Top Things To See & Do This Fall in the Grand Haven Area

The Grand Haven area is famous for its beaches but there is still plenty to see and do in autumn. With many of tree covered parks and trails, the Grand Haven area offers lots of opportunities to take in the fall colors. Here’s our list of the top fall things to see and do in the area!

The Grand Haven area is blessed with an amazing system of parks that offer trails through forests, along the rivers, over dunes, and with stunning views of Lake Michigan. Some of our favorite hiking spots are North Ottawa Dunes, Kitchel Lindquist Dunes, Hemlock Crossing, Pine Bend, Grand Ravines, and PJ Hoffmaster State Park.

Grand Haven Michigan Hiking - Photo GHACVB
With over 100 miles of biking trails in the Grand Haven area, seeing the fall colors via bike is a great option. Popular trails include the Lakeshore Trail from Grand Haven to Holland, the Lakeside Trail along Spring Lake, and the North Bank Trail.

Cheers to fall by visiting one of the local breweries in the Grand Haven area. Odd Side Ales, Trail Point Brewing, Grand Armory Brewing, and Burzurk Brewing Co. each offer many different locally made brew options as well as live music.

Grand Haven Michigan Breweries - Photo Marci Cisneros

What’s geocaching? Geocaching is an anytime, anywhere real world adventure. All you need is a GPS or the free Geocaching app on your phone, a free account on and  you’re ready to go! This endless outdoor activity takes you to places near and far to find hidden caches in all shapes and sizes. Once you find one, sign the logbook and return it to its original location. Some caches have items inside of them for trade so its always fun to bring along your own items to trade out for new ones. You never know what you’re going to find on your next geocaching adventure.

Pumpkin Picking
Though the Grand Haven area is known for our beaches, we are home to many farms and u-picks. During the fall, Bethke Farms offers pumpkin picking, hayrides, a corn maze and more.

Grand Haven Michigan Pumpkins - Photo Marci Cisneros

Farmers Markets
The Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and GVSU-Allendale Campus farmers markets are still in full swing during fall. You can stop by to grab seasonal produce including apples & pumpkins, as well as baked goods, flowers, meats, cheeses, and more.

Grand Haven Michigan Farmers Markets - Photo Marci Cisneros

Seeing the fall colors from a kayak along the Grand River, Spring Lake, Pigeon Creek, Pigeon Lake, and Lake Michigan is an amazing experience. You can bring your own kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board – or you can rent one from Lakeshore Kayak Rental. This is also a great way to spot local wildlife including eagles, beavers, otters, Blue Herons, Sand Hill Cranes, turtles, muskrats, fish, deer, and much more!

Grand Haven Michigan Kayaking - Photo Geno Mallo

Whether you are an avid birder or just desire to experience birds beyond your backyard, Ottawa County Parks & Recreation offers naturalist led birding walks and field trips throughout the fall.

Historic River Road Self Guided Auto Tour
If you are looking to cover a larger area during your fall color tour of the Grand Haven area, then by car is the way to go. Our favorite route to take is the stretch of road from Grand Haven to Eastmanville Bayou and back – known as the Historic River Road. Using the handy guide found on our website or at our Visitors Center, this self-guided auto tour brings you along the original River Road which is oldest byway in Ottawa County and one of the oldest in the state. Numbered signs along the way indicate stops and points of interest that mesh local history with our beautiful riverside and park system.

Grand River Park Grand Haven - Photo Marci Cisneros

Surfing & Kiteboarding
We’ve been asked several times over the years if Lake Michigan has big waves…it does! While it doesn’t have a tide like the oceans, when the wind starts blowing we can get some pretty sizable waves here in the Grand Haven area. The fall and winter are the windiest times of the year so it is the perfect time for surfers and kiteboarders to take advantage of the wind and waves.

Fall is still an active time for fishing in the Grand Haven area. For a DIY experience, popular spots include Spring Lake, the bayous of the Grand River, and the north pier. To eliminate the guess-work, schedule a trip with a local charter captain. (Plus, they provide all the gear and hottest lures.)

Grand Haven Michigan Fishing - Photo Brian Fett

GVSU Football Games
Grand Valley State University is located approximately 20 miles east of downtown Grand Haven and is home to the GVSU Lakers. Cheering on the team at GVSU’s beautiful Allendale campus is a fun fall tradition.

Scenic Overlooks
If you are looking for a unique view of the fall colors but aren’t up for a long hike you can find stunning views atop 5 Mile Hill, from the dune side stairs at North Beach Park, and from the top of the stairs at Rosy Mound Natural Area.

Rosy Mound Natural Area Grand Haven Michigan - Photo Marci Cisneros

Nature Education Center
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation’s Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing Park offers year round seasonal programs, guided hikes, kids activities, a wildlife viewing area and more. You can also find a kayak/canoe launch here!  (Once you click link, be sure to refine your search by clicking the Kayak/Canoe Launches.)

Golfing at one of the many Grand Haven area golf courses is a great way to take in the fall colors as well as get those last few rounds in before the snow starts flying. Favorite courses include American Dunes Golf Club, Pigeon Creek Golf Course, Evergreen Golf Course, The Meadows at GVSU, Terra Verde Golf Course, and Three Fires Golf Course.

There is no better way to end a fun fall day than with a stunning sunset over Lake Michigan. While we have beautiful sunsets in the summer months, fall sunsets tend to be the most stunning and colorful ones of the entire year. Great places to watch the sunset include Grand Haven State Park, Rosy Mound Natural Area, the north pier, and North Beach Park. To learn more, check out this timeless guest blog post from area photographer Walter Elliott.

Grand Haven Michigan Sunset - Photo Bob Peskorse

Be sure to share your Grand Haven area fall photos and videos with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! #VisitGrandHaven

Top 5 Hikes in the Grand Haven Area

Calling all hikers, walkers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Grand Haven Area has several amazing hiking and natural areas to enjoy year round. From hiking the dunes to get to the beaches to walking through the lush green wooded forest. Below are just a few of the many trails in our area. 

All of the parks are open from 7am – 10pm from March 1 to October 15 and then open 7am – 8pm from October 16 to February 28.

Connor Bayou

Connor Bayou is 142 acres located in Grand Haven Township with nearly a mile on the Grand River. This is a great place to go walking, hiking, running or even bird watching. The Connor Bayou also has several other amenities such as a fishing dock, kayak, picnic areas and canoe launch as well as a woodland cabin. 

General Info: No entrance fees. Dogs are allowed but are required to be on a leash at all times.

Hemlock Crossing

Hemlock Crossing provides woods and walking trails through the wetlands along the Pigeon River as well as trails that connect to Pine Bend County Park on the west end of this property. There is about 6.1 miles of hiking as well as a pedestrian bridge and numerous overlooks that offer scenic views. While you’re at Hemlock Crossings, be sure to also visit the Nature Center, Kayak Launch and Observatory

General Info: No entrance fees. Dogs are allowed but are required to be on a leash at all times

Rosy Mound 

Rosy Mound park is a great way to experience what the beautiful dunes of Lake Michigan have to offer. There is a 0.7 mile hiking trail leading to the Lake Michigan shoreline which includes 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the dunes with rewarding scenic views. Overall, there is approximately 2.2 miles of hiking at Rosy Mound which is something you will not want to miss. 

General Info: $8 daily parking fee. Annual permits are available for purchase- fees are in effect Memorial day through Labor Day. Dogs are NOT allowed at this park.

North Ottawa Dunes

The North Ottawa Dunes includes ten miles of hiking trails that connects to North Beach Park and PJ Hoffmaster State Park. The property includes eight distinct dunes that can exceed up to 750 feet in height for spectacular and scenic views of your surroundings.  

General Info: No entry fees. Dogs are allowed but are required to be on a leash at all times.

Crockery Creek Natural Area

Crockery Creek Natural Area is 331-acres including frontage on both the Grand River and Crockery Creek. There are about 2 miles of hiking along the creek where you can see several different types of nature. 

General Info: No entrance fees. Dogs are allowed but are required to be on a leash at all times.


Now its time to get outside and enjoy all the hikes and trails the Grand Haven Area has to offer. If you need anything else feel free to reach out to the Grand Haven Visitors Center at (616) 842-4499 or go to

Ride Tour with MI Bike Tours

Ride with MI Bike Tours, a new and exciting local business in Grand Haven, and enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon brew tour around downtown. Meet Alanna Kenny, the owner of MI Bike Tours and a Grand Haven-born resident. After pursuing a career in biochemistry, she shifted her path and combined her passion for bike riding and Grand Haven into a business. Each tour has three stops at local restaurants, cafes, or bars, taking you on a total of 8 miles around town over 3 hours. We decided to join Alanna for one of her morning tours and got to experience the tour to its fullest.

Starting at Loose Spokes, we were fitted with one of MI Bike Tours’ bikes and enjoyed the view of riding through the pretty neighborhoods as we headed toward downtown Grand Haven. Arriving at Aldea Coffee, we indulged in an Iced Caramel Latte, Lavender Lemonade, and Black Iced Tea while enjoying the sunny weather. Then, while we were downtown, we learned some Grand Haven history and the role this town played as the starting point for the notorious robber Baby Face Nelson.

We then took off on a scenic ride down to Grand Haven State Park, with a brief walk down to the beach to dip our toes in the water. Heading back towards downtown, we made a stop near the Imagination Station and YMCA at Voyage Bowls to savor their Acai bowls and smoothies. Along the way to our next destination, we passed by Grand Haven’s iconic Musical Fountain and picked up some interesting facts there too! Lastly, we reached our final stop, Odd Side Ales, where we had the option to enjoy a drink at the bar or, in our case, their coffee bar.

This tour was a great opportunity for us to experience a fun new attraction in the Grand Haven area and gain new insights about the area that we can share with visitors and residents at the Grand Haven Area Convention and Visitors Bureau!

Fall in Love with The Grand Haven Area

Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit the Grand Haven area. The cooler temperatures, stunning colors, and festive activities make us a fall destination worth visiting. Read on to see all the things to see and do in Grand Haven and the surrounding areas of Spring Lake, Ferrysburg, West Olive, Coopersville, and Allendale.

Fall Color Tour

Peak Color Prediction – For the most vibrant fall foliage, mid-late October is the best time to visit. Colors along the Lake Michigan shoreline are typically one week behind in-land areas.
Historic Driving Tour – For the ultimate color tour, take a drive on the Historic River Road, which travels the contours of the Grand River Greenway. Stretch your legs along the way and take a walk among the trees at Crockery Creek Natural Area or Eastmanville Farm County Park.

Fall Flavors

If you’re a fan of pumpkin spice, you’ll love the fall-inspired flavors you can find in the Grand Haven area. Enjoy seasonal brews like the Apple Pie Brown from Oddside Ales or Brad’s Pumpkin Lager from Old Boy’s Brewhouse. For cider lovers, try a flight of award-winning hard-ciders at Farmhaus Cider Co. If you’re craving a sweet treat, head to Grand Finale for a pumpkin walnut muffin or Great Harvest Bread Co. for fresh baked Apple Pie Bread. To get your caffeine fix, try a pumpkin brûlée late or Pumpkin Pie Cold Brew Shake from Oddside Side Bar.

Down on the Farm: Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards & More

Bethke Farms Pumpkin Patch – This family-friendly destination is the perfect spot for an afternoon of fall fun! Find the perfect pumpkin and pick it right off the vine, get lost in the 3-1/2 acre corn maze, and enjoy a hayride around the farm.
Gavin Orchards – Located in Coopersville, this third-generation, family-owned business is a great place to to get both apples & pumpkins. You can also enjoy a cup of homemade apple cider from their retail store.

Mellema Farm Market – Here you can find a variety of fresh fall crops including squash, cabbage, and other fall veggies, as well as pumpkins, gourds,  and corn stalks to use as fall decorations.
Green Acres Farm Market – This is a “must stop and see” farmers market. Throughout the fall season, you will find mums of every color, pumpkins, gourds, and so much more. Be sure to try one (or two) of their homemade donuts and caramel apples. Yum!
Reender’s Blueberry Farms – Stop by Reender’s in West Olive to stock up on your outdoor fall decor! Along with their popular blueberry treats, they also offer pumpkin spice and apple cider and donuts during the fall season.
Rasch Cherries & Apples – This is a go-to spot for apples, pumpkins, sunflowers, and a variety of other delicious fruits and veggies. Enjoy freshly made goodies such as donuts, jams, apple turnovers, and more! Fall attractions include a sunflower maze, hayrides, kids play area, and a haunted sunflower maze in October!
Winkel Chestnut Farm – Located near Nunica, MI, this farm offers a unique experience: U-Pick chestnuts! U-Pick is available through October 16 or while supplies last. Pre-picked chestnuts are also available at the farm.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking Trails – Get outdoors and breathe in the crisp fall air! With miles and miles of hiking trails in the area, you’re sure to find a spot that will become your new favorite. Get your fill of sand & sun at Ottawa Sands County Park in Ferrysburg. Wander through the dune trails that connect to Coast Guard Park and North Ottawa Dunes. In West Olive, you can enjoy great trails with spectacular views of Lake Michigan. Explore Kirk Park or Olive Shores Park to catch a glimpse of the brilliant blue waters and autumn trees. Check out the inland areas and hike around Grand Ravines in Allendale or Eastmanville Farm County Park in Coopersville.

Biking Paths – The cooler weather makes it a great time to hop on your bike and explore a new trail. Plus, it’s a great way to see the fall colors! For some of the best trails, check out the North Bank Trail, or the Lakeside Trail.
Sunsets – It’s a scientific fact that autumn sunsets are even better than summer. Don’t believe us? Come see for yourself!

Surfing & Kite Boarding – Grand Haven is a popular spot for for surfers & kiteboarders to catch some waves. Due to the higher winds in the fall season, you’re likely to see lots of action out on the water. If water sports aren’t your thing, take a trip to the beach and enjoy watching the “pros” ride the waves.

Fall Festivals & Events

OktoBurZfest at Burzurk’s Brewing Co.– Saturday, October 1, 2pm – 11pm
Village Baker Oktoberfest
– Friday, September 30 – Saturday, October 1
Coopersville Pumpkin Train Ride – Saturdays & Sundays in October | 1:30pm
Pumpkin Walk – Thursday, October 28 – Saturday, October 30 | 6-9pm

Halloween Activities

Haunted Halloween at Tri-Cities Historical Museum – Saturday, October 15 | 1-4pm

Visit our Events Page for an up-to-date list of events happening this fall!

Happy Fall Y’all! 🙂