Travel Destinations

Destination: Grand Haven, MI

Find out why Grand Haven is called Coast Guard City, USA

Great Lakes
Grand Haven StatePark | AnthonyPopiel

About 34 miles west of Grand Rapids, MI, where the Grand River meets Lake Michigan, lies the charming Grand Haven. Its boardwalk stretches along the harbor and Grand River for 2.5 miles, passing the Musical Fountain. Downtown follows Washington Street between the fountain and Central Park. Lined with quaint eateries, the strip is home to retail outlets, pubs and amazing antique shops.

The best way to see the town is on the hop-on-hop-off trolleys that stop at local gems like Norm’s Ice Cream, Burzurk Brewing, Book Cellar and Morning Star Café. If you’re looking for family fun while in town, check out the mini golf course and a splash pad that’s sure to entertain children. The escape room and train that ride along an historic railway offer entertainment for all ages.

The town is very walkable, and the wider area boasts more than 100 miles of biking paths. Sand dunes provide hiking trails for visitors who want to experience the landscape’s natural beauty. On the other side of Mulligan’s Hollow and Duncan Woods, the beach offers hiking, a playground, skatepark and pickleball courts. The beaches on Lake Michigan are more secluded, but the activity options abound. Rentals and lessons are available for tubing, kitesurfing, water skiing, kayaking and surfing. Scuba diving off the shore of Grand Haven reveals subaquatic walls and even a shipwreck.

The biggest draw to Grand Haven happens every summer in late July. What started as an exclusive Coast Guard picnic in 1924 has turned into a multi-day event for residents, visitors and members of the Guard. Every summer, Grand Haven hosts the Coast Guard Festival to honor Americans who served in the armed forces. Every year sees a massive turnout for the carnival rides, parades, car show, fireworks, craft fair and water ski show. The community showed its appreciation by naming Grand Haven Coast Guard City, USA in 1998.

Where to Dock

Grand Haven Municipal Marina

616-847- 3478

With 57 slips at the edge of town, Grand Haven Municipal Marina offers you access to Lake Michigan, Grand River and Spring Lake while providing pump out, restrooms, electricity, water and showers.

Photo credit IsabelGrace (edited-Pixlr)

Safe Harbor Grand Isle


This all-inclusive marina with convenient slips includes cable TV hookups, laundry, a basketball court and gated access to vessels from 20 to 140 feet.

Where to Dine

The Paisley Pig Gastropub


This gastropub partners with local farms to bring in seasonal, high-quality ingredients. Its extensive menu covers seafood, comfort food and barbecue alongside local brews.

The Unicorn Tavern


Described as a fun drinking spot and family-friendly dining experience, this Belgian-inspired, family-owned tavern offers classic dishes from mushroom poutine and croquettes to schnitzel and Moroccan stew, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. The Toasted Pickle 616-414-7990 This creative sandwich shop in downtown Grand Haven updates its menu weekly with new recipes, gourmet ingredients, fresh salads and unique specials.

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