On your trip to Michigan, here’s where to find breathtaking sunsets, white sand beaches, and a lake that seems to stretch forever…
I run my fingers through the sand. It’s as powdery, soft, cool and white as the beaches of a tropical paradise.
Beside me, Trevor lies back. Squinting his eyes against the setting sun, he drags his arms and legs across the pristine beach like I taught him, attempting his first “sand angel.”
From behind us, Chris approaches with a grease-stained paper bag from the Paisley Pig Gastropub. He hands me a burger (a pineapple and beet veggie burger) while Trevor reaches for some crispy, seasoned fries.
We don’t have any blankets, we’re kind of winging this trip, so we settle onto the sand to enjoy our (super casual) beach picnic.
I reach for a fry. It’s delicious. And gritty. The sand that was clinging to Trevor’s jacket after making all of those sand angels? It’s found its way onto our dinner.
I take a moment to look around. There are couples sitting on the sand to watch the sunset and families walking their dogs along the shore but, for the most part, the beach is quiet.
So calm and so vast, Lake Michigan appears to stretch for miles in every direction.
In the near distance, the sun is slowly setting over the fisherman on the pier, and a vivid red lighthouse matches the brilliance of the sky.
This moment feels like a dream. I never would have imagined that we’d stumble on such a breathtaking beach just a few hours outside of Detroit, Michigan…
This incredible place is Grand Haven State Park, located in Grand Haven, Michigan.
It’s a vast park (48 acres!) with beaches that run along Lake Michigan and the Grand River.
The Powdery White Sand Beaches Are Pristine
Upon arrival, as you head toward Lake Michigan on the west side of the park, the first thing you’ll probably appreciate about Grand Haven State Park are the gorgeous white sand beaches.
The powdery soft beaches seem to stretch far into the distance and, during non-peak times of the year, they’re pristine and peaceful.
We were in Grand Haven on a cool September weekend evening, and found there weren’t any crowds.
Grand Haven State Park is also an incredible spot to take in the spectacle of Lake Michigan.
Although it’s quiet and calm, with fishing boats serenely floating by, Lake Michigan feels like an ocean.
The lake is vast, stretching beyond what your eyes can see in every direction.
The Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier is also stunningly beautiful.
The lighthouse and pier, located directly on the beach, is a really popular spot at the state park.
People love to stroll along this pier all the way to the vivid red lighthouse to enjoy the lake views from all directions.
But the real show-stopper in Grand Haven State Park is definitely the sunset.
The vivid color lights up the sky in basically every direction here, and reflects off of the quiet lake, offering the illusion of a sun setting below the water as well.
And the pink and orange glow!
The sun lights up the sky here with so much vivid brilliance, Chris and I found ourselves comparing the Grand Haven sunset to the ones we witnessed in Hawaii!
If you’re traveling to Michigan, we highly recommend that you don’t miss Grand Haven State Park.
Be sure to leave time to enjoy the beaches, stroll along the pier to the lighthouse, and stay until sunset to witness the most spectacular display of color light up both the sky and lake!
Here are all of the questions you might have as a traveler to Grand Haven State Park in Michigan, plus all of the answers we found when we visited:
What Does It Cost To Visit Grand Haven State Park?
There’s a $9 Daily Pass fee to enter the beaches. However, when we visited on a September evening, there wasn’t anyone working at the booth, and we entered for free.
When Is The Right Time of Year To Visit Grand Haven State Park?
Grand Haven has one of the most gorgeous beaches in Michigan, so it can become extremely crowded on weekends throughout the summer. We recommend visiting in May or September, when the weather is not too cold, but the beaches are not crowded with visitors. When we visited on a Friday evening in early September, the beach was quiet and mostly deserted. During summer months, try visiting early in the morning or later in the evening on a weekday.
What Amenities Are Available at Grand Haven State Park?
Grand Haven is huge, with every amenity you can imagine. There’s a giant parking lot, plus several indoor restroom locations. There are picnic areas, charcoal grills, and even food trucks set up during peak times. There are also areas for soccer and beach volleyball, plus a playground. You’ll notice tons of RV’s beyond the beach, because Grand Haven also has a huge campground area.
How Much Time Should We Plan To Spend at Grand Haven State Park?
With all of the amenities available, it’s possible to spend a full afternoon at Grand Haven State Park. During our trip, we spent a couple of hours: first a picnic on the beach for dinner, then a stroll along the pier to check out the lighthouse and the incredible views of Lake Michigan. Be sure to time your visit to take in the incredible Grand Haven sunset!
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