8 Steps to the Perfect Summer Day in Grand Haven

Grand Haven is a quintessential, all American beach town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. While staying in the area, you’re always within minutes of walking along the sandy beaches and dipping your toes in the water. Though it is a year round destination, you can’t beat a warm, sunny summer day. Here are 8 Steps to a perfect day by the lake in Grand Haven!

1)      Wake Up & Fuel Up

You have a big day ahead of you so start it off right with coffee and breakfast at Morning Star Café. Whether you have a big appetite or are looking for healthy options, you will quickly discover how hard it is narrowing down your options. It all sounds so good – and it is! Menu favorites include the marble corn bread scramble, stuffed French toast, and vegetarian crepes. To top it all off, the restaurant is colorful yet cozy and the staff is top notch and super friendly.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

2)      Take a Hike

Now that you’ve fueled up and had your caffeine fix, you’re ready to burn off some calories. Mid-morning is the perfect time to head out to Rosy Mound Natural Area before the temp rises. Rosy Mound is a classic Great Lakes dune system including high wooded dunes, foredunes, beach and a dune blowout.  The winding trails, stairs and boardwalks offer quite the workout but the views are beyond worth it.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

3)      Hit The Beach

Let’s go to the beach! Lucky for you there are many public beaches to choose from in the Grand Haven area. The Grand Haven State Park is a popular choice since it’s located close to downtown, the boardwalk, and offers a stunning view of the pier and lighthouses. Kirk Park is the more laid back option and even offers an off-leash dog beach. Don’t forget the snacks and the sunscreen!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

4)      Lunch Time

It’s already been a busy day but there’s still more to do -  so it’s time to refuel with a quick lunch break. On Harbor Drive you will find two iconic Grand Haven eateries: Pronto Pups and Butch’s Beach Burritos. Pronto Pups is a tiny, white and yellow stand that has served up their addicting Pups since 1947. Butch’s offers up classic burritos and tacos with freshly-made salsa along with specialty hot dogs. The Chiwawa Chili Dog is their famous dog topped with beef, beans, cheese, and salsa served in a bun and then wrapped in warm tortilla. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

5)      Discover Downtown

Downtown Grand Haven is just down the boardwalk from Grand Haven State Park and is lined with picturesque, historic buildings who are home to a unique variety of shops and eateries. Favorite stops include Fortino’s, MacKite, Michigan Rag Company, and Calico Cat. Don’t miss stopping in at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum’s two locations including the restored 1870s railroad Depot. Not sure where to start? Jump on the open air trolley for a narrated tour of the city.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

6)      Rooftop Dinner & Drinks

The Kirby House started as a hotel in the late 1800s and has had many lives since. Today it offers three different dining options including K2 which serves up wood-fired pizzas and seasonal cocktails. The specialty pizza menu has something for everyone including the classics as well as the likes of the Spicy Thai, Lobster Carbonara, and Boursin Mushroom. Be sure to sit outside on the rooftop patio for views of the boardwalk, Grand River channel, and Lake Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

7)      Sail Into the Sunset

The Grand Haven pier and the beach are fantastic options for catching the nightly sunset over Lake Michigan. However, the best seat in town is aboard the Wind Dancer – a 63-foot double gaff-rigged schooner. During their nightly sunset sails, you are invited to help raise the sails, take the wheel or simply kick back and enjoy.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

8)      Lights, Water, Action!

At dusk the Grand Haven harbor is filled with music and lights thanks to the nightly Musical Fountain performance. For over 50 years, the Musical Fountain has delighted visitors of all ages with its synchronized water and light show accompanied with music from almost every genre.  On your way to see the fountain, be sure to grab an ice cream cone or sundae from Temptations to enjoy during the show. The perfect ending to the perfect day by the lake in Grand Haven!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

StephanieHerderAbout the Author: Born and raised in the Grand Haven area, Stefanie Herder has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over fifteen years where she has done everything from scooping ice cream to destination marketing. Now as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, she loves seeing the area through the eyes of a visitor and sharing it with the world. You can follow Visit Grand Haven on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to add ‘VisitGrandHaven’ as a friend on Snapchat, too!

Top 10 Reasons to Ride Michigan Rail-Trails this Summer

Looking for a unique way to explore Pure Michigan this summer? You might be able to go farther than you think just by moving your own two feet! Throughout the state, there are amazing bicycle trails to enjoy while helping you to stay in shape.

To offer some insight on just how incredible Michigan’s bike trail system really is, Josh DeBruyn from the Michigan Department of Transportation shares 10 reasons to trap on a helmet and ride.

1. You can ride for miles and miles – Michigan has the most rail-trails in America, with more than 2,700 miles. Find out where they are with the Michigan Trail Map Directory.

2. Flat as a pancake – As former railroad corridors, these trails are nearly level – making traveling longer distances enjoyable and effortless. Perfect for anyone.

Photo courtesy of MDOT Photo Unit

The I-275 Metro Trail in Wayne County, Photo Courtesy of MDOT Photo Unit

3. Woodlands, farmland, and lakeshores – Access Pure Michigan beauty in places not accessible by automobile. Michigan’s trails offer a variety of sights, sounds and smells for great well-rounded sensory experiences.

4. Multi-season fun – Whether you are on a road bike in the summer or a fat-tire snow bike in the winter, there are a variety of trails and surface types to enjoy regardless of the season.

5. Old-time whistle stops – Many trails run right through downtowns, making it easy to stop and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. MDOT’s Road and Trail Bicycle Guides will help you plan your route.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Krupiarz

The Betsie Valley Trail in Benzie County, Photo Courtesy of Nancy Krupiarz

6. Wildlife abounds – Traveling rail-trails by bicycle affords many opportunities to view wildlife, including deer, turkey, beaver, turtles and other fun furry and feathered creatures.

7. Ride part of a National System - 141 Miles of Michigan rail-trail are officially recognized by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as part of an official U.S. Bicycle Route System.

8. Snapshot of history – Travel over historical bridges, through pasturelands, and feel the history as you travel along the path of our forefathers.

Photo courtesy of Trail Genius

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County, Photo Courtesy of Trail Genius

9. Clear your head, improve your health – Get away from it all and surround yourself with nature by traveling miles without seeing another car, bike or train. De-stress and burn calories all while having fun!

10. Family fun – With their off-road location and few road crossings, rail-trails are great places to ride with the entire family at any skill level.

What are your favorite trails to explore in Pure Michigan?

Five Reasons That Will Inspire You To Visit Grand Hotel This Summer

Every year since 1887, Grand Hotel has welcomed countless guests to historic Mackinac Island, where cars are not allowed and bikes and horse-drawn carriages are the favored modes of transportation. Thanks to its picturesque location, beautiful accommodations and various activities and dining options, Grand Hotel has been named as one of the Travel+Leisure 500 “World’s Best Hotels”. Here are the top five reasons to visit America’s Summer Place this summer:

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#1 Getting there is just part of the fun

Mackinac Island is located just a quick ferry ride away from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace. When approaching the island by ferry, Grand Hotel’s famous 660-foot front porch is visible high on a bluff above town. After arriving to the island, luggage is transported directly to the hotel. Enjoy a scenic walk through downtown Mackinac or a horse-drawn carriage ride up Grand Hill to Grand Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#2 Grand family activities

Grand Hotel’s activities make it a perfect destination for families. Guests of all ages can enjoy swimming in the heated pool, bocci ball and croquet in the Tea Garden, delicious treats at Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor and golf on The Jewel. The complimentary children’s programs entertain younger guests with butterfly conservatory visits and arts and crafts. Or tour the Grand Stables for an up-close visit with the Grand Hotel horses and over 20 antique carriages.

#3 Dining and dressing up

Dining has always been an exceptional feature of the Grand Hotel experience. Evening wear is required for dinner and in all areas of the hotel after 6:30 p.m. Most guest room rates include a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily. In addition to the legendary Main Dining Room overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, other casual options are located around the island, including The Gate House, Cawthorne’s Village Inn, Woods Restaurant and The Jockey Club at the Grandstand.

Grand Hotel has the longest porch in the world.

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#4 Every room is different

At Grand Hotel, no two of the 390 guest rooms are alike. Each guest room has been tastefully decorated by renowned designer Carleton Varney and features its own special character and style. The new Cupola Suites offer more flexibility for families, with the option of creating one- or two-bedroom suites.

#5 Live music and nightly dancing

Live music and dancing are Grand Hotel traditions. The full-time musical staff includes skilled veterans who are some of the finest in the country. Every evening guests are treated to a jazz quartet during dinner, a harpist at demitasse and later, dancing to the Grand Hotel Orchestra as it plays classics and requests.

So come and enjoy the grand family experience for yourselves. Call 1-800-33GRAND or visit GrandHotel.com to learn more. What are some of your favorite memories from your trip to Grand Hotel?