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Grand Haven in August Itinerary Advice

St. Louis, MO
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Grand Haven in August Itinerary Advice

Greetings!

I have been trolling through all the posts here in the forum and it's been so helpful! I'm throwing my own inquiries into the lot in hopes that some of you experts can help us out. We are a family of four (two kids ages 8 & 9) traveling to GH from St. Louis on Aug 8-12. It will be our first time visiting western MI and we are pretty excited! I'm pretty much resigned to Aug 8 and Aug 12 being mainly travel days, though we may be able to squeeze in something on arrival or before departure depending on the time.

So that leaves us three days: Aug 9, 10, & 11 (Thur - Sat).

Our main purpose for going is to enjoy the beach. We are staying at the Best Western in GH (wasn't able to find a suitable cottage). My plan was to visit the beach at GHSP. Can we drive there and park? We'll probably have lots of "stuff" to bring with us to the beach and driving would be easiest in that regard. Should we consider any other beaches?

Other things we are considering:

- Visiting a pier/lighthouse. What will the status be for this in August? Can we actually walk the pier and climb up the lighthouses? Is there just one in the GH area?

- Dune rides/tours. Thinking about Mac Woods at Silver Lake SP. We probably couldn't rent our own vehicle to drive ourselves...I don't think my kids would meet the size requirement. Mac Woods looks to be family friendly while still getting out there into the dunes. Any comments?

- Charter a fishing boat. I've heard of the the Catch & Cook program where some of the boat companies will clean and bag your catch and send you to an affiliated restaurant where they will cook it that same night. Any suggestions for a GH charter outfit and restaurant that does this?

- GH Farmer's Market

- Imagination Station Playground

- Musical Fountain

I know it may be tough to squeeze all this in. It was tough just to narrow it down to this list! So many things to do. We will just have to come back next summer. :-)

Thanks in advance!

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1. Re: Grand Haven in August Itinerary Advice

For now just a couple comments. Yes, you can park at GHSP. However, there is a fee. Just south of there is Grand Haven City Park. I am not sure if they are charging this year or not. To note, the Grand Haven Pier is being worked on to restore the catwalk. However, you can walk part way down or the entire stretch on the north pier. Big Red in Holland, MI last I knew, being out of state, you can go through security and walk there Monday-Friday. Or see it via Holland State Park or Holland Princess. South Haven you can walk the pier. (and any other pier) Lighthouse tours can be done in Muskegon Monday, Friday and Saturday. Whiteriver Lighthouse Museum is open most days as too Silver Lake Dunes, Ludington and Ludington State Park.

If you have not seen also see www.beachtowns.org www.lakeeffectliving.com www.wmta.org and www.experiencegr.com

Edited: June 10, 2018, 1:01 pm
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Grand Haven
Grand Haven
Ottawa County, MI
Holland
Holland
Ottawa County, MI
South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Muskegon
Muskegon
Muskegon County, MI
Ludington
Ludington
Michigan
Ludington State Park
Ludington State Park
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Ludington, MI
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2. Re: Grand Haven in August Itinerary Advice

Ok. Others will probably help more later but here is a few more answers. First, be careful out there. Drownings happen too often when least expected. It is a big lake. Keep track of current conditions on www.surfgrandhaven.com and be really careful in deciding to walk the pier or not if waves are splashing high over the pier.

I was wrong about a couple things earlier. First, they are now working on restoration on the first half of pier so though the boardwalk is open the pier is not (the north pier is). Also, I cannot confirm tour hours for Muskegon but keep updated with www.muskegonlights.com and also note the four lighthouses to the north of that you can tour for sure www.splka.org

I can also assume, as I have not heard differently, that Grand Haven City Park is still charging for people that are not local. But do note once you pay for parking at Grand Haven State Park you are good in all the state parks for the duration of the pass validity.

Sunset will be 8:55 pm with the musical fountain at 9:50pm allowing almost an hour to get back downtown from the beach. That can easily be done walking, let alone driving or taking the trolley.

For fish and cook I know for sure www.oldgrin.com participates but call and ask details as I have no clue how it works.

Holland State Park Beach and Pere Marquett Park Beach you should also truely consider (Marquett is free) though much beauty is found in Hoffmaster State Park and Muskegon State Park and even smaller parks like Kruse, Rosa Mounds, and Kirk.

Concerning jeep renting. They seat five so no problem there. Must have own insurence unless..you take the tour. www.parrotslanding.com and consider driving in their sunset tour.

Any other questions please ask. Also note to go to the five mile overlook and up Lake dr to the curve (if you can find a place to park there is a bench there) for nice views.

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Muskegon County, MI
Grand Haven
Grand Haven
Ottawa County, MI
Grand Haven State Park
Grand Haven State Park
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Grand Haven, MI
Holland State Park Beach
Holland State Park Beach
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Hoffmaster State Park
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Muskegon, MI
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Grand Haven...
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3. Re: Grand Haven in August Itinerary Advice

You're gonna love the area! francis k was pretty much spot on with lots of good info, but I'm going to correct one thing: if it's rough enough where waves are splashing across a pier, DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER going out on them. As much fun as it looks it's very dangerous, and people that get washed off rarely get a second chance. Otherwise, enjoy them - and the beaches and the lake.

At any of the parks along the lakeshore, parking will be at a premium, so go early if you want to be close enough to haul your stuff from your vehicle to the beach. Midweek will obviously be better than the weekend but still likely be busy.

For dune rides I'd recommend you drive to Saugatuck for a couple of reasons. It's a much shorter drive (25-30 minutes vs. close to an hour), and Saugatuck is a very charming little artsy town, where Mears is lacking in character with not much to offer other than the dune rides and tourist traps. Check out http://www.saugatuckduneride.com/.

Depending on your budget, a charter boat for fishing is quite pricey and it would eat up quite a bit of your precious little time here.

For a break from the beach I'm sure your kids would really like the Imagination Station. It's walkable from the state park or downtown, being about half way between the two (across the street from the Coast Guard station behind the "Y"). The musical fountain is always a popular attraction for tourists, but be aware that it doesn't start until dark.

Check out my other posts about the area for more info on other ideas as well.

Since your time is so limited here, I'd recommend not trying to fit so much in and just enjoy the beach, the boardwalk and downtown. Regardless of your choices, you'll love the area. GH and the surrounding towns have so much to offer, you could spend weeks exploring West Michigan. Most of all, relax and have fun!

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Saugatuck
Saugatuck
Allegan County, MI
Michigan
Michigan
United States
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