Muskegon, Michigan is a beautiful vacation destination where you can enjoy 26 miles of sugar-sand beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s the perfect summer paradise for you and your family to enjoy the city’s lake port attractions, art and culture, history and outdoor adventures. In fact, there’s so many things to do in Muskegon that you’ll want to make this cool lake town a regular vacation destination!
Though Muskegon is the most populous city along the western shore of Michigan, this Great Lakes port city gives that small town vibe that coastal vacationers vie for.
So, let’s see why Muskegon is the ultimate vacation destination to spend a couple days, week or even months on the western coast of Michigan!
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Best Things to Do in Muskegon, Michigan
County and Michigan State Parks
From beaches to ball parks, Muskegon, Michigan really encourages it’s residents and tourists to go outside and play! Muskegon is home to over 34 recreational parks.
Muskegon also has 7 county parks and several local parks and recreation areas.
Each park offers so many things to do in Muskegon. They present so many different activities such as hiking trails, beaches and great picnic spots, disc golf, shuffleboard and tennis courts, skate parks, a splash pad for the kids, and even camping in Muskegon.
Duck Lake State Park is a scenic state park, near Michillinda and Nestrom Roads, Duck Lake has a shallow channel leading to Lake Michigan. Hiking, ski trails and a picnic area stretch from the northern shore of Duck Lake to Lake Michigan.
Lake Harbor Park is a 189-acre park on the Mona Lake Channel leading to the shore of Lake Michigan. The park features almost a mile of Lake Michigan beach, picnic areas and hiking trails through the dunes.
Meinert County Park is an expansive beach and rolling dunes. The park also provides camping, picnic areas, play area and scenic overlooks with spectacular views of Little Flower Creek and the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Moore County Park offers 1,500-foot shoreline on Half Moon Lake as well as 36 acres of hills, woodlands, wetlands and grassy open areas. This lake is a popular attraction for fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking.
Muskegon State Park is home to three miles of breathtaking shoreline (two miles along Lake Michigan and one mile on Muskegon Lake), Snug Harbor, forested dunes, two campgrounds, picnic and play areas, multiple trails and a scenic overlook.
Norman F Kruse Park is one of the most famous dog beaches in Michigan. A ramp to the beach and into the dunes allows barrier-free access to picnic areas and a place for the mutts to run!
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park features three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline with forest-covered dunes, campgrounds nestled in the woods, and scenic hiking trails.
It also has a great picnic and play area. The Gillette Nature Center features exhibits on dune ecology and the flora and fauna of the Lake Michigan sand dunes.
Pere Marquette Park offers a wide expanse of sugar-sand beach along Lake Michigan Shoreline, bordered on the North by the Muskegon Channel.
It has a great handicap beach walkway, play and picnic areas and a lighthouse to check out! It also has a small restaurant and snack bar.
Pioneer County Park is located along beautiful Scenic Drive between North Muskegon and Whitehall,
Pioneer Park boasts over 2,000 feet of Lake Michigan beach frontage that offers camping, picnic and play areas.
Ross Park is a 43-acre park that features a sandy beach area, playground and picnic shelters, disc golf course, and volleyball court.
Twin Lake County Park is where you and your family can enjoy 800 feet of Lake Frontage on Twin Lake. This beach area is popular swimming and picnic spot.
Blue Lake County Park This 25-acre park is the perfect place for enjoying the outdoors! Enjoy nearly 600 feet of water frontage along the southeast shore of Big Blue Lake.
So, take in a little fishing, boating, water-skiing and camping. And for families, there’s a great picnic area, play ground, and bathrooms.
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ Planning to visit any of the Great Lakes states? Put these Best Great Lakes National Parks & Lakeshores to Visit in the Summer in your travel itinerary!
Let’s go coastal!
While this northern paradise may not have palm trees, conch shells and tiki bars, Muskegon doesn’t disappoint with its’ 26 miles of sugar-sand beaches.
It’s one of the biggest reasons why so many solos, couples and families make Muskegon their vacation destination or even a couple day stay.
And, I have to tell you, because Muskegon is located on Michigan’s west coast, you’re in for a treat when it comes to coastal sunsets! They’re absolutely beachy beautiful!
Or enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard Third Swan Charters 40′ twin diesel-powered cruiser. See White Lake from a fresh perspective and learn some of its rich maritime history. Enjoy an overnight dockside for a unique evening.
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ Going for a sightseeing day cruise? You’ll want to go prepared! What to Bring in your Personal Boat Tote for a 1-Day Cruise or Day Sail
Muskegon’s Maritime History
This cool lake town has always been a popular port on Lake Michigan. It also presents great maritime historic places of interest in Muskegon.
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ If you enjoy maritime history, you’ll surely want to Visit the Historic Waterfront Port of Erie, Pennsylvania
Muskegon Heritage Landing
Heritage Landing, Muskegon’s former industrial scrap yard has become a lake waterfront gathering place that offers a park and community festivals.
During the summer, Heritage Landing provides the venue for the Unity Christian Music Festival and the Michigan Irish Musical Festival. At the festivals, kids of all ages can enjoy music, carnival rides, and evening fireworks displays.
Muskegon Museums and Planetarium
Muskegon loves to boast about their heritage. The Lakeshore Museum Center has hands-on interactive exhibits, tours and programs spanning 400 million years of Michigan history!
Come see stars at the Carr-Fles Planetarium. The planetarium aids in the understanding of astronomy by projecting images of the stars, planets, and constellations on a domed ceiling, and it is the only free, public planetarium in west Michigan.
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ Headed out for the day? Don’t forget your Travel Essentials to Pack in your Sightseeing Bag
Performing Arts and Antiques
The Frauenthal Center is Muskegon’s premier destination for vibrant entertainment, performing arts events, art exhibits and office leasing.
In fact, the Frauenthal is one of the most favorite things to do in Muskegon for those who reside there and those who visit.
The historic Frauenthal Theater and intimate Beardsley Theater set the stage for the latest in music, drama, speaking engagements and more. Their Reception Gallery showcases the talents of area artists with rotating exhibits.
Located on 425 W Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon, Michigan, the Frauenthal Center has a rich history and honors that past through thoughtful use of space, careful restoration and technology. It brings a variety of new entertainment experiences to the region, accessible for everyone to enjoy.
And, if you enjoy visual arts, visit the Muskegon Museum of Art. It features works by noted American & European artists & rotating special exhibitions.
But, if you’re more into browsing down memory lane or shopping for antiques, meander over to Muskegon’s 6 antique malls and shops.
Outdoor Things to Do in Muskegon
If you’re not a beach person, that certainly doesn’t mean you can enjoy other outdoor venues. Whatever your age, there’s plenty of outdoor things to do in Muskegon.
And, for the little kids, there’s the amazingly fun Muskegon Splash Pad to cool off on those hot summer days.
Located on the corner of W. Western Avenue and 1st Street in downtown Muskegon, it’s a great place for the littles to shed their shoes and get wet.
At night, the city of Muskegon illuminates it with colorful lights for kids of all ages to enjoy!
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ You’re going to want to take lots of pictures during your Muskegon Michigan vacation. Here’s some great Smartphone Photography Tips for Beginners
Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park
Michigan’s Adventure is the state’s largest amusement park in the state with over 60 rides; including seven roller coasters.
Start your family adventure at Camp Snoopy, featuring kids attractions for thrill-seeking guests.
Michigan’s Adventure is the perfect place for making memories with your family and friends!
Remember when outdoor drive-in movies were all the rage! Well, there’s even a drive-in movie theater in Muskegon! The Getty Drive-In is located on 920 E Summit Avenue in Muskegon. Of course, realize it’s only open in the warmer months.
So check their movies with showtimes and drive your car in for an evening of nostalgia and family fun! Bring your own favorite snacks or buy them at their concession stand.
Oh and by the way, you can bring your RV to the outdoor movie theater! Just be courteous and respectful by parking in the back.
Shopping in Muskegon
There’s plenty of shopping opportunities in Muskegon. Visit the 17 unique Western Market chalet shops and boutiques downtown on Western Avenue.
While you shop, send the kids behind to the huge volleyball sand court where they can play in the sand and burn off that pent up energy.
Worth a note, there are nice portable bathrooms behind the chalet’s.
Or, take your shopping bag to the Century Block Muskegon on 356 W. Western Avenue; also in downtown Muskegon.
This little indoor shopping district includes the historic Russell Block, Century Club Shops and the former Muskegon Savings Bank.
All are beautifully restored buildings that are home to a brewery, unique retail stores, art gallery, and a ballroom for events.
You can pick up souvenirs and gifts for you or for your favorite someones back home and reward the patient significant other with a beer at the brewery.
But I’ve got to say, my favorite shops and boutiques in Muskegon are:
Muskegon Farmer’s Market
Having purposely visited Muskegon towards the end of the week has allowed us to go to the city’s own Farmer’s Market.
And, let me preface by saying, their farmer’s market is one of our favorite things to do in Muskegon! The vendors bring such a great variety of farm fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats, baked goods, crafts, jewelry and potted plants.
The farmer’s market is in full swing from May to November on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.
They also host their weekly flea market on Wednesdays from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm from May to October.
Pet Owners need to be aware, with the exception of Service Animals, pets are only allowed in the common area near the performance stage. Also, no pets are allowed in produce sales or food service areas due to health regulations.
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ Don’t let the sickies ruin your Michigan vacation. Here’s some important illness prevention tips to help you and your family Stay Healthy During the COVID 19 Coronavirus Pandemic
Local sports keep the community cheering with semi-pro and collegiate sports happening year-round in Muskegon County.
So, if you’re more of a spectator than a player, you and your family can cheer on your favorite local Muskegon sports team!
Hockey is obviously huge in Michigan. The Muskegon Lumberjacks, West Michigan’s USHL team, plays a full 30-game season in downtown Muskegon’s Mercy Health Arena. Games are held many weekend nights throughout the season, with special offers for families and groups.
Muskegon’s professional basketball team, the American Basketball Academy’s West Michigan Lake Hawks, are now in their third season, providing edge-of-your-seat hoop action for fans and a platform for hopeful players to cut their teeth and advance to the NBA.
The Great Lakes Football League, a 17-team league comprised of mostly Michigan teams. The Muskegon Mustangs play an 8-game season during the summer months at the Oakridge High School field.
The city’s newest sports team, the Muskegon Risers Soccer Club, is an independent men’s soccer team which strives to represent soccer through both on-field performance and off-field community service.
Muskegon Beverage Trail
After a day of beachin’, visiting lighthouses and a round of disc golf, reward your exertions with a little imbibing in Muskegon.
From fine wine to socially acceptable spirits and breweries, this Lake Michigan port city has something for everyone!
18th Amendment Spirits Company
350 West Western Avenue, Muskegon, MI 49440
Join 18th Amendment Spirits Company, Muskegon’s first craft distillery for craft cocktails, well-crafted food, and an unrivaled ambiance. Pair your liquid courage with their savory pizza!
Bardic Wells Meadery
8844 Water Street, Montague, MI 49437
Party like a Bard! Enjoy some medieval mirth, fun in a bottle! Bardic Wells Meadery is Michigan’s first licensed commercial meadery.
Mead, sometimes called Honey Wine, is fermented honey and is the original alcoholic beverage predating both beer and wine.
Burl & Sprig
333 W Western Ave, Muskegon MI, 49440
The Burl & Sprig by West Michigan Rum company is a different kind of distillery driven by an unrelenting desire to create and design the highest quality artisan rums. Their tasting room is a great addition to Downtown Muskegon.
Fetch Brewing Company
100 W. Colby Street, Whitehall, MI 49461
The Fetch Brewing Company is a locally owned and operated community brewery crafting beer inside a 100-year-old bank building in downtown Whitehall. Small-town pride goes into the unique tape room, offering events throughout the year.
Rake Beer Project
794 Pine Street, Muskegon, Michigan 49442
Rake Beer Project is a rustic style brewery and taproom that serves progressive farmhouse ales.
Oceana Winery & Vineyard
4980 S 52nd Avenue, New Era, MI 49446
Just a few steps from Muskegon, Oceana Winery & Vineyard is a boutique winery that passionately crafts wines and cultivates grape vines.
They offer a vast selection of dry to sweet wines while enjoying panoramic views of their beautiful vineyard and Oceana County.
Pigeon Hill Brewing Company
895 4th Street, Muskegon, MI 49442
Pigeon Hill Brewing Company is brewed in their new production facility one block off Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon.
Their production facility also now houses a taproom, “The Brewer’s Lounge at Pigeon Hill”. You can enjoy a pint and see where all of the magic happens! Their taproom offers a community atmosphere, live music, and craft beer.
Unruly Brewing Company
360 W Western Avenue, Muskegon, MI 49440
Unruly Brewing Company is known as the first brewery to brew beer in Muskegon since 1957. They offer a wide range of craft beer styles as well as an outdoor beer garden, live music, and free brewery tours anytime.
Our ultimate go-to restaurant in Muskegon is Dr. Rolf’s Barbecue! You can enjoy craft barbeque in their family-friendly restaurant in historic and beautiful downtown Muskegon.
They’ll treat you to a warm welcome, attentive service, and genuine hospitality that will make you feel like part of our family. We are never disappointed with their bbq!
And if you’re looking for some morning brew or afternoon pick me up, there’s plenty of coffee shops in downtown Muskegon and the city’s outskirts.
For a great compilation of dining establishments in Muskegon, check out Wander West Michigan’s “Places to Eat in Muskegon“.
✰ OUTSIDER TIP ✰ After you’re finished visiting Muskegon, head up the coast to visit Mackinac Island! 30+ Things to Do on Mackinac Island – “Unsalted” Island Paradise
Final thoughts on the best things to do in Muskegon, Michigan
As you see, there’s tons of things to do in Muskegon Michigan! It’s a coastal paradise all of it’s own! From their beautiful brown sugar sand beaches, lighthouse and ship museums to enjoying a show or hockey game, Muskegon is an amazing and fun family vacation destination on the western shores of Lake Michigan!
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