Every summer, since before I was born, my mom and family have been coming to Grand Haven to enjoy the amazing town and perfect camping conditions. My mom and her siblings loved it so much here that when they retired, they all moved here. Now, since I have the summers off and don’t want to deal with the humidity in Nashville, I come here and visit all my family and friends I left behind when I moved. Over the years, this little town has grown so much but at its core, it is still the same small town that our family fell in love with so many years ago.
What To Do In Grand Haven
Go to the Beach
Voted one of the best beaches in Michigan! The sand is so soft to walk on and you don’t have to worry about any salt-water man-eaters. You can park in the state park day lot or the city beach parking lot. If you plan on going on a weekend, make sure you plan on going early to get a parking spot.
The state park recently added cabanas for beachgoers to rent! They are perfect for 2 people so all you need to bring is your towel! They are $10 per hour $30 for 4 hours $50 for 8 hours $20 sunset rate (7pm-sunset)
If cabanas are not your thing, there are plenty of beach rentals including paddle boards, beach chairs,
With so many shops and galleries to explore, you can’t go wrong! The city and shops have done some remodeling but many of the storefronts look the same as 50 years ago! There is a definite small town feel with all the locally owned stores. My favorite store downtown is Fortino’s, the local candy store. While the management has changed, they sell the same candy that they sold when they opened in 1907!
Be sure to check out the free museum right downtown as well!
The Grand Haven Musical Fountain was built in 1962 by private dollars and is still amazing the crowds today. The musical fountain is just as it sounds, a synchronized display of water, lights, and music. When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite summer memories. The musical fountain lasts for 20 minutes and can be seen every summer evening at dusk with special performances during May and September. Be sure to check out their website here for more info and the nightly playlist.
The Harbor Trolley is a narrated tour of the Grand Haven area and operates from 11 am to 10 pm every day from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The pickup locations include Chinook Pier, Boardwalk, the State Park, The Bookman, and Pfaff Pharmacy. Every summer that we camped in the state park, my friends and I would have to ride the trolley. It seemed that it always changed and was a great way for us to get around town if we were too tired to walk. Price for 60 years and older is $ .75, for 19 – 59 years old is $1.50, for 18 years old & under is $ .75, Persons with a disability is $ .75, and children under 2 years are FREE.
There is a variety of fish to catch in the Grand Haven area! If you have a boat, there are several public boat launches for you. Without a boat? Don’t fret because you can catch plenty of fish off the pier!
You could even chart a boat right in the harbor. There are over 40 charter boats registered with seasoned captains who know exactly where to take you, how deep to fish and what bait is producing. The seasoned charter boat captains and their crews can provide everything from licenses to lunch-even clean and ice your catch-so all you have to do is come aboard and enjoy the day.
Where To Stay In Grand Haven
Grand Haven State Park
This 48-acre park is located right on the sandy beach and, in my opinion, the best place to stay in Grand Haven is at the state park. You don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot to go to the beach because you will be right there. You can also walk the boardwalk into town to shop, eat, or enjoy the scenery. There are 174 paved campsites with prices ranging from $21 (rustic), $33 (20/30 amp), $37 (50 amp).
Harbor House Inn
Located across from the channel and a block from downtown, the Harbor House Inn is perfect. It was built in 1987 and is true to the Michigan Victorian style. They have seventeen spacious yet cozy rooms, all with private baths. The living room and adjacent library, both with fireplaces, include a selection of board games, books, and videos. The beautiful large screen porch filled with white wicker is a great place to linger over breakfast. This is the ultimate spot for those who want a relaxing getaway but want to be close to some excitement as well.
If camping is not your thing or you are going to have lots of people joining you, Airbnb is the way to go. There are so many cottage rentals in the Grand Haven area in a wide location and price range. You can many places close to town or even close to the beach!
Where To Eat In Grand Haven
Tip a Few
“Home of the Wet One”, Tip A Few has the best Mexican food in town! They are known for their wet burrito (Meat, beans, lettuce, & cheese wrapped in a tender flour shell topped with our special sauce & grade “A” cheese) but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. I would highly recommend getting their chips and cheese for an appetizer with salsa. The meat burrito is a personal favorite but my family loves the Chimichangas as well.
Pronto Pups has been a staple in Grand Haven for over 60 years. It looks just like a corndog but tastes so much better! Their recipe has never changed, but why would they mess with something so delicious! What makes Pronto Pups so unique is that it is a family-owned eatery.
It is only open seasonally; early May – mid-September. Make sure you have cash on you because they do not accept cards or checks.
Located right on Grand Haven’s channel, Snug Harbor has the best view of the musical fountains and pier in town. With a new, larger patio that can be used 3 seasons of the year, you can’t go wrong at this restaurant. Jelly’s is attached to Snug and you can get their amazing sushi in Snug as well.
The Kirby House
With 3 levels, The Kirby House has everything! The top-level devotes itself to pizzas. There is a game area with pool tables and arcade games as well as an outdoor patio. The main level has the newly renovated island bar as well as booths and table to enjoy their primarily American-influenced menu. The basement level has a club called the Dark Room. This is perfect for those who like the club atmosphere with DJs and dancing. The Kirby House has been open for 25 years and has become a staple in the community.
Nightlife In Grand Haven
Right downtown with a red cottage-esque front. The Pavilion has some of the cheapest drinks in town. They also have either karaoke or a band playing most nights. If it is too crowded inside, there is a small patio out front for you to enjoy.
Grand Armory Brewing
One of two breweries in town, the Armory Building is a 110-year-old historic facility located at 17 S. Second St. in the heart of Grand Haven’s downtown district, just blocks from the waterfront and Lake Michigan’s beaches. They always have 20 taps and offer many styles of ales and lagers, hand-crafted ciders, old-fashioned sodas and wine. You can also get some delicious pulled pork nachos from the Righteous Cuisine located right inside along with coffee or tea from Aldea Coffee.
Odd Side Ales
The second brewery in this little town is located in an old piano factory. Odd Side Ales creates a variety of complex beers, each with its own unique flavor. Whether you’re looking for the perfect IPA or something … just a little different. They have an outdoor patio for you to enjoy in the weather is nice. With board games and darts located inside, you can never be bored!