A Local's Guide to the Lakeshore
There's are plenty of amazing, fun, and scenic places to visit in West Michigan's Lakeshore - maybe too many!
If you are looking for the best places to go in the Grand Haven area, look no further. Here is our list of hot spots and hidden gems that both locals and visitors love.
Food to go (on the way to or heading home from the beach/park)
Hotspot: Pronto Pup (Grand Haven)
They only do one thing: corn dogs. Don’t be fooled by the long line winding down the block. Service is quick!
Hidden Gem: Righteous Cuisine (Grand Haven)
Righteous Cuisine is not just a fusion food truck that makes every day as exciting as Taco Tuesday. They also have farm-fresh burritos, Mexican, and barbecue at a permanent location at 211 N 7th St, Grand Haven, MI 49417.
Hotspot: Morning Star Cafe (Grand Haven)
This quaint Southwestern-style diner has charmed locals and visitors alike for over 20 years. Get there early if you don’t want to be part of the hungry crowd wrapped around the building.
Hidden Gem: Idle Hour (Spring Lake)
A former bowling alley turned greasy spoon. You’ll find all the American diner classics like pancakes, bacon, french toast, and omelets at unbeatable prices.
Hotspot: The Pump House (Grand Haven)
The Pump House in Grand Haven is the perfect spot for the kid (or kid-at-heart) who wants their sweet treats with all the fixings. With countless topping combos, your build-your-own frozen yogurt or sorbet will be just as unique as you are.
Hidden Gem: Desserts By Design (Grand Haven)
Anything your sweet tooth can dream up, Desserts by Design can do it! Not only do they make delicious cookies, pastries, and every type of cake, they also run a small cafe that is a hidden breakfast gem.
Hotspot: Rosy Mound Natural Area (Grand Haven)
Hiking trails, dunes, and a beautiful beach. What more could you ask for? A few flights of stairs through the forest? You got it.
Hidden Gem: Kitchel-Lindquist-Hartger Dunes Preserve (aka Kitchel Dunes) (Ferrysburg)
With over 100 acres of protected dunes, you will find the purest form of Michigan’s lakefront. Follow any of the four half-mile trails to explore the dunal landscape that is unique to the Mitten State.
Hotspot: Grand Haven City Beach
Find yourself at the center of the beach scene. The sandy lakefront houses plenty of features such as the Instagram-worthy pier, beach volleyball, an RV park, a dog-friendly section, and a nearby beachfront restaurant.
Hidden Gem: Lakeside Beach (Spring Lake)
Lakeside Beach in Spring Lake is the perfect beach getaway for those looking to avoid the city’s tourist crowds. This beach is a no-frills, one-with-nature spot.
Bed + Breakfasts
Hotspot: Harbor House Inn (Grand Haven)
Harbor House Inn has been charming guests for over 30 years with its beautiful downtown Grand Haven location, Michigan Victorian style (pink shutters and all!), and nearby restaurants, shops, and beaches.
Hidden Gem: Khardomah Lodge (Grand Haven)
At Khardomah Lodge, you will find over 140 years of history packed into a rustic yet cozy space. Its location is perfect for those who want to lounge at the beach then make the short trip downtown for shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
Hotspot: Grand Haven Farmers Market (Grand Haven)
The Mitten State is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the country. The Grand Haven Farmers Market showcases delicious produce and handmade goods from local farmers, small businesses, and artisans.
Hidden Gem: Michigan Rag Co. at Marushka (Grand Haven)
Find hand-silk-screened apparel and accessories by Michigan Rag Co. at Marushka, a beloved Grand Haven shop, as well as plenty of retailers across the countries.
Hotspot: Musical Fountain (Grand Haven)
Who needs a Disney-level lights show when you can visit Grand Haven’s Musical Fountain? The Musical Fountain is a free 25-minute synchronized water and light show accompanied by some familiar tunes based on the show’s rotating theme.
Hidden Gem: Tri-City Historical Museum (Grand Haven)
Both locals and visitors will love learning about Northwest Ottawa County’s history at the Tri-City Historical Museum. Exhibits take you as far back as the fur traders in 1821 and cover topics such as various Native American tribes and the area’s role in World War I.
Hotspot: Coast Guard Festival (Grand Haven)
Each summer, Grand Haven honors the people who serve in the United States Coast Guard with one of the state’s biggest festivals of the year, the Coast Guard Festival. Enjoy family-friendly activities, parades, live music, plenty of delicious festival foods, and a fireworks extravaganza on the lakefront.
Hidden Gem: Fruitport Old Fashioned Days (Fruitport)
Each Memorial Day weekend, Fruitport hosts the Old Fashioned Days, a festival full of family fun. It is a weekend jammed pack with live music, 5k and 10k runs, carnival rides, parades, and plenty more.
WHAT TO DO…
With the Kids
Hotspot: Splash Pad (Grand Haven)
Kids can beat the heat this summer at the Grand Haven Splash Pad. The popular warm weather spot features motion sensor-activated fountains that are powered by solar panels.
Hidden Gem: Imagination Station (Grand Haven)
Your little one will be in playground heaven at the Imagination Station in Grand Haven. Built in 1990, the playground provides hours of fun with plenty of fun features that both younger and older kids will love.
With Your Dog
Hotspot: The dog beach on the south end of Grand Haven City Beach (leashed)
The south end of the City Beach is a dog-friendly area where your fur friends can frolic in the sand. Don’t forget your leash, as all dogs must be leashed at all times.
Hidden Gem: Kirk Park (Grand Haven) (off-leash allowed)
Let your pup truly run free at Kirk Park, a Grand Haven beach that permits off-leash dogs in its southernmost area.
Hotspot: The Kirby House (Grand Haven)
Established in 1873, The Kirby House’s old-world charm makes it a warm and friendly place to meet, greet, and eat. Guests will enjoy delicious food ranging from wood-fired-oven pizzas at K2 to prime steaks and chops at The Grill Room. Stay late at the nightclub, Dark Room, for live music, DJs, and dancing that will have you partying into the early morning.
Hidden Gem: Stan’s in Spring Lake
For over 70 years, Stan’s has been Spring Lake’s watering hole that locals can’t get enough of. The fare, like the clientele, is unpretentious and feels like a piece of home.
Did we miss your go-to spot in the Lakeshore? Let us know where we should visit next in the comments!
Treat yourself at The Grill House at The Kirby House, and make a reservation below.