• Coast Guard City, USA

We are a nationally and internationally recognized destination, and we have the bragging rights to prove it.

Coast Guard City USA – Grand Haven
November 13, 1998
Coast-Guard-City-USA-1_3_blockimageIn Grand Haven, the Coast Guard history is displayed in grand style. Although there are several towns in the U.S. that have been named Coast Guard Cities, there is only one official Coast Guard City, USA, and that distinction belongs solely to Grand Haven. Grand Haven was designated Coast Guard City, USA, by an act of Congress that was signed by President Bill Clinton on November 13, 1998. Grand Haven also is the home of the Coast Guard’s National Memorial Service honoring fallen members of the service.  And Grand Haven’s spectacular Coast Guard Festival is one of the largest festivals in Michigan, attracting around 300,000 people each year. Learn more here…

Happiest Seaside Town in America – Coastal LivingHappiest Seaside Town in America - Grand Haven, Michigan
#1 Grand Haven – January 2017
Anyone who has spent summers on the Great Lakes knows that this American playground has specific charms that vary from shore to shore. But life among the historic storefronts, along the bustling waterfront’s boardwalk of this town on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore has an old-fashioned spirit that stands out among so many gems. Known as “Coast Guard City, U.S.A.,” Grand Haven’s embrace of every manner of maritime life, including fishing and boating of all kinds, combines small-town living with big-lake pleasures. Read more here…

Best Secret Beaches on Earth – Travel+Leisure
Grand Haven Area – March 2012
“Trolley cars, a 2.5-mile harbor-front boardwalk and two 19th-century red lighthouses give a sweet, old-time feel to this Lake Michigan town. Boaters and fishermen flock here, and hikers like the short-but-strenuous climb to Rosy Mound that includes 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the sand dunes to the shore of Lake Michigan. There are warm shallows for swimming, and the soft sand of two public beaches squeaks when you walk on it. After sunset, the local restaurants, ice cream parlors and shops come alive. Retire to a historic inn like the 1873 Khardomah Lodge, or a rental A-frame or bungalow with your own beachfront, as listed at Lake Michigan Cottages.” See the whole list here…

The Best Beaches in America – Coastal LivingBest Beach in America - Grand Haven, Michigan
#2 Grand Haven – March 2016
“Considered one of the best-kept secret beaches, these sugar sands and clear, warm shallows of Lake Michigan include Grand Haven City Beach and Grand Haven State Park, plus two 19th century lighthouses and Rosy Mound Natural Area, which is a classic Great Lakes dunes system along the water. Known as “Coast Guard City USA,” Grand Haven is home to an annual summer festival that celebrates the men and women of the USCG who serve on the nation’s waters.” Read more here… 

The Best Freshwater Beaches in America – USA Today
#2 Grand Haven – 2016
The coast isn’t the only place to sunbathe this spring and summer; Mother Nature has blessed the U.S. with a number of stunning freshwater beaches along its many lake shores where you can work on your tan salt-free. Read more here…

Best Beach Town in Michigan, “19 Michigan Beach Towns Ranked” – Thrillist 
#1 Grand Haven – August 2015
“Grand Haven, you are indeed pretty grand. You have a big, beautiful, soft, sugary-sandy beach at Grand Haven State Park with a lighthouse pier where people may or may not take a Thermos full of cocktails out to the farthest end to see if they get knocked off by the massive waves (and sometimes do). Your state park is among Michigan’s best, and your beach was named AAA’s favorite in the state. We love breakfast at Morning Star Café. We love a good Euro-style lunch at Elegance of the Seasons. We love a good cocktail on the rooftop deck at Snug Harbor. We love Fricano’s Pizza. We love beer, and we love the beer at Odd Side Ales. We could suck down oysters at The Grand all day. We could suck down Rum Bombers at the Tiki Bar in Jack’s Waterfront Bistro + Bar all night.” Read more here…

Ultimate Michigan Bucket List: 50 Things You Must Do – Detroit Free Press
Hit The Beach in Grand Haven – October 2015
‘That’s one thing Michigan residents can do every summer without high-tailing it to Florida or California: Lake Michigan feels just like being on an ocean. My recommendation: The Coast Guard City, Grand Haven. Spend the day sunbathing, check out the lighthouse, walk the boardwalk, watch the Musical Fountain, pick up a burrito at Butch’s Beach Burritos and, if you can, visit for the annual Coast Guard Festival. Fun fact for you millennials: “American Pie 2” is based on a summer in Grand Haven. It’s a blast.” Read more here…

The Best Places In The World To Retire – Conde Nast Traveler
Grand Haven – March 2016
“This town, nicknamed “Coast Guard City,” is a lakefront star with a boardwalk, 90,000-gallon musical fountain, harbor trolley, charter fishing industry, and miles of bike trails. USA Today recently voted Grand Haven State Park’s 48 acres of sand as one of the country’s best freshwater beaches, which, on a hot summer’s day is a dream dip in the clear and cool waters of Lake Michigan. It’s a popular place for retirees who split their time between two regions, as Grand Haven is best in summer when it’s warm, the days are long, and the charming downtown streets are alive with festivals and live performances.” See the full list here…

Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. Photo credit: Ed PostThe Country’s Best July 4th Celebrations – Travel+Leisure
Grand Haven – June 2015
“The lake, river and harbor towns of Michigan celebrate the 4th in red-white-and-blue style with fireworks displays in Holland, Saugatuck, St. Joseph, and Muskegon. The big she-bang takes place in Grand Haven, home of the Musical Fountain, a synchronized water and light show that launched in 1963. On the evening of July 4, the nightly 20-minute show at the Musical Fountain, a mesmerizing choreography of sprays and neon colors set to classical and pop music, will be followed by a fireworks spectacular.” Read more here…

Fourth Fireworks: America’s Birthday At The Beach – USA Today Travel
Grand Haven – June 2015
“To begin the Fourth of July showcase in Grand Haven, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan, a 15-minute fireworks show will be accompanied by the Musical Fountain and the National Anthem. Afterwards, more than 8,000 fireworks will take off for the sky overhead during a 20-minute show, which 30,000 spectators are expected to attend.” Read more here…

6 of the Best Secret Beaches in the U.S. – U.S. News & World Report
Grand Haven – August 2015
“From spectacular sunsets over the iconic Grand Haven South Pierhead to a stunning 1 ½-mile stretch of harbor-front boardwalk, there’s so much to love about Grand Haven. You won’t find palm trees here, instead you’ll see stark sand dunes (like Rosy Mound) flanking the shores of two public beaches. Enjoy the freshwater lake with a swim, kayak, canoe or boat ride, or simply take in the views on the soft sand.” Read more here…

7 Must-See Michigan Destinations for 2016 – The Awesome Mitten 
Grand Haven – January 2016
“The Lake Michigan coastline in the mitten offers one charming, beautiful resort town after another. The Grand Haven lighthouse and pier is reason enough to choose Grand Haven for a first time visit. Alongside the lighthouse, you will find Grand Haven State Park, which is made up entirely of beach and sand dunes with camping opportunity. As you browse the shops in the cozy downtown, get a freshly-made baked good from the boutique-styled The Bakers Wife. Experience hand-crafted coffee at Aldea Coffee in the Armory, where Grand Armory Brewery Company and Righteous BBQ also await. During summer evenings, watch the synchronized Musical Fountain and all its water, lights and music.” Read more here…

The 12 Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Michigan – OnlyInYourState.com
#3 Grand Haven – July 2015
“This beach town, with a population of about 10,000, is very family-friendly and gives you great access to the lake.” Read more here…

20 Can’t-Miss U.S. Beaches – CNN Travel
Grand Haven State Park & Grand Haven City Beach – August 2013
“Grand Haven was a commercial ferry port on Lake Michigan before transforming into a family vacation destination with a musical fountain, boardwalk, beautiful beaches, lighthouses and historic downtown.” Read more here…

5 GREAT Great Lakes Beaches – Dr. Beach
Honorable Mention – Grand Haven State Park
“There is camping on the beach and so much to do in the Grand Haven area.  A picturesque red lighthouse sits atop the inlet jetty for recreational boaters.  Golfing is big here, and swimming is a pleasure at this beach and the string of nearby beaches. “ Read more here…

Surfer-Girl-1_3_blockimageBest Beaches to Hang Out at on Memorial Day Weekend – USA Today
Grand Haven State Park & Grand Haven City Beach – May 2014
“This Lake Michigan beach town knows how to maximize Memorial Day weekend. The weekend begins with the Battle of the Bones, which invites rib fans to roll up their sleeves and judge the area’s best BBQ. On Monday, the annual Memorial Day parade concludes with a dedication ceremony at the Grand Haven Waterfront Stadium, home to the world’s largest musical fountain and synchronized water and light show. The weekend winds down on the Grand Haven Boardwalk, where at sunset, spectators can experience the fountain’s mesmerizing 20-minute program.” Read more here…

9 of the Best Beaches in Michigan to Visit This Summer – Lansing State Journal
Grand Haven State Park & Grand Haven City Beach – June 2014
“Why it’s special: Grand Haven is one of Michigan’s most recognizable beach towns, famous for its two-mile boardwalk of shops and restaurants, its lighthouse and — of course — its lakeside sand. And Michiganders aren’t the only ones who have noticed. Grand Haven has been named by CNN, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘Travel & Leisure’ magazine as among the nation’s must-see beaches. You can’t go wrong with the Grand Haven City Beach and its connected neighbor, the Grand Haven State Park beach. Together, they create one of the most beautiful and celebrated stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline. And when people talk about camping on the beach, they actually mean it at Grand Haven. You can camp on the sand (make sure to reserve well in advance for hot months like July and August).” Read more here…

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Grand Haven
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