Kid-Friendly Vacation in the Grand Haven Area

Every parent knows traveling with kids can be a little rough and there’s always a lot to plan when taking a vacation. Here we’ve compiled a few lists of places to stay, things to do, and places to eat that are kid-friendly to help you make the most of your stay. We hope you have a fun and safe visit to the Grand Haven area!

Things to Do

It’s fun to get out of the house and explore the area, but if your travel party isn’t up for spending every day at the beach, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to try. There are no age restrictions on the following attractions, these are just recommendations.

Imagination Station: Large  and incredible playground that was designed by children from Grand Haven, and promotes a barrier-free play space. Located at Mulligan’s Hollow, open dawn to dusk, and free admission. Under 10 yrs. 

Splashpad: Several motion-sensor water fountains that spring up in an enclosed space for children to play in. Located between Chinook Pier and the Municipal Marina parking lot. Open all summer, weather permitting, and is free. Runs until Dusk.  Under 10 yrs.

Musical Fountain: Shows featuring colored lights, variety of music, and specialized water fountains performed across the channel. You can watch the show at the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium at 10:10pm from June 17th-30th (July & August dates TBD). All ages.

Geocaching: Modern day treasure hunt! Hidden across the Grand Haven area are over 1,000 caches (containers with small prizes) that you use your phone to help you locate. Multiple challenge levels for any group. Visit geocaching.com to get started. 5 yrs and up.

Beaches: Beyond the Grand Haven State Park, there are several kid-friendly beaches that include playgrounds and restrooms. Kirk Park, North Beach Park, and Grose Park  additionally offer a picnic area and shelter as well as hiking trails and use of grills. All ages.

Harbor Trolley: This trolley stops at various locations as it travels around downtown Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg all week long. It runs from 11am to 10pm, and fares range from $1.50 to free. There’s also a beach express trolley that runs on weekends from noon to 6pm.  All ages.

Craig’s Cruisers: Family Fun Center with go-karts, batting cages, bumper boats, arcade games, and more! Located off of Pontaluna Rd. in Spring Lake, and open from 11am to 10pm all week long. Prices vary based on attractions. 3 yrs and up.

Chinook Pier Mini Golf:  18 hole mini-golf course located near Chinook Pier, and only $3 for adults and $1 for kids 10 and under! 2 yrs and up.

Tri-Cities Historical Museum: This museum explores the history of Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg with multiple exhibits ranging from the early Native American tribes to the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. Open Tuesday to Friday from 10am – 5pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 5pm. Admission is free! 4 yrs and up.

Coopersville Farm Museum: This museum features rotating exhibits on the history of farming in the area, and doubles as a center for frequent family-fun events. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $3 for kids 4-16, and free for children 3 & under. 4 yrs and up.

Coopersville Historical Museum: This museum is located inside an old train station and features full exhibits on early settlement in the area and the historical impact of the railroad. They are open on Tuesdays from 2pm – 5:30pm, Wednesdays from 10am – 2pm, Fridays from 1pm – 4pm, and Saturdays from 10am – 4pm. Admission is free. 4 yrs and up.

Fishing Charters: There are lots of charters in Grand Haven that will take your group out  on the lake for hours of fishing fun. Daniel Sportfishing is particularly geared towards kids so they’re bound to have a great experience. On The Line Charters and Nelson Charters are also family-friendly charters. Rates and times vary. 3 yrs and up.

Places to Eat

Kids can be notorious for being picky-eaters, so trying to find a place to eat might seem like an overwhelming task, but the Grand Haven area offers a large variety of restaurants and cafes where you’re sure to find something. If you’re looking for quick or easy, there are plenty of chain restaurants such as Applebee’s, Culvers, or Wendy’s, where you can find familiar favourites to satisfy. And if you were looking forward to trying a new restaurant, good news! There are several throughout Grand Haven that have complete kids menus for even the pickiest of eaters.

StanZ Cafe: Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they serve a variety of breakfast options, and later they  offer sandwiches, burgers, wraps, salads, and steaks. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8am – 2pm and 4pm – 8pm, and Sunday from 8am – 2pm.

Idle Hour Restaurant: Breakfast all day, as well as burgers, sandwiches, wraps and soups. Open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays from 7am – 2pm, Thursdays and Fridays are open additionally from 4:30pm – 7pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 7am – 1pm.

Snug Harbor: Located on the waterfront, this American/Mexican restaurant offers steak, seafood, sushi, salads, and sandwiches. Open Monday to Thursday from 11:30am – 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30am – 10pm, and Sunday from 11:30am – 8pm.

TED’s: Located in Spring Lake, they serve burgers, pasta, and sandwiches, as well as offering gluten-free and vegetarian options. Open Monday – Thursday from 11am – 10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am – 11pm, and Sundays from 12pm – 9pm.

The Kirby House: This building houses three restaurants that serve steaks, seafood, burgers, wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, and salads.  Open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4pm – 9pm, Fridays from 4pm – 10pm, Saturdays from 11:30am – 10pm, and Sundays from 11:30am – 9pm.

Taco Jalisco: Offers fresh authentic Mexican food from breakfast to dinner, and their kids menu does offer traditional American food. They are open Sunday to Thursday from 11am – 9pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11am – 9:30pm.

Places to Stay

When you’re looking for family friendly lodging, there are several places in the Grand Haven area that offer comfort and fun during your stay. There are many beach cottages available to rent if you’re looking for space or a homey touch. Or there are plenty of hotels if you’re looking for a simple or budget-friendly option.  For vacation rentals we can suggest Lake Michigan Cottages or Unsalted Vacations. For hotels, here are a few options:

Blue Water Inn & Suites: They offer a variety of room options to suit your family’s needs, as well as fun common areas,  and are located directly across from the Grand Haven State Park beach. Daily rates are under $280.

Best Western Beacon Inn: Their rooms include a mini-fridge and microwave, and they offer a continental breakfast every morning. They have both an indoor pool and hot tub, and are located 1.5 miles from the beach. Daily rates start at $149.

Holiday Inn: Rooms are equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. They do not offer continental breakfast, but the attached restaurant, Burger Theory, serves breakfast. They have an indoor and an outdoor pool, as well as a hot tub. Located 1.5 miles from the beach. Daily rates start at $210.

Baymont Inn by Wyndham: Their rooms include a mini-fridge, microwave, and a coffee maker, and they offer continental breakfast every morning.  They have both an indoor pool and hot tub, and are located 1.5 miles from the beach. Daily rates start at $129.

Rodeway Inn – Coopersville OR Grand Haven: The Grand Haven location is 1.5 miles from the beach and offers continental breakfast. They allow dogs. Daily rates are under $200.  The Coopersville location offers rooms with a mini-fridge and microwave, and offers continental breakfast. They have an indoor pool and hot tub, and are 16 miles from the beach. Pets are allowed for $15 per day. Daily rates are under $150.

Just a couple of tips . . .

– If you’re planning on walking a lot, comfortable shoes are important for everybody. Also, don’t forget some kind of sandal to protect your feet from the hot sand at the beach.

– Kids need more sleep than adults, so early mornings and late nights are not a great combo unless there’s a good rest period in between. Kids aged 3 to 5 should get anywhere from 10-13 hours of sleep each day, and some of that will probably be a nap. Ages 6 to 12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep, over 13 should get 8-10 hours of sleep, but resting for an hour or two can help restore their energy. This way they’ll be ready for a day full of fun.

– Sunscreen varies by skin-tone and time in the sun, but it’s always important to use it when spending time outdoors. When spending a day at the beach or around town, try to have a sunscreen of about SPF 50 or higher, and don’t forget to reapply.

– It’s very easy to get dehydrated when you spend hours in the sun, so remember to bring water or reusable water bottles, and keep drinking! Juice, fruits, and veggies are also a good way to stay hydrated.


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