June 26, 2011

Perfect West Michigan Weekend

Travel bloggers have been challenged to "create a weekend vacation itinerary for your hometown".  Since we live in the Great Lakes State that will not be a problem.  Four years ago we moved to West Michigan and WE LOVE IT!  I've lived in a few different parts of this great state and this by far is my fav.  We will definitely be staying put and raising our kids here.  There is so much to do and see it's going to be hard to narrow it down for just one weekend.  Since it's summer, we'll plan a Lake Michigan beach weekend.  You just can't beat a Michigan summer.

We are planning a three day family friendly West Michigan adventure.  Prepare yourself for fun!


We are going to start our adventure in the little town of Whitehall.  Our first stop is at the Whitelake Area Chamber of Commerce Information Center.  It's on the main road as soon as you hit the town.  It is a great place to stop to get a lay of the land.  The ladies that worked there were very friendly and had a few recommendations of what to do in the area.  The building is  an old train station, but the tracks have been removed and have been turned into a bike path.  There is also and old caboose in the back that has been turned into a museum.  The kids had a great time going inside and exploring that.

Next, we're are off the the main attraction, the White River Light Station.   It turns out that the lighthouse keeper has been working for years on turning it into a museum.  She has done a great job of attaining and displaying all kinds of lighthouse and maritime artifacts.  The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained.  Also, a very short walk to the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan.


After the lighthouse, we headed about a half hour north to Country Dairy in New Era.  It's a family owned dairy farm with a restaurant and store.  Good sandwiches, delicious cheese,   home-made ice cream and all you can drink milk.  Of course, the kids got chocolate.  At least for the first two cups, then I had them switch to white.  You can also do a farm tour and they have a playground.

The second day we are going to head south about 40 minutes to one of my favorite Lake Michigan beach towns--Grand Haven.  It has every thing you could ever want in a beach town--tons of boating, sandy beaches, unique shopping, delicious restaurants, coffee shops and a lighthouse.
start off with letting the girls shop...

while the boys hit the playground

After that, everyone can meet at The Kirby House for lunch.  I highly recommend the mahi mahi tacos...yum yum.

Then, you're going to need to walk off that big lunch with a leisurely stroll to the Grand Haven Lighthouse.

don't forget beach time

view from the beach

lots to look at along the way

One major perk to Grand Haven is that everything is within walking distance.  You only have to park once for the whole day.


For our last day, we will head about another 1/2 hour south to Holland.  Our final beach town of the weekend.  We'll keep this day fairly short, since it's back to work tomorrow.  Holland is another town with lots of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants.  Before we do anything, we must get lunch at Froggy's.  They have great burgers and fresh cut fries, and very kid-friendly.

Next, on to the lighthouse.  Holland Harbor Lighthouse, known as "Big Red", was meant to guide ships that wanted to enter Lake Macatawa from Lake Michigan.  If you want a good view of Big Red, you can enter Holland State Park and get a good view from across the canal.  And if you do it that way, you're right at at the beach.  However, we wanted to get up close.  It is also possible to get in from the south side of the lake.  The lighthouse and pier have limited public access from inside a private gated community.  After we parked it took about a 1/2 hour to walk out to the lighthouse.  It's a fun walk along the water and out on the pier, lots of ducks for the kids to watch.  Big Red is still active.

That was fun, but after the long walk back to the car everyone is more than ready to eat again.  Back to downtown Holland for some dinner.  Obviously, we  we're looking for kid friendly again.  We decided on New Holland Brewing Co. -- loud environment, good food, perfect.

And there you have it...the perfect West Michigan weekend.  Hope you enjoy!