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 a great place for you and your family to enjoy it’s lake port attractions, art and culture, history and adventure.
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
Travel Pro Tip: Headed out for the day? Don’t forget your Travel Essentials to Pack in your Sightseeing Bag
County and Michigan State Parks
From beaches to ball parks, Muskegon really encourages it’s residents and tourists to go outside and play! Muskegon is home to over 34 recreational parks. Three of which are Michigan State Parks; Duck Lake State Park, Muskegon State Park and P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. (more about them below)
Muskegon also has 7 county parks and several local parks and recreation areas. Each park offers different activity opportunities from hiking, nature trails, beaches and picnic areas, disc golf, shuffleboard and tennis courts, skate parks, splash pads, and even camping.
Duck Lake State Park – Scenic state park, near Michillinda and Nestrom Roads, Duck Lake has a shallow channel leading to Lake Michigan. Hiking, skiing trails and a picnic area stretch from the northern shore of Duck Lake to Lake Michigan.
Lake Harbor Park – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 43-acre park features a sandy beach area, playground and picnic shelters, disc golf course, and volleyball court.
Twin Lake County Park – 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.
Travel Pro 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 and conchs, 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 it their vacation destination or even a couple day stop-over.
There are 12 amazing beaches to stroll, collapse in a beach chair with your favorite book at or build sand castles for hours with your family. 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!
But if you’re up for a cool lake cruise, Aquastar Boat Cruises offers afternoon and sunset cruises as well as scheduled event cruises. Or enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard Third Swan Charters 40ft 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.
Muskegon’s Maritime History
Muskegon has always been a popular port on Lake Michigan. The commercial use of the harbor has lead to the development of Maritime attractions; Use Silversides Submarine Museum, USS LST 393 Veterans Museum and the SS Milwaukee Clipper.
Travel Pro Tip: If you enjoy maritime history, you’ll 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! Explore the Muskegon Museum of History & Science, Hackley & Hume Historic Site, Fire Barn Museum and Scolnik House of the Depression Era.
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.
Performing Arts and Antiques
The Frauenthal Center is Muskegon’s premier destination for vibrant entertainment, performing arts events, art exhibits and office leasing. 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 Ave 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.
If you’re not a beach person, that certainly doesn’t mean you can enjoy other outdoor venues. Whatever your age, there’s something for everyone in Muskegon. The city has 5 disc golf courses, 7 family fun centers and mini golf, 5 bowling alleys, a pocket billiards room, several roller skating rinks and even an escape room (by reservation)!
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, they illuminate it with colorful lights for kids of all ages to enjoy!
Travel Pro 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
When looking for fun things to do in Muskegon Michigan, look no further than Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park and WildWater Adventure Waterpark with over 250 acres of amusement for all ages! 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. Then, continue the excitement at WildWater Adventure, home to Funnel of Fear, three wave pools, slides of all kinds, and Half Pint Paradise. Michigan’s Adventure is the perfect place for making memories with your family and friends!
Go back in time when outdoor drive-in movies were all the rage!
Muskegon has it’s own outdoor drive-in movie venue; the Getty Drive-In on 920 E Summit Avenue in Muskegon. 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.
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. Worthy to 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 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 their Farmer’s Market. Let me tell you, it’s one of our favorites because they have 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. No pets are allowed in produce sales or food service areas due to health regulations.
Travel Pro Tip: Don’t let illness ruin your vacation. Here’s some important 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!
Muskegon Lumberjacks – Hockey is huge in Michigan, and 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.
West Michigan Lake Hawks – 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.
Muskegon Mustangs – 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.
Muskegon Risers – The city’s newest sports team is the Muskegon Risers Soccer Club, 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. Opening soon, their tasting room will be 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
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”.
Final thoughts on these best things to do in Muskegon, Michigan
As you see, Muskegon Michigan is a 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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