Posted by: Kath Usitalo | July 25, 2012

Grand Haven: A Grand Escape

Cruising past the Grand Haven lighthouse aboard Wind Dancer

A quick trip through Grand Haven, one of the Beachtowns along the Lake Michigan shore, convinced me I need a return visit. I didn’t have a chance to chill on what Travel+Leisure magazine named one of the Best Secret Beaches on Earth, or see the evening light and music show at the Musical Fountain.

I’d like to spend some time at the two museums, browse the downtown shops, stroll the 2-1/2 mile boardwalk, and check out the varied dune landscape at Rosy Mound Natural Area. We did get an overview of the area on the narrated Harbor Trolley tour, and enjoyed an outing aboard Wind Dancer , a 63′ schooner. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate so we couldn’t experience a wind-jamming sail, but it was a beautiful and relaxing ride along the Grand River to the lake.

Congress has recognized Grand Haven as “Coast Guard City, USA” and each year the area hosts the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, which began in 1924 as a picnic for service members stationed there. In 1937 it blossomed into a celebration for the public, and the 88th annual event, July 27-August 5, includes a carnival, entertainment, fireworks, free tours of Coast Guard Cutters, the traditional picnic and a National Memorial Service honoring those who have died in service.

A salmon cleaning station near the charter fishing operations along the Grand Haven boardwalk

Can’t make it to the Coast Guard Festival? Mark your calendar for the annual Grand Haven Salmon Festival, September 21-23.

In addition to the salmon cook-off, Fresh Catch Fish Boil and Big King Salmon fishing contest, there’s Michigan wine tasting, grape stomping, entertainment and an art fair.

It overlaps with the Grand Haven ArtWalk, September 19-October 6, a display of art in public places and businesses throughout the town.

Visitor Info Clicks:

Grand Haven

Pure Michigan



  1. […] boardwalk at Chinook Pier, near where the schooner Wind Dancer is docked, and after our cruise (see Grand Haven: A Grand Escape) we were able to sample the treats, made with Michigan […]

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