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Grand Haven MI Travel Guide (UPDATED 2022)

Vacation in Grand Haven

Ask anyone who has spent a summer vacation in Grand Haven and they’ll agree: memories are made here in the west Michigan beach town. With two popular Lake Michigan beaches set along the downtown shore and miles more both north and south, it’s one of the best Lake Michigan beach towns around.

This rollicking beach town is packed with opportunities for outdoor activities for all ages, and the picturesque lighthouses simply add to the beach mood.

Use our guide to Michigan’s favorite beach town and plan your Grand Haven vacation now.

grand haven lighthouse

Visit Grand Haven…

Located in Ottawa County, not far from Grand Rapids, Holland and South Haven, this is the perfect beach vacation destination. If you’re looking for a day trip idea or a planning a longer vacation, you’ll find lots to do here.

in addition to the natural beauty of its sandy coastline, Grand Haven has even more: a quaint and walkable downtown shopping and dining area; biking trails galore, historic sites and a historical museum. You’ll even find musical fountain and a city trolley to take you to the charming town of Spring Lake.

Read on to discover more about this perfect beach vacation destination.

grand haven

Grand Haven is Known For…

Grand Haven is known as Coast Guard City, USA for its embrace of boating, fishing and all types of maritime life

Enormous and sandy public beaches; the beachfront camping at Grand Haven State Park is prime camping real estate

Rosy Mound Natural Area, over 160 acres of Lake Michigan dunes and shoreline. Hiking trails, a dune boardwalk trail and Lake Michigan overlook are favorite destinations at this spot. Rosy Mound Natural Area is part of the Ottawa County Parks system, a permit – which can be purchased onsite – is necessary to visit the park.

Water and colorful, dancing lights are synchronized in a nightly display during the summer months at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain; be sure to a show is you visit the area

Grand Haven Weather

The weather here area is typical Michigan: cold and snowy in the winter and delightfully warm in the summer.

Expect temperatures to range from 70 F to 80 F during the day from June-September. During the summer months, mornings and evenings may be cooler; typically lower 70 – 60 F.

grand haven sunset

Lake Michigan Sunsets

It’s a must for any travelers to the Lake Michigan coastline: watching as the brilliant sun sinks into the lake, surrounded by the natural beauty of the dunescape that is southwest Michigan.

It is truly memory-making, so grab a towel or blanket and head for the beach in the early evenings and enjoy.

Best Beaches in Grand Haven

In addition to the Michigan State Parks, there are many public access beaches dotting the shoreline. These beaches are some of the best in Michigan, with a wide variety from which to choose.

Grand Haven City Beach

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Concessions, Dog Friendly – check time restrictions

Grand Haven State Park

Beach, Swimming, ADA Accessible, SAND Wheelchairs, Restrooms, Playground, Pier, Lighthouse, Camping, Fishing, Volleyball

Kirk Park

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Dog Beach, Picnic Shelter, Lodge, Picnic Tables, Grills, Playground, Hiking, Horseshoe Pit

North Park Beach

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Accessible Beach Wheelchair Available, Wheelchair Accessible Beach Walk, Dune Overlook Deck, Volleyball Court, Playground, Picnic Tables, Grills, Wooden Dune Stairway

Olive Shores Beach

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Barrier-free Trail Loop, ADA Accessible Walk to Beach, Stairs to Beach, Dunes

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, ADA Accessible, Camping, Hiking, Dunes, Grills, Picnic tables, Picnic shelter, Volleyball

ADA accessible beaches in traverse city

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Grand Haven

Both Grand Haven offers excellent accessibility to the Lake Michigan shoreline for users of wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Both Michigan State Parks have beach wheelchairs available on a first come, first serve basis; please inquire at the park office.

Grand Haven State Park
Grand Haven Beach Wheelchair

Located on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, Grand Haven State Park offers an accessible playground, fishing pier, beach houses, picnic shelters, and specially equipped sand wheelchairs that are available for use on a first-come-first-serve basis.

dog friendly beaches in michigan

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Grand Haven

Kirk Park
Dogs Allowed on Beach OCTOBER 1 TO MAY 1
616-646-8117

North Beach Park
Dogs Allowed on Beach OCTOBER 1 TO MAY 1
616-646-8117

Grand Haven City Beach
Leashed Dogs Allowed Anytime South of Southerly Buoy
616-842-3210

grand haven

Things to do in Grand Haven

Grand Haven Pier
A walk along the South Pier is a must for visitors to the area. The resurfaced pier leads to the iconic South Pierhead Inner Light and is smooth and easily accessible for all.

The Boardwalk
Start with the boardwalk, dotted with beautifully appointed parks, tiny boutiques and comfortable, clean benches to sit watch as boats come slowly into harbor from Lake Michigan. Walk along the pier that juts out into the lake that features not one but TWO lighthouses dating back more than 150 years.

Ride the Trolley
The Grand Haven transit offers historic trolley rides are available to residents and visitors each summer from Memorial Day thru Labor Day. Enjoy an historic narrative tour that starts at Chinook Pier, travels the waterfront, the downtown and east town areas providing a look back in time.

Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival
Grand Haven IS “Coast Guard City, USA,” a monniker that started when the city began hosting rowing competitions for service members stationed there in 1924. The tradition of honoring the Coast Guard grew, and attendance for the festival currently numbers 350,000. The celebration features a wide variety of fun activities for all ages, including a carnival, a boat race, a flea market, a car show and much more!

Olive Shores
Beautiful barrier-free trail loop around a 20-acre site that includes a mature beech-maple-hemlock forest. Barrier free facilities include parking lot, restrooms, and picnic tables. Some trails are wheelchair accessible and all stairs are designed to be ADA accessible.