Grand Haven Michigan: 7 Unexpected (and FREE!) Things to Do

LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN in Grand Haven Michigan! There are so many things to see and do for FREE in Grand Haven MI!

Grand Haven Michigan Map

Here's a map of Grand Haven so you can plan your adventure! 

Chinook Pier

Our adventure began by parking at Chinook Pier Park, the big red dot on the map above. It is located along the east end of N. Harbor Drive. There are significant amounts of FREE paved parking spaces so we jumped on it!! We were there early so parking wasn't a problem.

The park offers picnic tables to relax and enjoy the gorgeous day while watching boats motor along the river. 

Restrooms are located right next to the parking area and it's a great location to access the paved accessible walking path along the river.  

Even if you wish to just relax and sit on the colorful benches for a while, it will rejuvenate your mind and soul!

Pere Marquette #1223 Locomotive

Be sure to check out the Pere Marquette train, it's right in Chinook Pier Park!  It's rich in history, plus it's cool!  The train is for viewing from behind a barrier only, so you cannot board the train.

In case you are unable to read the text on the sign below, it states, "This proud train and train yard are reminders of the railroad that was once so important to downtown Grand Haven. 

This locomotive, #1223, was built for the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1941 for freight transport between cities throughout lower Michigan and nearby states.  Its immense strength was measured in 3,000 horsepower that could pull a mile-long train at 50 miles per hour.  The nearby coaling tower loaded locomotives with fuel.  After being retired in 1951, this locomotive was displayed at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit until its move to Grand Haven in 1961."

"Down On The Funky Farm"

SO, I have a thing for murals...the crazier the better. I can't resist photographing them.  One day I will make a web page just for awesome murals and street art!!  This one is painted on three sides of a three story building located right across the street from Chinook Pier Park.  It's super fun to photograph.

Grand Haven Michigan Boardwalk

Just like murals, I'm a sucker for boardwalks along a river.  We left our car at the park and continued west along the paved boardwalk.

This accessible path is very pretty as you meander along the river.  Be sure and grab a bowl of the Dairy Creme's famous Boardwalk Turtle Sundae and enjoy it under their colorful umbrellas! Or indulge in a handmade waffle cone filled with your favorite ice cream as you stroll along the walk.  

Grand Haven Musical Fountain

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is a synchronized water and light show accompanied with music of all varieties. Each show lasts about twenty minutes and features different music themes.  A different show plays daily at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day as well as Fridays and Saturdays in May and September.

Built in 1962, it is the world’s largest musical fountain of it’s kind and was the world’s largest fountain until The Fountains of Bellagio opened at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.

The show takes place atop Dewey Hill and is best viewed from Waterfront Stadium. However, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain can be easily experienced from most of the Grand Haven Boardwalk. The audio is also broadcast on 88.7 FM if you wish to watch from your vehicle.

Click here for the nightly show schedule.

Downtown Grand Haven Michigan

We were getting a little hungry so we turned down Washington Avenue, which is the main street of downtown Grand Haven MI.  The Kirby House marks the beginning of the downtown and is highly recommended by friends.  

We planned to eat there but was drawn in by the colorful green storefront of The Toasted Pickle. This quaint restaurant was friendly and offered great food with....pickles!!! WIN WIN!

Another Mural!!

This fun mural was located on a brick building on Columbus Ave.  We discovered it while wandering around the downtown area.  FUN!

Grand Haven State Park

We walked back to our vehicle after lunch and headed to the Grand Haven State Park.  It was about 2 miles from Chinook Park so we decided to drive.  You will need a State Park pass to enter.  There is also limited free parking along the road. 

The park offers great camping and a fantastic beach. The pier is also a great place to walk and enjoy your day. 

Grand Haven Mi Michigan

Check out this super cute Michigan Children's Book, "Waverly May and the Monsters of Lake Michigan!"  

This Michigan themed book is written by Michigan authors and is based on a trip to Hoffmaster State Park!

More Cool Stuff!

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