Another week, another fun Lake Michigan Beach Town Tour! This week, we are taking you to Grand Haven, Michigan. Grand Haven is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and is one of the most popular destinations for West Michigan residents because of its sandy beaches. The city is dotted with microbreweries, amazing water-front dining, a walkable shopping district, a historical lighthouse, beaches as far as the eye can see, and so much more!
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Lake Michigan Beach Town Tour: Grand Haven
Lake Michigan Beaches
Grand Haven boasts some of the prettiest beaches I’ve seen. Rolling dunes give way to soft, sandy beaches, which lead up to Lake Michigan. In Grand Haven, you’re never more than a few minutes away from the beach.
- The State Park. This is “the main draw” for Grand Haven Beaches. The State Park offers a campground and lots of (paid) parking. It is located just south of the pier, so be sure to walk it to get a close up view of the Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner Light (the iconic red lighthouse, built in 1839).
- The City Beach. Just south of the State Park, you’ll find the City Beach. Parking is limited, but free, and there are public bathrooms.
- PJ Hoffmaster State Park. This is technically Muskegon, but very close to Grand Haven, and worth the visit if you have time. Here, you will find miles of trails and rolling dunes. There is a campground and paid parking available, as well as a picnic area. In the winter, it is a popular cross country skiing destination.
- North Beach Park. This park is small but mighty! Visitors enjoy swimming and sunbathing on Lake Michigan shoreline. There are bathrooms, a picnic area, volleyball courts, and a playground! Parking is paid, and the lot does fill up on hot weekends. Be sure to climb the wooden stairway to the top of a dune for an unrivaled view of Lake Michigan.
The Lighthouse is definitely a must for a photo-op! You can see it from the beach, by boat, or walk the channel to view it. In wintertime, the bold, red lighthouse stands out in the snow/frozen lake. You can read more about this historic lighthouse that helped give Grand Haven the nickname of Coast Guard City here.
Aside from enjoying the beach and lakeshore during the day, the sunsets in Grand Haven are unreal, and each is so spectacularly different! If you’re in town only for a day trip, I encourage you to make it a late one, so you can catch the sunset before heading out!
Most people head to Grand Haven for a taste of the outdoors, but the shopping is amazing, and there is a wide variety of shops. From downtown to the shop-lined boardwalk runs along the harbor to Grand Haven State Park beach and the south pier, the shopping district is kid and dog-friendly, and easily walkable, with lots of free parking in lots and on the street!
Treats & Sweets
Krissy’s Kandies is an old-fashioned candy shop packed with goodies. I always stop in for salt water taffy and fudge – yum!
Sweet Temptations won’t disappoint! Here, you can find triple-dipped candy apples, chocolates, and so much more. Stop in for a taste or a smell!
Clothes & More
Barefoot Dave’s is a must-stop. If you wanted a souvenir t-shirt, this is the place to go. Be sure to stop and introduce yourself to Dave 😉
Glik’s is another fave! You’ll likely find a Glik’s while shopping in a Lake Michigan Beach Town. They carry beachy/lifestyle brands like: Birkenstock, Billabong, Free People, Hydro Flask, The North Face, Sorel, and more!
I love checking out Lee & Birch while visiting Grand Haven, too!
MACkite is a local favorite. You basically have 3 stores in 1. It is sectioned into 3 parts: Let’s Play, Let’s Ride, and Let’s Bike. The Let’s Play section is an adorable toy store with fun toys, games, and puzzles. The rest of MACkite caters to biking (and electric biking) as well as everything you need to kiteboard!
Pink Lemonade is always a fun stop. They carry clothes and accessories for kids, as well as home decor and gifts. I love seeing the party decor and little odds and ends, and never leave empty-handed!
Grand Haven Beach Company is a unique specialty beach shop that carries beachy apparel and gear, gifts, and decor!
Drinks & Dining
You won’t go hungry or thirsty in Grand Haven! There are SO many fun spots to eat, from fine dining to amazing street food. Here are a few of our favorites:
Odd Side Ales
With 27 beers on tap, you’re sure to find a new favorite here! The best part? Odd Side offers hard seltzers, that are so good. Another unique offering here is that you can order dinner from a handful of local restaurants, and have it delivered right to your table in the Odd Side Taproom! So neat, right?
Old Boys’ Brewhouse
Old Boys’ is technically in Spring Lake, but it’s a short drive over the drawbridge and SO FREAKING WORTH IT. Located on the channel, Old Boys’ offers indoor and outdoor seating.
You can check out the brewery, and enjoy a bite to eat. This is one of my favorite stops when we are in Grand Haven, and there is something for everyone: pizza, burgers, seafood, steaks, and they are very kid-friendly! You’ll be sure to love the dog decor, too. Be sure to check here for info on their brews!
Kirby House is always a fun time! There are a few restaurant options here: American Grill, Pizzeria, Steakhouse, and even a nightclub. I always anticipate a bit of wait here, as far as being seated and getting your order. So if you’re on a time crunch, I would skip Kirby, but its worth if if you have some free time, and want to kick back and relax!
The first floor is more of a casual/pub feel. It’s perfect for lunch – you can grab a burger and fries in a casual atmosphere. The ahi tuna and the Thai chicken lettuce wraps are my favorite. There is a big bar as well as a band space/dance floor. In The Grill Room, you will find a more upscale dining experience.
Located on the second floor, you will find K2 Pizzeria! Pro tip: bypass the hostess and head right upstairs. K2 is beachside dining meets sports bar vibe. It offers amazing views, and outdoor deck seating in the summer.
Snug Harbor + Jelly’s
Snug Harbor is located on the channel, and offers great seafood with a great view! Head upstairs and grab sushi at Jelly’s. There is a great deck space, and you can watch boats come and go, while enjoying a drink or the salmon dip – yum!
If you’re in the mood for pizza, I cannot recommend Fricano’s enough! This is the best thin-crust pizza I’ve ever had. Fricano’s pizza is only available as a 12″ thin crust pizza… but when it’s THAT good, what else do you even need?
Have you visited Grand Haven? You can catch a post from a few years ago here, when we took a family vacation to Grand Haven for some more personal photos, and don’t miss my Lake Michigan Beach Town Tour of Holland, MI!