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Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

sandy, utah
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Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

We're flying to Michigan for the first time and spending 5 days sightseeing in the Kalamazoo area where my son's family recently moved the first week of July. On one of those days, we'll be heading to the beach. We'll have grandkids, age 2, 5 and 7 with us. If we got an early start I was thinking we could possibly hike Mt. Pisgah as soon as we got to Holland (about a 70-min. drive) followed by a few hours at Nelis’ Dutch Village which I think the girls would enjoy (I can get 2 for 1 Entertainment passes). Where would be the best place to let the kids get in the water? St. Joseph, which has a splash pad they can clean off at or somewhere else? I really don't care about getting wet or sunbathing but would like to get some close-up pictures of some lighthouses and possibly go inside one. What's the parking situation/cost at most of the beaches? Are there any good ones that would have free parking and/or possibly areas where you could hose off some of the sand? Are there any special events going on July 3rd or 4th that we'd want to be aware of that would cause extra congestion or be worth going to? We won't stay anywhere to watch fireworks because we'd be out way too late. Thanks for your advice.

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Michigan
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Kalamazoo County, MI
Holland
Holland
Ottawa County, MI
Nelis' Dutch Village
Nelis' Dutch Village
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Holland, MI
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Berrien County, MI
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1. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

www.splka.org lighthouses to tour are Whitehall to the north, four in a roll. Muskegon likely will have some days too. My main point of posting here, as much info has been provided via your other post, is to let you know the beach fee set up. There are a handfull that are free, like Pere Marquett, but most have fees. State owned, township owned, city owned, county owned, association owned, all have their own fee

And only compadable with likewise owned beaches.

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Whitehall
Whitehall
Muskegon County, MI
North Muskegon...
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2. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

You can park downtown and walk to Silver Beach in St. Joseph.

Most of the others have a fee of some kind to park..

Muskegon has free parking and two lighthouses you can walk to with one open for tours.

This is prime tourist season in West Michigan and you will definitely see crowds wherever you go.

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Silver Beach Hotel
Silver Beach Hotel
532 Reviews
Saint Joseph, MI
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Berrien County, MI
Muskegon
Muskegon
Muskegon County, MI
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Detroit, Michigan
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3. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

South Haven has a nice, if small, public beach. You can walk along the breakwater, and out to the lighthouse at the end. South of St Joseph is Warren Dunes State Park. It can be busy but fun. Large beach with dunes you can climb.

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South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Berrien County, MI
Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Dunes State Park
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Bridgman, MI
Grand Rapids, MI
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4. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

If you'll already be at Mt. Pisgah, I'd recommend the beach at Holland State Park which is just down the road. Lots of parking, a huge beach and a lighthouse (Big Red). Although, you can't access the lighthouse from the beach side, but great views and vantage points for photos. You can also walk the pier on the beach side which is fun to do. There is also a pavilion with showers and restrooms. You could stop for breakfast on your way to Mt. Pisgah at DeBoers, and get ice cream or hot dogs after the state park at one of the places along Ottawa Beach road on your way out of town. I personally don't think Dutch Village is worth a drive from Kalamazoo. If you are going to be in the Grand Rapids area at all, Fredrick Meijer Gardens is a great place for kids.

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Mount Pisgah
Mount Pisgah
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Holland, MI
Holland State Park Beach
Holland State Park Beach
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Ottawa
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Ontario, Canada
Kalamazoo
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Kalamazoo County, MI
Grand Rapids
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Kent County, MI
Chicago's North...
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5. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

if you had 1 day (not the 4th) to go to the beach, go to st joe.... as i said before, it has a lighthouse at the end of the pier....actually 2 lighthouses.... one is the lighthouse, and the other is a range light.... very nice stroll to the end of the pier..... if you get to town relatively early, park somewhere downtown---there are some FREE public lots and street parking, or bite the bullet and pay for parking down by the beach.... thing is, it gets pretty congested down there, especially when a freight train comes thru, so rather park upstairs....

south haven has 2 main beaches.....north and south. south is the "small" beach mentioned in post #3 and more of a locals beach..... also, has access to the pier light.... but north beach is large and wide and more of a tourists beach.... many cool cottages along the beachfront.... FREE parking along the streets inland from the beach, but can be hard to come by... the parking fee along the beach is relatively reasonable..... a great alternative to st joe as it also has a nice harbor scene going on as well..... but all things considered, with kids, i prefer st joe (plus, it's closer to warren dunes, if you choose to go there too)....

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6. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

If you're going to be in Kalamazoo I'd lean toward South Haven. It's the closest to Kalamazoo in terms of drive-time and you'll get more time at the beach and less time in the car. There are two beaches in South Haven (South and North) and they are on opposite sides of the river. I've always been partial to North Beach, but you could check them both out easily enough.

As an alternative, the state park in Holland is really nice and has easy parking and simple access to the lake. So that's a good choice (and if it's too busy, you're just a few miles from Tunnel Park which is a great beach too so you've got a backup plan). That would give you access to downtown Holland for dinner/ice-cream after the beach.

Truth is, you cannot go too wrong with any of the choices along the lakeshore. I'd just recommend not trying to go too far away. Get there and get to the enjoyment!

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Kalamazoo
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Kalamazoo County, MI
South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Holland
Holland
Ottawa County, MI
Tunnel Park
Tunnel Park
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Holland, MI
sandy, utah
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7. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

Thanks for all the advice. I'll have to share it with my son to help in our final decision.

Stranger Tripper: You said "south haven has 2 main beaches.....north and south. south is the "small" beach mentioned in post #3 and more of a locals beach..... also, has access to the pier light.... but north beach is large and wide and more of a tourists beach."

About how far of a walk would we need to take from streets with free parking at South Haven or St. Joe's? If we couldn't find street parking and wanted to check out each beach at South Haven, would we pay for parking twice or are they within walking distance of next to each other?

alissa211: We're definitely planning on Fredrick Meijer Gardens. Would my grandkids find the free Meyer May House tour way too boring if we toured it the same day as the gardens?

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South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Meyer May House
Meyer May House
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Grand Rapids, MI
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8. Re: Need 1-day Southwest Beach itinerary with grandkids

www.southhaven.org/resources/trail-maps

These South Haven maps will help. Also www.eyeonmichigan.com (click on city guides, then pick a city and select maps)

The Harbor Walk in South Haven is fairly easy to walk and stretches from the south pier to the north pier, where the lighthouse it. In Saint Joseph, you can walk this too but it is quite a bit further and with hills. Cobncerning free parking and how close you can park will really be different on times of day and the days. It can be hard to find free parking in the summer without a decent walk anytime from afternoon on.

On your second question, they say to allow 90 minutes to fully tour. I toured it once. It is pretty cool to see but as adults things of that nature are always of more interest to us then to the younger. It is certainly not designed to be 'entertaining' but rather to show of this beautiful house in the best way possible.

However, remember the house tours are only three days a week and the gardens open at nine, versing ten for the house tours. The reason this is important is that it is not hard to spend an entire day at the gardens alone, depending on what you all see and do.

Sorry. Didnt mean to answer for the others. No doubt they will answer as well.

Edited: June 16, 2018, 2:37 am
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South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Berrien County, MI
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