Visit Grand Haven Michigan: Best Things to Do This Summer!  You Will Love the State Park, Pere Marquette Train, Musical Fountain, Scenic Pier and Sandy Beaches

Grand Haven Michigan | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN in Grand Haven MI! There are so many things to do and see including the Grand Haven State Park, Grand Haven beach, city of Grand Haven, our favorite restaurants and fun things to do.

Grand Haven Michigan Map

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

Is Grand Haven MI safe?  We feel Grand Haven is a great family town. It is safe to shop, dine and explore. We love going to the beach but don't leave our items unattended.  As with any city, it's best to always pay attention and be aware of your surroundings.

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!

Grand Haven State Park and Grand Haven MI Beach

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  Michigan State Park pass to enter.  There is also limited free parking along the road. 

The Grand Haven State Park beach is absolutely fantastic. The sand is soft so it's perfect for walking along the beach or taking in some sun.

The pier is also a great place to walk and enjoy your day. The Grand Haven State Park also offers great camping.  

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"

Grand Haven Funky MuralGrand Haven Funky Mural

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 Coast Guard Festival

Come on out to Grand Haven to honor the men and women of the United States Coast Guard during the super fun Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival! Ship tours, concerts, kids events, carnival, food, music and so much more!

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.  

How long is the Grand Haven Boardwalk?  The Grand Haven Boardwalk is 3 miles long and is such a scenic paved trail!  

The boardwalk passes several restaurants and this cute ice cream parlor!  Just sayin'!

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 City of 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!

The city of Grand Haven offers lots of shopping opportunities also (clothing stores and gift shops), especially along Washington Avenue. 

Another Mural!!

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

Best Grand Haven MI Hotels

Looking Glass Beachfront Inn - This lovely Inn is located right on Lake Michigan so you will have incredible views during your stay. Well appointed and centrally located, this Inn is a romantic destination. 

Harbor House Inn - We can't say enough good things about this inn!  The long front porch, beautiful flowers, water views and well appointed rooms makes this inn a fantastic choice. 

Holiday Inn Grand Haven - The rooms at the Holiday Inn Grand Haven are spacious and you will love their indoor AND outdoor pools! The inn is located along the marina so you can talk a walk in the evenings along the water.

Pin This Grand Haven Michigan Page!

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!

Want to go on a West Michigan Road Trip?

Check out our Michigan road trip from Grand Haven to Muskegon to Ludington!

Have A Great Story About Grand Haven or a Question?

Do you have a great story about this? Share it! We are also happy to help!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Is Grand Haven MI safe? Not rated yet
Just wondered since we are hoping to visit this summer. Answer Hi Jen! Whenever we are at Grand Haven we feel safe, but with any town, it's …

What is there to do in Grand Haven today? Not rated yet
What is there to do in Grand Haven? We have 4 kids so we will like free activities. I appreciate any help you can offer or tips. Answer Hi Meredith! …

What is Grand Haven Michigan known for? Not rated yet
We plan to visit Grand Haven this summer and hope to see what they are known for. Any tips would be appreciated. Answer Hi Kayla! Grand Haven …

How much does it cost to get into Grand Haven State Park? Not rated yet
How much does it cost to get in to the Grand Haven state park? We want to visit and wondered the fees. We are out of state. Thank you! Answer …

How long is the Grand Haven Boardwalk? Not rated yet
We wondered how long the boardwalk was in Grand Haven. Thank you! Answer Hi Tonya! Thanks for messaging us! The Grand Haven boardwalk is 3 …

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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