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Beaches, Trails, Parks, Attractions, and More in Grand Haven, Michigan

One of West Michigan's most popular summertime destinations, Grand Haven's relaxing waterfront parks are connected by a boardwalk that winds along the Grand River to Lake Michigan, ending at Grand Haven State Park and Grand Haven's South Pier. Downtown restaurants and shops are within walking distance of the city's beautiful waterfront and beaches.

Grand Haven State Park

Attracting swimmers, splashers, and sunbathers from all over, Grand Haven State Park's sandy swimming beach stretches a half-mile on Lake Michigan and offers a scenic view of Grand Haven South Pier and Pierhead Inner Lighthouses. The park's campground welcomes campers for days and weeks and features a picnic area and playground. Grand Haven State Park's large beach house has changing facilities and restrooms and is located close to the day-use parking lot, which can fill up on summer weekends. A vehicle entry pass will be required for admission and can be purchased when entering the park. See the DNR's web site for campground reservation information.

Area Parks

In addition to Grand Haven State Park, the Grand Haven area features several nice waterfront parks and recreation areas.
  • Bicentennial Park is the perfect place for casual summer days, relaxing near the waterfront. The park's large grassy hill is used for picnics and general laziness. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs, pick a spot on the hill, and then spend a relaxing day reading a book, watching the boats, or just enjoy a beautiful sunny day near the Grand River. Bicentennial Park is a short walk from downtown shops and restaurants and is the perfect spot to watch Grand Haven's musical fountain at night. Grand Haven's Waterfront Stadium is located at Bicentennial Park.

  • Grand Haven City Beach is adjacent to the state park. Limited parking is available along the side of the street. If you don't park at the state park, other parking is available along Harbor Drive and in downtown Grand Haven. You can use Grand Haven's boardwalk to walk, jog, or bike to the beach.

  • Escanaba Park is named for the USCGC Escanaba, which was the first coast guard cutter to call Grand Haven home. A memorial at the park honors the men who served aboard the Coast Guard vessel. USCGC Escanaba escorted Allied convoys in the North Atlantic during World War II and was sunk by a torpedo on June 13, 1943.

  • Chinook Pier is north of Bicentennial Park and is next to Grand Haven's marina. The park has a picnic area and is home to the Grand Haven Farmer's Market and the historic Pere Marquette train engine.

  • Near Harbor Drive, Mulligan's Hollow offers lots of recreational facilities, including a large skate park off Y Drive, a soccer field, baseball diamond, sledding hill, and basketball court. A large wooden playscape and picnic area are located near the back of the park. Tri-Cities Family YMCA is located near the park entrance on Sherman Street.

  • For a spectacular view of Grand Haven, Five Mile Hill's overlook is worth a visit. Parking is limited, and if you decide to park your car and walk to the beach, you'll most likely not find your car there when you return since they'll tow cars that are parked for too long at the park.

  • Central Park is located near Grand Haven's library and community center and features a World War I memorial that dates back to 1920, flower gardens, shade trees and picnic areas.

  • On the east side of town, Sluka Field has a well-maintained baseball diamond and a large playground.

  • Pottawatomie Park in Grand Haven Township on Comstock Street began hosting a summer concert series in 2010, hosting local musicians on Wednesday nights from mid-June to early August.

Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve

On the Ferrysburg side of the Grand River, Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve is a quiet park with picnic shelter and a lengthy hiking trail over rolling sand dunes and through wooded areas. The trail is mostly loose sand, except in the wooded areas. Several of the larger hills along the trail offer a challenging hike.

Grand Haven Boardwalk

Grand Haven's Boardwalk is a wide trail used for walking, jogging, rollerblading, and biking along the waterfront area to Grand Haven State Park and Grand Haven's lighthouse. The trail is very scenic and can be very busy during the summer, especially on weekends.

Cyclists who use the boardwalk should be courteous, travel on the right, and pass on the left. The rules of the boardwalk also instruct cyclists to warn others before passing and give pedestrians the right of way.

The boardwalk starts near Chinook Pier, goes past Grand Haven Municipal Marina to Bicentennial Park, winds along Harbor Drive and through Escanaba Park. In Lighthouse Connector Park, the Grand Haven Boardwalk splits with one section leading to the lighthouse and the other section going to the entrance of Grand Haven State Park.

Grand Haven Trails

Grand Haven Trail System includes paved trails, a boardwalk Grand Haven's trail system includes paved trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and the waterfront boardwalk. The waterfront area is very beautiful, but can often be congested. If you prefer a quieter route, the paved trail along Mercury Drive to 144th Avenue is a good choice or the trails along Comstock Street or Robbins Road. See the maps page for detailed routes for the Grand Haven Trail System.

Grand Haven is easily accessible by bike using trails from Ferrysburg, Spring Lake, and Holland.

More About Grand Haven

Grand Haven is a popular summertime destination, attracting boaters and beach-goers from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Restaurants, pubs, and shops can be found in downtown Grand Haven. On most weekends, you can hear local music at the Rosebud Bar & Grill or Snug Harbor.

Grand Haven has earned the distinction of "Coast Guard City USA," and the Coast Guard has been an important part of the community since 1932. Each summer, Grand Haven hosts the annual Coast Guard Festival, a week-long celebration with boat tours, rides, music, food, and fireworks.

Grand Haven South Pier and Pierhead Inner Lighthouses are located at the entrance of the Grand River. The lighthouses are the most recognizable landmarks in Grand Haven, and thousands of visitors walk past the lighthouses to the end of Grand Haven's South Pier every summer. The red tower in the middle of South Pier was built in 1905. The foghorn house at the end of the pier was built in 1875 and put in its current location in 1922 when the concrete pier head was rebuilt. The catwalk lights located down the center of South Pier give the harbor entrance a distinctive look when the sun goes down.

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