Travel + Leisure Staff
November 06, 2017

Situated at the mouth of the Grand River and right along the eastern coast of picturesque Lake Michigan, the city of Grand Haven is a ticket to waterfront paradise, year round.

If you’re visiting Grand Haven in the summer, begin your trip by taking advantage of all the lakeside activity. Join a beach volleyball game at Grand Haven State Park, or stroll along the two public beaches. From here, take in the exquisite views of the Grand Haven Pier and the two 19th-century red lighthouses in the distance.

Wander just south of town to find a sprawling and impressive Great Lakes dunes system at Rosy Mound Natural Area. Take the short, strenuous climb (including 1,000 feet of stairs) to the shore.

A great way to see the water — and experience the city’s bustling shopping and dining scenes — is the Grand Haven boardwalk, which winds its way along both the harbor and the Grand River, ending at Lake Michigan.

Related: The Perfect Mackinac Island Vacation

Whether you choose to go on a low-key cruise or charter a sailboat, there’s no better way to explore the Grand Haven than by boat. Visitors may choose a dinner cruise with the Holland Princess, take a classic paddlewheel riverboat, or get adventurous on the 63-foot Wind Dancer schooner.

One of the most fun things to do in Grand Haven is to taste all the area’s incredible seafood. Through the Michigan Catch and Cook program, visitors can go out on chartered boat trips to catch fresh salmon, bass, and lake trout, and then have it cooked by local chefs.

A few can’t-miss food and drink venues include Pronto Pups (a classic hotdog stand), the Grand Armory Brewing for locally brewed beer, and Fricano’s Pizza Tavern. Rumor has it, this was the first true pizzeria in the state of Michigan.

After a busy day in this old-timey Lake Michigan town, bed down at the 1873 Khardomah Lodge, or rent a bungalow with a private stretch of beach from Lake Michigan Cottages.

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