With many plans for out of state travel postponed, now is a great time to explore all the amazing things to do right here in West Michigan. Grand Rapids is an easy place to get to by car or by plane, the city is full of great things to do, and it's also a perfect home base for short (under an hour) day trips for even more fun and adventure.
As summer winds down, grab the family and hit the road for some local adventures.
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex offers fun year-round! On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM - 2 PM in the summer, the winter luge track turns into the only wheel luge in North America. Don’t worry, your ticket includes instruction time. The track also accommodates persons with disabilities with adaptive equipment and accessible surrounding common areas.
No trip to Muskegon is complete without a stop at Pere Marquette Park. The state park features a fantastic beach, a new handicap accessible playground, and picnic areas for when hunger hits. Bring your fishing gear for the fishing pier and your camera for some great lighthouse shots. All less than an hour from Grand Rapids!
There's no shortage of fun to be had in Grand Haven, or any of West Michigan's beach towns.
Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids
Enjoying a day at the Grand Haven State Park is a classic way to enjoy summer in West Michigan. The incomparable “squeaky sand” (thanks to its high silica content) and miles of beach and water set the scene for a perfect summer day.
Stroll to the south to grab a bite or a drink at Noto’s Bil-Mar. To experience all downtown Grand Haven has to offer, hit the boardwalk and head into town. Outdoor eating and dining is easier this summer with streets closed to cars and open for diners. Enjoy people watching and delicious drinks and food at Long Road Distillers. Locals also enjoy getting a gyro from Mr. Kozak’s and enjoying it outside at Odd Side Ales. Remember to save room for ice cream at Sweet Temptations’ new location by Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.
Then watch the boats and take in the sunset as you stroll along the channel. Be sure to check water safety conditions before you head out!
Don’t let Saugatuck’s small size fool you. This charming waterfront town is packed with activities. Get your heart pumping with a dune ride at Saugatuck Dune Rides. Besides gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and the amazing dunes, the dune buggy drivers are filled with fun historic tidbits about the area.
After all that excitement, take a breather and walk around town enjoying the local art shops, retail stores, and everything in between. For a different view of Saugatuck, rent a boat from Retro Boats, and enjoy cruising the channel. Most rentals are available for 1.5 or 3 hours and can seat up to 9. Reserve yours soon to make your day in Saugatuck unforgettable.
Explore the outdoors in Lowell's Fallasburg Park - and don't miss the historic covered bridge!
Photo Credit: Fallasburg Park and Lepard Nature Preserve
Historic Lowell is a beautiful destination at any time of year. Take a trip to Fallasburg Bridge, one of only three covered bridges in the state that is still open for cars to drive through. Be sure to stop and take some pictures of the occasion or enjoy lunch in the scenic park.
After your photoshoot, stop at Big Boiler Brewing for delicious craft beer and food. Then, walk off your meal as you enjoy the quaint downtown. I can always find something I can’t live without at Flat River Cottage and dream of owning one of the beautiful pieces of jewelry from Chimera Design.
A quick drive from Grand Rapids, Rockford is a small town with a big town feel. A mainstay of Rockford’s Main Street is The Corner Bar. Come hungry and try to get on the Wall of Fame by eating as many hotdogs as you can. If that isn’t your speed, don’t worry. They also offer salads, burgers, and sandwiches.
Scenic White Pine trail runs through Rockford and Cedar Springs, all the way up to Cadillac.
Photo Credit: Matthew Medendorp
Just past Rockford lies Cedar Springs, a hidden gem in West Michigan. Make time to enjoy Fred Meijer White Pine State Trail either on foot, bike, ski, skate, or however you prefer to move! The trail runs 92 miles to Cadillac, but don’t feel pressured to do it all in one day.
After all that exercise, Cedar Springs Brewing Company is the perfect spot to refuel. It has ample outdoor seating and a full menu featuring food and beverages from the Upper Bavaria region of Germany and American smokehouse dishes.
Vacations don’t have to involve plane travel or a multiple-hour drive when you’re in Grand Rapids. All it takes is a plan and a tank of gas. Happy traveling!