I hope you all had a great 4th of July. I worked in the morning at my new job then came home and had some hamburgers, shrimp, chips, fruit, potatoes, etc. Lots of food! We launched some fireworks off the lake, which was so cool. I had never done that before. The ash fell over me. I was that close to them. Overall, it was a very chill and fun day. Today, I have a travel guide. I have been to Grand Haven many times in my life, so I thought, why not do a travel guide?! Everyone needs to visit Coast Guard City at least once in their lifetime.
Where I Stay
I usually stay at the Best Western Beacon Inn. You can get a room inside the hotel, or a room on the exterior of the hotel with access to the courtyard or a room in a separate building. The separate building is to the side of the hotel and is older, so those rooms are usually cheaper than staying in the actual hotel. I usually stay on the exterior of the hotel then your car is parked right outside your door. You can easily walk to the pool and breakfast from the courtyard, and it typically is a lot quieter than staying in the actual hotel. There is free breakfast every morning, a pool, a hot tub and an exercise room. This hotel is just a 5-minute drive from the beach.
Other Places To Stay
Looking Glass Beachfront Inn- This is Grand Haven's only Bed & Breakfast on Lake Michigan. It sits on top of a Michigan Dune with only 5 rooms. Perched 79 steps up from the street offering breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. A 1 mile walk from downtown Grand Haven. You have to stay at least 2 nights here though and these rooms are pricy. At over $400 a night. No pool or exercise room. Free breakfast every morning at 9a.m.
Baymont by Wyndham- Another great hotel option. What makes this hotel unique from the other ones is that it is pet friendly, so if you want to bring your cat or dog with you, you can. There is also free breakfast, a pool, a hot tub and an exercise room. This hotel is right across the street from the Best Western Beacon Inn, so same 5-minute drive to the beach.
What To Do
Go To The Beach- Duh! You are never more than a few minutes away from miles of accessible soft-sand shoreline and rolling dunes in the Grand Haven Area. The water is always fresh and free of aquatic man-eaters. The spots for blanket picnics and sunset interludes are stellar. I have spent so many of my birthdays here because I am a summer baby and I just love playing in the sand and the water. There are also volleyball nets to play volleyball, swings and a slide on the beach.
Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner Light- Established in 1839, two lights on the south pier, both painted red, are connected by a lighted catwalk that also connects them to the shore and the Grand Haven Boardwalk. The inner light is cylindrical, and the fog house outer light stands on a huge concrete foundation. Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk that borders the Grand River channel and the pier. The Grand Haven lighthouses are one of the most photographed lighthouses in the Midwest. The Grand Haven pier is also a great spot for fishing and catching the sunset.
Explore The Boardwalk- 1.5-mile-long stretch of paved path along the Grand River harbor starting with the shops at Chinook Pier. Along the way restaurants, marinas, charter fishing boats, and parks culminating at the catwalk, pier and lighthouse. The Boardwalk conveniently intersects with the downtown shops and restaurants. While it’s a great place for a brisk walk, there are plenty of grassy knolls and benches for idlers who prefer people and boat watching
Robot Mural- Painted on a brick building on Columbus Avenue in Grand Haven. Check it out for a cute photo op.
Musical Fountain- Built in 1962, it is the world's largest musical fountain of its kind. The Musical Fountain is a synchronized water and light show accompanied with music of all varieties. Each 20-minute show features a unique theme. A different show plays at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Chinook Pier Mini Golf- I have played this mini golf many times, and it is a lot of fun. I have found it is best to play it when it is not too hot out. Otherwise, you are just standing in the heat waiting for the people ahead of you to finish taking their turn and that gets annoying. There is a variety of 18 Grand Haven themed holes.
Kids 10 & Under: $2
Senior Citizens: $2
Where To Eat
Mr Kozak's Gyros- The best gyro's I have ever had. You have to come here when you are in Grand Haven. Get the gyro plate. Then you will have the fries and salad you can put on your gyro if you would like. Their prices have doubled in the last couple years; however, everyone must try it at least once. You can also order hot dogs, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, Greek salads, burgers and so on.
Snug Harbor- Since 1989, Snug Harbor has been suited along the Grand River overlooking Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven Pier. A staple to downtown Grand Haven. I went here for my 24th birthday and the views were amazing, and the food was so delicious. They have a good variety of salads, sandwiches, seafood, sushi, etc. Pictured are the calamari and I got a chicken sandwich with fries.
Porto Bello- I have also been here many times. Located in the historic Piano Factory building in downtown. The ultimate Italian restaurant. They specialize in pizza, pasta, salad and chicken. This restaurant will leave you stuffed.
Odd Side Side Bar- Right on the corner of Washington Avenue and First Street. Located right across the street from Mr Kozak's Gyros. If you are looking for a coffee shop or a grab and go snack, this is the place. They have fresh roasted coffee, espresso, signature lattes, fresh fruit smoothies, delicious gourmet hot chocolate drinks and much more.
Temptations- The best homemade ice cream. You need to come here for dessert or after a long day relaxing day on the beach. Every ice cream is produced in small batches with select ingredients delicately swirled in by hand. Over 30 flavors to try.
I wanted to share some events Grand Haven does throughout the year that I love attending.
Coast Guard Festival- The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival is an annual celebration of all things Coast Guard. A nationally recognized festival that honors and respects the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. Parades, memorials, picnics, carnival rides, fireworks, car show, craft fair and so much more. The downtown stretch of Washington Street is home to the carnival while the waterfront is dotted with lots of tasty food treats. There is a firework show on the very last day, Saturday August 6th. This is a free event.
July 29 - August 6, 2022
Sand Sculpture Beach Contest- The Annual Sand Sculpture Contest is a fun way for you to put your sand-sculpting skills to the test. Each year, hundreds of people gather on the Grand Haven shoreline to construct beautiful sand sculptures. Participants are given 2 hours to create their masterpiece before a panel of judges observe their work and crowns the newest royalty of the sandcastles. Though I do not compete, I love to go and watch this competition take place every year. The sandcastles always turn out so magnificent. This is a free event.
Saturday August 13, 2022
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Kite Festival- Enjoy a day at the beach as the sky is filled with colorful kites of all types and sizes. World-famous stunt kite fliers perform to music on the center flying field while kites larger than a school bus hover just to the south. Bring your own kite to fly on the open flying field at the north end of the event, or test fly the year’s newest kites on one of the manufacturers’ fields. Free to attend, charge to park inside the park.
May 20th and May 21st, 2023
That is my complete Grand Haven, Michigan Travel Guide. That was a long post, I know. There is just so much to do in Grand Haven. Coast Guard City is such a fun beach town to explore. I highly recommend going to some of these events in the upcoming weeks if you can. You will have the time of your life.