Award-Winning Beaches Distinguish Western Michigan

By Pamela Coyle on June 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm EST


Some spots are so beautiful they make you want to sing, but in western Michigan the sand on the beaches of Lake Michigan does it for you.

The sand squeaks and chirps beneath the feet, creating what locals call “the singing sands.” The Holland-Grand Haven region also will delight the rest of the senses.

The area’s many beaches have swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, cross-country skiing and fishing. There’s kite boarding and sweeping sand dunes.

With a 2.5-mile boardwalk, the Grand Haven lakeshore is a popular spot. The Grand Haven Waterfront Stadium hosts powerboat runs and the Anchorage Cup sailboat races.

Holland, Grand Haven and P.J. Hoffmaster state parks have beaches, too. Grand Haven is AAA’s top-rated beach in Michigan.

Beaches big and small dot this part of the state, but keep in mind that Lake Michigan, even on summer’s hottest days, may top out in the low 70s.

In the warm weather, though, it’s easy to work up a sweat hiking up the Dune Climb Stairway at North Beach Park or one at Rosy Mound Natural Area. At Rosy Mound, a hiking trail includes 1,000 feet of stairs up to the top of dunes for spectacular views.

Beach volleyball buffs have sand courts just north of Holland at Tunnel Park.

In the winter, Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl, a city park, has a lighted ice rink and eight lighted downhill ski runs.

At Grand Haven Golf Club, play is against a backdrop of sand dunes and hardwoods at a course Golf Digest ranks as one the country’s Top 50 Public Golf Courses. Macatawa Legends in Holland is revered 18-hole course, country club and resort. Locals love Winding Creek Golf Club’s 27 holes, also in Holland.

Bad weather? Take your game indoors at Fore Seasons Indoor Golf on Jackson Street in Grand Haven.

Family options abound at Yogi’s Fun Zone, between Grand Haven and Holland, and Craig’s Cruisers, just north of Grand Haven. Both have mini golf, go-carts and bumper boats.

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