Top Things to Do in West Michigan Beach Towns (Near Grand Rapids)

If you are looking for a great beach destination in the Midwest, West Michigan is a wonderful option.

With so many charming communities along Lake Michigan, your hardest decision will be narrowing down your options for a family getaway. 

These beach towns in West Michigan are 1 hour or less from Grand Rapids, Michigan and each one has its own personality and vibe.

You can make it a day trip or extend your visit.

beach in South Haven Michigan

South Haven, Michigan

Great Beaches in South Haven

tallship in South Haven Michigan

Unique Things to Do in South Haven

Visit the Michigan Maritime Museum

260 Dyckman Ave, South Haven, MI 

Learn more about Michigan’s maritime history and Lake Michigan at of Michigan Maritime Museum. The museum also offers several unique on-water tours that are fun for all ages. 

Take a Tallship Cruise

During a sail on “The Friends Good Will” replica 1810 tall ship, guests learn more about the history of commerce in the early 1800s and the role of the ship during the War of 1812.

Take a cruise on the Lindy Lou (a replica of a Truscott Fantail river launch.)

Sherman Dairy Bar Ice Cream in South Haven

Local Ice Cream in South Haven

Sherman Dairy Bar Ice Cream – 1601 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 

Lodging in South Haven, Michigan

Save on hotels and vacation rentals in South Haven, Michigan here.

sunset in Saugatuck Michigan

Saugatuck, Michigan

Great Beaches in Saugatuck

Oval Beach – 690 Perryman St, Saugatuck, MI

Oval Beach has been voted “Top 25 Beaches in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler and “Top Freshwater Beach in the US” by National Geographic Traveler.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park – 6575 138th Ave., Saugatuck, MI  Saugatuck Dunes State Park is another great stop with 2.5 miles of shoreline and 1,000 acres of land to hike and explore.

West Side County Park – 2152 Lakeshore Dr., Fennville, MI 

Douglas Beach – 3099 Lakeshore Dr, Douglas, MI 

Pier Cove Beach – 2290 Lakeshore Dr, Fennville, MI

Dune ride in Saugatuck Michigan

Unique Things to Do in Saugatuck

There are lots of great shops in the Saugatuck area ranging from artisan, eclectic, boutiques, and traditional touristy shops. 

Saugatuck Dune Rides

6495 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck, MI 

Fun for all ages, a dune ride is a one-of-a-kind experience with ups and downs like a roller coaster in the sand.

Sunset Cruise with Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises

716 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 

Enjoy “golden hour” on a 90-minute cruise that takes you on both Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River. 

Take a Ride on the Saugatuck Chain Ferry

528 Water St, Saugatuck, MI

“Diane,” The Saugatuck Chain Ferry is the only remaining hand-cranked chain ferry of its kind remaining in the United States.  The Saugatuck Chain Ferry is hand trained by train operators and guided across the Kalamazoo River by a chain that is connected to both sides.  

Charlie's Round the Corner ice cream Saugatuck Michigan

Local Ice Cream in Saugatuck

‘Round the Corner Ice Cream -132 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 

This is a great Ice cream shop with super large portions!

Dairy Dayz6471 Washington Ave., Saugatuck, MI

Lodging in Saugatuck, Michigan

You can save on hotels and vacation rentals in Saugatuck, Michigan here.

Holland State Park

Things to Do in Holland, Michigan

Great Beaches in Holland

Windmill Islands Garden

Unique Things to Do in Holland

Check out these Dutch themed Attractions in Holland

DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory – 12755 Quincy St, Holland, MI 

Watch wood shoe carving on machines, shop for authentic Dutch souvenirs, and watch artists hand paint authentic blue and white delftware.

Nelis’ Dutch Village – 12350 James St, Holland, MI

Celebrate and learn about Dutch culture at this family-friendly destination with lots of outdoor attractions that younger kids will love. 

Windmill Island Gardens – 1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI

Great Ice Cream Stops in Holland

Lodging in Holland, Michigan

You can save on hotels and vacation rentals in Holland, Michigan here.

Grand Haven State Park in Michigan

Things to Do in Grand Haven, Michigan

Great Beaches in Grand Haven

  • Grand Haven State Park- 1001 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI. A very popular park where you can walk the pier. If you need an additional parking option try the YMCA parking lot nearby.
  • North Beach Park– 18775 North Shore Drive, Ferrysburg, MI. A smaller beach that’s typically less crowded.
  • Rosy Mound Natural Area – 13925 Lakeshore Ave, Grand Haven, MI. A beautiful hike through the woods to the beach with lots of stairs.

Unique Things to Do in Grand Haven

Watch the Grand Haven Musical Fountains– Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium, 1 N Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is a 25-minute show with synchronized water and light show accompanied by popular music from a variety of styles.

You can see the Grand Haven Musical Fountain at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day along with Fridays and Saturdays in May and September.

Take Kiteboarding lessons at MACkite Boardsports Center

Kiteboarding is an extreme sport that combines wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics.

Go Stand Up Paddleboarding

Enjoy a relaxing pace as you paddle on the lake or if the waves increase, you can try turning your paddleboard into a surfboard.

Sun Sports Rentals

301 N Harbor Dr #A-1, Grand Haven, MI

Take a Ride on the Lakeshore Transit – (Runs the day after Memorial Day – Labor Day weekend)

Great Ice Cream Shops in Grand Haven

Iconic Food Stand

Pronto Pup – 313 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI (deep-fried hot dog with pancake batter or flour instead of cornbread)

Lodging in Grand Haven, Michigan

You can save on hotels and vacation rentals in Grand Haven, Michigan here.

submarine in Muskegon

Muskegon, Michigan

Great Beaches in Muskegon

40 minutes- 1 hr+

luge in the summer

Unique Things to Do in Muskegon

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex – 462 N Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI 

Zipline, experience the only summer wheel luge track of its kind in North America, archery, and trail quest.  

Michigan’s Adventure – 4750 Whitehall Rd, Muskegon, MI 

Experience Michigan’s Largest Amusement Park and Water Park at Michigan’s Adventure for the price of 1. 

*Find the lowest prices on tickets to Michigan’s Adventure here and save on 2-day admission.

USS Silverside Submarine Museum – 1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, MI

Learn about the history of SS-236 USS Silversides Submarine, one of the most highly-decorated Gato-class submarines of World War II at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum

Sleep in a submarine at USS Silversides Submarine Museum

An unforgettable overnight adventure!  Gain a new appreciation for servicemen and women after the overnight encampment sleeping in a submarine. 

Learn how to kiteboard at the MACshack Kiteboarding School

1801 Beach St, Muskegon, MI

Local Ice Cream in Muskegon 

Lodging in Muskegon, Michigan

You can save on hotels and vacation rentals in Muskegon, Michigan here.

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Top Things to Do in West Michigan Beach Towns

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