Grand Haven, Coast Guard City USA

We traveled nearly 70 miles from Ludington to Grand Haven on a picture-perfect Lake Michigan boating day: temperatures in the 70’s, light breeze, glassy-smooth water.

Ludington’s S.S. Badger, the last coal-fired, steam-driven passenger ship on the Great Lakes
Harborview Marina in Ludington
Leaving the Ludington channel

One of our blog followers sent me these shots of R&R as we passed his home near Duck Lake. Thanks, Dick!

Entering the channel at Grand Haven

The Grand Haven municipal marina is on the Boardwalk, not far up the Grand River channel, across from the Musical Fountain, and within easy walking distance of downtown shops, brewpubs and restaurants.

We joined a group of other Loopers for lunch at Snug Harbor Restaurant, just up the Boardwalk from our marina. It was good to catch up with fellow boaters we first met on the rivers almost two years ago.

Talisker, In-Vince-Able, See-Moor, and R&R

When I was growing up in Grand Rapids, I and friends enoyed Grand Haven as a quintessential beach town that was close to home. Grand Haven still has a lot to offer to visitors! I will take a risk and list some of our favorites in Grand Haven:

Pronto Pups: a family-owned quick-eats stand on the Boardwalk, offering tasty and unique hot dogs on a stick. Cash only. Get ’em by the dozen!

Grand Haven Musical Fountain. The Musical Fountain is a synchronized display of water, lights and music on a hill overlooking the channel to Lake Michigan. Every summer night, it plays a different show at dusk. Built in 1962, it is the world’s largest musical fountain and was the world’s largest fountain until The Fountains of Bellagio opened in Las Vegas.

The Musical Fountain, from R&R’s bow

Grand Haven State Park beach: White sand beach along the Lake Michigan shore at Grand Haven, with boating, swimming, on-the-beach camping, and fun!

The Boardwalk. A 1.5 mile paved path along the Grand River harbor starting at the charter fishing pier, meandering along the river/channel past restaurants, downtown shops, marinas and parks, and ending at the Grand Haven Pier.

Grand Haven Pier: Historic, functional and beautiful welcome to boaters entering the Grand River channel to Grand Haven.

Fricano’s Pizza: The atmosphere and pizza at Grand Haven’s historic Fricano’s Pizza Tavern is special. Depending on your perspective, it is either (a) the original and most famous pizza in Michigan and rivals any other pizza on earth, including Sicily, or (b) like eating grease on a cracker. You need to try it to make your own decision.

But my personal favorite (at least today):

Barefoot Dave’s! Barefoot Dave’s is a fun, off-beat Grand Haven T-shirt and beachwear shop. Dave offers good merchandise at fair prices and treats every customer like an old friend. When I left his shop today (with a new T-shirt, of course), he sent me off with “Thanks for coming in, my brother!”

Dave with shop staffer Violet

So visit Grand Haven, the last stop on our Great Loop voyage before we cross our wake in Holland tomorrow!

4 thoughts on “Grand Haven, Coast Guard City USA

  1. So close to home as you’re passing these familiar landmarks! I’m excited for you as you cross your wake!

  2. So close to home as you pass all these familiar landmarks! I’m excited for you as you cross your wake soon and come home to Holland.

  3. Beautiful town, we will have to add it to our bucket list of places to visit! Glad you are one day from home!

    1. Thanks, Scott! As an Admiral you may already know this, but Grand Haven is known as “Coast Guard City USA.”

      We are excited to be finishing our Loop!!

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