Plan your trip along the
West Michigan Pike

There are no wrong answers when it comes to planning your Lake Michigan trip. There are all kinds of beautiful features and fun-filled attractions along the West Michigan Pike byway to help you complete trips of all types. For some, the best vacation spots on Lake Michigan are places to reconnect with nature, escape from busy everyday stresses, and enjoy the natural beauty of The Great Lakes State. For others, the best places to visit along Lake Michigan are those with the most beautiful beaches. Some families and friends find themselves torn between the two! But that’s okay—you can plan your trip along Lake Michigan to include nature, beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, exciting activities and much more.

Best Places to Vacation on
Lake Michigan

Whether you have a week, a weekend or the whole summer, there’s an endless number of attractions and vacation destinations to thrill your family and friends along Lake Michigan. If you’re planning a longer trip, explore multiple locations along the West Michigan Pike, including sugar sand beaches, iconic lighthouses, towering sand dunes, luxurious spa hotels, rustic campgrounds and much more. You can plan your trip to include many of the best places to vacation on Lake Michigan. Head south and visit Saugatuck and Holland to start out your trip with gorgeous beaches, beautiful flowers, rich history and beautiful scenery. Head north along the West Michigan Pike towards Grand Haven and Muskegon next. Take a picture with the iconic Grand Haven lighthouse and pier in the background, take a trolley tour through the city, take a charter fishing trip to truly experience Lake Michigan, and visit Michigan’s Adventure for thrills and excitement. Your Lake Michigan trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Silver Lake Sand Dunes, so head up to Silver Lake and Hart Michigan to see these beautiful natural landscapes. If you’re starting from the south, make the full circuit from St. Joseph up to Silver Lake/Hart to stop in all of the best places to vacation on Lake Michigan. If the timing is right, plan your trip to coincide with famous festivals, like the Holland Tulip Time Festival, the Kite Festival in Grand Haven, and dozens of others throughout the year.

Best Places to Visit Along
Lake Michigan

If you’re wondering about the best places to visit along Lake Michigan for a weekend or even just an afternoon, there are many directions to plan your trip. The West Michigan lakeshore is full of fascinating historic locations, picturesque beaches and lighthouses, towering sand dunes, acres of natural landscapes, hiking and biking trails, one-of-a-kind festivals, and exciting outdoor activities. How you want to plan your trip all depends on what you love to do!

a walk on the beach

A Day At The Beach

Visit any location along the Lake Michigan shoreline and you’ll find beautiful beaches perfect for a relaxing day in the sun. Though all West Michigan beaches have their own charms and appeals, Oval Beach in Saugatuck is particularly beautiful. Muskegon hosts perhaps the widest variety of beaches, with a dozen diverse locations for swimming, boating, dune-climbing, camping, hiking, fishing and, of course, sunbathing. 

A Weekend Camping Trip

When the weather is just right, the sun is out and the woods are alive in the summertime, it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy Pure Michigan. It’s easy to plan your trip along the West Michigan Pike to get the most out of the natural landscape. Near Muskegon you’ll find a wealth of beautiful camping spots across Meinert County Park, Muskegon State Park, PJ Hoffmaster State Park, and Pioneer County Park. Near Grand Haven visit Grand Haven State Park, Holland, visit Holland State Park, or Van Buren State Park near South Haven. Further south around St. Joseph, visit Silver Beach or Warren Dunes State Park.

West Michigan Specials & Deals

Weekend Getaway

If you’re craving a weekend of adventure, you’re planning a special event, or you just have to get out of the house, there are many places to visit along Lake Michigan for a well-planned or impromptu getaway. To head out with friends for a night on the town, visit any of the 16 breweries, wineries and distilleries in Holland. For a quieter evening or afternoon, visit a tasting room, wine bar, or take a vineyard tour in South Haven. If you’re seeking adventure with friends, take a charter fishing trip in Grand Haven, hike, bike or ride across the 34-mile Kal-Haven trail in South Haven, or visit Michigan’s Adventure roller coaster and water park in Muskegon.

View Attractions along the West Michigan Pike

North Pier Lighthouse

St. Joseph

St. Joseph has attractions and activities for all types of visitors with any interests or passions. With wide open acres of parklands on the lakeshore, you can find the ideal place to camp, hike, swim, sunbath and satisfy your love of the outdoors. If you’re looking for indoor activities, St. Joseph brings you a range of options, including the Maker’s Trail to thrill your tastebuds, the Benton Harbor Arts District to bring art to your heart and your soul, and the Silver Beach Center, with six fun attractions perfect for families. Visit the U-Pick Farms and Farm Market to choose from over 60 pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, including all types of Michigan’s favorite cherries, apples, blueberries and much more.
Silver Lake State Park

Silver Lakes Sand Dunes / Hart

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are among the most famous natural wonders in Michigan. As one of the widest expanses of dune habitat, this area is truly unique, not only in Michigan, but across the nation. When you climb the towering sand dunes on the edge of Lake Michigan, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a completely new, and unexplored frontier. At the top of the dunes you can take in the full horizon and enjoy the magic of the lake and the sun. This isn’t the only picturesque location, either; climb to the top of Little Sable Point Lighthouse for a view of the lake unlike any other. Once you’ve witnessed the lakeshore vista, head inland to take a trip on the 22 mile long trail from Hart to Montague, and go deep into Michigan’s beloved forests.
Oval Beach

Saugatuck / Douglas

Saugatuck/Douglas is known for its award-winning beaches as well as its flourishing artistic community. Home to Oval Beach, one of the most famous and magnificent beaches in Michigan, Saugatuck and Douglas’s beauty extends far beyond the shoreline. This area is also home to the Ox-Bow School of Art, where many talented painters, sculpture artists, sketch artists, photographers and many more have honed their crafts. In the downtown areas you can see many of these artists’ works, often inspired by the nautical history and compelling landscapes throughout Saugatuck/Douglas. You can also uncover the rich history of this area at historical attractions like the Root Beer Barrel, Saugatuck Chain Ferry, Mt. Baldhead Park, Star of Saugatuck and the History Center, one of the best known and most-visited small town museums in the state.
South Haven Kal Haven Trail Biking Map

South Haven

You can experience Michigan’s history and heritage as well as the natural beauty and elegance of the landscape in South Haven. The Michigan Maritime Museum takes you on a tour of the nautical past with historic replicas and detailed showpieces. The Michigan Flywheelers Museum highlights Michigan’s agricultural roots, showcasing antique tractors and farm history. At the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum and National Historic Site, you can learn about horticulture, and how many of Michigan’s plants, trees, and crops are cultivated, named and researched. Take this information with you on the Kal-Haven trail, a 34-mile trail from South Haven to Kalamazoo. Or, drop in a kayak on the Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail and take a closer look at the endless varieties of trees, flowers, plants, and all types of wildlife.
Grand Haven Trolly

Grand Haven

Grand Haven is known for its beautiful beaches and breathtaking sights, as well as its interesting history and exciting activities. If you’re looking for scenic photo spots, you’ll find a number of unique attractions to create magical and memorable mementoes of your vacation. The 2.5 mile beachside boardwalk and pier create the perfect backdrop for your postcard-worthy photo, especially at sunset and sunrise, with sailboats drifting across the colorful horizon. Visit the world’s largest musical fountain in the evening to see the dancing waters light up in brilliant color. Take a trolley tour through the historic downtown district, take a fishing tour, or visit the Tri-Cities Historical Museum to learn more about Grand Haven as it is and as it once was.
Windmill Island Gardens Map

Holland

Holland is known for its rich Dutch heritage and history, as well as its beautiful scenery. Visitors flock to Holland during the spring Tulip Time Festival to see these vibrant and symbolic flowers bloom. The Windmill Island Gardens are open throughout the spring and summer, with talented landscapers and gardeners creating beautiful displays throughout the seasons. In addition to the colorful gardens, you can also take a walk through history; tour the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the US, the DeZwann, over 250 year old, take a ride on the hand-painted Dutch carousel and listen to the antique, Amsterdam street organ. The museums, shops and galleries across Holland are filled with history and culture, as well as natural beauty.
Muskegon Heritage Museum

Muskegon

Muskegon combines art, history, culture, nature and adventure across a wide range of fascinating attractions. To learn more about Michigan’s rich nautical history, bygone eras, and the heroic, turbulent times that have helped to make Michigan shine, visit one of Muskegon’s many museums, including the Fire Barn Museum, Hackley & Hume Historic Site, Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon Heritage Museum, Submarine Museum or the Veteran’s Museum. To add some color and vibrancy to your life, visit the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts or the Muskegon Museum of Art. For outdoor adventure or a relaxing afternoon with a book, visit one of Muskegon’s many sunny beaches and parks. For family fun and thrills, ride a roller-coaster or slip down a water slide at Michigan’s Adventure amusement park and water park.
Michigan Beachtowns Brochure

Start Planning Your Lake Michigan Beach Vacation

Our guide to Michigan Beachtowns makes it easy to plan your trip and find exactly what you’re looking for along the West Michigan shoreline.

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