca store, a yoga studio, a meat market and more!
Ride the Trolley
Enjoy a historic narrative tour that starts at Chinook Pier, travels the waterfront and downtown areas and provides a unique trip back in time as you learn the history of Grand Haven.
Each summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day, historic trolley rides are available to residents and visitors alike. The service runs seven days a week from 11am to 10pm with pickup locations at Chinook Pier, Boardwalk, the State Park, The Bookman and Pfaff Pharmacy.
Fares: 60 years and older $ .75
19 – 59 years old $1.50
18 years old & under $ .75
Persons with a disability $ .75
Under 2 years FREE
Go to a Farmers Market
Grand Haven Farmers Market
Just a couple blocks from downtown and right by the river, come find seasonal produce, flowers, plants, baked goods and so much more! Under the green canopy next to Chinook Pier
301 N. Harbor Dr.
Grand Haven , MI 49417
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sweetwater Local Foods Market
If you’d prefer to shop an all organic market, then don’t miss Sweetwater! They’re committed to only selling products made or grown in Michigan using sustainable organic growing practices.
Saturdays 9am -12 noon
6401 Harvey St, Muskegon, Michigan 49444
There’s a trail of amazing antique malls on the lakeshore, with these being just a few to try out!
West Michigan Antique Mall
13279 168th Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 12-6
10300 W Olive Rd, West Olive, MI 49460
Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5
Spring Lake Antique Mall
801 W Savidge St, Spring Lake, MI 49456
Hours: Tue-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5, Monday closed
14599 Cleveland St, Spring Lake, MI 49456
Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5
We hope you have an amazing time in Grand Haven! We’ll leave you with some beautiful photos of Grand Haven in the winter since we love being here year ’round!